Few tugs on a rod are as memorable and robust as a double-digit lake trout. There’s only one problem. If you want to chase lakers in the Lower 48, there are not many options, and the number of fish is simply not impressive.
With lakers populating virtually all of the watersheds in Canada, it would seem a slam dunk to find a place to fish. And it is…if you’re willing to chuck large, heavy baits with oversized tackle fished at deep-sea depths. When hooked 80 feet down, a stout laker can take well over 20 minutes to raise, and you will be as worn out as if you fought a small tuna on light tackle.
The magic angling time for Canadian lake trout is in the fall. Again there’s one slight hiccup. Only a handful of Canadian lodges stay open after ice can form in your guides. Once mid-September rolls in at Gangler’s North Seal River Lodge in northern Manitoba on the Northwest Territories border, the 10-to-50 pound lakers raise from the abyss to the shallow rapids and one- to five-foot gravel humps. At these accessible depths, lakers find a mate to establish their lineage. This is the only time of the year when an angler will have the opportunity to target monster lakers that will jump, thrash and crash your tackle in the shallows.
Traveling to the edge of Northern Manitoba will require an overnight stay in Winnipeg, Manitoba. In the morning you’ll board a charter fight and land at the lodge.
One of the many reasons Ganglers has such exceptional fishing is that it’s located at the end of the line of airplane fuel consumption. If you wanted to fly a floatplane any farther into the Canadian bush, you would literally have to store fuel in the woods. This is the first Canadian lodge where I never heard or saw a plane, unless it belonged to the lodge.
Once settled into your cabin, you will find the 5-star lodge is a wonderful sanctuary for an adult beverage and a hearty meal. Ken Gangler is both the operations manager and lodge owner. He personally sees to your requests and has an extraordinary depth of knowledge of the fishing terrain that spans over hundreds square miles.
Guests typically have one fly-out day and fish a different lake every day, via boat, ATV, or a combination of all three. There may even be a chance to fish a lake that has never been fished…ever. Based on water temperature, my guide and Ken picked an area that was close to the lodge. In less than 20 minutes, my line was wet with a 10-pound laker at the end.
My choice for this trip was fly tackle. This is the only time of the year that lakers present themselves in such opportunistic, shallow water. Pike are also plentiful and usually just a few feet away. After the first evening, I had racked up nearly 40 trout ranging from 3 to 20 pounds, and nearly 20 pike, with one over 35 inches in length. On average, I released 90 fish per day.
This is a rare opportunity to fly cast to fish that are aggressive and close enough that even an inexperienced angler will hook high numbers of big fish. If bait casting tools are your trade, just bring medium-to-heavy action tackle that’s suitable for salmon or pike fishing. Traditional lures like Five of Diamonds spoons, and medium and large Rapalas will seize the day. The trick is to simply find the fish.
One of my most memorable days at Ganglers was a long boat trip upriver that included an overland ATV ride on escarpment trails that have been used by northern tribes for thousands of years. The day yielded my largest laker at 30 lbs and lost one over 40. It also proved to me that even a small cut on my finger from an errant pike could cover a boat in blood. This is an exceptional angling experience that’s worth the coin. On average, six days of fishing will run about $3200. Outpost camps are also available for less. Holding some of the largest numbers and sizes of pike, and accessible lake trout in the world, Gangler’s truly provides one of the greatest angling adventures of northern Canada. Go…you’ll never forget the experience.
Ganglers; www.ganglers.com or call 1-866-515-6343