A MECCA FOR TROPHY FISH!
Ever since my brother and I were very young we were fortunate enough to be given the opportunity to join our father on a yearly trip to Nipawin, Saskatchewan. The anticipation for this trip still makes me think about it months on end prior to departure. Wondering where the hot bites will take place and what kind of monster fish would join us for a few pictures.
Not sure how dad was able to pull strings getting us to miss school for a week every October, but sure glad he was able to for so many years. The memories made over my 20 plus years of fishing this world class fishery
are memories that will never be forgotten.
One of my favourite moments came when dad caught a walleye that weighed almost 16 pounds.
It was a very cold miserable day with very little action, until the sun started sneaking behind the trees on the banks of the river. Suddenly, dad had a very hard bite on his Lindy Rig. Quickly feeding out line, he waited briefly before setting the hook.
The battle was on! It lasted into the dark and seemed like it was never going to end! As my younger brother held on to the back of my pants with one hand and a flashlight in the other, I stretched out over the side of the boat and netted this legend of a fish.
The excitement was far from over once we got back to the hotel room Dad spent hours on the phone telling family and friends about giant fish he had landed with his young sons. From that moment forward we couldn’t wait to get up to Nipawin every year. It’s all we talked and dreamed about it seemed day and night. This was well over 20 years ago and I remember it like yesterday often. When we get together, we laugh and talk about Dana holding on to the top of my pants as the fish was landed. Pretty hard to forget a memory such as that. To this day we have had many friends and family join us on this trip, which they all have made it yearly as well.
FAMOUS TOBIN LAKE
Tobin Lake is very famous for its walleye but also carries a variety of fish such as lake sturgeon, sauger, pike, perch and goldeye. We primarily target the walleye while we are here in search of catching a record fish. As water temperatures cool down big schools of Cisco’s and perch file themselves from the lake into the river section below the town of Nipawin. Sometimes your screen will be so full of baitfish you can drift or troll through thousands at a time.
GIANT PIKE ARE IN THE AREA CODE!
Often just below these piles of feed are the giant walleye that will make your heart pump and knees shake when they decide to bite your lures. We progressively work down the river. The first drift below the below the main bridge going into town, The Cabin, White Rock, Eagles Nest, the Mouth. The importance of finding the baitfish will lead to big walleye. Don’t stay stuck in an area unless you know there is bait. Traditional Lindy rigs with long leads 8-10 ft with a # 6 or #8 Gamakatsu hook have caught many a Tobin Lake bruiser.
If the current is slow you can get away with a ¼ ounce sinker. In windy conditions you might have to bump up anywhere from 5/16 to ¾ ounce. Make sure you are drifting very slow, like .4 to.6 miles an hour. Bottom contact is crucial.
Crankbaits, such as the Bagley Rumble B size 11 model is very hard to beat. It runs smooth and always stays in tune. Others like the Bagley Balsa stick, Rapala Deep Husky Jerks, Rapala Deep Tail Dancers and Deep Reef Runners are all great options. It’s very important to have a wide variety of colour
On clear bright days/full moon nights I always run bright lures. Dull days/new or in between moon nights I stick to dull, more natural colours. Other options that work are jigs with 3 TO 5 inch plastics, Jigging Rapalas and Pk Lure spoons. The up and down jigging action of these can be very hard to beat in cold conditions. When you have more than one angler in the boat you can drift with a variety of lures all at once and break down what they want quicker. Crankbaits should be trolled slowly 1.2 to 2.0 mph into the current.
Sauger can be targeted with these exact same set ups. They especially love the current of the dam and the fattest ones I have ever caught have came from there over the years.
Pike are primarily caught this time of year on the area of the lake called the flats. Some anglers fish with cigar style floats with big smelt , herring and other big baits suspended a few feet off the bottom. Other options include trolling crankbaits like the Bagley Ukko 20, Bagley Shad , Rapala Super Shad. Big spoons and plastics are great options as well. The main lake area can be spooky from big logs and trees submerged under the water. You have to be extremely careful heading into these areas.
GREAT GUIDES AVAILABLE
Ray Lamy at Twin Marine and his very knowledgeable guides. They spend months on end fishing through out
the entire water system. Ray offers full guide services and boat rentals at the launch at Twin Marine. This is a great option for people travelling long distances who need a guide or a boat rental.
Paul from the Nipawin Motor Inn has treated us with exceptional accommodations over the years. Kitchenettes with very large rooms with barbecues outside. Allowing you to have 3-4 people in a room saves a lot of cash on your trip. My favourite part about his setup you can back directly up to your door with your boat to work on things and load and unload with ease.