Some places have big northerns, some have lots of them, but Cree River Lodge has both
For our first afternoon we tried Rick’s Bay on Wapata Lake, which ended up being one of my most productive spots. A large, soft-bottomed bay ringed with reeds, it ranged from one to three feet deep, and the northerns were absolutely stacked up in it. Although ideal for fly fishing, it presented a problem for me, since I was using an intermediate sink-tip line. These lines are usually very useful for running a big, bushy pike fly a foot or two under the surface, but in this shallow bay it ran my flies into the muck. Fortunately my pal (and Detroit News sportswriter) Lynn Henning let me borrow his outfit, which had a floating line. And then I seduced the 42-inch monster above with a five-inch-long, firetiger-coloured Seaducer fly.
Based on that pike’s length and, more importantly, its massive girth, it was at least 25 pounds. That made it substantially bigger than my previous personal best pike, which was 45 inches long, but well shy of 20 pounds. And it turns out that steroidal girth and strength is typical of the fish in the Cree River system. Believe me, playing this thick, powerful fish in 24 inches of water was about as much fun as I’d ever had with a fly rod. At least until the next day…