Prince Albert Voice
In the spring and summer one of my main target fish are big northern pike, ok…. Let me rephrase that, I fish for big northern pike all year round, who am I kidding? They are my favourite fish to target! Why you might ask? I just can’t get enough of the size and how similar they are to an alligator. In the spring I target them in fairly shallow water but as the summer goes on I find them deeper than usual. On this particular outing with a good friend of mine named Brad we started off fishing a creek and the mouth of the creek for pike. We walked up and down the creek to start off and Brad caught a very one in about 3 feet of water, this was great as Brad had never came with me before and he was pumped to hook into one. We took some pictures and sent the fish back, after catching a few other smaller pike we decided to focus more on mouth and the lake somewhat, we would cast out towards the lake and crank in towards the reddish bronze coloured water flowing out of the creek, almost every other cast as the swimbait would enter the darker coloured water we’d have a fish on. We decided to take out the Ultraskiff, it’s a one man round fishing boat with an electric trolling motor but we had no other boat so we both went on it. We launched and drove out near the break between the flowing water and still water and fished that line, although a bit tricky to cast off and remain balanced with two people we managed to work the waters hard. My swimbait, a Savage Gear 4D Trout in Rainbow trout pattern was slammed and my drag started screaming, we held on and had a little ride on the skiff. One of the best features about the Ultraskiff is that because it is round you have an advantage at fighting fish from it because unlike a boat when a fish swims under it, your rod doesn’t slam down and you don’t need to bring it back to that side of the boat, it will actually spin the skiff around when a fish runs under it and the advantage to that is you are always fighting the fish head on. After pulling in a 45 inch pike with 2 of us on the skiff, we tried to get a decent photo of it but it was a bit challenging and we sent her back swimming. After catching multiple good sized pike I suggested that we try another spot that might be even better although we were doing good at this spot. We packed up the skiff and loaded it into the back of the truck and went to switch it out for my 12 foot aluminum boat, although small, old and slow I don’t mind fishing from it. We loaded up and drove to another creek where we launched on the creek and drove down the creek trolling. We didn’t have any luck trolling the creek on our way out but that didn’t detour us from heading to the “good” spot we were after. Once we got to our new spot we decided to try extremely shallow, I’m talking 2-3 feet deep, a couple casts later and we landed one. We shut the motor off and drifted out with the waves and casted Savage Gear swimbaits, Brad used the 4D Pike and I used the 4D Trout. There is not many days that you get on fish so hard that you catch almost every cast, let alone big fish, we were on them!!! We had multiple double headers and this may have been one of the best days Brad and I had ever had. It wasn’t long into it and I hammered a 45.5 inch monster pike that inhaled my line thru trout! This was a big fish! We quickly took some photos of her and returned her to the water. We had fish after fish after fish to the point that our arms were getting sore not only from casting big swimbaits but from catching fish after fish. This was one of those days that you just didn’t want to go in, but of course it started to get late and we decided to head in. To me catching 2 fish over 45 inches in central Saskatchewan is a great day any day!
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!
If you’re an avid fisherman like myself, one thing you’ll learn is that the weather might not always cooperate with you and it might not always be easy to fish larger lakes. In this case finding small lakes and creeks hidden amongst the trees is key to fishing when the larger lakes are to rough to fish. I spend a lot of my time during the windy and stormy days fishing for stocked trout in Narrow Hills Provincial Park in Saskatchewan. The park itself contains 25 bodies of water suitable for fishing and an additional 30 bodies of water within an hours drive. There is multiple species of fish including pike, walleye, perch and all different species of trout.
Spring is one of my favourite times of the year to chase trophy sized northern pike. I target them in shallow water, close to creek mouths and even in creeks. One of my go to lures for big pike are Savage Gear, they make a huge variety of life like swim baits that look like different species of fish from pike to trout to burbot as well as many other lures from ducks to rats, snakes and bats. These work great all spring and throughout the summer and into the fall. On this particular day it was on and off cloudy all day long with the odd shower here and there. I decided to sneak down to the creek as soon as we arrived at the lake to get a few hours of fishing in before dark. I packed my gear up and headed over to the creek where there was already a few older gentlemen fishing. I put on a 10 inch Savage Gear 3D Hybrid Pike in a firetiger pattern. This hook is based on a 3D scan of an actual baby pike, it has a hard body and soft interchangeable tails that twist on and off the lure. It has a unique wiring system that allows the hooks to separate from the body of the lure to prevent the hooked fish from throwing the lure. As I was putting on the lure the older men on the other side of the creek started cracking jokes about the hook I was using, one of them said “what’s this guy fishing for?sharks?” And they chuckled away as he nudged the other guy in the chest. They were casting small spoons and to no surprise were catching small sized pike almost every cast. I stayed humble, ignored them somewhat and continued casting away as I knew that when something hits my hook it was bound to be something of size. Using my bait caster I casted and reeled in with a steady retrieve for about five reels then gave it a jerk, another five reels the gave it a jerk, again another five reels, a jerk and bang!!! I had a huge hit on the hybrid pike! I knew it was a good one! My line started to peel and my rod was bent over hard. The fish stirred up the top of the water and this caught the old guys attention, I think they were surprised I had something actually bite the hook I was using and now they were eager to see what it was. I pulled the fish to shore and netted it by myself. I lifted the fish out of the net to lay it on the bump board and get a quick measurement, when I pulled it out of the net the old guys mouths dropped and so did their rods as they came running over in disbelief. “I’ve never seen a fish that big before!” Said the one guy. “What kind of hook is that?” Said the other guy. “Where can we by that hook?” He asks. I explained the details of the hook to them and that they could purchase it at Coop tackle store in Prince Albert or Cabela’s in Saskatoon. We put the fish on the bump board and it measured in at 43 inches long. One of the the older guys even offered to take a few photos for me so I held the fish up while they took some photos and then safely put the fish back in the water and released it back to where it belongs. The one guy asks “why are you letting it go?” I explained that “the big fish are the breeders and full of eggs and they also don’t taste as good as smaller fish and that by releasing this fish that it could get bigger for someone else to catch one day and there will be fish for when my kids grow up”. They agreed that was a good reason and went back to their side of the creek and continued to fish as I did on my side of the creek. We fished until the sun started going down. A few days later I was fishing at the creek again and one of the old guys came walking towards me dangling a hybrid pike lure he had picked up at the store for $40. He walked to the waters edge and casted out, I heard a snap and the hook went flying into the water. The line snapped on his first cast and he looked upset. I explained to him that light mono line was not durable enough to cast these big baits and that he would have to use a thicker braided line over 30lbs and gave him one of the hybrid pike out of my tackle box to replace the one he had lost, he was very thankful and put it in his tackle box and told me he would use it when he purchased some stronger line for his big bait.
It was a Friday evening and I wasn’t quite sure on what the weekend plans were just yet when I received a text message from a Facebook friend asking what my plans were for fishing this weekend as him and his brother wanted to get out somewhere. I replied back saying that I was hoping to get up to the lake and threw out an invite for to them to join me if they’d like. He said that sounded great and wanted me to give him a call to work out some minor details on times, location, what to bring etc. So I called and we were set to meet at the lake for about 8:30am on Saturday. This was a bit of a late start for me but it was doable non the less. We met up and set up our campers and had a quick bite to eat. I previously told them that I had all the tackle we needed and when we went to pack up the boat they laughed as I came walking over with 4 giant tackle boxes full of huge pike lures. With little room to spare and it already being closer to noon we headed to get a glimpse at the lake, it was calm in the bays on the west but the rest of the lake was white capping pretty bad so with little options on where to go we decided on a spot and headed out. It was quite hot out already and I wasn’t sure from previous trips this year on how pike fishing would be. Upon arrival to the spot I explained we’d try casting and if they weren’t hitting on the cast that we’d troll instead to cover more ground and hopefully get into some. We casted for some time and didn’t have much luck so we started to troll, it wasn’t long after we had a fish on! It was a mid 30 inch pike and we were happy. We continued to troll when I had another hit and a hard pull that snapped my leader open and stole my lure. I was quite disappointed as I didn’t even get to see the size of the fish. Through out the day it was extremely hot on the lake but the wind kept things feeling not so bad. We caught multiple fish and kept a few smaller ones to bring home for a meal. We headed in around supper time and filleted the 5 pike that we kept. I learnt to fillet pike at about the age of 12. My great grandparents the Sackett’s were commercial fishermen and our family including my grandparents, uncle, mom all helped out with that so they knew how to fillet fish well and passed it down to me. I showed my friends how to remove the y bone and even let one try it out on the last fish, he did a great job. My mom runs a food truck called Gator’s grub and was able to hook us up with a great supper from there, we had pulled pork sandwiches and they were delicious. After our bellies were full we decided to head out on the pontoon boat for an evening ride and if course more fishing, we ended up getting another fish and some great sunset photos before we headed in for the night. It was going to be an early morning as we planned to get up at 3:30am to hit the water. It was roughly 11:30pm by the time I got to bed. My alarm came quickly but I jumped up like a kid on Christmas day and made my coffee and headed down to the picnic table at the beach where I drink my coffee and watch the sun come up then I went over to their camper to find no one awake yet so I texted them and they were quickly up and we loaded the boat. This day we decided to head back to the same spot as there was not much of a wind yet and we did well there the day before. Once we were at our spot we did some casting and trolling, the bite didn’t turn on until about 9 o’clock. With sore arms from throwing huge baits and with the wind picking up we were thinking of packing it in early. We were on open of our final trolls when I had a big fish come out of nowhere and smash my lure, a quick hook set and snap!! My rod broke!! Although I had multiple rods on the boat this was an easy decision to make to head in. We headed back in white caps and loaded the boat. We headed back to the campers and I rolled the Ultraskiff (a 1 man fishing boat) to the shore where I let them both go for a ride on it and try it out. I had another friend in the area eager to try it out as well so I let him take his kids out on it. That was the end of our trip and we’ll be back at it soon!