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Fishing on Lake Athabasca: Days 1 and 2

I’m too tired to blog at any length, but I have to post just enough to tease my good fishing buddies and neighbours, Pat and Jon. Well, boys, yesterday here on northern Saskatchewan’s Lake Athabasca, my fishing partner, Ted Cawkwell, and I boated 13 lake trout topping 20 pounds (along with several teenagers). I got the big fish of the day, a 21.5-pound lunker. This was all pure bonus, since we had started out the day aiming to catch pike, which we also did: some 60 fish in all, the biggest of which were approaching 40 inches. But the weather cleared up nicely, so we took the opportunity to hit the big water on the main lake for a chance at the trout.

It’s a good thing we did go after the lakers yesterday, because today the forecast was for high winds, so we had to stick relatively close to camp. In the end, we caught no lake trout, but we did boat 12 big pike; Ted brought in the biggest one, a 44-incher we had spotted and nicknamed “Big Blue” due to the bluish tinge on its big shoulders. As for me, I lost what may well have been my goal for pike fishing-a 45-inch-plus bruiser-when my 30-pound braid snapped loudly above the leader. There must have been a nick. No mind: we still have five more days of fishing ahead of us.

As for tonight, we’re taking it easy here at camp (last night, we hiked several kilometres to a shallow river mouth to fly fish for hammer handles-my first-ever pike on the fly, eight in all, caught on the bunny leeches I’d tied up myself, no less). Before I sign-off for today, big thanks go to Bryan Parker, our kick-ass guide here at Lakers Unlimited, for his superb boatmanship, fish handling skills and good sense of humour. Hell, he even pinched off a pee midstream to unhook one of our many pike double-headers. Now’s that guiding.

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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