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Friday, July 13, 2018

Amazing pike fishing at Le Domaine Shannon

For our yearly trip to Le Domaine Shannon, we chose to return to Lac Wahoo. Known for its giant pike, we knew it would be a challenge to try landing one with the recent ban on the use of dead baitfish. After having landed some giants there on our last trip before the baitfish ban was in effect, we figured we would be lucky to catch one over 10 lbs or so at best.

I brought along my 2 sons Avi and Levi, aged 17 and 16. Old enough to have the patience to cast or troll for hours on end, I didn't have to worry about younger kids getting bored when fish don't co-operate.

First order of the day was to set up the two boats we reserved. One boat was designated as the trolling boat, to which I mounted my portable sonar, and a couple downeast "salty" rod holders.

This allowed us to get our lures trolling at the proper depth at all times, avoided hand fatigue, and allowed us to take turns on the rods in a fair manner to all. After all, kids will be kids even when they are in there mid teens, especially brothers that close in age...

The second boat was our casting boat. I mounted a portable electric motor with a heavy duty marine battery, which provided enough power for us to work large areas without having to anchor or possibly spook the pike with a noisy gas motor.

Having the proper release tools for big fish is necessary if you plan on releasing trophy fish such as giant pike. We used either mesh or rubber net to avoid damaging the scales, a wet landing mat to avoid them scraping in the boat, and gloves to avoid possibly shredding our fingers from violent sudden head shakes. A good pair of pliers, jaw spreaders, and bolt cutters in the tackle box as well.

Day 1:

After breaking camp, we headed out trolling in the heat of the day, with the temperature hitting near 30 C. Trolling mainly Rapala Husky Jerks and Rapala Countdowns, we hooked a few small pike. Eventually, Levi landed the first decent pike of the trip, a bit over 5 lbs, which we kept for shore lunch. Not to be outdone, Avi landed this fat 9.5 lbs pike shortly after, while trolling a Rapala Husky Jerk:

I demonstrated proper revival and release technique to the boys:

On the next pass, I landed this beauty of a pike, which measured 38 inches and weighed in at 12 lbs. 

I had not imagined to get that lucky on our first day...

Later that evening, we headed our for some topwater action. Sure enough, my first fish hit a Zara Spook, chunky 5 pounder with an attitude to match.

We were caught off guard by swarms of unexpected black flies, as they are usually gone by July. They were eating us alive despite us being soaked in muskol and deep woods off!, so we headed back to the cabin a bit early.

Day 2:

With heavy rain forecast, Levi and I head out at 6:00 AM to try to land him a nice one before the storm. Sure enough, he beat our family record by landing this 43 inch monster pike on our first pass! Took a couple shots of the giant pike:

Not much else biting, we sat out most of the day in the cabin with heavy rain. Luckily, the rain subsided early enough for us to get out for an evening troll, as it was to windy to cast. A few more smaller pike came to play, and Avi then caught the first walleye of the trip. At 19 inches, it's the biggest one I've ever seen come out of Lac Wahoo, as most are typically under 14 inches.

Day 3:

Nothing too interesting fishing wise. Many smaller fish caught casting topwater lures and spinnerbaits. Caught some smaller ones for the table, one of them confirmed my theory of pike cannibalising each other.

Day 4:

Hot sunny morning, we went off to cast a big shallow flat towards the end of the lake. After losing his Zara spook in some trees, Levi tied on on old "Top Dog" lure I had given him a few years ago. First cast, resulted in an explosion followed by the sound of screaming drag from the reel. I though he had the setting too lose, but when the fish ran by the boat, I got the shakes. He had another monster pike on the line. With no leader on, a cheap $10 reel, and lots of patches of heavy weeds, I coached him through the crazy battle put up by the beast. Levi listened well, kept his cool, and sure enough, we landed the monster pike, which measured 41 inches! Took a couple shots of it as well.

Levi hit the jackpot with that pike, landing the fish of MY dreams!

We trolled later in the day due to wind, but casting was all that worked, I hooked a chunky 7 pounder later that evening casting a crankbait:

Day 5 was very slow, we din't bother trolling at all, as the lake remained mirror calm all day. A couple more keeper sized pike for the table hit our topwater lures, and we headed home later that afternoon.

All in all, I didn't imagine we would end up doing as well as we did without the use of baitfish. Perseverance paid off, the boys literally fished their asses off for 8 to 10 hours per day. Hope to head back to Le domaine Shannon again next season.

For those of you interested in some amazing pike fishing, contact le Domaine Shannon by clicking:

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