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Sight Fishing Capitol of the North...
For Giant Pike!

I've been visiting fishing camps in Canada for quite awhile now. 2011 marked my 36th year of going to Canadian fishing camps. Many of those years, I managed multiple trips, most often to different camps. I enjoy the challenge of new water and because of this I have seen a lot of different conditions, different types of water, and of course lots of big fish of several different species. But it has been pike that received the most of my attention and I'm always on the hunt for the best locations in which to catch the largest pike possible.

Every so often, a fishing location shows itself to be something special. A place out of the ordinary, where something unique exists. I first fished this lake back in '02 and both Mary and I were impressed. Mary caught her all tackle record blue pike on that trip. This trip just reaffirmed the opinion I had of this lake to begin with. And it all came to light in July of 2011, when I joined Pete and Tex Maina in the Northwest Territories for a week of pike fishing and to film for Pete's TV show, The Next Bite.

The lake we visited is named Lac La Marte and it is special indeed. Yes, the lake contains a great population of large pike, but there are many spots with big pike. No, it is the color of the water, or the lack of it, that makes this lake so special. The water in this lake is among the clearest I've ever seen in all my years of fishing pike lakes in Canada. In some of the bays the water looked to be as clear as tap water. We could spot weedbeds from a long ways off, even though the weeds had barely started to grow at the time. Pike were also easy to spot, and there were a lot of them to look at.

Lac La Marte is a lake trout lake and of course, that always means clear water. Usually in water this clear, pike tend to be spooky and long casts are the norm. Not so at Lac La Marte. We boated right up to big pike and not only didn't they spook, they bit the lures! I actually hooked one big pike right beneath the bow of the boat. I couldn't have had more than 12 inches of line in the water and she snarfed up my leech lure. Believe me, fishing in water this clear, when you can see the fish you're casting to, is a completely different experience from the normal random casting in stained waters. I have always stated that catching a fish on a topwater lure was my favorite way to catch any fish because you could see the strike. But now I'm going to change that statement. Up here on Lac La Marte you not only get to see the strike, you get to see them charge the lure from 40 to 50 feet away! Talk about hair raising action! They looked like underwater guided missiles streaking toward your lure! If this doesn't get your heart beating hard, you'd better see your Doctor quick! Many times the fishing here is like combining fishing with hunting. You slowly motor around or drift through the bays, looking for pike to cast to. And you see lots of them! You get to pick which fish you want to try to catch. This is truly pike fishing at its finest!

Lure selection was easy as they bit about everything, but naturally some lures did out produce others. Spinnerbaits, spoons, spinners and swimbaits all produced very well. But it was bunny fur that really shined here. Fly fishermen take note! Lac La Marte was made for fly guys. When you're fly fishing for pike, you don't necessarily have to be an expert at casting. I watched Pete Maina catch several monster pike on one and he's not exactly a pro with a fly rod, not even close. He is an expert at about all other aspects of fishing though! Personally, I'm not adept with a flyrod either. But I'm getting better and hopefully someday I'll be able to at least get to the point where I don't pose a hazard to myself or others in the boat.

Long distance casting with a fly rod just is not necessary in this lake, but there are other options for those whose skill level with a fly rod matches mine. At Lac La Marte Adventures Lodge, they utilize a casting bubble to present flies to pike and it works very well. While I was in this camp, a young fisherman named Jack Thompson caught the fish of a lifetime while using the fly/ bubble combination with spinning gear. Congratulations on a beautiful 30 lb pike, Jack! You are now a member of a very elite group of anglers. As for me, I've already explained that my prowess with a flyrod about equals the coordination levels of a hippo tiptoeing on a picket fence. I had investigated the lake earlier and had been there before so I knew going in that flyrods would most likely come into play. So, I designed my own lure for this trip and it also performed well. It is made from dyed rabbit hair also, can be cast with conventional equipment, and can be seen on my website, jackpennyoutdoors.com. I call it the Mother Leech. Yet another great option would be bunny jigs from Jensen Jigs. Paul Jensen makes the best bunny jigs I know of and they'll work wherever pike live.

It is well established that leeches are a food source for pike and of course the bunny fur duplicates the movements of a leech better than anything except the real McCoy. Black fur seemed far and away the best color, but I also had success using white and chartreuse.

The lodging in this camp was very nice. There are small cabins with a table and nice beds. Dining was done in the main lodge and the food was very good. You can even take a laptop into this camp to check emails and connect to the web. When all things are considered, I'd have to say Lac La Marte is one of the very best lakes I've ever fished. And we're already planning a return trip!

Lac La Marte Adventures can be reached by contacting Dave Thompson at 810-334-9381, or Greg Dussome at 877-335-8855. Their website can be viewed at www.nwtfishing.com.

Jack Penny Outdoors