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Fishing on Lake Athabasca: Day 4

Today here at Lakers Unlimited started with clear skies and a hot sun. And so went the day, punctuated with frenetic interludes of high winds and driving wind. That’s Athabasca, they say. First off, we booted down to Collin River to hit northerns on the fly — my second time ever to throw thread, fur and tinsel at pike. Unlike my earlier hike to the skinny water near camp, however, this time the pike were, well, big (see photos). We didn’t hit anything over 40 inches, but I sure gave my new Sage nine-weight a good workout. And get this: I’m still on the first bunny leech I tied up back in Toronto.

Aside from my personal satisfaction of catching such awesome, wild fish on the fly (some 20 beauties each for Ted and me) the coolest thing of the morning’s session happened when we switched up to tin to troll back out of the river, just for fun. That’s when Ted nailed two eight-pound walleye — on a #4 Len Thompson Yellow & Red, no less. Now, we knew walleye inhabited the lake, and I’m pretty sure I’d seen some earlier up near the mouth of Collin, but it was still surprising when Ted caught the eight-pounders. Surprising because we had beat that same water pretty hard the previous day and all that morning, without tagging one walleye. Plus, it was high noon under clear skies — not exactly prime time for ‘eyes.

After pulling into the main lake and parking off for lunch (just sandwiches, so far; we haven’t wanted to take the time to stop and cook up shorelunch), we hit the lakers again thanks to Bryan’s wicked guiding. Ted kicked my butt, pulling in 13 fish, six of them over 20 pounds, on his hot pink T-60. I pulled up the rear with 9 lakers, two of which weighed 23 pounds. And from that tally, we recorded three double-headers, along with one triple after Ted released his first fish and picked up his spinning rod to drop down a big Bondi bait. Not bad for four hours of fishing. Too fun.

Patrick Walsh

Patrick Walsh

Patrick Walsh is Outdoor Canada's Editor-in-Chief and Brand Manager. He grew up fishing and hunting in Bracebridge, Ontario, where he began his magazine career in 1983 as assistant editor of Muskoka Life magazine. Since then, he has worked for a variety of media, both in Canada and abroad, earning numerous writing and editing awards. In 2005, 2011 and 2012, the Canadian Society of Magazine Editors named him Editor of the Year, while Outdoor Canada was honoured as Magazine of the Year (in the medium circulation category). Walsh has been at the magazine's helm since 2000.

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