Ever since I was a boy dunking minnows in Pecan Bayou near our home in Red River County, I dreamed of heading to the wilds of Canada to catch big northern pike, lake trout and walleye. I remember reading all about this fishing wonderland in magazines and back then never dreamed that one day, I would actually experience the thrill of tossing a big plug over a shallow weed bed and hooking into a pike almost as long as a boat paddle or, catching those great eating walleye and enjoying a shoreline lunch prepared over a wood fire.
In the past five years, I’ve had the opportunity to make three fishing trips to remote fly-in fishing camps in northern Saskatchewan and am planning my fourth adventure this summer.
I truly believe one of the primary reasons that many avid anglers hesitate to travel to these northern waters is lack of information. Actually, getting to and from one of these remote fishing lodges/camps is quite simple. On each trip, I left home one day and was fishing a remote wilderness lake the next.
The drill goes something like this: Fly to Minneapolis which is the hub for departures to destinations in northern Canada. From Minneapolis, a connecting flight to either Saskatoon or Ft. Murray usually gets you close and a float plane takes you to your destination.
After spending a few days fishing the pristine waters where the fish have never seen a lure, I find myself making plans for a return trip before I arrive back home. The thrill of catching big fish and lots of them in a setting that truly has to be experienced to be fully understood is addictive and keeps calling me back. The sight of a moose feeding in a shallow remote backwater bay or watching a family of eagles feed their young in a nest high in a shoreline spruce are sights that are forever engrained in my mind; experiences that I yearn to relive again and again. Crispy fried walleye, pike or trout fillets prepared over a wood fire for shore lunch on a small island in a spot where you feel you are the ‘first’ to set foot is what fishing in northern Saskatchewan is all about.
In past years, I’ve fished from full service lodges that offer guides, lodging and excellent meals and I’ve fished from camps where the visiting fisherman brings his own food, tackle and prepares his own meals and fishes on his own rather than with a guide. In these camps, lodging, boats and motors, fuel and fish cleaning is usually provided. Rather than just heading out on your own, the lodge owner will provide you with enough information to get you going. Catching fish is usually very easy once you have a few tackle tips and locations to fish for the various species. The downside to these fishing packages are obvious, one has to pack his own food and fishing tackle, do his own cooking and fish on his own. These do-it-yourself trips require a stop at a Wal Mart at the city of departure for supplies. I’ve done this and thoroughly enjoyed the adventure but, it is also very nice to simply arrive at a camp with your clothing have everything furnished. There is also a wealth of knowledge to be learned from your guide who has spent many years in the northern wilds and fishes the remote lakes on a daily basis.
I’m making plans to spend a few days this summer at a new destination (for me) that comes highly recommended. Tazin Lake Lodge is located in the far northwest corner of Saskatchewan, just a few miles south of the Northwest Territories. The lodge is well known as a destination for catching monster size lake trout as well as big, hard fighting northern Pike. On past trips, I’ve become ‘hooked’ on battling hard fighting pike and dining on the smaller ones but I’ve never landed a lake trout, of any size. I’ve caught lots of smaller trout in mountain streams and lakes in the Rockies and know how much fight a 3 pound rainbow can muster on light tackle. But a 30 to 50 pound lake trout? That will be a new experience for me and one that I’m eagerly anticipating.
I’ve been visiting with lodge owners Trevor Montgomery and Barry Prall about the fishing trip this summer and they have greatly simplified the logistics of getting there and what to expect upon arrival. As mentioned, I’ve fished on my own at these remote camps and I’ve fished with guides. It is really nice to jump in a boat with a guide familiar with the waters and simply catch fish and that’s exactly what we will be doing this summer.
Getting there is easy. We will fly into Minneapolis and from there on to Edmonton, Alberta and catch a connecting flight to Ft. McMurray. Here we board a float plane and after a short flight over some of the most scenic country in the world, we arrive at Tazin Lake Lodge where we spend the remainder of the day fishing. This is shaping up to be a fishing trip of a lifetime that I am eagerly awaiting.
Through the years, several readers of my column have contacted me about details on traveling to Saskatchewan for their bucket list fishing trip and many of them have been there, done that and reported back to me what a great experience they had.
So, if you are planning a trip this summer, you might wish to join me at Tazin Lake in mid July. To learn more, visit www.tazinlakelodge.com, watch the videos and you will learn a great deal about the fishing, lodging and what to expect. The contact information is there on the website. If you need more information, feel free to drop me an email via my website www.catfishradio.org. Leave your phone number and I’ll get back with you with some details that will help you plan your own fishing trip ‘up north’. A visit to the Tourism Saskatchewan website www.tourismsaskatchewan.com will also help you in planning your trip.