I just got back from 3 days of fishing in Canada on the very North reaches of Lake of the Woods. I’m not an expert on Lake Trout by any means, but thankfully I have a friend Jeff "Gussy" Gustafson, who lives in Ontario and is definetly an expert. We were fishing an area near Sioux Narrows, known to produce giant Lake Trout and it did not dissapoint.
Pictured here is my biggest of the trip. Do to the delicate nature of the fish, the cold temperatures we did not weigh or measure any of the fish. A quick picture and back down to the depths they went. As Gussy put it, some of these fish are older than us.
It is hard to explain how hard a lake trout fights through the ice. We were fishing in 90ft of water and targeted the area between 20-60 ft down. The speed at which these fish chase your bait is unbelievable. They would generally show up about 60ft down and in 2 seconds they were inhaling your Slender Spoon at 20ft. The anticipation of that giant mark on your MarCum screaming after your spoon is one I will never forget.
After the hook up, the battle is on. I have never fought a fish though the ice before that makes your wrist, arm, shoulder and back all ache at the same time. Add in the 70-100ft drag screaming runs these fish can make and you have a battle on your hands. As James put it, "the fight lasts 1 minute per pound of fish" Meaning, the 20 pounders we were catching would fight for 20 minutes, just incredible. Here is James with his first of many fish on the trip. James was using the 5/16 oz Slender Spoon from Custom Jigs and Spins in Silver/Blue and had the first 4 Lakers on the ice before everyone else made the switch. That spoon ended up being the go to bait for us all week.
In addition to the unbelievable Trout fishing we had, we decided to try to chase down a crappie bite. Gussy, our host for the trip knows the area well and gave us a guided tour of many different lakes and bays and fortuately for us, the first one we actually fished yeilded GIANT slab crappies. As much as I enjoyed the lake trout fishing, I really like catching 14-16 inch crappies!!
Each day of the trip we spent the last couple hours of the day targeting walleye. I mean, who doesn’t enjoy catching 20-30 walleye in a night. The walleye bite was terrific for the most part. Although we spent most of our time chasing lakers and crappies we still like to fish for walleyes and reserved to last two hours for a little more fun. Walleye in the 16-20 inch range were abundant, and occasionally you could coax one of these nice ones into biting.
In all it was one of the best trips I have ever been on. Gussy has been after me for years to come to Ontario and fish with him and I am glad I finally to the opportunity to do so. I am sure James would agree, it is one of the most beautiful places I have seen and the fact that we did not see another fisherman the entire trip makes it a very special place. Thanks again Gussy!