By Kent Danjanovich
Our numerous trips to Canada over the years have supplied many of us at the Sportsman’s News with memories that will truly last a lifetime. But, our latest trip north of the border just may have topped them all!
Kevin Orton and I just returned from an unbelievable trip to God’s Lake in Manitoba, Canada with our newest Platinum Approved Outfitter, Elk Island Lodge. Now, although you will have to wait until January to read about our overall trip, I just could not wait to fill you in on our fly-out trip to God’s River to fish for trophy brook trout and may I just say, you had better get on the phone right now and reserve your spot for 2012.
Luckily for Kevin and I, Greg and Brian Dick, owners of Elk Island Lodge called us into their office on the evening of our third day at the main lodge and informed us that they had an opening for us to do a day trip to the rapids on God’s River. They didn’t have to ask us twice and the visions of giant brook trout danced in our heads all night. And let me tell you, we weren’t disappointed.
Now let me shed a little light on the area. God’s Lake covers a lot of ground, about 400 square miles of surface area to be exact and Elk Island is kind of right in the middle. Our floatplane ride was about 35 minutes, which equates to about 65 miles to the northeast of the lodge. The flight was gorgeous and we soon found ourselves landing smoothly on the river and heading for our boats. Our guide, Irvin, knew the river well and quickly had us hovering over one of his favorite spots.
I quickly set up our Redington fly rods and tied on a minnow pattern. Unbelievably, my first cast of the day produced a swirl in the seam of the current and I found myself fighting a 22-inch God’s River brook trout. The fight was on and a few minutes later our guide, Irvin, finally eased the net under the most beautiful fish you can imagine. Kevin and I were speechless, having both grown up in the west, where the sight of a 10 to 15 inch brookie was an exciting, but rare treat. It was tough to keep Kevin on the camera, as we were filming for an upcoming edition of Sportsman’s News Television, but I promised him that after two or three more fish, he would get his turn.
Irvin moved us about 50 yards upriver along a rock shelf and told me to cast at the top of the run. Again my first cast hit the water and after a quick mend downriver, my line abruptly stopped on the swing and the fight was again on. This time resulting in our biggest fish of the day, a 23 1/2-inch bruiser that had the most beautiful colors that you can imagine. The run produced two more trophies (A Manitoba Master Angler trophy brook trout is over 20-inches) and also a couple of missed opportunities as well.
We then headed up river and hit a few more of Irvin’s favorite spots. Our eyes were always searching for the subtle roll of feeding fish and soon it happened. I quickly grabbed my back-up fly rod and tied on a caddis pattern for my indicator and a beadhead pheasant tailed nymph as my dropper. My first cast got his attention and as he rose to gulp the fly, I gently set the hook. We all roared as my line started to zing out of my reel, quickly making it into my backing as he headed for the fast water. I finally eased another trophy into the net and again was mesmerized by the unbelievable beauty of a God’s River brook trout.
Kevin quickly jumped at the opportunity to make a cast and his first attempt resulted in a take on his dropper nymph. The fight unfortunately didn’t last long, as the fish seemed to be a little to much for the size 20 hook. We both continued to work the seam with the result three more trophy’s and three more quick releases as well.
As our day on the river neared its end, we worked a couple more runs just below our pick-up area and again we were able to land a couple more 21-inchers, with girth dimensions the size of an NFL football. My last three casts unbelievably didn’t produce a fish and as I reeled in my line to put my fly rod away, I found that my last strike had totally demolished my minnow pattern, leaving nothing but hanging material on the hook.
Well, as you can tell, our expectations were far exceeded on our first trip to God’s River for massive brook trout and I know Kevin and I will not soon forget one of our most cherished experiences as Pro-Staffers with the Sportsman’s News Magazine. If I were you, I would get on the phone right now and give Greg and Brian a call to set up your trip of a lifetime with Elk Island Lodge. Trophy northern pike, lake trout, walleye and brook trout await you in one of the most beautiful parts of the world that you will ever see. God’s Lake Canada…Elk Island Lodge (888-559-6633). I can’t wait to visit them again and again and again.