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QUEEN OF THE LAKE

It was the beginning of July and we decided to head to Smeaton, Saskatchewan to visit family that were down. Smeaton is a small town that is right at the gateway to the north, there’s miles upon miles of forest on the north side and on the south side is miles of farm land. We met at our great grandma Margo’s house where we would spend the weekend, as we were playing cards that evening a discussion came up about fishing and how awesome it would be to go out and catch some fish for a fish fry. I myself rarely keep fish as I’m more of a catch and release trophy hunter but anytime family or friends want a fish fry I have a hard time saying no. I was trying to think of a lake that I could fish for big fish yet we could still catch eatable smaller sized fish that wasn’t trout in the Smeaton area, I was very limited to options and soon found myself having to pass up fishing for something big as they wanted eater sized walleye, we decided on a lake and packed up our gear that night. The sun came quickly the next morning as we headed out around 4am and the weather seemed not the best as we had some hot days prior to this but we insisted that we still go and try anyways regardless of the weather. It was a bit of a drive and we hit rain on the way up into Narrow Hills Provincial Park that looked like it was going to last the day, upon arrival to the lake it was still spitting a bit so I decided to throw on my hip waders and a rain jacket. I had packed a belly boat which is basically a big blow up chair with pontoons that you sit on with your feet dangling in the water and wanted to fish off it just for something different to do as my spouses dad and uncle were going to fish from the boat. I pumped up the belly boat while they launched boat, it was go time! I had fished this body of water in the past and knew that we were guaranteed to catch something. We headed out and tried fishing a drop off in the lake, I dropped down a bottom bouncer which is a sinker built onto a thin rod with a decent sized piece of line trailing off it with spinners and hooks on the end of it with a leech as bait. A couple minutes later I had a bite and pulled up an eater sized walleye, I took the hook out and quickly threw it back knowing we would catch more. On the boat they wanted to go check out another area on the small lake and decided troll over there. In the meantime fishing from my belly boat I pulled up a handful of small walleye and continued throwing them back as I had nowhere to put them, it was a pretty miserable day and rained on and off several times but then around 4 o’clock it cleared up and got sunny and clear out. I’m not going to lie I may be a bit spoiled but I was getting very bored with catching small fish one after another and remembered that I had my big baits and pike gear in my vehicle so I headed back to shore and ran up to the vehicle to switch my rod and tackle out for something a little more heavy duty, really I had nothing to lose, I catch more small fish which I was bored with already or I fish for something big. I decided to go with one of my go to’s for pike fishing, the Savage Gear 4D Pike in fire tiger pattern. If it’s one thing I know about pike, it’s that they are cannibals and they will eat their offspring and this I have witnessed many times. So I head back out onto the water and find a weed bed that looks great to me for pike to hang out in, I start off by casting as the weeds are pretty tall and I don’t want to get snagged, I cast probably close to 40 times with only a couple smaller pile chasing up my 14 inch scented pike look a like lure but no hits and nothing big enough to take it. Again, I was bored so I decided trolling, I quickly snagged weeds and was a bit frustrated but not surprised as I had never seen a pike over 3lbs out of this lake before. So I started thinking to myself when the other guys in the boat want to leave which is likely soon, they will just pull up to the launch load up and they’ll be ready to head back. I on the other hand had to pack all my gear up, deflate my boat, take apart my paddles, etc. So maybe I should just head in early and start doing that so that I’m ready when they get to shore and so that I can give them a hand. I reeled in and started making my way to shore then I thought to myself, I might as well troll as I go in although I didn’t have much hope left, I casted out and began making my way to shore. The water was extremely clear and I could see everything, I went over a bunch of logs and trees and was about 15 feet or so away from shore when I was suddenly stopped, I figured I would get snagged up on the trees and now likely lose an expensive lure, just my luck. My belly boat came to a stop and spun around and I started to reel when all of the sudden my drag started peeling hard!!! I was surprised and was very curious to see what I had hooked into, was it a giant pike or possibly a giant walleye, I couldn’t really tell other than it was powerful, it pulled me out into the middle of the lake and the commotion I made caught the other guys in the boats attention, I yelled to them “grab a net” and they came racing towards me in the boat. I said “I have a monster on” but I wasn’t able to see it yet, it had calmed down enough and I was ready to start pulling it to the surface so that we could at least get a better look at it. I reeled it up and it came into view, it was a monster pike!! They tried to net it for me but the net they had was only about half the size of the fish, if that. So I told them not to worry about it and worked my way back into shore hauling this fish behind me. Once I was shallow enough I jumped out of my belly boat and really got a good look at the size of this fish, I was thrilled. I was able to bring the fish within arms reach and grab ahold of it. They beached their boat and came running over in the water and we quickly took some measurements and a few photos and I sent this queen of the lake back to where she belongs. Never did I think this small lake would hold such a big fish. It measured in at 46 inches long. This was a true beauty and I will never forget that day and the next time I fish that lake I will not be fishing for eater sized walleye, I will be fishing for big pike!

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