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A woman holding a very nice Northern Pike

Cree Lake is one of the top inland lakes in all of Canada. It’s legendary status is well deserved as anglers have come from all over the world to experience quantities of fish never before experienced with a world-class size quality that is unique to the rich waters of Cree Lake. Northern Pike, Lake Trout, Walleye and Grayling keep our guests busy from the time they get up until they retire in the evening. It’s a week of fishing that is sure to set the bar for all future angling experiences.

The Northern Pike fishing at Cree Lake can only be described as remarkable. Northerns over 50″ are to be had along with a consistent flow of 40 plus inch fish. These fish are big, aggressive and because of the lack of pressure, take a variety of offerings. The real ability to catch Northern Pike just about anyway you can imagine is not just a story at Cree Lake Lodge, it’s simply the truth.

Lake Trout at Cree Lake grow to enormous sizes. Lakers to 50 pounds live in Cree Lake with fish over #20 being common place. These fish key on bait fish type imitations and engulf offerings as only an apex predator can. These fish are impressive and offer a great option for our guests as they truly experience some of Canada’s best fishing.

A guide and guest holding a nice lake trout

While not the lakes main offering, big, quality Walleye are to be had in Cree Lake.

A Cree Lake Lodge guest holding a couple really nice walleye

Of course Northern Pike, Lake Trout and Walleye take up a lot of the attention, but our guests are always surprised with the Grayling fishing that Cree Lake and it’s tributaries provide. Grayling are great fun on light tackle and fly rods. Guests can literally catch dozens of these scrappy residents which provides them with one more “thing to do” while visiting Canada’s greatest lake.

Although we will enjoy some great shore lunches during your stay at Cree Lake Lodge, we do promote Catch and Release along with the use of Barbless Hooks. 

Gearing up for Cree Lake

Although we have equipment at the lodge, many of our guests prefer to take their own gear to Cree Lake. Here’s a detailed list of equipment that will be helpful as you begin outfitting for the diversity of species that you’ll find at Cree Lake.

Northern Pike

Rods & Reels

Baitcasting Rods: 6’6″ or 7′ medium/heavy casting rod, rated for 10-20 lb. test line, and heavier lure weights – Although one-piece rods offer superior casting control, feel, and hook setting properties, transporting these into the far north is a problem. Therefore, we suggest a high quality two-piece rod. Longer handle lengths are definitely an asset, as they provide increased leverage when it comes to fighting large fish.

Baitcasting Reels: High-performance, well-maintained casting reel, loaded with NEW 10-20 lb. test quality line – The ideal Northern Pike casting reel should have a large line capacity, with a heavy duty, smooth drag system. Gear ratio is not a major factor in Northern Pike fishing, as baits are seldom “ripped”.

Spinning Rods: 6’6″ or 7′ medium/heavy spinning rod, rated for 10-20 lb. test line and heavier lure weights- As with baitcasting rods, longer handles are definitely an asset.

Spinning Reels: High-performance, larger-capacity, spinning reel, loaded with NEW 10-20 lb. test quality line- Line capacity and a smooth, responsive, heavy duty drag system are essential.

Northern Pike Tackle

Hard Baits: Spinners such as Mepps and Bluefox. Bucktail and marabou dressed spinners are very effective. Larger sizes and an assortment of colours is a good idea. Topwater Baits such as floating Rapalas, Zara Spooks, Bomber Long “A”, etc. Colors such as chartreuse, silver, and blue work well. Larger topwater baits fished slowly often attract big pike.

Spoons – medium to large spoons, such as Len Thompson, Luhr-Jensen,Eppinger, Williams Wobbler, etc. A selection of colors and patterns, such as “Five of Diamonds”, “Red and White”, silvers, golds, “Black and White”, will serve you well.

Soft Baits: Slug-O’s, Pork-O’s, Berkeley Power Minnows – 6″ (and larger) soft baits such as these, fished behind a single hook, allowed to drift and dart through sunken vegetation can be deadly!

Northern Pike Fly-Fishing Tackle

  • 9-10 weight rod, 8-12′ in length. You will need enough “backbone” to be able to cast large streamers, often in windy conditions.
  • Good quality, higher- capacity reel, with plenty of backing to handle long runs.
  • Floating line for surface and sub-surface angling.
  • Weight-forward, sinking tip line, for deeper presentations.
  • 30-60 lb. monofilament for shock tippets.
  • An assortment of colorful streamers, “poppers”, and “flashy” flies with large profiles. As there are really no “classic” patterns for fly-fishingNorthern Pike, almost any bright, undulating type presentation has the potential to trigger a strike from a trophy northern. Saltwater-type streamers, on single or tandem hooks, dressed in marabou, Flashaboo, bucktail, mylars, etc. are effective. Cork, rubber-legged “poppers”, as well as classic minnow profiles work well.

Lake Trout

Rods and Reels

Baitcasting Rods: 6’6″ or 7′ medium/heavy casting rod, rated for 10-20 lb. test line, and heavier lure weights. Longer handles are beneficial in doing battle with large Lake Trout.

Baitcasting Reels: High-performance, well-maintained casting reel, loaded with NEW 10-20 lb. test quality line – When it comes to taming a monster Lake Trout, greater line capacity, an efficient, heavy duty drag system, and lower gear ratios are very helpful.

Spinning Rods: 6’6″ or 7′ medium/heavy spinning rod, rated for 10-20 lb. test line and heavier lure weights.

Spinning Reels: High-performance, larger-capacity, spinning reel, loaded with NEW 10-20 lb. test quality line – Line capacity and a smooth, responsive, heavy duty drag system are essential.

***NOTE*** Although we see many large Lake Trout taken on spinning gear, our recommendation is to fish lakers with baitcasting/level wind equipment. Spinning reels under heavy stress will create significant line twist. Additionally, when trolling, baitcasters or level winds will allow for measured depth control without the added line twist.

Lake Trout Tackle

Spoons: Large and flashy like Len Thompson patterns, and Williams Wobblers

Jigs: 1-4 oz., tipped with plastics, such as 6″ Berkley Power Minnows, or sucker belly, are very effective for vertical fishing in deeper water.

Rip Jigs: Buzz Bombs in a range of colors.


Rods & Reels

Spinning Rods: 5′ – 6’6″ light action spinning rods rated for 4-8 lb. test, and 1/16-3/8 oz. lure weights, in a higher modulus graphite, for increased sensitivity.

Spinning Reels: Light spinning reel, loaded with 4-8 lb. test line. A light spinning reel able to accept interchangeable spools will allow you to spool up with varying test ranges of line. This will give you the ability to easily change lines to match conditions.

Walleye Tackle

Jigs: 1/16-3/8 oz.  Tip these with an assortment of 2-4″ soft plastic grubs, Berkley Power Baits, etc.

Plugs: Small, light crankbaits, such as Fat Raps, Rattlin’ Raps, Shad Raps, etc.

Arctic Grayling

Rods & Reels

Rods: 5′ – 6’6″ ultralight to light spinning rod, rated for 2-6 lb. test, and light lure weights. A high modulus, fast-tipped quality graphite rod will heighten your Arctic Grayling angling experience.

Reels: Light spinning reel, loaded with 2-6 lb. test quality line.

Arctic Grayling Tackle

Very light spinners, (#00, #0), by Mepps, Panther Martin, or Blue Fox, dressed bare, or with a tiny amount of bucktail or marabou.

Arctic Grayling Fly Fishing 

  • 4-6 weight fly rod, 6 to 8′ in length.
  • Floating line for surface presentations.
  • Light sinking tip line for small sub-surface presentations.
  • Light, long tippets – It is wise to pack an assortment.
  • Flies – standard, high-floating dry fly patterns, suggestive wet fly patterns, such as Wooly Buggers and Marabou Minnows. All should be in smaller sizes.

***Additional Items***

  • A sturdy, high quality rod case will protect your investment during the trip.
  • Extra spools of fishing line, in test ranges rated for your rods and reels.
  • Lubricating oil for reel maintenance.
  • A selection of small tools for emergency reel repair, etc.
  • It never hurts to pack one or two spare rods and reels.