Magnificent Kasba Lake is home to astonishing numbers of large lake trout, northern pike and Arctic grayling
#3 The northern pike are plentiful, big and linger in shallow water
The Northwest Territories represent the far end the Esox lucius range. So I didn’t expect to encounter the kind of bruisers I’ve caught further south, at world-renowned pike hot spots in Manitoba and Saskatchewan. But Kasba surprised again. It’s exceptionally rich in forage, with a lot of pike-holding bays and channels, as well as those plunging depths. The cold water allows the pike to stay in shallow water, so you can cast to them with spinning or fly tackle, and sometime even sight fish for them.
Lynn and I only really targeted pike for about two days—an hour or two here and there, plus a full day on “Pikeasaurus” Lake, which is connected to Kasba by a river (but more easily accessed via a 10-minute float plane hop). Still, we put up the kind of numbers you’d expect after a full week of pike fishing: six fish over 40 inches, just as many in the high-30s and too many frisky two-footers to count.
And most of those pike were thick and well-fed—big all over, with the kind of massive bodies you don’t usually see so far north. For example, I landed one 42-inch northern that wasn’t the longest pike I’ve caught but was, by far, the heaviest.
One clear afternoon we sped down to the lake’s southeast corner to try a rarely fished estuary. Fishing just that one spot, in 75 unforgettable minutes we caught, one after another, pike measuring 36, 40, 36, 45 and 42.5 inches. There’s a lot more to that story, but I’m saving the rest for my upcoming print feature in the magazine.