Bakers Narrows Lodge, located in the heart of Manitoba’s Northern Region – Has become renowned for its world-class 4-season fishing opportunities. Growing hugely in popularity is their incredible ice fishing product. Namely that of the giant lakers and northern pike that call the legendary Lake Athapapuskow home. This massive, 70,000-acre body of water was named in the Top 8 Ice Fishing Destinations in Canada for 2022 by FishingBooker.com – And the results on Lake Athapapuskow speak for themselves. It is for these reasons why I chose to make the trip up north last winter and try my hand at Ice fishing Lake Trout in Manitoba at Bakers Narrows Lodge.
Ice fishing Lake Trout in Manitoba at Bakers Narrows Lodge
After the northern journey, I finally made it to my destination, where I met up with my friend Marcel. The second you pull into Baker’s Narrows Lodge in the winter it becomes apparent that this is truly an ice fisher’s winter wonderland. As you enter the property the first thing that grabs your eyes is their beautiful main lodge, followed by a seemingly infinite number of cabins stretching throughout the lodge’s property along the shores of Little Athapapuskow lake. The scenic views all around will have you wanting to immediately hop on the snowmobile and begin your fishing vacation on this snow-covered playground.
As you get all checked into your comfortable cabins, you instantly feel at home. With every luxury, you could ask for including a kitchen, bathroom and shower, satellite TV, and even Internet. Looking for an even more inclusive experience? Bakers Narrows Lodge will also cook meals for the guests inside of their stunning main lodge building. Another awesome amenity they offer is premium gas. In order to hit up all the awesome fishing locations that they offer here, it requires a fair bit of fuel for the snowmobiles. Being able to fuel up at the lodge allows you to save on the space that jerry cans take up while you’re packing to head north.
Ice fishing Lake Trout in Manitoba On lake Athapapuskow
This journey began on our first morning after arriving. In the early hours, we got the sleds started up and began loading the sleighs. A short while later with the sleds warmed up, we made our way to Bakers Narrows Main Lodge where we met up with our guide Mac.
On this morning lakers were on our minds. Mac led us across Little Athapapuskow Lake heading towards the land of the giants, Lake Athapapuskow. This scenic 20-minute sled ride shows off the vastness of these lakes and the beauty of the Canadian Shield.
As we arrived at our fishing spot, a spot Mac had scouted out previously; consisting of an island point with steep contours leading into deep water. The three of us began setting up our shacks and tip-ups ranging from as deep as 80 feet of water, up to 25. Before even a glimmer of the impending sunrise, the 3 of us had our shacks set, chum deployed and had begun fishing.
The Lake Trout Waiting Game
Anytime you set out to catch a big lake trout on any lake, you have to prepare yourself for putting in some serious time. This trip was no different. As the morning progressed, the sunlight allowed for the use of the underwater camera. This revealed a shark tank of lakers swooping around the chum pile. The more time spent watching these fish revealed that the majority of the trout on this day were not looking for an active presentation. Instead, disguising a treble in a piece of chum and laying it on the edge of the chum pile proved to be more effective.
As the day progressed, we were collectively able to land a handful of respectable lakers, and a few giants swam in front of the camera. But the big bite we were dreaming of never did come to fruition. We made our way back to the comforts of our cabins and prepared for the next day on the ice.
Ice Fishing in Luxury – Deep Freeze Fishing Excursions
The next morning the goal was the same, fishing the same spot. Today we were joined by owner Brett Baynton who was fishing out of their brand new hard-sided ice shack. Which they pulled out onto the lake with their extremely unique snowcat. This awesome set-up is available to guests of Bakers Narrows lodge for a truly all-inclusive ice fishing package.
Big Northern Pike on Lake Athapapuskow
As the morning progressed, a few of our large dead baits on our deadlines had been picked up and moved, triggering our flags. Each time as we prepared to set the hooks, we were again disappointed as the trout at that point had already dropped the bait. Looking to try something new, I decided to change it up and bit and set my quick strike rigged paired with cisco in a little shallower water. Mac pointed out to me where the reef tops off at 25 feet and that’s where I dropped down. A short while later, sure enough, the flag went up and the fight was on! At first, I believed this to be a good laker, only to be surprised to see a jumbo pike head come up the hole.
Although not the species we were after, I was more than happy to feel that kind of tug on the line. This was a true testament to the fishery and the supersized fish that call it home.
Shore Lunch at Bakers Narrows Lodge
As we got close to lunchtime, Brett informed us of an awesome shore lunch he was beginning to prepare for us. When he hollered that the meal was ready, we couldn’t get over there fast enough. On the menu today were fresh northern pike fish tacos. The meal was incredible, made even better by their signature Bakers Narrows fish coatings.
Overall, we experienced similar fishing results as the day prior, with the exception of a particularly slow evening bite which Mac attributed to a major pressure change from an incoming winter storm.
With that winter storm in mind, we decided to give the lakers a break for the day and make the incredible backcountry journey to the secluded Wabishkok Lake and target walleyes for the day.
Incredible Ice Fishing Journey to Wabishkok Lake
Calling this an incredible journey is an understatement. The views this snowmobile ride offers are unlike anything I had experienced prior. From bush trails traversing through the rugged Canadian shield to small lakes with sheer rock walls forming their shorelines. Not to mention meandering along a stretch of a creek leading into a small waterfall right at the entrance of Wabishkok, this truly had the entire Northern Manitoba experience crammed into a 32km ride.
Once on the lake, the journey wasn’t over yet, we traveled around a maze of Islands leading into a neckdown on one part of the lake. This is where we began fishing. It wasn’t long into hole hopping around this area that we started to get on some walleye. Despite the stormy weather, we stuck it out and were able to ice more than a handful of chunky shield walleye before calling it a day as the sun went down. Wabishkok Lake is known to be home to some giant golden walleye and although we weren’t lucky enough to hook one on this day, I hope to be back in the future to try my hand at this fishery again.
Ice fishing Lake Trout in Manitoba Once Again
As the fourth and final day came, we made it back to the same spot we had been chumming at on the first and second day. We planned on giving it a go one last morning and if nothing we would make a move to a new spot for some last-minute heroics.
All set up once again, the waiting game began. With all our deadlines in position, we kept a close eye on all the flags. About an hour in, sure enough, my flag was up. With great excitement, I grabbed my rod and waited for the line to start running… nothing. This fish had dropped my bait. After quickly checking it to make sure it was still hooked properly, I dropped it back down.
Just minutes later the flag was up again and the line was running. I set the hook and at last, I was hooked into a solid fish. After a brief but intense battle, I got the fish to the top of the hole. It wasn’t an Athapap supergiant, but it certainly was a solid fish and it felt amazing to be on the board.
Closing Out the Trip With Some Burbot Fishing
The rest of the morning was slower. So we decided to make a move for one last shot at a big trout. Again, we fished hard and were able to land a handful of smaller trout. But just couldn’t quite get the bite we hoped for. As the sun quickly began to drop to close out our last day. Mac took us to a burbot spot where we had a blast catching good numbers of burbs as darkness fell across Lake Athapapuskow.
An Incredible Fishery with Unbelievable Potential
As we made it back to our cabins for the last night of the trip. We were a little dejected that we didn’t land the giant we had dreamed about. But we had close calls. On a number of occasions, we had big dead baits picked up and go on runs. Then they got dropped before we could set the hook. More than a handful of times we had massive lakers show up on the underwater camera that just wouldn’t bite. We knew going into this trip, that this is an incredibly difficult feat to accomplish. Catching the fish of a lifetime doesn’t happen in just a few days. However, we also knew we were on one of the best bodies of water to make that happen. Every day on this lake you learn so much, and I hope to continue this Lake Athapauskow quest in the future.
Written by: Keevin Erickson
To learn more about Ice fishing Lake Trout in Manitoba at Bakers Narrows Lodge, visit the Bakers Narrows Lodge website.
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