- THEY SAID ITEdited by Robert W. Creamer | December 20, 1982
- 2011 REGULAR SEASON scheduleWEEK 1August 04, 2011
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Krug Creek drains a chain of lakes said to be as choked with northerns as Reed Lake. So far no one knows for sure. For the last quarter of a mile to Reed, it hurries through a gorge too small for it, finally settling in a shady backwater full of pike. For another hundred yards or so, the creek follows a confined course over deadfalls and sunken boulders. Then abruptly it opens into a vast, shallow bay.
When the light is right, as in early morning, the bay offers an amazing sight. Scattered around every patch of vegetation are dark, panatela-shaped shadows, some as long as fence posts. Cast a brass spoon to one of them and it comes to life-a northern pike.
Cory eased the canoe close to a patch of pond weeds, and I dropped a spoon with a red-glass eye into the middle of the patch. Northerns are nothing new to me, but I flinched when five of the brutes converged on the spoon in full view. One made the grade and began a slow circle around the canoe, followed by a competitor. I applied pressure and pumped him in closer. Then his predicament dawned, I suppose, or he saw me for the first time and lurched upward. He floundered on the surface the whole length of the canoe before going down to mow a patch of weeds with my line and leader. He wasn't too difficult after that, being overburdened with trailing weeds. He weighed 19 pounds on a pocket scale.
That was only the beginning. At noon the big pike were still attacking any kind of hardware we threw at them. The best fish caught was a 23 pounder but he was far from the best fish in the bay.
It was the same story where the Grassy River enters Reed Lake, the spot where Kilvert first found out about the northerns. Again we tried not to catch fish, picking out only the best prospects. In no time the ante was upped another half pound to 23�.
I was skipping a brass spoon across the surface to keep it away from a pair of upstart pike following close behind, when suddenly, from almost under the canoe, another pike lunged at the spoon and missed. When I stopped retrieving in surprise, he lunged again, caught the sinking spoon and rushed away. That first run, with the reel handles out of control, was hard on knuckles already bruised and bloody. A hundred feet away, the pike surfaced and began a terrible thrashing.
He came in willingly then; many of them do. It's an old northern tactic to play possum and suddenly make a break for it. This was no exception. The second run was a dandy and it didn't end, really, until he'd made a couple of circles around the canoe and the entire bay as well. The finale was a head-shaking tattoo on the canvas that left Kilvert, who grabbed the fish across the gill covers, soaking wet. While removing the hook with a pair of pliers, I noticed that only a single strand of my braided metal leader remained unbroken.
The pike was handled easily on a fairly stiff casting rod, with a reel full of 20-pound test line. Like any pike in the province, it could probably have been whipped with a spinning outfit and light monofilament line. But why make it so hard?
Once, lakes like Reed were virtually inaccessible. But now the whole region is opened and getting in there is reasonably simple and inexpensive. A float-plane charter, for instance, runs about 60� a mile, or $60 to fly to a lake 100 miles in the bush. Divided by two or three fishermen, that isn't bad.
To spare fishermen the details of planning a fishing trip, a few Manitoba outfitters offer package deals. For $275 to $400 they'll fly you into a remote, even a virgin lake for a week's adventure. That price includes the plane charter, guide, license, canoe, meals, everything. No extras are involved. Of course an experienced woodsman can cut corners and plan the charter on his own, but the country is primitive and that could be tricky business.