Why the NWT’s Great Slave Lake is heaven for trout anglers

The Other Great Lake

Often overshadowed by Great Bear Lake, the N.W.T.’s Great Slave offers stunning scenery, affordable access and endless lake trout

Scott Gardner
Scott Gardner

Busse Bay

Ordinarily, being paired with a teenaged fishing guide might be a cause for some concern, but not on this trip. Marshall, from Spruce Grove, Alberta, had been coming to the lodge every summer since he was a little kid, thanks to his late grandfather, who was the camp manager for decades. That’s also why Marshall knows a few fishing spots overlooked by the less-seasoned guides, including Busse Bay. There, against the backdrop of a kilometres-long, 20-storey cliff, our jigging streak continued. At home in Ontario, I tend to nod off while tip-tapping a quarter-ounce jig along the bottom, but dropping and retrieving these quarter-pound lures was edge-of-the-seat stuff.

We spent the afternoon in Busse after leaving Horseshoe Bay, and never went more than 15 minutes without landing a nice fish, including some fascinating examples of the different trout strains found in the lake. The most remarkable were the so-called butterfly lakers (top). Typically small, these fish are vividly coloured, with cartoonishly oversized red-orange pectoral, pelvic and tail fins.

Scott Gardner
Scott Gardner

I was also intrigued by a number of trout with massive, fearsome heads tapering to long, skinny bodies that I nicknamed “anacondas” (above).

Send this to a friend