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Early one morning we carefully packed up our fishing gear, dropped the kids off with a sitter and hit the highway before the morning traffic rush had even thought about occurring for that day. The tires thrummed steadily against the pavement as we zipped down the empty Alberta highway, anticipation- along with that morning’s coffee-coursing through our veins.

We had been planning a fishing trip with our friend Darcy for quite a while, waiting for all the pieces to fall into place. Everyone had the same time off. Sitters could be found for the children. The weather, our greatest foe for the month of June, also had to finally cooperate with us.

Darcy had been telling us about one of his favorite secret lakes for months now and the excitement that had built regarding this lake was almost palpable in the air that morning, nay, since the night before. Texts had zipped between the four of us going on the trip, Facebook messages popping up, cellphones binging and ringing with the announcements of more information, directions, gear to pack, who was bringing what and when.

Lake X, as I shall call it since it’s not my secret to share, is a remote lake that takes some grit and nerve to get into. You have to travel back roads that usually only see oil traffic, slick with mud and full of holes. You are off the grid literally, as the GPS doesn’t find the roads. There’s no voice telling you where to turn or how to get there, just the directions sent via email the night before.

Once you get there, you’d miss the lake unless you knew what you were looking for, or in our case, Darcy’s big truck parked on the road waiting for us.There’s no dock, no road to the lake, just a mere path that an ATV and a boat trailer can travel.

boat trailer in the shallows of the lake

No shore means that you are backing the boat right into the shallows of the lake, through the reeds and muck, then wading through said muck to get into the boat and onto the lake.

I forgot my rubber boots at the trailer, however that wasn’t stopping me. I waded through in bare feet with my jeans rolled up, not allowing myself to think about the giant water beetles that love to inhabit the muck in Alberta ponds and lakes.

spotted brook trout in the fish basket

The first trout was landed by my sister a mere ten minutes into the trip and was the biggest of the day. Nearing five pounds of beautiful spotted brook trout colors none of the ones caught after quite compared to it.

close up of spotted brook trout

woman holding a big spotted brook trout

As you can see however, we weren’t exactly hurting for fish that day.

more brook trout fish caught

We all landed more than one each and with each we ooh-ed and aah-ed over the different coloring that they had. How beautiful each one was in a different way. Some were very steel colored, like the one my husband caught below, yet still having those beauteous red and blue spots.

man holding brook trout with red and blue spots

After pictures upon pictures ( I was happy here, really!) it was time for a shore lunch.

woman in sun glasses holding a brook trout fish

woman in violet jacket holding a string with all caught brook trout

We headed back to shore, stomachs rumbling and mouths salivating at the thought of the afternoon feast ahead.

The fish were brought up and out and the small ones were plucked from the string, ready to be prepped.

man cleaning and preparing the brook trout

Darcy started cleaning the fish for our lunch – and I finally got a picture of him. He’s a very elusive and sneaky guy, this one. Every time I had a picture of him his head was turned the opposite direction. I warned him that now that I know his tricks, there will be more pictures of him next time.

And that shore lunch?

Well.. that’s just a whole ‘nother story for next time folks! Stay tuned for the second part of this adventure!



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Karlynn Johnston

I’m a busy mom of two, wife & cookbook author who loves creating fast, fresh meals for my little family on the Canadian prairies. Karlynn Facts: I'm allergic to broccoli. I've never met a cocktail that I didn't like. I would rather burn down my house than clean it. Most of all, I love helping YOU get dinner ready because there's nothing more important than connecting with our loved ones around the dinner table!

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  1. Lance Wiebe says

    I know where this is (although your secret is safe with me) but it’s really not as secret as you may think. I heard about this from a brook trout guide who lives in Edmonton, and he said he has taken quite a few people out here before. Also, it does have a name.

    • Lance Wiebe says

      sorry please ignore or delete any comments made under my name they are from my brother who I share an email account with. Don’t give away any tips about the location. It’s your secret spot, keep it that way!

      • Trevor Wiebe says

        The location in this post says Dunn lake (near Hinton) sooooo…

    • Lance Wiebe says

      sorry please ignore or delete any comments made under my name they are from my brother who I share an email account with. Don’t give away any tips about the location. It’s your secret spot, keep it that way!

  2. ACanadianFoodie says

    I have never seen such dark trout… usually the flesh is a light pinky white, isn’t it? They are beautiful – lucky you guys to go on this secret fishing mission… how do they taste? I want tasting notes on your fish posts! 🙂 I have never eaten a trout that didn’t taste dirty. Even with butter. Yet, I love almost every other kind of fish. Even Carp.


  3. The Kitchen Magpie says

    Thanks Dan Zinkand, they are a gorgeous, furious fighter fish! My first time catching them, and not my last!

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