Chasing the far-north triple crown on the NWT’s remarkable Kasba Lake & Kazan River


The author’s “donkey” lake trout


After such sterling pike and grayling fishing, we focussed on the final point of our triple crowns. Lakers weighing more than 20 pounds come out of Kasba almost every day of the season, but the lake is not known for colossal fish, such as those caught on Great Bear, for example. It does, however, boast a dizzying abundance of trout in the five- to 10-pound class. The 358 days of the year I’m not in the Territories, I’ll do a happy dance over catching a five-pound trout. But Lynn and I were after bruisers, so we trolled heavy spoons the size of a man’s hand. Doing this you will still catch some smaller fish, but big lakers enjoy a big meal, so it ups your odds.

Just after lunchtime on our third day, I got a wrenching hit on my orange-and-copper Huskie Devle. My heavy spinning rod nearly doubled over as the fish headed deep and began peeling line off my saltwater-class reel. We knew right away it was big. For 10 minutes I could not move that fish. By the 15-minute mark, though, it finally started coming in, and Tyler—who’s guided anglers to hundreds of trophy-class trout—cautiously speculated about the size of such a brawler. Could it be 30, even 40 pounds? With immense relief, I led the fish (above) into the net.


At 40 inches in length, and weighing 22 pounds, it was certainly a trophy lake trout, but not record-book big. It was just a donkey of a fish, one of those specimens you encounter from time to time, possessed of way more power or fighting spirit than others in its class. As with the Kazan trout I lost the day before, I just felt lucky for the experience.

Small lake trout are excellent on the grill

It was almost exactly 24 hours later when Lynn landed his big trout of the trip, and I boated another 20-pounder (of normal strength, this time). Throw in a shorelunch of grilled laker tacos, and we’d more than completed our Kasba goals. With one day left, we decided to roll the dice on a unique final adventure.