Friday, June 20, 2008

The Arctic Circle Trip. Great Slave Lake. June 2008.

I really hope you are viewing this on a high speed connection because as usual I have a ton of pictures.

I don't have everything in yet as far as photos and videos. Plus I have something special in store for everyone in the form of a feature length video but that's going to take some serious time. We're figuring probably about 30 man-hours to complete it. So you now have something to look forward to.

This report will be revised a couple times as additional info comes in, so please bookmark it and check back often. You'll see new pictures, videos, specs and numbers.

Ok...so on with the Group 1 show!
The players were Jamie Riani & Bill Kallenberg, Dick Kessler Jr & Dick Kessler Sr., and Bob Brenton & John Mich


Great Slave still had a fair amount of ice on it even after we left. Upon our arrival the main ice pack was within 1 mile of us. Due to a steady southeast wind the ice was out of sight in a couple days.



The back bay water temps were generally in the high 40's with the occasional 51 showing up here and there. The main lake water was substantially colder which made ANY area that had warmer incoming bay water an instant goldmine. Some areas had pike,walleyes and inconnu (shee fish) so condensed that you could fish in a 200 yard area all week and do just fine.

Technically we were a couple days early. The first day or two were still the best fishing on the continent, but as the week went on the fishing got better and better. The tell tale sign that we were indeed a little early was the easy with which we found, targeted and caught a couple dozen inconnu. By week's end they had all but disappeared from the shallows.

The spring hot spots (which John can further explain if you want more detail...just leave a comment and he'll read it) were Snuff Channel, Becks' Camp, The Back Bay, Tower Island Inflow, Beck's Channel, Horseshoe Bay and the mouth of the Thubin River.
The Inconnu hot spots were Beck's Camp and Tower Island Inflow.


The walleye hot spots were Beck's Camp and Snuff Channel ( Snuff Channel is about 20 yards wide and 6 feet deep of tea colored water. If you took a sideways slice of Snuff you'd see a layer of dirt/rock, a solid layer of walleyes, a thin layer of pike, and a layer of water over that. I'll put it to you this way: We caught 120 walleyes in 2 hours. Most of the guys swear by a Beetle Spin there. Jamie swears by a Salmo Roach diving crankbait. It was not uncommon to reel in a 24" average size walleye on every cast or two. BUT...regarding baits for walleyes in June, we caught them on bucktails and larger pike plastics just as easily sometimes. So basically you can try anything. They aren't too picky. )


The pike hotspots were...well...anywhere we fished that had water. But seriously, all of the spots mentioned so far. The Back Bay is probably the best option if conditions are right. But Beck's and Thubin and Snuff each had their days were no other water in North America was going to compare.


The lures used: I'm going to change this and update it later with specifics. But for now let's just start with these: Savage Gear 4-Play, Savage gear Alien Eels ( FAR BETTER than a Bulldawg FYI), Dunwright Lifelike Pike 8", Savage Gear Rattle Shad, Bucktails, Bucktails and more Bucktails (save the silver blades please. Whites, yellows, reds, pinks and oranges worked better 10:1) and Doctor Spoons. Again..I'm going to update this so check back.

Koi sushi,anyone? (Savage Gear 4-Pal in Koi pattern)

This 43"er "found" Nemo.

Custom Modified Nemo Slider by Customfish.


As per usual I'm going to start with some scenery and other "interesting" shots.


And now some from the players themselves. The first slideshow is from John and Bob's boat.


Next up is a double slideshow. The first is of Jamie and second of Bill.
Why 2??? Because when you go fishing with Jamie (who co-owns www.customfish.com) you're gonna get internet-famous. There were over 200 pictures and videos taken in that boat with the promise to Bill " I'll make ya famous!". So instead of killing your computer with one massive slideshow I'm gonna split it up into 2.
Here's Jamie:


And here's the star of the trip, Bill!


Numbers! It's all about the numbers baby!
We have the totals for boat #1 and boat #2.
Boat #1 (Kallenberg & Riani) had a total of 594 fish.
Jamie with 302 and Bill with 292.
34 trophies (Pike 41"+). 17 for Bill and 17 for Jamie.
Our largest Inconnu was caught by Bill: 41" / 18lbs.
Most walleyes were in the 22-28" range.
The trophy pike numbers for Boat #1 were:
41,43.5,42,41,41,42.5,46,
43.5,41,41,41,45,41,41,46,43,45,45,43,41,41,41,
41,41,41,41,42.5,43,45,42.5,42.5,45.
Yeah I know. It's just sick. And that's just two guys' numbers.

Boat #2 (Mich & Brenton)Had even better numbers. They caught 143 walleyes, 648 pike and 4 inconnu. They had 33 pike over 41" (trophies).

Here's some of my personal trophy numbers that I kept track of on the water courtesy of a golf scorer and a Sharpie Marker.


( Those numbers were only as of thursday. We still had a way to go.)

Here's some of the baits that really kicked ass. Take a close look at them and notice the teeth marks. These baits were responsible for hundreds of big pike.
The Customfish Malawi Bucktails.
Before:


After ( That's the 3RD tail on it!)


Before:


After:


Savage Gear 4-Play: Let me stress that we had every intention of bringing back these baits in pieces. We expected the paint to be taken off by the hundreds of pike that were caught on them. But as you can see, even after thousands and thousands of teeth biting into them they are in suprisingly great shape. We give the hardware and paint a 4 star rating and recommend this bait as a mainstay for this trip. The only thing we might recommend is that the hooks be changed out to a size larger due to the sheer number of fish on this particular excursion.











One of my all time favorites, The Salmo Roach: This one bait has been one of my top muskie producing baits. It took a Trip to Taltson Bay to put this bait into retirement.



The Storm Kick'n Minnow: This bait held up suprisingly well and withstood dozens of fights from pike, walleye and inconnu.



The Savage Gear Alien Eel: Keep in mind that this ONE bait caught over 20 big pike before it was broken in half! The average Bulldawg lasts 1-2 fish. This bait really took a beating and a hell of alot of punishment. You'll see it hanging from the mouths of big pike in some of the previous photos...and it's all the same bait. I brought ONE on this trip and it paid off BIG!


More updates to follow.
Thanks!
Jamie

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