Reeling in the Biggest Fish—Insider Tips from Our Guides

big sand lake lodge fishing trophy fish

Every fisherman dreams about landing that next big catch, getting the Canadian Grand Slam, or becoming a Master Angler. But, reeling in the big one isn’t easy—visiting waters with big fish isn’t enough or every fisherman would be able to boast of the accomplishment. So, how do you do it?

We’ve talked with one of our experienced guides to help give you some quick tips. As a guide for Big Sand Lake Lodge for 16 years and a life-long fisherman, Louie Dumas shares some of his expert knowledge on how to catch the biggest of the biggest on your next Canada fishing trip.

Northern Pike

Northern Pike are fun to catch if you’re looking for a challenge. These fish put up a good fight, and some of the biggest Northern Pike in Canada can be found with the guides at Big Sand Lake Lodge.

master angler with 44in pike

This Master Angler sports a 44-inch pike catch. Caught with guide Murdock Spence. Photo courtesy of Big Sand Lake Lodge Facebook page.

Insider tips for catching Northern Pike:

  • Make your Northern Pike fishing trip in spring—it’s the best time, Dumas says, to catch Northern Pike, since it’s when they’re spawning.
  • Use the right lure. Dumas recommends a red and white #3 Mepps Lure—the vibration imitates the movement of prey, and to Northern Pike, the red color can look like a blood trail. His second choice would be a blue and white lure, which he says still appears like wounded prey.
man at big sand in canada catching fish

This Big Sand Lake Lodge visitor sports a mean pike caught on the north end of the lake. See his trophy catch and others on Big Sand Lake Lodge’s Trophy Case

Want to give a different lure a try? We also recommend a Len Thompson 5 of Diamonds or fly fishing with Dumas using topwater lures. Dumas prefers frog-shaped lures, though there are others that are designed to look like mice—he shares that some pike will even go after prey like muskrats! It speaks to just how big the Northern Pike lurking in Big Sand waters can get.

Canadian Walleye

Walleye are also a playful catch and make a classic, tasty meal. Fortunately, the lakes surrounding Big Sand Lake Lodge have plenty of them (and plenty of places to cook them over an open fire).

fisherman in canada with walleye
fisherman in canada with two walleye

Two lucky fishermen snag three big walleye. Photos courtesy of Big Sand Lake Lodge’s Facebook page. See more great catches in the Big Sand Lake Lodge Walleye Photo Gallery.

Our tips for catching Canadian Walleye:

  • Fish for walleye in the summer. Dumas says that walleye are relatively easy to catch all summer long, but you’ll want to avoid going late in fall, since sometimes the walleye will get lockjaw or won’t bite from the cold.
  • Use a jerkbait or super jerkbait. Of course, the classic walleye jig works too, but Dumas shares that walleye will go after bait based on their size—smaller walleye want smaller bait, and bigger walleye want bigger bait, so you’ll want to select bait based on what you’re looking to catch.

Since the lakes surrounding Big Sand Lake Lodge are home to some of the biggest walleye in Northern Manitoba, there’s no shortage of big, delicious fish to catch and enjoy after working with an expert guide like Dumas.

Lake Trout

Lake Trout in the area are massive—they can weigh over 50 pounds and put up quite a battle.

man at canada fishing lodge caught lake trout

This whopper comes in at 43 inches, caught with guide Kelly Baker. Image from Big Sand Lake Lodge’s Lake Trout Photo Gallery.

Dumas’ tips for reeling these giants in:

  • Use a medium heavy/heavy rod. The Lake Trout near Big Sand Lake Lodge take a lot of strength to bring in, which means you’ll need a quality fishing rod that can handle a lot of weight. Choose a heavy or medium heavy rod when fishing for these fighters.
  • Use the right bait. You can use a herring rig or one of our supplied baits for catching trout.
  • Use the right trolling method. Dumas recommended a slow troll in summer and to troll on top of the water in fall, since trout are spawning during that time and protecting their eggs, which will make them more likely to bite. With the right trolling method, Dumas says, you’ll catch them right away.
angler in canada with lake trout 46in

Angler Chris Morphew holding up this 48-inch lake trout, caught with our talented guide, Luigi. Photo from Big Sand Lake Lodge’s Facebook page.

Arctic Grayling

The arctic grayling is a tricky catch—it has impressive aerial skills and moves fast in the water. The grayling is a unique, feisty fish that has a beautiful hue, and near Big Sand Lake Lodge, Arctic Grayling can grow to over 18 inches—up to Master Angler Size.

fisherman in canada caught grand slam

Angler Dave Petterson and his trophy-sized grayling last August. Dave got his Manitoba Grand Slam on a five-day trip to Big Sand Lake Lodge. Photo courtesy of Big Sand Lake Lodge Facebook.

Insights on catching Arctic Grayling from our expert guide:

  • Use light (or ultra-light) tackle. Use tackle that’s too heavy, Dumas advises, and you’ll lose the fish. The tackle can end up coming out of its mouth, and sometimes, you’ll have to chase the fish down so it doesn’t get away.
  • Fish for Arctic Grayling in June and July. That’s when all the bugs are out, Dumas says—they’re everywhere during those months, and grayling like their bugs.
arctic grayling fish caught in canada

Fisherman John Dressel holds up his trophy arctic grayling. Photo from Big Sand Lake Lodge Facebook album.

What to Bring on Your Next Canada Fishing Trip

If you plan to visit Big Sand Lake Lodge and have your own gear and tackle you’d prefer, you can bring it, but if you don’t have some of the tackle mentioned above, don’t sweat it—Big Sand Lake Lodge has a wide array of fishing rods, line, lures, and other gear you’ll need, and our guides can be a big help. They’re ready to help you identify the right gear for catching the biggest fish (and type of fish) that you’re looking to catch. Our guides will explain what you need and provide packages with lines, rods, and lures to make sure you bring in the big fish.

president carter catches fish in canada

Our expert guides have even helped former U.S. President Jimmy Carter lure in his big catch. See former President Carter’s catch and others on Big Sand Lake Lodge’s Facebook page.

“We’re all professional,” Dumas says. “We’re all good at what we do.”

Want more tips on snagging your next trophy catch? Book a trip to Big Sand Lake Lodge to work with one of our skilled guides.