January 14, 2015
By Rob Neumann
In-Fisherman editors have for more than 30 years sampled the finest fly-in fishing in Canada. Our main focus usually is giant pike and lake trout that some of these waters sustain. Last spring we discovered one of the finest destinations remaining. Cree Lake, Saskatchewan, has a storied past, having been a fly-in lake of note since the 1960s. But it's so big and so remote that it's never been heavily fished.
On our arrival for our early June adventure, ice still covered much of the lake. Pike were just postspawn in shallow bays well off the main lake. A variety of presentations are effective at this time to catch pike commonly in the mid-40-inch range, although 50-plus-inchers are a possibility any season. Soft plastic swimmers and fluke-style baits, spoons, jerkbaits, and paddletail swimbaits on leadhead jigs work well. Fly anglers enjoy fantastic sight-fishing in shallow water early season. Later in the season, look for the biggest pike along deep weededges adjacent to the main basin.
This too is world-class lake trout water, with expanses of deep habitat abutting the shallow flats and backwaters where pike reside. During early season lake trout hold shallow enough to often be caught while fishing for pike. Casting for them is a compelling option. But many bigger fish are caught with a targeted trolling approach along mainlake reefs and breaklines, using large spoons and crankbaits running a range of depths.
Cree Lake Lodge is a fish camp, first and foremost. But there's no roughing it here. Anglers arrive to find comfortable cabins with priceless views. A cozy lodge atmosphere beckons any time you're in camp. Happy hour offers the opportunity to kick back and tell a story or two. Soon enough it's time for an exquisite meal. Of course anglers can also take a break mid-day for a spectacular shorelunch. It's the freshest fish possible in a setting that settles the soul. But it's the fishing—ah, yes, it's the fishing.
Contact: Cree Lake Lodge, creelakelodge.com, 306/344-4862.
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