North American Fisherman asked the following question on Facebook, “If you could pick only one place to fish the rest of your life, where would it be?”
I’ve put my own spin on this question by asking myself…”If I could only fish for walleye or pike one more time in my life, where would I go?” In these terms the goal is finding fishing nirvana and that’s my expertise…helping anglers find their perfect Canadian fishing experience.
I’ve fished more than my share of lakes and rivers that qualify as my last place on earth tofish. It would take me more than a day to actually count how many Canadian fishing lodges I’ve visited in the past 20-years, but I know it’s over 300. And the only reason I bring this fact up is to illustrate how difficult it would be to choose a single place to fish for walleye or pike one last time.
So here are my answers, these are my personal favorite walleye and northern pike hangouts and are not meant as definitive answers on the best fishing waters for each species. These are just lodges and waterways that I must visit one last time. I am not recommending you choose them for your next adventure, but if you did I’m confident you’d have a great time.
Walleye – personally, I’d rather catch walleye one after another until my arms fall off rather than go after trophies. I love to catch walleye, fillet walleye, fry walleye, and eat walleye…it’s that simple. So with that as my guide – there are hundreds of walleye systems to choose from – but I’d go with Ontario’s Uchi Lake if I could only fish walleye one last time. The lake is only reached by floatplane, there is only one lodge on the lake and is fishable in any weather, which is important when you only have a week or less to fish. You won’t need a guide or fish locater, just pull up to any point, shoal or hump and get ready to set the hook! Uchi Lake Lodge is no frills, super clean and structured so you can fish from dawn to dusk which is very unusual for American
plan lodging. Judy, the owner, is a Canadian original and runs a tight ship. Uchi Lake Lodge
Runner up – Dogskin Lake, Manitoba. Again, lots of walleye, no guide needed, fishable in any conditions similar to Uchi, there is also real trophy potential. DogskinLake Lodge is the only lodge on this flyin only lake.
Northern Pike – Unlike my walleye recommendation, for Pike I am chasing trophies and it wouldn’t bother me a bit if I only caught one a day if it was over 40 inches. And for trophy pike, as the saying goes, There’s no place like Canada. There are literally hundreds of trophy pike fisheries in Canada, so again this is my personal preference. First of all, you can’t go wrong choosing Saskatchewan – this province is a pike fisherman’s paradise, large lakes and rivers full of cabbage beds. In fact, one day on Wollaston Lake in Saskatchewan we fished one cabbage bed for eight hours, it was literally a half mile across by a mile long – I won’t even tell you how many trophies we caught that day because you won’t believe me anyway.
My last place on earth to fish for pike one last time is Canada’s monster Heritage River – the Churchill. This phenomenal waterway cuts across the top half of Saskatchewan and the Churchill must be seen to be believed. Full of wildlife and huge pike,
the Churchill is remote and wild. The river bulges into a series of lakes that offer some of the top pike fishing in the world and my choice of lodging is Ruffo Schindler’s Sportsman’s Lodge. This place is perfectly situated on the Churchill north of LaRonge and again can be fished in any weather (are you picking up a theme here) which is very important when you only have a week. This is a no frills lodge that is not as fancy as their website promotes, but after a few days with the owner Ruffo he’ll feel like a life-long friend. You can also fish the lesser known Paul River after a few small portages, which is a trophy pike fishery in its own right. Sportsman’s Lodge
Runner-up, Here is a drive-in lake any pike fisherman can afford, Shoal Lake is 75,000 acres and is actually a remote part of Lake of the Woods. Shoal Lake Lodge is again the only lodge on the lake. This is big water and mid-summer trolling produces monster pike. Shoal Lake Lodge
If you’ve fished in Canada you probably have some favorite hangouts of your own and I’d be interested in hearing what they are. Next time we’ll talk Lake Trout, Smallmouth and Brook Trout. If you want me to comment on any other species, just let me know.