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

Horseshoe Bay, Part II

After telling tales about our double-header at Horseshoe Bay, we probably shouldn’t have been surprised to find three other Plummer’s boats there when we returned the next morning at about 9:30 a.m. Still, in a 27,000-square-kilometre lake, I was a little taken aback. Then I noticed two things: the other anglers were jigging only on the bottom and, despite the veritable trout convention visible on the sonar, they weren’t hooking anything. So Lynn showed them how it was done.

Dropping and cranking our jigs, we immediately landed and released a couple of fish while the other anglers drifted by, frowning and furtively trying to see what we were doing. Then halfway through one retrieve, Lynn’s rod bowed and his drag began screaming. By then, I’d noticed that Marshall was pretty good at judging the size of fish long before we saw them. Whenever he thought a medium-sized trout was on the line, he’d put on a tailing glove to help grab and quickly release the fish. This time, though, he immediately reached for his big hoop net.

Before long, Lynn had landed and released a thick, powerful 22-pound trout. Not 15 minutes later, his bucktail got struck with a shoulder-separating impact. After another fierce fight, Marshall and Lynn posed for a quick photo with a 23-pound laker (top). It was a true beast, with a bulging gut and gaping, ferociously kyped jaw—likely the last view ever seen by hundreds of terrified ciscoes.

As we left Horseshoe Bay to the other boats, all our hopes for the trip had been wildly exceeded, so it was time to indulge in a final, more esoteric challenge. And I knew where we had to go.

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