Wes David recommends these Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba hot spots for trout, walleye, pike and more
To compile Outdoor Canada’s 2020 fishing hot spots feature story, we turned to our friends at Sportsman Channel Canada. The hosts of 19 Canadian fishing shows agreed to reveal their top choices, along with tips on when to go and how best to tackle the fish. For all the hot spots, see our 2020 Fishing Special issue, or check out the growing list at www.outdoorcanada.ca/2020HotSpots.
ABOUT THE SHOW
Visiting fishing destinations across Western Canada and the northern U.S., Fishing the Wild West provides anglers of all skill levels with localized information about their particular region so they can have a successful day on the water. Learn more: www.fishingthewildwesttv.com
BLAIR LAKE, SASKATCHEWAN: Lake trout
THE ATTRACTION: This fly-in, self-guided adventure out of Otter Lake’s Thompson’s Resort (see #6) promises non-stop laker action
BEST TIME: Mid-June to mid-September
TOP TACTIC: Try three-way rigging a #2 Len Thompson spoon or five-inch Lucky Bug Lucky Plug in a variety of depths.
BOW RIVER, ALBERTA: Brown & rainbow trout
THE ATTRACTION: Letting your mind wander between hook-ups, imagining when the Bow was a truly a wild river flowing through the West
BEST TIME: April to July; October
TOP TACTIC: Float the river or fish from shore, casting crankbaits or flies.
DEAD LAKE, SASKATCHEWAN: Northern pike & walleye
THE ATTRACTION: Another fly-in, self-guided adventure out of Otter Lake (see #6), this remote camp features the comforts of home
BEST TIME: June to September
TOP TACTICS: For walleye, fish Big Sky jigs; for pike, tie on #2 Len Thompsons; both will take Lucky Bug’s Zombie Maxx and Fusion Extreme lures.
GULL LAKE, ALBERTA: Walleye
THE ATTRACTION: A great fishery with plenty of 55-centimetre walleye for anglers of all experience levels, complete with a first-class RV park on Sandy Point
BEST TIME: Year-round
TOP TACTIC: Jig frozen minnows or soft-plastics in 12 to 22 feet of water.
NIPAWIN, SASKATCHEWAN: Walleye
THE ATTRACTION: Perfectly situated between Tobin and Codette Lakes on the Saskatchewan River, where 10-pound-plus are common
BEST TIME: The entire open-water walleye season
TOP TACTICS: Jig or fish leeches on Lindy Rigs.
OTTER LAKE, SASKATCHEWAN: Northern pike, walleye & sauger
THE ATTRACTION: Stay in luxurious log cabins surrounded by boreal forest at Thompson’s Resort
BEST TIME: June to September
TOP TACTICS: For walleye and sauger, fish Big Sky jigs tipped with soft-plastics; for pike, cast #2 Len Thompson spoons and Buzz-Bombs.
RED RIVER, MANITOBA: Channel catfish
THE ATTRACTION: IF you want to consistently do battle with world-class channel catfish, the Red River near Selkirk is the place
BEST TIME: June to first week of October
TOP TACTICS: Fish a simple size 6/0 J-hook baited with a nightcrawler or cut bait in front of an eight-ounce weight.
SOUTH SASKATCHEWAN RIVER, ALBERTA: Lake sturgeon
THE ATTRACTION: Knowing that with every hookset, you have the opportunity to reel in a six-foot lake sturgeon
BEST TIME: Spring through fall
TOP TACTICS: Fish a simple size 6/0 J-hook baited with a nightcrawler or two in front of an eight-ounce weight
WHITEMUD RIVER, MANITOBA: Freshwater drum
THE ATTRACTION: The Whitemud is home to a variety of fish species, but the chance to do battle with a trophy-sized freshwater drum is the real draw
BEST TIME: June
TOP TACTICS: It’s hard to beat casting Lucky Bug Lucky Plugs for these aggressive feeders.
ALSO PICKED: Lake of the Woods, Ontario, for multi-species