Thursday, June 23, 2022

Top Pike Flies for Cree Lake-Northern Magic

Everyone will have their favourites but a fly that was new to me called Chip's Northern Magic was my go to fly at Cree Lake. Easy to tie with just two materials although I did add some NMF Titan Dubbing called UV Black Mirror and eyes to some of the flies.

It was easy to cast and the pike were all over it for some reason.

I like articulated flies or flies with wiggle tails as well. Great action in the water!

Take a look at this Orvis article on top 10 pike flies. There are so many excellent flies for pike. This is an excellent starting spot!

NMF Titan Dubbing - UV Black Mirror

NMF Titan Dubbing called UV Black Mirror and eyes (optional)


Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Cree Lake Images From Steve Luethi

Josh Nugent and Steve Luethi were our hosts for the Cree Lake adventure. Both guys carry top end camera gear. Steve has the housing for "over/under" shots with his Sony camera. Steve shared several images with me. I particularly love the underwater shots of the monster pike. Tanks Steve for the great images.

This is Tom, Steve's dad!

Tom's First Arctic Grayling

Andrew with a big pike.

Steve and Josh With Some Amazing Specimens

One of the shore lunch spots. This bear ensured there were no left overs. The area was spotless!

Cree Lake Lodge as we left for Fort McMurray


Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Navigating and Messaging with an InReach

Our kids gave Karen and I a gift card to help cover the cost of an InReach. An InReach is a navigation tool made by Garmin. The neat feature of an InReach is your ability to text or get help practically anywhere. This was a new experience for us. Out in Northern Saskatchewan at Cree Lake near the Northwest Territories, I was able to text my wife back home or communicate with anyone on my contact list on my phone. I can also signal for help if an emergency occurs. There are several companies that have designed this technology. You do have to pay a monthly fee for this service but to know exactly where you are and have the ability to communicate at any time is very important. Our kids realize that we spend lots of time in the backcountry. You can also lay a track down to follow. There is no question that this technology is an added navigation and safety tool. 

Oh yes, you can put your InReach to sleep when you are not using it! That saves money.


Cree Lake Adventure Part 2

We used articulated flies a lot while fly fishing for lake trout! The lakers responded to white and chartreuse and occasionally brown flies. I liked to add a wiggle tail. Wiggle tails add extra movement but are tougher to cast any distance. We casted and retrieved although trolling is the best strategy for lake trout. Lakers often follow a fly a long time before striking. Wiggle tails and the way they disturb the water really irritates pike. There were times that small 4 or 5 inch streamers worked great for the massive pike.

Everybody comes and goes by float plane. We were picked up at Fort McMurray and landed on the water right out front of the lodge. We were more than satisfied with our rustic digs for the 7 days. Self guided trips can be very successful as long as you are confident driving a boat, using a GPS and you ensure your boat partner is spotting reefs and shallow areas.

This is our outpost camp. Rustic but comfortable.We had access to hot showers and washrooms.

Our meals were excellent. We Prepared a meal plan and precooked some of our meals.

Tom, my boat mate motoring down Cree Lake.


Cree Lake Adventure Part One

Steve Luethi and I along with a few other guys just got back from fly fishing 7 days at Cree Lake Lodge in Northern Saskatchewan. Our adventure began with a drive to Fort McMurray to catch a float plane into the lodge. Once we got the proper weight requirements for our flight sorted out, we flew approximately 90 minutes to the "Land of the Little Sticks", aka black spruce and sand of Cree Lake. Our quarry for the week would be monster pike, lake trout and arctic grayling. To add to the challenge, we were not using guides. It was a do it yourself trip in an outpost camp. We had our own food and the lodge supplied the boat, a map of the area and gas on a daily basis.

We had only one day when we were shore bound by big wind. We spent 7 days out on the water. We saw a lot of eskers, sandy shorelines, black spruce and big fish! Our trip included some challenges but we worked our way through them and enjoyed what the lake had to offer.

Cree Lake is massive. There are three fishing lodges on the lake. Cree Lake Lodge is a great set up. A fully guided trip there is not cheap but the quality of the fishery makes it so worth it. 

Our day usually involved motoring to a variety of different locations on the lake to fly fish. We had good intel and our trip was hosted by Out FlyFishing's owner, Josh Nugent! Josh was able to take us to certain places to fly fish that in the past were reliable places to look for pike and lakers.

We even drove the boats carefully down the Cree River to fly fish for arctic grayling! The pike in the lake are gigantic, some topping over 50 inches. The lake trout in the lake include some over 50 pounds.

We were able to navigate the massive lake using our GPS and In Reach system. The fly fishing was simply ourstanding. A Do It Yourself trip does have challenges and the price point is excellent although you have to be prepared for anything.

Check back, I'll post more pictures from our trip in the coming days!

45 Inch Northern Pike

Average lake trout!

Clearwater River

Steve landed a big pike just after Andrew netted a biggie!

We saw bears pretty much every day!


Saturday, June 11, 2022

Run Off is Late That Means Some Bonus Days on the Rivers

Run off is right around the corner but today rivers in Central Alberta are still quite fishable. I am amazed. I have been rigging up and walking out my front door and fishing on the Red Deer River right around my home. The fly fishing has been excellent. The Red Deer River flow has increased to around 30 cm3/sec in town. That is still quite fishable. The water is a bit off colour.. I expect the river flow to increase dramatically in the coming days.

Always use caution on the river. I have gotten myself into some pickles by not respecting the strength of the river. Always exercise caution!

Our Eastern slopes rivers open on June 15th. Take the time to check river flows with Alberta Basins. Below I have posted some river flows. Remember they can change at any time. When the spillway opens up at the Dickson Dam, the Red Deer River can be in run off in the matter of hours.

Safety first but until run off really gets going, enjoy our rivers! Practice Catch and Release. I have encountered poaching here in the city limits every day. That makes me sad. Nobody is above the law.