The Ytterberg brothers had never been on a Canadian fly-in fishing trip. However, they had heard the stories about all the huge fish and started asking friends where to go. They decided late in the summer that this would be the year they would try it out! Serendipitously, through a referral from a referral, they found us. Phil, from MN, contacted us only a few weeks before their hopeful dates. As it turned out, we did indeed have room over the long weekend to house them. Phil met up with his brother Carl in Winnipeg and both were excited to fly up to Aikens Lake for their first fly-in fishing experience!
On their first day, they were fishing for walleyes in the Gammon River. There is a small hole that only dips to 13 feet as you near the falls. You may have noticed that there was a trophy pike caught in “Chinatown” earlier this year… well this is the place! As Carl was bringing in a small walleye, this 42.5″ pike decided to latch on! Luckily, they landed both fish before the pike let go. As the trophy pike glided into the net, the brothers high-fived and Carl exclaimed “I just caught a brochure fish”. They had heard the stories and seen the website full of monster fish, but had never expected that they would be able to catch anything like it. What an exciting way to start a trip!
The following evening they were at the Honeyhole when a trophy walleye bit on the jig! Two trophies on the first two days for Carl… now Phil was starting to ask questions. That said, both brothers qualified for the new “Aikens Lake Century Club” that day. Carl’s largest four walleyes measured at 103″, while Phil landed walleyes of 25,25,26,27″ for a total of 104″.
With Griffin as their guide, the brothers learned a lot about Aikens and they started to develop a new technique on Aikens. Now known as the “lemon-pepper troll”, they would start trolling after shorelunch between Middle Gull and South Gull, pulling lures over anywhere from 90-250 feet. They would have lures that ran near the top of the water column, from 5 feet to 30+. This technique yielded them dozens of slot walleyes over the few days. Despite the rain and wind, they continued this technique until Phil was rewarded with a 41″ pike of his own! It was caught with a deeper diver (30+ feet) over 90 feet.
With one day left, they decided to visit Bonaventure for a day trip. Bonaventure is our portage lake. Well, they couldn’t keep the fish off the hook! Griffin estimated over 150 walleyes were caught that day, starting from the moment they got in boat on the other side of the falls. They had their first double-header casting into the whitewater as they were pushing off at the beginning of the day! Back in the day, Bonaventure was known for its numbers of walleyes but never for their size. This time, the average walleye was around 20″ with the biggest being 26″. Seems those smaller year classes are growing up! Bonaventure only gets fished about a dozen times per year, and so the fish there go crazy when they see a hook!
With only one evening left, the brothers convinced Griffin to take them out after dinner. As they were catching walleye in the flats where the Honeyhole washes into the main body of water, lightning struck a second time. Another 42″ pike struck a small walleye and after a brief struggle both were landed. In fact, it seemed the pike were voraciously feeding on small walleyes that night, because as soon as a small walleye would bite and get hooked, its struggle as it was being reeled in set off alarm bells for the big pike in the area. They had several other trophy pike strike their walleyes as they were being brought in, but landed only the one.
In all, it was a tremendous stay for the Ytterbergs. They had seen the website and hoped that the “Aikens Experience” would live up to the hype. In the end, the brothers went home with several “brochure pictures” of their own!