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Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Little Marten Lake, Northwest Territory, Canada fishing trip August 8 through August 17, 2008

We have returned from our trip and it turned out to be spectacular and we caught more fish than I thought we would.

Most of the pictures are posted in the body of the below trip report
If you would like to see all of the pictures I took on the trip please double click on:
The Slideshow of Northwest Territory fishing trip on the right of this blog or;
click on the below link:

1st day, Friday, August 8th, 2008 Houston, Texas to Yellowknife, NWT, Canada:

The day started off going through everything to make sure that I had packed what was needed. I drove over to Henry's house and loaded his luggage and then met him and Connie at Amy and Josh's house. Susie was there getting ready for Amy's birthday party that night. I hated missing her party; we were able to celebrate on the prior Wednesday evening. We drove to the airport and Susie and Connie dropped us off. Our flight left Houston a little after 1 pm arriving in Calgary, Canada around 5 pm which included an hour time change.

Air Canada Calgary

We had a 2 hour lay over in Calgary before catching our flight to Yellowknife, NWT, Canada. We left Calgary around 7 pm and arrived in Yellowknife around 10:30 pm. It was amazing watching the sundown out of the plane window so late in the evening.

Sundown at 10:30 pm from the airplane window.

Inside Yellowknife Airport

We arrived at the Chateau Nova Hotel around 11pm.. Bill and Sam, two other members of our fishing party were in the lobby . Bill assisted us with our gear to our rooms.
The weather in Yellowknife was unusually warm and our hotel room was extremely hot. The window air conditioner would not cool the room down. We moved to a different room and finally around 2 am the room cooled down enough for us to sleep.

2nd day, Saturday, August 9, 2008 Yellowknife, NWT, Canada to Little Marten Lake, NWT, Canada:

We met the rest of the fishing party (Bill, Clay, Trevor, Chuck all from Fayettville, Arkansas and Sam /Producer and Camera man) for breakfast in the Hotel and then we were picked up by the Outfitter and driven into town to purchase our fishing license. From there, we were taken to Northwest Outdoor Adventures offices and given a briefing on what to expect on our plane ride and our stay at the Little Marten Lake Caribou Camp. We were the first fishing group taken into this camp as the camp has historically been used as a Caribou Hunting Camp.
The fishing trip was scheduled for a filming opportunity for a television show that Clay is owner/host and Sam is producing and filming. The show is going to air on the Outdoor Channel; this fishing trip is to be a scheduled episode sometime next year. Clay is going to let us know when it is airing.

Private float plane of the owner of Northwest Outdoor Adventures

After the debriefing we were taken to Air Tindi Ltd float plane dock. Our gear was off loaded from the vehicles and placed inside the plane. Once our gear was loaded it was determined that there was not enough room for the supplies (food and other items, mostly paper products, a refrigerator and some propane tanks), another plane was to follow up after we departed.

The Twin Otter that we flew from Yellowknife to Little Lake Marten

View of Yellowknife, NWT, Canada from Air Tindi Ltd.

We boarded the plane. The interior of the plane is very basic. The seats are very small and with backs that folded down on top of the seat. They had a thin layer of cushion and material on them. There were 3 seats in the first row, one to the left of the aisle and two to the right. The rest of the seats were lined up at the windows on the left and our gear was placed on the right side directly behind the two front seats on the right. It was obvious that the plane seating could be configured to accommodate different seating arrangements and gear storage. Our particular situation configured the plane so that passengers were primarily on the left window and the gear was stacked to the right. The ceiling of the plane was extremely low and you had to walk to your seat bent over. As we buckled in the engines began to roar (extremely loud), fortunately they issued us ear plugs. The plane was parked in between two others and the pilot began to move the throttle and flaps that caused the plane to shuffle/slide on its pontoons to the right and then once cleared of the other planes he placed it in gear to go forward. We taxied for a very short time and then the engines really got loud as we started our take off. The water sprayed up to the windows and you could barely see out. It was amazing how fast we were up in the air and leveled off. Once we got to the right altitude our flight speed leveled off and the noise of the engines became bearable. You could carry on a conversation without feeling like you were yelling.

Immediately outside of Yellowknife the terrain became very rugged and uninhabited

There were thousands of ponds and lakes. I would bet there is more water than land between Yellowknife and our camp site an hour flight Northeast of Yellowknife.

The flight went by rapidly in anticipation of the upcoming huge trout or pike on the end of my line. I had a nervous feeling, fear of the unknown, being in a vast wilderness with no immediate aid or transportation if needed. Having the opportunity to be involved in such a remote adventure made me both excited and anxious. I thought of home, Susie, Amy, Josh and Noah. I hoped Amy's birthday party went well. I thought of the explorers of the land below and also the unexplored or untouched places that no human has ever been, I was overwhelmed.

I heard someone say there is home: looking out of the window you could see the camp sitting on a sandy peninsula from miles away. I had my camcorder in my hand and I didn't get a picture as we flew over the camp.

We made a huge circle around camp as to say hello and banked to the left leveling off for our landing. As we were landing the clouds and color of the sky reflected in the crystal clear water. The time was about 12:00 noon and the sun was shining and I began to get more excited as we approached shore. The camp was bigger than I had thought, the land was more rugged, huge rocks all over, bushes and vegetation none taller than two or three feet. The buildings were rustic but well maintained. I had seen a picture of the camp prior to leaving home my imagination had not captured the real remoteness of where we were. From the sky I could see the canvas top huts and I noticed old boats on top of two sandy hills buried in the ground half way with the bows sticking straight up in the sky. I though that it sure was easy to spot the camp from the air and later found out that was the purpose. It helped the guides easily locate camp coming back from a days hunt and for us a day of fishing.

The front left building was the cabin for our Camp boss Frank, he was also Henry and my fishing guide. The red building was for storage, the tin building was also storage of items that needed to remain dry. The roof with the blue tarp was the dining hall and kitchen and the cabin behind it was the shower facility. The pump house was directly next to the shower cabin. The outhouse (not visible in this picture) was about half way up the hill just below the half buried boat at the top of the hill. The rest of the buildings were sleeping cabins.

There was a double outhouse on top of the hill overlooking camp, I thought that is good, no waiting in line.
The vegetation was bushy and not over 2 to 3 feet tall. The boat on top of the hill had Caribou horns mounted on the bow.

There was a tall wire fence all around camp, I wondered why? We were being greeted by 5 men and 1 woman waiting on the shore, waiving a friendly welcome as we approached.

Little Lake Marten Caribou Hunting Camp

The plane came to a stop and we departed. The 4 guides, cook and maintenance man approached us with a hand shake and introduction. They immediately started unloading the plane. We walked through camp as they unloaded the plane. It was a lot warmer here than I thought it would be, unusually warm for the Northwest Territory.
Our camp hosts off loading our gear.

Henry and I picked out a cabin, got our gear and unpacked. The cabins have wood floors and walls up about 4 feet with canvas A frame type roof. Each cabin has 3 beds made of 2 foot by 8 foot sheet of plywood sitting on 2x4 boards off the floor about 18 inches. On top of the plywood was a 4 inch layer of foam rubber serving as a mattress. The cabins were about 20 feet long and 14 feet wide with an oil burning stove vented out the front by a smoke stack.

Front of our Cabin, the barrel is for fuel oil to burn in the cabin stove.

My bunk and gear

Henry's bunk and gear

A heating oil stove to keep us warm

After we set up our cabin we immediately got out our rods and reels and started preparing to go fishing. Frank the camp boss told us that they had to wait for the supply float plane to arrive before they could take us out fishing. He said go fish off the bank around the campsite and watch out for bears, he encouraged us to stay close to the gate. Henry and I went out and cast a few times to no avail. Frank and some of the others were up on top of the hill looking for Caribou. As we continued to fish he yelled down to us and pointed out a Caribou across the water on a hill. The only thing we could see at first was the massive horns sticking up in the air above a ridge in the hill. Frank came down and asked Henry and I if we were together and would we be fishing in the same boat and we said yes. He asked if he could be our guide for the week, we replied sure and we were extremely pleased as we had a great time all week with Frank. You will get to know him later in the blog.
The water was crystal clear and the campsite dirt was extremely sandy. The beach front along the waters edge was sandy but had real fine pieces of granite/rock mixed in. The water temperature was extremely warm hovering around 60 degrees F. The water was pumped directly from the Lake for our consumption and use for showers and washing up. I reached down and took a handful of water and it tasted pure and clean. No algae or muddy taste, cool and refreshing.

We fished off the bank for about 30 minutes and Frank told Marcel the Maintenance Man of the camp to take us out in one of the boats and let us fish until the plane came in, it was due to arrive around 3:00 pm. There were 4 aluminum boats 14 feet long with small motors on them. The motors ranged for 15 horse power to 20 horse power, plenty of power to move around the boats with 3 men in them.

The aluminum boats proved to be perfect fishing boats. We traveled all over the lake with no problems.

We trolled for a few minutes, keeping campsite within view. It was so pretty there, the air was so fresh and there was a light breeze making the boat ride very pleasant. As we were trolling Marcel, pointed out a Caribou on the shore line. We reeled in our lines and he moved slowly to the shore for a better view. I thought for sure the Caribou would take off but amazingly he stood there and watched us and then laid down with no fear.

It was amazing how fast the Caribou had moved around the lake. Marcel said he was the same Caribou we had seen earlier. He said the horns had a double shovel, two antlers coming off the front of the rack just above the Caribou's head. He said this type horn is sought after as it makes a nice trophy. It was later explained to us that the Caribou start moving south in August in anticipation of the very extreme cold winters further north. Frank told us that the herds could be up to 100 Caribou and that a perfect time to Caribou hunt was the second week in September.

We continued to troll and Henry caught the first fish of the trip, a Pike. We were both excited to get the fishing started. Within a few minutes we heard the plane coming with the supplies. It is so quiet here that you could hear things long before you could see them. The plane made the same approach and landing as we did. The plane was unloaded and left within 30 minutes and we all jumped into the boats with the guides and we were off to catch a world record.

All 4 boats with 7 fishermen took off for the first fishing spot. They wanted to go to a place they called the upper falls. It took about 20 minutes for us to get to the spot to start fishing. We cast out our lines and stated to troll, Frank shifted the motor and slowed it down and I lost my balance falling over the front seat backwards. As I fell Henry caught my rod, I heard something breaking, oh no I thought it was bones, but it turned out to be one of my plastic boxes used for lures. Fortunately I landed on my butt cushioning the fall. Henry yelled, there is a fish on your line, he handed Frank the pole and helped me up. I reached and grabbed the rod and brought in our first trout. My tarnished pride and embarrassment was immediately forgotten as I reeled in my first fish. We pulled up to some rocks and along with the other boats lodged ourselves in between big boulders and began fishing for Artic Grayling in the rapids. The grayling were abundant and everyone started catching them. We were using very light tackle, 6 lb test line. Grayling are a small fish, very beautiful as they have fins that spread out and when they jump out of the water they look like flying fish. They explode when you catch them jumping in the air trying to spit out the lure. We were all in close and our lines began to cross each other. The bottom was rocky and we were constantly getting hung up. Within just a few minutes we all had lost a number of our lures. I said to Henry, wow we are 2400 miles away from home and fishing in a place that only a hand full of people have fished and we are all sitting here on top of each other. We laughed, and continued to fish. Henry was slaying the grayling, one right after another. He must have caught at least a dozen in the few minutes that we were there. I caught a couple and they were a lot of fun to catch.

Grayling were abundant in the rapids. There are two rapids on Little Lake Marten and are referred to the Upper and Lower Rapids. This is the Upper Rapids and while we caught a number of Grayling here it turned out the next morning that the Lower Rapids produced many more Grayling and they were jumping out of the water all over the place. We also learned later that most of the Pike caught were located near these rapids.

We headed back to camp after about two hours of fishing. I am not sure what time it was, I would guess around 7:30 pm. We were about 10 minutes away from camp when we smelled dinner cooking. The air is so pure and clean that any man made smell permeates the country side. It is much more important in this remoteness that while hunting you must be cognizant that the animals can smell you miles away, especially if they are down wind from you. Frank told us that smell spooks the Caribou more than site.

When we got back to camp dinner was ready for us. The food was excellent. Janet, our cook is from Yellowknife, she is a pleasant Lady and very interested in making all of us comfortable. After dinner we returned to our cabins and began to prepare for bed. At 9:45 I decided to walk to the beach and watch the sun go down. It seemed like it was 4 pm at home. The sun went down about 10:15 pm. The orange, red and yellow colors were extremely vibrant and the reflection in the water made it look like two suns. I had taken my camera with me and I began to get a few pictures. Janet came down and I got a picture of her and we visited for a few minutes and then called it a night.

Janet our cook and Native of Yellowknife, NWT, Canada

One of the boats at sun down

10:00 pm Little Marten Lake, Northwest Territory, Canada

About 10:10 pm Little Marten Lake, Northwest Territory, Canada

It never really got dark after the sun went down. You could walk all over camp without the need of a flashlight. I couldn't sleep the first night, tossing and turning and feeling like I was going to fall off the bed as my shoulders are wider than the plywood platform of the bed. I would dose off for a few minutes and wake up anxious about the days ahead. It was extremely warm that first evening and around 1am the temperature became comfortable for some sleep. But then, before the sun came up it was cold as the night temperature dropped to around 40 degrees fahrenheit and we had not lit our stove. The night noises were loud, mainly wind and little creatures the guides called sik-sik, a furry creature that looked like a cross between a chipmunk and squirrel and in the early morning hours birds, Eagles and Loons.

3rd day, Sunday, August 10, 2008 Little Lake Marten, Northwest Territory, Canada

Time to get up, around 6:00am the hustle and bustle of others in the camp was indication that it was time to rise and shine. First thing on the agenda was to look for coffee. I went into the dining cabin, Janet was frying bacon and there was a huge pot of coffee. It was very comfortable in the dining cabin with the stove and heater going. We had a choice of cereals, toast, eggs (fixed any way we wanted), fruits and coffee, milk and juice to drink. Everyone was ready to get breakfast done and out in the boats for our first full day of fishing. Frank, the camp boss and our guide came in and told us to be ready and have our fishing gear in the boat in order to leave at 9:00. We dressed in layers knowing that the boat ride would be a little cool and then as the day wore on we could shed some of the clothing.

The Lower Rapids was our destination. Frank said that we could fish for Grayling and Pike there and a possibility of Lake Trout. It took about 20 minutes to get to the Lower Rapids from our camp site. The sun was shining and it was beginning to warm up. We entered the rapids area and started trolling a few 100 yards away from the rapids. Henry and I started casting using 20 lb test line anticipating Pike was in the area. I was using a bright yellow with red diamonds and a black and green stripe down the middle lure. Within 5 minutes of starting our troll both Henry and I had fish on at the same time. It was ironic how both fish hit almost exactly the same time, as both of us was saying I got a fish. This was the first Pike I have ever caught. Casting toward the rock boulders on the shore line and retrieving the lure in a medium to slow retrieve. The fish hit the lure hard, with a raise of the rod there was no question he was hooked. In the boat to take out the hook and take pictures and then release. All of the fish caught would be released except for any that we may eat back at camp.

Henry and my first Pike of the trip. Pike are a very fast, strong and aggressive fish. They were a lof of fun to catch and thieir lure color of choice was yellow.

We trolled for Pike for a while and we caught a few more. All of the Pike were just about the same size and they were all caught in the same general area just above the rapids. We could see Grayling jumping at the beginning of the rapids. We decided to park the boats and sit on the rocks, casting directly into the jumping fish.

It wasn't an easy task getting from the boat to the shore. The rocks were covered in algae and were very slick. Once on the shore the ground was covered in vegetation, mostly moss and little berries Frank called cranberries. The moss was so thick that it felt like a thick carpet under your feet. This proved to be the case every where we walked the shore line and hills.

"Henry the Grayling Slayer", the man has the technique, lures, line, rod, reel, something that catches Grayling, one right after another. I caught a few but we lost count with of how many Henry caught just like the evening before. His catch was well over 2 dozen fish. Artic Grayling are a small fish with most averaging 12 to 15 inches long. However, Henry caught one 19 inches long and I caught one 18 and half inches long. We have been told anything over 18 inches is considered trophy class. Grayling love to hit floating top water lures, coming out of the water like flying fish when they are caught. They are also a lot of fun to catch.

Henry with his 19 inch Artic Grayling.

The Artic Grayling were all over the place. You could also see bait fish jumping just prior to the rapids. We used small lures both Panther Martins and Rooster Tails. The color that brought the most hits was yellow. We were to later find out that the color of choice seemed to be yellow by all 3 species of fish (Trout, Pike and Grayling)

Rob and his 18 and half inch Artic Grayling.

Frank, camp boss and guide proved to be an interesting man and we were very lucky to have him with us all week. His laughter was infectious, his stories were interesting and his respect for others was demonstrated all week through care for us and also demonstrated in his stories. A father of 6 sons, a native Canadian, born in and continues to live in Behcho-Ko, Northwest Territory, Canada. This is a community of about 1100 people located about an hour from Yellowknife, Canada sitting on the Great Slave Lake. It seems that the towns of Rae and Edzo, Canada became one in 2005 and renamed to Behcho-Ko.

Frank is in his early 50's and obviously had experienced a much different life than either Henry or I. He said he had been a Caribou hunting guide for over 13 years. He has competed in and won snow shoe cross country competitions. Every time Frank saw a Caribou he would scream out Caribou. On many occasions the motor would be running full blast and all of a sudden Henry and I would almost be thrown from the boat as Frank was stopping the motor and yelling Caribou at the same time. Also, on many occasions, we would be drift fishing, so peaceful and quiet and then at the top of his voice Frank would start singing. Mostly old country western songs and some songs in his native tongue that he said the Elders asked him to sing at their functions. Once he saw that going from such peaceful serenity to his loud singing startled us, he did it over and over, again and again, followed up by uncontrollable laughter. On one occasion as he was blurting out a song, I asked if he had ever considered recording any songs, he said no and I replied back to him GOOD! He laughed and started singing louder. He told us stories of his people, talking a lot of his Elders and how he learned from them. One story he told was about why bears have short tails and that many years ago animals could communicate with each other. Once a bear asked the fox how did he catch fish to eat. The fox told the bear to use his tail, stick it through the hole in the ice and a fish would grab it and the bear could pull it out and eat it. The bear stuck his tail in the hole and sat there so long that the ice froze around it and when he tried to get up his tail was pulled off. This is why bears have short tails.

After fishing for Grayling a couple of hours and losing about 12 lures in the rocks we decided to troll for Pike. We started trolling the shore line and after about 30 minutes a nice Pike hit my lure and took off. I had my drag tight and he still pulled line off before I could turn him toward the boat.

While we were trolling along the shore line, I was casting forward in front of the boat and toward the edge of the rocks along shore. I would reel slowly toward the boat allowing the lure to end up in the back of the boat about 25 yards. This particular fish hit the lure as soon as it hit the water. Most of the Pike we caught were in 8 to 10 feet of water and down about 6 to 8 feet. They were also in a lot of vegetation.

This is a nice Pike that Henry caught, we didn't get a picture of his largest of 37 and half inches.
Immediately after catching the above Pike we saw one of the other boats with Bill and Chuck fishing ahead in the middle of the lake drift fishing. They motioned for us to come over and they told us they were in deep water catching trout after trout. They had brought out their depth finder and had found the fish in about 60 feet of water and they were about 45 feet deep. We immediately went up wind and started drifting. On my first cast and release of the line down to the bottom and I started slowly cranking up and wham, I thought I had hooked a log but then it started shaking and pulling out drag. My rod bent in half and I didn't think I was going to get the fish in.

Most of the trout we caught were over 30 inches long and weighed between 12 to 18 lbs. There was no consistency in the way the trout hit or fought. One thing for sure was if you felt the hit and then there was dead weight for a second or two you knew you had a large fish. The interesting thing about thes Lake Trout we caught is that they typically started spinning/rolling once they were caught. Reeling in a fish that is rolling like a cork screw makes it more fun to catch. When they broke water they began to flip and flop and with their spinning/rolling. Numerous fish came up with the leader and line wrapped around them many times. Then when they were released, some took off but others started spinning again. One fish in paticular was spinning/rolling for over a minute after we released it and then took off for deeper water.

No sooner than we released the first trout, both Henry and I had trout on our lines at the same time.

This trip is the first time that either Henry or I have caught lake trout. When the fish first come out of the water they are green, gold, yellow and bronze spots all over them. The longer you keep them out of the water the darker they turn. They also get this nasty slime all over them making it extremely difficult to hold. You can see from these two fish that the one I caught is darker and had been out of the water about 30 seconds longer than the fish Henry caught.

This picture captures the true color of the Lake Trout, It was taken immediately after it was caught, the direct sun light reflecting the gold, green, yellow and bronze colors.

We released the two trout and started fishing again and we both caught nice fish together again. The only thing I couldnt get mine to budge. At first, when it hit, it took off and pulled drag as if it went to the bottom. As I tightened the drag and tried to pull the fish, straight to the bottom it would go. With us drifting away from the fish and me trying to get the fish to the boat the line broke and I lost it. Fortunately, we had taken along larger and heavier rods, reels and and line. Both Henry and I started fishing with the heavier equipment. By now we knew we were on the verge of a World Record and we weren't about to lose it.

No sooner than I let the line out I caught another trout and it was like reeling up dead weight. At first I thought I had a fish with maybe debris or grass coming up with it. When it broke the water, there was no debris or grass; it was a huge lake trout. I remembered Frank and Henry gasping at the size. I was at the front of the boat and drug the fish toward the back for Frank to net. All along I was saying don't lose it, don't lose it and then Frank don't lose it. We got a big laugh out of it all week as they said I must have repeated Frank don't lose it many times. Frank went under the fish with the net, the fish doubled up and folded into the net and then the handle broke off and the fish and net fell in the water. Frank don't lose it came out louder as Frank reached under the water and grabed the fish and net and pulled both into the boat.

The fish measured 42 inches long and we estimated about 30 plus pounds. Rob caught the fish and Frank got it in the boat.

It was the first full day of the fishing trip and we were overwhelmed with the amount and size of fish we had already caught.

We continued to fish for the rest of the day, pulling in one fish after another. Each drift lasted up to 30 minutes and then we would start up the motor and move up wind and start drifting and fishing again. We didn't keep count of the number of fish we caught but we thought back and a low estimate would have been around 30 trout.

We decided to call it a day and headed back to camp. On the way back both Henry and I was amazed at how the day turned out. The weather was beautiful, the day started out in low 50's and didnt get higher than mid 70's. The location, while rugged was pristine and untouched. We both were in such appreciation that we had an opportunity to do this. Then to top it all off we caught at least 30 Grayling, 8 Pike and 30 Trout all in our first full day of fishing. What was the week to bring?
The weather started to change Sunday evening. The skies in the distance were black and the wind picked up considerably. The temperature started to drop and a few rain drops started to fall. It came a down pour during the evening and the Thunder and Lightening was intense. I don't think I have ever heard Thunder so lound. The canvas roof popped and fluttered all night long, I just kept hoping that it would keep us dry. Fortunately, we stayed dry all night.
4th day, Monday, August 11, 2008, Little Lake Marten, Nortwest Territory, Canada

I awoke thinking of what day it was and my thoughts turned immediately to my Mother as it was her birthday, I had wished Mom an early happy birthday on Friday the day we left.

This is the first time I have ever been in a location that is so remote. I couldn't communicate with the family and I really didn't like that aspect. Time goes by slower, all of us were adjusting to the quietness of our surroundings and the laid back pace that we were experiencing. This place is different, the environment and the people are different. A feeling of peace and serenity and a feeling of being so small in a world so big. I kind of liked it, how could I get the one's I love here? That would be the best of both worlds.

6 am and our Arkansas alarm clock went off again. 4 of the 6 mornings we were awakened by the Arkansas alarm clock. (Henry and my inside joke).
The weather had cleared up but it was about 15 degrees cooler than the previous mornings. As one of our fishing party said, we have experienced all 4 seasons in 24 hours.
The day started off with coffee and breakfast and then to fish. We were ready to get back out and take our depth finder. We had decided we would go back to the fishing spot that Bill and Chuck had found the previous day. If the fish were still there we would stay there, if they weren't or when they stopped bittng we would start a search for another spot with the depth finder. When we got to the spot we hooked up the depth finder and started drifting. The below picture shows what we saw on the depth finder:

61 degrees water temperature and 64 feet deep. The depth finder is showing 3 layers of fish from 40 to 58 feet deep. The depth finder sounds a beep when it picks up a fish. On our first drift of the day the screen was solid fish up to 15 to 20 fish on the screen at a time. The display was like a wall street ticker board, a stream of constant fish and it beeped constantly. The fish were so numerous in this spot the depth finder sounded a constant beep, beep, beep, beep ,beep and the other sounds made were voices saying wow, sh--, da--, can you believe this!!!!!

We fished all day drifting for trout. We caught trout on almost every drift. One drift after another, all morning long. Around noon we decided to go to shore and climb up a hill and eat lunch.

The view was spectacular and eagle were soaring above us as we ate lunch.

After lunch we went back to drift fishing and continued to catch nice trout. We caught trout on almost every drift. We didnt count the number of fish we caught. However, based on the count the next few days we know we caught over 5o trout together. It was a steady consistant fish catching day and we were ready to call it a day by 4 pm.

5th day, Tuesday, August 12, 2008, Little Lake Marten, Northwest Territory, Canada

This first drift of about 30 minutes produced 8 large trout. Frank immediately started the motor, drove up wind and we started driting again. Another 30 minute drift resulted in another 8 large trout. Henry, Frank and I couldnt believe it. It became a game of how fast we could catch a fish, get it off the lure and back in the water to catch another fish. We got the process down to a science. As the fish broke the water we would swing it over to the back of the boat and Frank would raise it up and take out the lure releasing the fish, then back in the water with our lure for the next fish. We laughed and started thinking that we were never going to be able to fish normal again. In less than an hour we had caught more fish than we normally experience catching in a whole fishing day.

A nice 36 inch Lake Trout Henry caught on the early morning drifts of the 3rd day fishing.

One of the Lake Trout I caught on the 3rd day of fishing.

We were having so much fun that we started a contest of how many fish could we catch and release in an hour, a day etc. Could we catch 100, based on the first two drifts we could fish a little over 5 hours more and we would meet that number. By 10:20 am we had caught another 6, for a total of 24. The next drift we caught 2, then 3 fish, then 1 fish, then another 1 fish on that drift and then 1 more for a total of 31 by 1:30. Fishing progressively began to decline for the day, we decided to meet up with the others and we all sat in the middle of the lake enjoying lunch and talking about the fish that had been caught.
After lunch we decided to go back to the place we caught Pike the day before. We fished there for about an hour to no avail. We drove around the lake stopping and checking out depths of the water and looking for fish. We couldn't find another place so we went back to the original trout hole and fished some more. We drifted a number of times ending up with 9 more nice trout for a total of 40. Not the 100 we talked about, a very pleasant and exciting day of fishing.
In camp we rested before dinner for about an hour. We ate and then some of us watched a movie and then to our cabins to call it a day.

5th day, Wednesday, August 13, 2008, Little Lake Marten, Northwest Territory, Canada

The Arkansas alarm clock went off about 6:30 am. Off to breakfast and another day of fishing. The days were starting to run together and I was losing track of time.
We were in the water around 9am and the day started off the same as the day before. By 10:45 am we had 14 trout and by 11:40am we had 6 more for a total of 20.
We decided to meet up with some of the others and have lunch together. We met at a different location and climbed up on the rocks and had lunch.

After lunch, we decided to try another drift to catch trout. As we were drifting we saw a fish floating on top of the water struggling to stay alive. When we got up close we noticed that he had a lure coming out of his mouth and that the leader and some fishing line was wrapped all around him. Frank netted the fish and removed the line and lure and worked with him for a number of minutes to try and revive him. Unfortunately, he was unable to revive him. We released him and he continued to float, the eagles we had seen while eating were more than likely waiting for him to die. It was lunch time for them and they had a nice trout to enjoy.

We tried to revive him but he didn't make it. We took this picture because we had a plan to use it with our Arkansas friends. We had been on the receiving end of a number of Aggie jokes and Texas ribbing. It was our turn to get back.

We then decided to take another run around the lake to find fish in different places. We went to the first Pike place and tried a few cast to no avail. We then started looking for deeper water. Every where we stopped and checked the water depth was between 8 and 10 feet, the same as before. We continued our search and off in the distance two of the other boats were headed toward us. We sat there and visited with them for a while.

We asked the guys how they were doing and the reply was that they were catching a lot of fish but decided to hunt for a different spot to fish. This opened up our plan to use the picture above. I asked Chuck if he had lost a fish and that I thought I saw his fishing rod bending and it looked as if the fish may have gotten off. Chuck said yes, he had lost a fish and the line had broken losing his lure. Henry and I both asked him if it was a good fish and he went on to describe it as the big one that got away. I asked him if the lure he was using was a red and white Len Thompson and he said yes. (The plan was falling in place). I asked him if he would like it back, he looked at me as if I had lost my mind but said sure how did you get it. When I was handing him the lure I asked if he would like to see a picture of the monster fish that got away. With an embarrassed look on his face we handed over the camera and everyone looked at the picture and we got a great laugh about this monster fish that broke the line and got away.

There were a number of good fun comments and ribbing that took place. We enjoyed everyone in the fishing party. Each person brought their own unique personalities to the mix. Bill, had a classic one that got me the next day, he asked why I wore a hat with ATM on it and of course I proudly bolted out its Texas A&M, then realizing he was setting me up for wearing a hat that reflected ATM (Automated Teller Machine). Not only did all of our Arkansas buddies get a great laugh out of this, so did my Longhorn friend Henry.

We ended the day finding what we thought was a new fishing spot. More 60 feet deep water with trout all over the place. We drifted one long continuous drift, catching 6 more trout for a day total of 20 fish. We decided to call it a day and head for camp. We were so proud that we had found a new fishing spot. The other trout hole was starting to show decline, all of us pulling trout out of there right and left and each day fewer and fewer fish were being caught. This new hole would revive the fishing and we would be heroes, (so we thought).

We ended the day with another excellent dinner and conversation about the new found fishing hole. Everyone was excited we had a new place to go to tomorrow and catch fish. Henry and I went to bed feeling good about ourselves. Chuck and Bill had found a fishing hole full of fish and now the Texans weren't out done and we had found a hole full of fish.
6th day, Thursday,, August 14, 2008, Little Marten Lake, Northwest Territory, Canada
Again, the Arkansas alarm got me out of bed. I was already awake, anticipating going back to our new found fishing spot. At breakfast, the topic of conversation was the new found fishing spot. It was decided that one boat would follow us to the spot and others would catch up later.
Both boats found the fish and started fishing, it was slow but we were catching fish, The wind was blowing strong and we were having difficulty staying on top of the fish. Our drifts were not very long and we spent most of the time trying to find the deeper water and get back on top of the fish. We noticed Chuck and Trevor catching fish and we had caught 7 by lunch irregardless of the annoying wind. We thought it was good we had found this new spot because with the wind blowing so hard the original fishing hole wouldn't have produced any fish. About lunch time Bill and Clay joined us and we all went to shore and had lunch on the beach.

From left to right. Trevor, Clay, Henry, Rob and Frank our guide sitting. Frank had built this nice fire for us. We enjoyed lunch and enjoyed the warmth of the fire. It was a very windy and cool day, especially on the open water.

After lunch we completed another drift without catching fish and we asked Frank to take us to the original fishing hole found and fished on previous days. Frank said what hole; we explained the one where we had been catching all of the trout and where we ate lunch up on top of the rock. Frank turned around and pointed off to his left and said that is where you had lunch. Both Henry and I couldn't believe it. The terrain, water, sky etc changes so much that if you come to a place from a different direction it looks completely different. The fishing spot that we so proudly talked about and bragged that we had found was the same place we had always been fishing, we had come to it from a different direction, the wind had shifted causing a different drift and we thought we had a new fishing hole. We both expressed to each other how stupid we felt and that we would never hear the end of this one. By the end of the day we only had one other fish in the boat and it was a Pike. A tough day of fishing, only 8 fish total and the one of the most humiliating situations either of us had ever been in, how are we going to explain this one.

We got back to camp, nothing was said to us about the fishing hole and we didn't bring it up either.
The day ended with dinner, a movie and off to bed for the night.

7th day Friday, August 15, 2008, Little Marten Lake, Northwest Territory, Canada

I awoke hearing Chuck talking about the previous day's events, the fourth time to be awoken by the Arkansas alarm clock. He was talking about going back to the new fishing hole Henry and Rob had found. Wow, I jumped out of bed and said to Henry that Chuck had not caught on to the fact that we fished in the same spot the day before as we had been fishing all week. We were saved, no ribbing, no humiliation and no Arkansas one up you over Texas.

I went in the dining cabin to get breakfast and Bill asked about the new fishing hole and if we were going to take them there today. Bill had joined us the day before around lunch at the original spot not knowing that we thought we were at a new place. I just assumed we had been there, left and gone back to the original hole. My immediate thoughts were to lie, fake it, something but I explained to him that there was no new fishing hole and that we had gotten turned around and was fishing in the same fishing hole as before. He got a big laugh but Chuck spoke up and argued that I was pulling Bill's leg and that we had found a new hole and that it wasn't the original hole. I am not sure if we ever convinced them that there wasn't a new fishing spot.

Clay shared with everyone that they had found some Pike the day before. So three boats headed to that spot. Henry and I decided to try a different place and that having all four boats in one place wasnt the thing to do. It was our last day and we were still trying to find fish in other places.. We fished all morning, trolling for Pike. It was our final day and it was a beautiful day. We were dressed in one layer of clothing not multiple layers as the other days. The wind was calm and the water was like glass. We decided to eat an early lunch. We had fished for 2 hours and hadn't caught a fish. After drifting and enjoying our lunch we decided to go where Clay indicated that they had caught a number of Pike. The location was the upper rapids, the very first place we went to when we arrived 6 days prior. When we got to the rapids the other boats had left but then joined us as we came to a stop. They told us that there was a huge area of grass off to the left of us and that the Pike were in the grass. We started drifting and trolling the area and found the Pike, before the end of the afternoon we had caught 13 Pike and 1 Trout out of this spot. Everyone left and we stayed for about another hour without catching any fish and decided to go back to camp for the last day.

It was a very pleasant boat ride back to camp and Henry and I talked about the great week we had. We asked Frank to take us back to the Trout hole one more time and then we would head back to camp. It was early in the day but we were ready to join our friends for our last evening together in camp.

We got back to camp and joined everyone in the dining cabin and we all sat around discussing the week of fun that we had. We collected the tips for our guides and Janet the cook and Marcel the Maintenance man and gave their tips to them. We went to the beach and took one last picture.
From left to right Marcel, the Maintenance man, a guide, Janet the cook, Joseph a guide and Frank the Camp boss and Henry and my fishing guide.

From left to right standing: Sam, Chuck, Bill, Janet, Henry, Rob, Clay, Trevor, Dennis Kneeling left to right: Marcel, ?, Joseph, Frank

8th day, Saturday, August 16, 2008 Little Lake Marten to Yellowknife, Northwest Territory, Canada
We slept in knowing that we were not going out fishing on this trip any more. Our flight to Yellowknife was to depart around mid day. We did not have a specific time. It depended upon the arrival of the float plane coming in with the seasons first Caribou Hunters. The plane arrived off loaded and loaded us and we were on our way home. We arrived in Yellowknife around 1 pm and the Outfitter shuttled us off to the hotels. Henry and I went to our rooms, showered and took a nap. I don't know what felt better the shower or the bed. The shower at Little Marten Lake was in the corner of one of the cabins. It was a fiber glass stall and served its purpose well with exception of the lack of consistent warm water.
We met up with the other fisherman for dinner around 5 pm and said good by. Henry and I was leaving for home at 3pm the next day and the other fishermen were leaving at 7 am.
The trip was more than I could ever expect. The weather cooperated, while it stormed and rained it happened at night and no fishing was interupted by the weather. The food was fantastic, the accomodations were rustic but not bad for such a remote location. The fishing was world class (we caught well over 200 fish) and my association with Henry for the whole week was real, a true friend, I couldn't ask for more. The only thing that would have been great is if our other fishing buddy Larry could have been on the trip with us, unfortunately he couldn't get off work. Finally, all the people working at the camp were exceptional and our friends from Arkansas, while strangers until this trip, I consider friends today. I look forward to meeting up with them some other time.
My next trip: Labor day weekend Galveston, Texas deep sea fishing with son in law Josh his cousin Kelly and his grandfather, watch for the blog on this one.
Flounder fishing in the fall, a number of days in the fall will be devoted to fishing for Flounder in Galveston Bay.
I may try to sneak in a trip to Port Lavaca and fish: Indianola, Lavaca Bay and Port O'Conner.
After Galveston we will be working on our next expedition which will be to Sitka, Alaska. This trip is currently scheduled for the second week of June 2009. 6 of us will be staying on a river in a house boat that we are renting. Our fishing guide will pick us up every morning for a day of fishing and we will return to the house boat for eating and sleeping.

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