Troutfly Lake Outpost
Troutfly Lake, even from a satellite image on Google Maps, is incredibly clear and inviting. Your journey begins studying this lake from above, noting the reefs and islands, guessing where the camp is located on the north end, and what awaits you in Red Lake. Add in those fabled brook trout ponds to the south, and you’ll find yourself returning to this satellite image day after day in awe.
Or at least I did until I found out that strangely enough if you look on Navionics, this remote lake has actually been charted!
Troutfly Lake is 5 miles long, with the deepest hole just south of the outpost cabin at roughly 100 feet deep. This oligotrophic lake, in layman’s terms, “trout water,” is so clear that you can sight fish many of its species in 25 feet of water, sometimes more when conditions are right. This clarity gives you a false sense of panic when fishing near reefs, only to find you have 10 or more feet between you and the bottom.
During our four days of fishing there, two out of the four of us landed Grand Slams! It was an incredible feeling watching Kim reel in her lake trout, knowing that was the only species she had left to knock off her goal of Grand Slamming Troutfly Lake!
Food and Cooking
Meal plan for three meals a day and bring light snacks for the boat.
There is a BBQ and propane stove/oven to cook within the cabin. We made everything from steak to tasty glazed chicken. We chose sides such as broccoli, asparagus, and potatoes. Potatoes are heavy, but you can use them for dinners and breakfasts. You can also make salads with them to switch it up.
The fridge is large and solar-powered. No concerns about keeping food fresh.
So long as you coordinate with your group and don’t overpack the same things, you’ll make out just fine for fly-in weight. Treat yourself to some nice meals, they are more than doable at Troutfly Lake Outpost!
Two spinning rods and reels per angler are recommended. Between reel malfunctions, the general risk of damage happening, and always the possibility of losing one, it’s good to have a spare! Knowing wind can affect this lake, I didn’t bother bringing bait casters for the lighter gear we planned on using. I also prefer to use spinning gear when lake trout angling, which was one of my main goals on this trip.
Spare fishing line. Thankfully the five species of Troutfly Lake are doable on 10-15 pounds test line. (Although the 15-pound test is overkill for the brook trout ponds, it doesn’t stop them from eating!)
Decide which species you’re more partial to and plan your spare line and leaders accordingly. If you’re unsure: one spool of 10 pounds and one spool of 15 pounds would cover you without issue.
Even though we were targeting walleye, we would happen upon pike regularly, and they were no slouches. I’d recommend using a steel leader while you’re targeting everything aside from lake trout. We caught walleye with no issues using steel leaders, and the limited lures we brought survived to tell the tales of Troutfly.
Bring extra fluoro leader for lake trout. This brings me to my final point: if you have a portable fish finder, I would bring it for the sole purpose of finding lake trout. However, we went blind and made out more than alright! Thankfully the lake trout are relatively predictable in the summer months, deep holes are given.
Lures by Species
Walleye: Jointed crankbaits, soft plastics on 1/4 oz jig heads, Shad Raps or similar baits with varying running depths.
Pike: Jointed crankbaits in pink, perch and shiner colours produced well. Mepps spinners and small bucktails.
Lake Trout: Heavy jig heads (1/4-1/2oz) with a white split tail or paddle tail soft plastics. White tube jig was of course, effective, and a part of the doubleheader. Large hair jigs with heavy enough weights to reach the bottom.
Whitefish: Shad raps that ran 15’ or more and large silver or yellow spoons were the ticket for these aggressive feeders.
Brook Trout: Small Mepps in 1 and 2 sizes and little Cleos were the popular gear choices. They also hit on muddlers, woolly buggers, and Clousers while fly fishing.
What to Expect
The week we spent at Troutfly Lake Outpost was nothing short of amazing. When a trip warrants you keeping a travel journal, you know it’s one for the literal books.
Staying for the first week of July, we thought we had missed our opportunity to sight fish walleye and pike off the reefs, but we were fortunately mistaken! We had so much success doing so, it was hard for us to rest those spots and try new ones.
Trolling along the ledge until we found extended shoals and flats between points, we’d locate fish efficiently. Once we knew where the fish were, we’d start casting and let the wind drift us into the next spot. The safe shorelines of Troutfly were easy and stress-free to drift along. With very little concern about rock hazards, we felt free to cast wherever, whenever and however we wanted.
After two days of catching several walleye, pike, and whitefish and exploring brook trout ponds, we decided to target lake trout for a morning. Kim only needed a lake trout to complete her Grand Slam and this turned into a group effort! That morning, as luck would have it, exploring possible laker territory, I hooked into my first whitefish of the week. Suddenly I too was in the running for a Grand Slam!
Shortly after Kim landed her lake trout, Tracey and I had a hectic moment when a trout slammed my bait while I worked it through the water column. As Tracey reeled in to clear line and help me, a trout hit her lure as well, just in time for her reel to jam. As Tracey hand-reeled hers into the net, mine took several runs before both were netted. We stared in disbelief at the net full of twin 30” lake trout. And just like that, two out of the four of us had completed the Troutfly Grand Slam.
It was an incredible moment between the four of us, as Kim and Erin came in closer to snap photos and share the pure joy emitting from our boat.
The beauty of Troutfly Lake is you can use two separate boats close enough to one another without feeling crowded, handy when exciting things such as several double-headers are the norm. It certainly keeps morale high, even through four long days of fresh air, fishing and endless fun.
When I return to Troutfly, I wouldn’t be shy about running three boats close to one another. This lake fishes well with angler presence, which was surprising with the clarity of the water. All the same, I wasn’t complaining about the beauty, the species, or the company!