The last few weeks have been chaotic, between putting together the final touches for the wedding and having friends and family arriving from the four corners of the globe, life has been in turmoil. I managed to get away with my best man for 4 gruelling days of fishing a week before the wedding, but it could have worked out better. With temperatures dancing around the freezing mark, howling winds, intermittent rain and a huge lake with skittish fish hiding effectively and refusing to reward our efforts. As all that came and went and then the weather turned and we saw the sun again, it was at that point that our last few guests decided that they need to see a bit more of the country. And with my wife just out of surgery on her foot and on crutches we were limited as to where we could go and how far we travel to get there. So as a novice in this vast province, but an avid researcher I had my eye on an area I desperately want to get my teeth into and explore. And as it happened I managed to find a cabin, in the heart of it all, at a reasonable price and accessible for my hindered wife. So off to the Narrow Hills Provincial Park we headed. I havenít explored much of Saskatchewan yet, but I am certain that this place is one of its crown jewels.
So this was the plan, 2 nights, 3 days, and by my reckoning I would fish 3 sessions, and all out of my first pontoon boat, on itís first fishing outing. I stuck to lakes closer to the camp ground as I figured, start close and branch out. So my first lake took me to a water that should have splake and tiger trout.
On the trout front I have only ever fished for rainbows, this was an exciting yet intriguing prospect for me. And I figured if I blanked it was OK, as it was still great just to be out on the water. I worked hard though, and explored and searched for any signs of anything. The water was very still and not too much activity to be seen. As the evening wore on I did see a fish clear the water. Iíd say it was a trout of sorts, but I canít be certain. And as I fished on I eventually felt the tug, the hit and some weight at the end of the line. Not a lot, but enough to paint a smile on my face as I caught my first perch on fly.
It wasnít the trout I wanted but it was fun as I went on to attack the little guys and boated quite a few. For my first outing on my pontoon I was having a ball catching some fish and enjoying a beautiful evening. First session done and first goal achieved, my first fish on fly off my boat.
Session 2. Now this was a recommended lake and it holds a good population of browns as well as some brook trout. Both of which I have never caught before, but I feel I have prepared for this. So into the water and let the work begin. I worked the shallows, and got progressively deeper. I kept hearing fish break the water, but I could quite see where they were or how deep as they were far enough away and the chop on the water hid the evidence. But there was some activity and that was a good sign. I work my down the lake and suddenly my fly was smashed solidly and my rod bent firmly. While the fish bombed down and circled me it eventually broke the surface for a fantastic aerial display to reveal the colour and the markings of a beautiful brown trout. My heart was pounding but I coaxed him to the net. My first brown, my first trout from my boat, my second goal met and the biggest smile on my face yet.
That afternoon I intended to try and meet my 3rd and final goal of the trip, and that was to land my first northern pike on fly. I had selected a lake nearby, but as it happened it took us about 2 Ĺ hours to find and the road was not great. My original plan was to have the ladies drop me off and collect me later, but by the time we got there that was out of the question, so I decided to abandon hope of fishing and I dropped the ladies back at the cabin and I decided to take the time to visit and explore some of the other lakes in the area and see what they looked like, and hopefully find a suitable lake for my final session.
Each lake I visited got me more and more excited about this area as they were all so beautiful and I had not even travelled that far yet and there are plenty more. Super pumped and ready for the morning I headed back and cooked a great steak over the camp fire.
Final session. As I got out on the lake a 10 min torrential downpour soaked me through. No problem, I soon dried out again. I worked a bay area that looked pretty juicy but not even a tickle. As I moved out of that area I moved into an area that was about 5 feet deep and sparsely covered with reeds, but it was a huge area and looked like pike heaven. So I moved in and as I did there was a flash and a hit and a fish on. Straight into the reeds and I quickly moved over to free the line from the tangled reeds. It wasnít easy as the fish was moving around and making it worse. But he was well hooked and soon I had the line free and got him to the boat. Goal 3 accomplished.
While I didnít catch a great number of fish the ones I did were incredibly memorable. And this promises to be the start of a long and beautiful friendship with the Narrow Hills.