I've been hearing about the wonderful fishing opportunities that Saskatchewan has to offer and Rusty Lake in Meadow Lake Provincial Park didn't fail to impress.
I rolled into Matheson Lake Campground late in the evening on Tuesday May 22, quickly set up camp in the dark and went to sleep thinking of the upcoming days fishing. I find pike to be most active during the morning so I was up at 6am and in my car for the short 10min drive to Rusty Lake. As always, I start pike fishing with the Yellow Bunny Leech as it has been my most consistent pike fly. In the first hour I caught 6 or 7 small 18" pike and decided to pack up and go to one of the bigger lakes in the area known for bigger pike.
Waterhen Lake is considerably bigger and one of the biggest lakes in the park. After a short time fishing I was quickly intimidated in my small float tube. If a big wind came up (and they quite often do in Saskatchewan) I could end up in a fair bit of trouble and find myself on the opposite side of a very large lake. At this point I decided to go back to Rusty for another hour or two before heading back to camp to take a nap and rest before evening fishing.
Fishing started up again at 5pm and continued the high catch rates of small to medium sized pike throughout the evening. By the time the day was done I caught over 40 pike with the smallest at 10 inch and the largest 22 inches. Determined to get something larger I went to bed early for another 6am wake up call.
The morning of May 23 started much like the previous morning but my desire to hook into a larger fish convinced me to kick to the opposite side of the lake that had what appeared to be a small bay. The 30 minute kick across the lake did not disappoint as I was greeted to shallow slightly weedy waters with a decent drop-off 100 meters off shore. The action started up almost immediately as I pulled in 18 to 20 inchers on our Double Bunny Olive and Black. As the it started to slow down I decided to switch to the ol' faithful Yellow Bunny Leech and that's when I hooked into a big fish.
Immediately I knew this fish was much bigger than any of the others I caught as it took line right from the initial hit and every time I took some back it would run off again. I had it close enough to the float tube on 3 occasions that I could see the end of the line out of the water but each time it took off again. Finally on the forth time I got it just out of reach of landing it, the fish spit out the hook and was lost to the depths. It was a fun lengthy battle but I lost the big pike I came out here for.
Later I did catch a decent 24" pike however and will return for some more action at Meadow Lake Provincial Park, Saskatchewan soon enough.