Here’s my idea of a great day at Big Sand Lake Lodge. I’m awakened at 6:30 am by my guide who brings a cup of fresh coffee to me at my cabin. After a hot shower, I head to the main lodge to enjoy a hearty breakfast—eggs the way I like them with some crisp bacon and a short stack of pancakes on the side. I’m on the dock by 8 am ready to head out for a full day of fishing.
We first decide to try for lake trout and by 11:30 we’ve landed, photographed and released a dozen big boys. Last year seven of the largest lakers caught in Manitoba came out of Big Sand including the three biggest, each measuring at 47 inches. Now it’s time to fish for shore lunch so my guide heads to one of his favorite walleye holes. An hour of fishing and I’ve lost count of how many we’ve caught, keeping only enough for shore lunch. Between noon and one pm we beach our boat on an island for shore lunch. The guides have coordinated a meeting place with two of my buddies in another boat. One guide fillets the fish while another builds a fire. Fish in the skillet, beans and potatoes on the fire and soon we’re enjoying a delicious meal. Then it’s time for a little relaxation, a chance to stretch our legs, even a chance to do a little more fishing from shore. Then it’s back on the lake for an afternoon that begins with searching out beautiful Arctic Grayling and finishing the afternoon off by casting for big pike in several of the many bays. Fishing for and catching big Northerns always gets my heart pounding. My guide can often spot the big ones lying in wait at the edge of a weed bed. I throw out a spoon and in a split second, the Northern has hit it, making the water boil and the line screams off my reel. If I have my drag set correctly and play him just right, he’ll eventually come to the boat where the guide can land him with a cradle and then release safely back into the lake. Tomorrow I’m going to try these monsters with my fly rod.
It’s a pleasant boat ride back to the lodge where a cocktail is waiting along with tonight’s sumptuous dinner. Tonight it’s steak, baked potato and a salad. Now’s it’s time to enjoy a good cigar and after dinner drink and trade stories with fellow fishermen about the day’s adventures. No need for anyone to exaggerate. Trophy fish are an every day reality at Big Sand Lake. Perhaps I’ve told my guide I’d like to fish another couple of hours as the lake lies flat and inviting in the evening light. Or perhaps I grab my camera and go hiking along one of the eskers, those glacial ridges that dot the landscape in between lakes that make for easy hiking. I might spot a bear, a moose or even a she-wolf and her pups. Just breathing the air and observing God’s great creation is more than enough to put me more in touch with nature and myself. It’s called contentment. Even though there’s plenty of daylight remaining, I realize that it is nearly 11 pm. Time to head for my cozy bed and a great night’s sleep dreaming about tomorrow’s catch.
If you have never had this Northern Manitoba experience or if you just haven’t done it lately, time to start thinking about giving your mind, body and soul a chance to relax and create some great memories with friends or family. There’s still a couple of spots open for this season and it is certainly not too early to plan for next year. The next best thing to a great fishing trip is anticipating and planning your next great fishing trip. Give us a call at Great Sand Lake Lodge at 1-800-348-5824. Rick or Lynda will answer all your questions and handle all the details.
By Gary Cole