Lake trout, northern pike, grayling, whitefish
Great Slave Lake, in the Northwest Territories, has a reputation for giant lake trout, and prices for outfitted trips to match. For fish of a similar caliber at more reasonable rates, fly to northern Saskatchewan’s Lake Athabasca, where you can catch giant lakers and northern pike for a week. Go in July for lakers in the 30-pound class and pike that consistently top 20 pounds. Bonus opportunities include walleyes, arctic grayling and whitefish, but Lake Athabasca’s big sulphur-and-caramel-colored lake trout are its finest trophies.
Casting spinners and spoons accounts for most big fish; trolling is also productive. Topwaters, spinnerbaits and crankbaits take the best pike, says lodge owner Cordell Sihlis of Lakers Unlimited (780-662-3513). The lodge’s lake trout record stands at a massive 55 pounds; the biggest pike taken from the lake weighed 31 pounds.
Expect to pay between $2,200 and $2,400 (U.S.) for a week-long trip, which includes air transportation from and to Edmonton, Alberta.