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guideman (US)

This is me with 2 Tiger Bass caught in my private lake in S.C. I have fished Lake of the Woods, Ont., 51yrs. I lived in Ill. my whole life and moved to S.C. June, 2011. I had a home at Lake of the Ozarks for 17+ years, where I caught all species of fish.

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guideman (US)'s Profile > Stories > Dream Trip to the NWT

Dream Trip to the NWT

Posted Dec 21, 2010 by guideman (US)
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 I had been promising my son that at some point, I would take him to the Northwest Territories and fulfill his dreams of catching a huge Northern Pike. In March of 2007, I had unexpected back surgery. I promised myself that if I healed and recovered from this, I would finally keep my word to him. I was doing pretty well and in June, I contacted some lodges in the NWT and booked a trip to Lac La Marte. This was the lodge that Babe Winkleman supposedly discovered and thus had made his Banjo Minnow commercial. It took two days of flying up and back to complete this trip. We arrived in camp around lunch of the first day. We ate, got settled in our cabin, got introduced to our guide and took off for our first day of fishing. The waters of this lake were huge! We spent about one hour+ traveling to the first location the guide wanted us to hit. I had expected a fish on every cast. I put on a nice large spoon and flipped it out. It came back, surprisingly, with nothing! My son was in the front of the boat on the platform, I was in the middle and the guide, Morris, was in the rear. I honestly don't recall who caught the first fish but it did not take long to see many, many northern following the baits. The water was SO GIN CLEAR, we could see the bottom in 20 to 30 feet of water. We started seeing nice fish following our baits on almost every cast. We started catching pike on a fairly regular basis. Some were nicer than others. We would see some very nice fish, usually when we entered a new area that our guide took us into. The surprising thing to me was that the leaders we began using, which were all homemade by me, were way too light. My son had gotten a strike from a really nice pike, fought it into submission and when Morris tried to lift it by the leader to release it, it snapped! Now, this was the first 20+ pound pike my son, Mike, had finally brought in, so you can guess what was said to me. The first day, we were scheduled to fish until 10 PM, since we didn't get out to start until after lunch. We moved around to several spots with each move traveling time of an hour or so. We caught several fish and even landed some 20 pounders. We had a shore lunch dinner with some of the others from our camp that day. The interesting thing was that our guide did not want to clean more than one fish for each shore meal that we had. He had been born and raised on this lake and knew the size and amounts of fish it held. Whenever we got something for lunch, it was a much larger fish that I would never have considered killing to eat. When we finally went into camp on the first evening, we were both pretty tired. Darkness never really hit until around 2 AM in that area, since we were only around 200 miles from the Arctic Circle. The next day, we started out by picking up some new titanium 100 pound leaders. This day was much more of the same"boring" action as the previous. We would see several northerns chasing our lures in until one decided to hit. I experimented with larger new lures and some from Swedish lure makers I had met at the Chicago Musky Show. The action worked like a walk the dog subsurface sinking lure and the pike just ate them up like candy. We would see fish laying on the bottom and throw to them. Many times, other fish would outrace them to hit the lure. Sometime, we could sight fish and pick out the one we tried to get. We discovered that when a fish would turn away, if we threw a smaller type swimming bait as a follow up, it would turn back and nail it. This method worked very well and we actually started using light spinning tackle to throw at followers that didn't first hit. This made for some very challenging and interesting fights. This day's fishing went on until around 5 PM, when we were brought in for dinner. The food and the facilities here were all top notch. The only down side of this trip was that you could only go out to fish after dinner if accompanied by a guide. Most everyone was content to relax after dinner. I was willing to set it up and pay extra, since we were already there but my son decided to try to save me some bucks. It sort of drove me crazy not going fishing after dinner. The next day, when we went out, I decided we should try to get some Lake Trout. My son had never gotten a Laker before. We started trolling straight out from the lodge and immediately my son was hooked into a small trout. It went about 4 pounds. Shortly after that, we hit another that went about 6 pounds. We could see, on the sonar, that there were a bunch of fish below us in about 40 feet of water. I lowered a big white Heddon Sonar lure to the bottom and started to jig it up and down. I slowly started reeling it up while still jigging it and I could actually see a few trout following it up. When it got about 15 feet below the surface, the trout stopped coming up. I dropped the lure a few feet and one of them smacked it hard. I then fought it to the surface where we let it go. I did this same technique several times with the same good results each time. The guide thought this was too easy and boring and wanted to start trolling again. I said that if he could get us into a 30+ pounder, I would give him an extra $50 tip. Now, you could see his face get very serious. He switched to a very heavy rod and put on a huge Swim Whiz type lure with a one ounce weight ahead of it and we again started slow trolling. He gave that rod to my son. I now put on a huge spoon and the challenge was ON! In a short time my son had one on. This one went about 10+ pounds and was kept for shore lunch. So far, each lake trout Mike had caught, was larger than the previous one. We continued to troll and bang; Mike was at it again. This next one came from deeper water and went around 20+ pounds. We let that one go, also. Trolling ahead some more, guess what? Mike ties into another fish! This time the heavy rod is bent over very far. It was throbbing quite a bit and not coming in very easily. Line was even peeling from the reel even though the drag had been almost locked down tight. Mike slowly worked the fish in and pumped and reeled gaining line and then losing line. After about 20 minutes, we finally saw the fish and then the guide got very, very excited. I actually couldn't believe what my eyes were seeing. This fish was so huge it seemed like it was unreal. It took another several minutes to get this HAWG into position to get the net under it. When it was weighed, it went over 35 pounds! We took some pictures of it and then let it go, making certain it could swim away under it's own power. We figured we couldn't do much better than this trout wise, so we decided to try for a monster northern. I didn't promise Morris another big tip (I learned that one quickly and the hard way) but I bet him that he couldn't get us into a really big pike. Off we went to a spot he said he was saving for our last day. Well, It wasn't long at this spot, that we started to see and catch some big northern. There were so MANY large fish just laying around, almost as if they were sleeping. We could bring lures right up to them and they never moved. If you did touch one, it seemed to wake up and then take off. Mike threw a spoon at a huge fish and it suddenly turned and slammed the lure. After another long, long fight, the 31+ pounder was aboard. Mike was the only person at this camp for this whole year, that made the 30/30 club. Needless to say this was the trip of our lives and I accomplished my goal of getting him into huge northern and trout.
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