Walleye warriors the world over are always seeking the next hot bite. Who among us doesn't indulge visions of untapped schools of shore-lunch fryers or colossal trophies topping 10 pounds? No matter what your dreams of walleye paradise look like, chances are Saskatchewan hosts some of the greatest walleye spots in the world.
The province offers nearly 100,000 lakes plus countless river miles at your disposal. Options range from fertile prairie impoundments in the south to remote wilderness jewels farther north. And if you're still not convinced this is serious walleye territory, consider that in 2005, as part of the Saskatchewan centennial, the government held a "Provincial Fish Emblem" contest. Ten thousand voters cast their ballots, and the beloved walleye won by a landslide.
The only problem with having so much water to choose from when planning a trip is it's easy to get overwhelmed. To help speed your search, we sifted through the options to assemble the following selection of 10 surefire fisheries — with more than a little help from our friends at Tourism Saskatchewan. These fine lakes and rivers were chosen to showcase the variety of fisheries available to Saskatchewan walleye fans, and offer a great starting point in your search for the trip of a lifetime.
A short cast west of Flin Flon and the Manitoba border, this drive-to gem offers fine fishing all season. As you might expect, shallow bays heat up early, while summer sees many fish shift into deeper haunts along drop-offs and mainlake reefs. Staying on the fish can mean changing locations, but it's worth the effort, as walleyes of trophy proportions plus abundant smaller fish are available.
Few destinations anywhere hold a candle to the Churchill system for mind-numbing numbers of walleyes. Pretty much the entire section within Saskatchewan offers consistent fishing. The river can be accessed by road in points, or you can fly in to outfitters such as Twin Falls Lodge. Located between Robertson and Twin Falls waterfalls just 50 air miles north of La Ronge, it offers countless classic areas to jig up feisty river 'eyes by the score.
Fifty miles west of Flin Flon in eastern Saskatchewan, this drive-to hotspot is classic Canadian Shield. Islands, reefs, bays, and other structural sweet spots offer endless possibilities for tackling the lake's abundant walleye population. Fish running 1½ to 4 pounds abound, and bulging 'eyes are possible on any given cast. As in many northern fisheries, jigging leadheads tipped with minnows or softbait is a staple. But don't overlook other options, from crankbaits to spinner rigs.
Lac La Ronge
Lying about 150 road miles north of Prince Albert, roughly in the center of the province, this drive-to paradise ranks as Saskatchewan's fifth-largest lake. Rich in reefs, islands, and fish-holding rocky shorelines, it's the perfect place for jigging up epic catches. You'll find amenities in the town of La Ronge, as well as at drive-to, fly-in, and boat-in lodges around the lake. Lac La Ronge Provincial Park also offers camping and limited services. Hotspots abound, but Pickerel Bay — dubbed the 'œaquarium of walleye' — is hard to beat.
Perhaps best known for its world-record rainbow trout — including the 48-pound all-tackle and 43-pound, 10-ounce, 6-pound-test line class records — Diefenbaker's fabled depths also hold a world-class walleye fishery. The largest lake in southern Saskatchewan, this mighty and relatively young impoundment of the South Saskatchewan and Qu'Appelle rivers offers nearly 200,000 acres of walleye paradise, with roughly 500 miles of shoreline. It routinely produces trophies topping 10 pounds, plus oodles of eaters. June into July is a top time to fish the lake, which hosts three major tournaments throughout the season. The Lake Diefenbaker Walleye Classic runs the last weekend in May; the Riverhurst Walleye Classic is Father's Day weekend; and the Saskatchewan Landing International is held in July.
Last Mountain Lake
In-Fisherman Editor in Chief Doug Stange calls this remarkable drive-to lake 'œone of the best trophy walleye waters' he's fished in recent years. In fact, just 40 minutes north of Regina, it's an easily accessible destination. Abundant forage such as whitefish, ciscoes, perch, and other baitfish fuel phenomenal growth rates. Carved into the surrounding prairie, it offers fine fishing in surprisingly shallow water into early summer. One of Stange's top tactics here (and elsewhere) is casting a 5-inch Berkley Hollow Belly rigged on a ½-ounce Owner Saltwater Bullet jighead.
Tucked in the northwest Saskatchewan wilderness, Lloyd offers fantastic walleye fishing. Booking a fly-in trip with Lloyd Lake Lodge assures a front-row seat for the action. Fish from 2 to 5 pounds are commonplace, with an above-average shot at a trophy. Plan for relatively shallow action in June. The fish slide into deeper holes in July and August, while September is a sleeper for giant walleyes. Interestingly, brothers Derrick and Desi Uniat purchased the lodge in 2011. They've fished the lake for more than 25 years — ever since their grandfather decided that at age 5, they were old enough to experience a remote fishing adventure to the lake. One trip and the boys were hooked for life.
Plenty of arms, sheltered bays, and islands offer ample protection from the wind on this sprawling, remote walleye wonder. Located 30 miles north of Cree Lake in the province's northern wilderness — 400 miles due north of Saskatoon — it's strictly a fly-in proposition. With modern accommodations, Pipestone Lake Lodge serves as base camp for self-guided adventures.
A rising star on the southern walleye scene, this 35-mile-long Souris River impoundment near Estevan lies about 20 miles north of the U.S. border. Monster fish are rare, but you can wear out your arm on 18- to 20-inch fish. Local guide Meryl Wanner, aka 'œThe Rafferty Outfitter,' says 50- to 60-fish days are possible 'œwithout trying too hard.' A variety of tactics take fish, but Wanner favors a jig tipped with a full crawler.
Situated between the Francois Finlay and E.B. Campbell Dams on the Saskatchewan River, this storied reservoir has a rich history of kicking out monster walleyes, including its share of provincial records. In fact, the Saskatchewan walleye record has been broken four times consecutively on Tobin Lake. And in January 2005, it yielded an 18-pound, 4-ounce giant for Father Mariusz Zajac that holds the National Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame's world ice-fishing record. Measuring 36½ inches in length, that marble-eyed beauty is proof positive of Tobin's trophy-producing powers.