Fish Tales: 'My biggest Pike ...yet'
"Chasing Northern Pike has been a passion of mine since 1982. A good friend from Canada got me interested in Pike on a trip to Ontario in ’82 and I have been hooked ever since. My passion is not limited to Esox lucius … I love chasing Esox masquinongy as well. I figured for sure I would chalk-up a 50-inch Musky before I got a 50-inch Northern. Guess again.
By a fluke of luck, we fished with Ragnar Wesstrom, at Trout Rock Lodge on Great Slave Lake, in the summer of 2009 after another camp failed to open. Ragnar kept his camp open for three of us who had the problem with the failed camp. And it turned out to be our new “gold standard” for Pike fishing. I have fished a lot of Pike locations …and right now, Trout Rock is at the top of my list.
That first year, my buddy and I caught 775 pike over 9.5 days with 91 fish of 40 inches or better. We were amazed, and have been coming back ever since. There are tons of protected islands, lots of excellent early bays as well as later fishing when weed beds develop. Ragnar runs large custom John boats that are super Pike-fishing platforms, stable and comfortable. And due to the protection afforded by the islands, you can easily travel from spot to spot making good time and not getting beat up doing so.
In late May of 2013 my fishing partner and I went in early for four days of fishing before two other friends arrived for the official start of Ragnar’s season. During those four days we caught 388 fish with 52 fish at 40 inches or better. The “better” included multiple fish in the 47- to 48-inch range. My buddy got his first 50-inch Northern on a small Reaction Strike Fathead Minnow. Plus we saw two other fish in different areas of the waters we fished that made his 50-inch fish look small. In particular, I had a fish up on a “figure 8” at the boat that was not only very long but had the heaviest shoulders I have ever seen on a Pike. It turned itself inside out chasing my large Reaction Strike Fathead Minnow, but wouldn’t eat it! That particular spot was not to be forgotten.
Three days later after the other two in our group arrived, we were back in the same spot and, yes, I had on a large Fathead Minnow. Wham – big hit on a “figure 8” at the boat. I knew I had a good fish but wasn’t sure how long it was. I sorta figured it was a 48-inch-class fish. Our rookie guide cradled the fish, got it in the boat, put the tape on it, and muttered,“ No way!” I had just landed a 51-inch Northern! My musky fishing helped attract the strike. We ”figure 8” Notherns the same way we do Muskies, every cast, without fail, and it paid off! It only took me 31 years, but I got my 50-plus-inch Pike.
That week our group went on to catch 590 fish with a whopping 165 fish of 40 inches or better! And that was with a very cold/ slow day on our last day. It was a week that we have talked about repeatedly since.
The fishing at Trout Rock is great, and Ragnar’s organization, top notch accommodations and equipment, coupled with a super guide staff lead by Jeff Traversy, make it a Pike destination like no other. I will be back up again this year for the season opener – and I will be chasing a 52-incher!"
– Pete Siggelko