Finding Remote Saskatchewan Lake Trout

Somewhere around 2006, during a fishing adventure with buddies, a story came up about a far-off lake full of lake trout. One friend reminisced about a trip to Kamatsi Lake in Saskatchewan in the late ‘90s. He told us of driving 15 hours, and then flying into this little remote lake. It was September, they caught lake trout from the rocks like crazy. The story was told with a smile, met with many other smiles, and the plan was hatched for us to go to Kamatsi Lake.

The funds were finally saved, and the plans set in stone for the summer of 2014. We were booked with Lawrence Bay Lodge on Reindeer Lake, which owns the outpost on Kamatsi. When we arrived, we knew the lake trout would be deep at this time of year. We knew we would have to search for them.

Equipped with small, portable depth finders, we went about reading banks and points in search of trout. It took some trolling to find a lake trout before we hit the motherlode. There were four of us. By the end of the week, we landed an estimated 200 lakers.

Fast forward to last summer, 2018. We were going to take our knowledge, gained in 2014, and multiply it. This time, we already had a basic lay of the land. We had stocked up on Buzz Bombs and Kastmasters, which we had run low on during the previous trip. We also got rid of the stuff we felt was not effective. (Remember, weight is a concern when dealing with fly-in trips.) We also had a secret weapon for this trip: our Humminbird Helix G2 ice units, and a solar charger.

Lakers—and lots of ‘em!

Planning for the trip

As with any trip, we had to plan everything, from who is going to when it works for everyone. We had to plan how we were going to get there, and what we needed to take for food. Remote fly-in trips require a lot of planning. Once that plane flies away, you are on your own. Going to the store down the road is not an option.

Once we had all of those questions answered and our plans together, we needed to get to the minor part, which was packing rods, tackle and electronics. I own a Humminbird Helix 7 Ice, and also have a Helix 5 Ice for my son. My buddy who was also going has a Helix 7 Ice. We purchased three high-speed transducers equipped with portable suction cups to easily attach to the provided camp boats.

One aspect that took some thought was power. Our camp did not have electricity. For charging, we took a solar charger and an extra battery. This way, a battery was always on charge during the day. We rotated who got the fresh battery the following day.


Getting reacquainted

Once we arrived at the camp, we were anxious to get on the water and catch some fish. We simply drove to the general area of what we called “the honey hole,” and started looking around until we marked fish. They were right where we had left them four years earlier, and we were on fish. After we got the initial fish-catching frenzy out of our systems, we started to experiment with different tackle and techniques to dial things in even further.

There are walleyes, too!

Putting technology to work

We had already used the Humminbirds to find the fish on “the honey hole.” Now it was time to put the high-end tech to the test. When we caught multiple fish on a spot, we would drop a GPS coordinate on the spot. Once we had a series of coordinates established, we were dialed into where we would be the most successful.

I sacrificed about 15 minutes of fishing to run AutoChart Live and made what, I believe, is the first map of this lake in existence. What I found after I mapped out the area of the coordinates was that the fish were in a little bowl ranging from 59- to 72-feet deep. It was wedged between shallow water and a drop-off to over 100 feet in depth.

On day two of our excursion, we headed up to a section of lake we did not visit during the first trip. We caught some fish, but never did hit the home run. Then, the wind told us we had better get those little boats back to familiar water. Two of the boats went to other areas of the lake to avoid the wind. One boat explored a little neck area near where we had left. They ran into an area of what we believe may have been fish that had never seen a hook. The next day, I went out to the area and ran a quick map of it. What came out was a nearly identical map to the one from the “honey hole.”

Now we had a pattern. Something to look for. For the rest of the week, we fished our spots each day, but we also explored many untouched areas as well, finding the same little bowls located between shallow water and a deep drop-off. Thanks to technology, we were able to put together a solid plan to be successful with lake trout all week.


Trip of a lifetime

We already knew we were going to have a great time. After all, what is not to love about spending a week with your friends fishing, visiting and just being guys. We had the lake almost all to ourselves (there was one private cabin on the other end of the lake,) and we had the lakers figured out.

Nobody kept a true and solid count, other than we compared notes at the end of each day. We know for a fact that the six of us, combined, easily crossed over the 300 lake trout mark. We know that we found new spots that had been fished very little, if ever at all. We also learned that 21st century technology—and knowing how to use it—can make a trip of a lifetime one to truly remember.