Canada: Where the Fish Stories You Hear Are True

I know that over the years we have all probably heard our fair share of fish stories. Funny thing is that it seems the same story seems to get bigger and more unbelievable each and every time you hear it. Funny how that 6-inch fish that tested your tackle to no end has grown into a monster of epic size during each and every telling, or hearing how fierce a fight it put you through.

Well my friends, let me tell you about a place where you can go and discover the truth—Canada. The fish stories you hear about this country are true!

Now, I’ll be the first one to admit that over the many years on Earth, and being old enough to hear stories about fishing, I have heard some true whoppers: from the guy who was pulled over the side of his boat by a panfish that was so big his friend had to “hit it with an oar to save him,” to the big northern that “took a chunk out of the side of the angler’s boat.”

Besides these, there have been many others over the years that I could write a book on.

The good news? There is a place that I go with regularity that anyone can and experience some real-life fishing action making for some great stories of your own. The difference is your stories will be more true than not. When fishing Canada, that great experience will be hard to rival anywhere.

This may sound pretty bold, but from my own personal experiences in Canada and from talking to other folks I meet at my fishing seminars, we all seem to agree: It’s a must-fish place.

A few years back I was up deep in the Canadian Bush Country gathering some information for some stories. This particular lake was drop-dead beautiful with its secluded bays, islands and sheltered shorelines. Size-wise it was huge, stretching 25 miles long by 7 miles wide. The neat part is that I went with another writer on the adventure and our Cree Indian guide. We were the only folks on the lake during our four-day trip and the beauty is truly overwhelming.

The day started out bright and sunny, and after a great breakfast it was into the boats to test some of the fish available in the lake—you see folks, that was the purpose of going to this particular lake; my mission was to test-toe fish population and see if it was good enough to possibly support a small fishing lodge to be located there.

Well, I started my day casting big flashy spoons into secluded bays. It did not take very long for action. On the third cast I saw the water explode, as a huge northern attacked my spoon with reckless abandon. After a great fight of about 10 minutes, I netted the beautiful northern that toped the scales at 18 pounds. The fish was carefully unhooked and released to fight another day. Throughout the next two hours, I enjoyed catching more northern with the same flashy spoon.

Next, I was going to fish a few of the small rivers and streams that entered the lake, with walleyes as my goal. The presentation was simple: I started casting 1/4-ounce jig heads tipped with a 3-inch twister tail attached—again, the action was fabulous; no walleyes smaller than 4 pounds were caught. The biggest was a whopping 11-pound beauty. Finally, it was time to head back to camp.

After a great dinner of fish, baked beans and fried potatoes, I was stuffed. I decided that I would go down to the boat dock and spend some time casting the area.

The Cree guide was a smoker. I decided to try something, though. I took a small 1/8-ounce plain jig head and tied it to an ultralight rod and reel setup I had brought along. What I did next just blew my mind. I noticed a few cigarette butts in a can on the dock. I took one, cut off the filter end and attached it onto my jig. Now, I started casting from the dock. Low and behold, on my first cast a walleye in the 3-pound range inhaled my offering. I was laughing so hard I had a tear in my eye. After landing and releasing the fish I continued casting my jig/cig combination as I called it with excellent results. I had so much fun casting from the dock with this strange bait combination that I hated to stop. But due to darkness, I was forced to quit. What a great time it was, and it showed the aggressiveness of these remote lake fish up north. It’s something I’ll never forget.

In winding down folks, I look forward to more fishing adventures in Canada. The wonderful opportunities available for anglers to explore seem endless. Without a doubt, I continue to look forward to my new Canadian trips as they come. Hopefully you can start making your own great Canadian memories too—where the fish stories you hear are true.


Email your outdoors questions to Mike Cyze at: You can also check out his blog at: or listen to him on ESPN Radio.