Skip to content Skip to footer

Wolf Bay Lodge

Looking to target trophy-sized Northern pike in the most pristine waters imaginable?

It’s somewhat paradoxical to travel all across the Atlantic to target a fish species that we can catch in our local lakes and rivers. But, looking back, it was well worth the trip! Not just for the number of times we broke our personal bests, but for the wilderness experience – and the bonus lake char action.

The Fishing

Phelps Lake is a massive lake in the north-eastern corner of the Canadian province, Saskatchewan. It’s a glacial lake with a surface area of about 130 km2, and with the exception of a few areas with up to 30 meters of depth, it is an incredibly shallow lake – something that makes it an ideal habitat for pike.

With more than 300 islands, countless reefs, backwaters, bays and tributaries with clear water, you couldn’t possibly charter all the good fishing spots in a full week. And since there are an additional 60 km2 of prime fishing waters to be reached on foot or via channels and tributaries, you could argue that Phelps Lake represents a whole fishing area, rather than just a single body of water.

The season stretches from the middle of June, from ice out, until the end of August, at which point winter is already looming. At the beginning of the season you can experience some incredibly exciting sight-fishing for pike. At this time of year, these fish will have just finished spawning in the myriad of shallow bays and flooded meadows around the lake, and they will be both hungry and aggressive. During the summer months and onwards till the end of the season, the fishing is typically translocated to the many drop offs, reefs and islands, where Lily pad- and cabbage beds rise from the bottom.  

Catches in excess of 50 1 meter+ pike per boat per week are not uncommon, and every year several specimens larger than 130 centimetres are caught. The lodge record is closer to 150 centimetres.

In addition to the spectacular pike fishing, it is also possible to catch trophy white fish and giant lake char (Salvelinus namaykush) on Phelps Lake. The latter can be found in tremendous numbers, especially at the south-end of the lake, where the depth drops to about 30 meters. At the beginning of the season, fast-sinking lines and weighted streamers are used to connect with them, but as summer progresses and the water heats up, they rise towards the surface. Here, they can be fished with floating and intermediate lines, and although the average size is relatively modest – around 2-3 kilos – it’s by far uncommon to catch fish in the vicinity of 10 kilos. Although these fish are minimally targeted, specimens in excess of 20 kilos are caught every year – and 30 kilos+ fish are certainly around.

The Lodge

Wolf Bay Lodge is the only lodge with a license to guide and fish on Phelps Lake, and since the lake is extremely secluded – and the only way to get there is by hydroplane – the fishing pressure is very minimal. The lodge, which has been in operation since the early 90s, has an authentic wilderness feel and is rather rudimentary and basic without compromising comfort. In total, there’s room for six fishermen at the lodge, and they all fish from Linder skiffs with big casting platforms in front.

The Gear

When fly fishing Phelps Lake for pike, 9´ 9 to 10-weight rods paired up with floating or intermediate WF lines are typically used. Lighter rods can be used too, since really big flies are rarely necessary. However, since there are great chances of hooking a real monster, 9-weight – or even better; 10-weight – fly rods are to be preferred, since they will effectively aid in landing and releasing the fish. With regards to the flies, especially 15 – 20-centimetre-long rabbit strip Zonkers in light colours – preferably with weed guards that allow you to fish them along the bottom or through weeds and Lily pads – work well. Furthermore, small imitations of the lake’s small, silvery baitfish are effective, and the same goes for noisy poppers and Gurgglers.

Be sure to bring along a 9’ 5-weight and a few dry flies and nymphs if you’re interested in catching one of the many trophy whitefish in the lake. Otherwise, you surely need to bring an extra 10-weight, or even a 12-weight fly rod, paired up with a fast-sinking fly line. The massive lake char in Phelps Lake are, no doubt, worth your effort and time. The flies used for them are somewhere between 20 – 25 centimetres in length, weighted, and in bright colours that will attract attention even at the dimmest of depths.

The fishing is done from the boat deck, but you might consider bringing a pair of waders if you’re curious about the neighbouring waters, or if you like to get into the water for a few pictures with your trophy catch. Additionally, there are several clothing items that you need to consider bringing. The weather conditions at the lake are actually quite stable but make no mistake: The conditions can change dramatically from one day to the next. Therefore, you should pack some wind- and rainproof shell outerwear that is capable of keeping you warm and dry. Also, be sure to bring warm layering, such as thermal wool tops and bottoms. Early in the season, the temperatures typically don’t exceed 15 – 20 degrees, but during the summer months it gets warmer. However, be sure to prepare for cold weather, and don’t forget that it can be particularly cold in the morning. 

Depending on the weather conditions, there can be a lot of mosquitos in the area and, as a result, it’s a good idea to bring along a mosquito net and some insect repellent. We had great experience with using a new series of BugStopper-clothing from Simms; a highly technical type of impregnated clothing that effectively deters mosquitos, gnats, ticks, horse flies and other bothersome insects. Also, don’t forget sunscreen and a pair of sunglasses as a defence against the sun and its reflections on the water. The latter serves an important additional purpose, of course. They are crucial when it comes to sight-fishing for pike in the shallow bays.

Want to travel?*


    *Disclaimer: In the Loop Magazine is in no way liable for the execution of trips booked via our contact form. In the
    Loop Magazine merely liaises and forwards information requests. 
    All bookings and related services are handled by the actual lodges and guide agencies.