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If you didn’t attend the Cold Lake Classic you seriously missed out! The final Alberta stop of the Western Canada Kayak Fishing Trail was held at French Bay on the infamous Cold Lake. It’s a long trek up to Cold Lake but it is worth the trip. Every year that I’ve attended this tournament the fishing and weather has been phenomenal. There is honestly no way it could have been better.
Fishing on the tournament trail starts early, real early. After a restless sleep in the back seat of my truck I had the coffee on by 5:30 am. To my surprise almost everyone else was up and getting ready as well; that never happens at our beer league tournaments.
Since we were camped at the waters edge, the night before I unloaded my kayak and had it ready to launch first thing in the morning. All I had to do was throw on my PFD, put my coffee in the cup holder and slide my kayak in the water.
The first drop off at French Bay is only a few hundred yards from the launch and as soon the drop began I found my first bait ball and feeding fish on the sonar. In the first hour I managed to land 6 trout, and some of my largest of the day.
Throughout the day I caught about 20 fish and held the lead for the better part of the day; but once the bite started to slow down for me it was picking up on the other side of the bay. I had been having great success with a Freedom Tackle Hydra in ½ oz with a 5” swim bait and I was hesitant to change lures, even though I had other great choices on board.
I always heard that giant tube jigs, like the Cold Lake special, were the way to go but I can’t say I’ve had much luck. When fishing for highly pressured fish , I have always preferred to downsize to 3-5″ lures. This is where I repurpose a lot of my heavy walleye tackle such as #7 Jigging Raps and 1/2 oz jig heads.
It’s been so long since I targeted Lake Trout that I forgot how slimy they are. When I arrived back home and opened the back of my truck it hit me pretty hard. All my gear smelled and I had to go through and wash everything. Lake Trout and Pike are the only two species where I would recommend keeping a towel handy so you can wipe the slime off when you’re finished handling them.
At the end of the day the scores were tallied and the winners announced. Within the group of 15 anglers, over 100 lakers were caught and released. I was also happy to learn that nearly everyone was able to land a fish, some for the very first time. Cold Lake is one of Alberta’s best fisheries and I can’t wait to go back next year, you won’t want to miss it!