A fly in fishing trip to a remote lake in northern Saskatchewan is an experience that anyone that loves the outdoors and fishing should consider.
I believe it’s lack of information that deters many from enjoying the fun of catching fish and dining on fresh walleye in a pristine setting that has to be experienced to be fully appreciated.
In a couple weeks, I will be heading up to Iskwatikan Lake Lodge for the third consecutive year. My first trip was to an all-inclusive lodge with Chipewyan Indian guides. I enjoyed the full service accommodations and learned a few things about fishing for northern pike, walleye and Arctic grayling but I much prefer the ‘do it yourself’ fishing I’ve discovered at Iskwatikan Lake.
There are many remote fly-in fishing lodges in Canada with varying costs.
We pay just under $1,000 dollars for five days of fishing on Iskwatikan Lake which includes the float plane flights, cabin, boat, motor, fuel and fish cleaning.
Big spoons or flashy Mepps spinners are great for enticing those big pike out of the shallow cover they love. After the spawn giant lake trout stack up on one particular basketball shaped deep hump just out from the lodge and fishing can be really good for them during early morning when they come near the surface to feed.
We have never had to worry about not catching enough fish to eat. The smaller pike are also excellent eating but require filleting skills that I have yet to learn. The helpers at the camp take care of the filleting chores as soon as you pull your boat up to the dock. They can quickly remove the ‘Y’ bones from eater size pike, the end result being several snow white fillets.
Getting there, at least for me, is half the fun. We book flights to Saskatoon and rent a car. The drive to Otter Lake where we meet the float plane takes about 4.5 hours and it’s not uncommon to see deer, bear and moose during the drive. Saskatoon is a good size city, at least for this part of the world and has a Walmart and Cabelas where we stop and buy groceries and fishing supplies.
The float plane flight from Otter Lake takes about 12 minutes. When looking down from the air at the thousands of lakes and streams, I always wonder if another human has ever fished or set foot on these remote spots.
Fishing begins in early June and last usually though September. Walleye are usually in shallow bays spawning in early June and it’s common to catch large numbers trolling with the bottom bouncer rigs. After the spawn, they move out into the deeper water and stage around the many islands and pockets off the main lake.
Pike are almost always found in areas with vegetation. Last June, I tossed a spoon up into very shallow water in a remote bay and worked it slowly out toward the boat which was setting in about 5 feet of water. When the lure was ten feet from the boat, I felt a powerful surge on the rod and knew I was hooked to something very big and very strong.
After a 10 minute battle, a 42-inch northern pike came boat side. My buddy netted him at the boat. He continued to keep his teeth locked into the walleye even after we got him in the boat. Northern pike are vicious feeders and have become my favorite species to fish for.
I’ve estimated these do it yourself trips to fish the wilds of Saskatchewan cost a total of around $2,400 which includes everything from fishing license to airfare. If you might be interested in learning more about making that first trip ‘Up North,” contact me through my website www.catfishradio.org , a link is here to Iskwatikan Lake Lodge.
I’ll do what I can to help you make plans.