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Fly Fishing for Giant Lake Trout on Saskatchewan’s Lake Athabasca: Day 3

Nice fish: John Cleveland hoists his big fish of day 3

This will be a short posting tonight, recapping my third day on Lake Athabasca here at Lakers Unlimited—the guides are preparing a campfire for the guests, and attendance is mandatory. This must-not-miss event has a rather storied history, complete with the burning of guitars, rowdy sing-alongs and other late-night shenanigans.

Today on the water, my fishing buddy for the week, John Cleveland, and I were squired about by camp owner Ryan “Cap’n Bruce” Lowry, himself adept at catching the resident lake trout on the fly. Our plan: hunt solely for big fish.

The wind dropped right off, and the sun shone brightly, making for great sight-fishing conditions. But as with any sight-fishing, the fish also have the reciprocal advantage of seeing you, and booking it out of casting distance when they do. Still, we managed to catch a good number of fish—some 50 in all, according to Bruce, including 11 double-headers. Crazy to think that this was “slow” compared to the first two days.

John’s big fish of the day was a chunky 35-incher, while mine topped that by three inches—big enough to pip (as of yet, unofficially) the 17-pound line-class record in the  Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame’s fly-fishing catch-and-release category. It was a bittersweet accomplishment, in that John holds the existing record of 37 inches, even though he gave me the 17-pound tippet and egged me on to go for the new record. Top drawer, that guy.

Anyway, enough for now. I can hear the guitar strumming and the laughter beginning down at the campfire. Please check in tomorrow for my Day 4 report.

Unofficial record: My 38-incher on 17-pound tippet, an unofficial new line-class catch-and-release record
Unofficial record: My 38-incher on 17-pound tippet, an unofficial new line-class catch-and-release record

Nice fish: John Cleveland hoists his big fish of day 3
Nice fish: John Cleveland hoists his big fish of day 3

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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