When fishing is in your blood it’s hard not to wet a line every chance you get. For this Newfoundlander, I did just that, with a guided ice fishing tour from Yellowknife Sportfishing Adventures.
Despite the cold outside, I watched my catch stock my lure on sonar from the comfort of a heated tent on a frozen lake 20 feet above which was pure luxury.
Sportfishing Adventures is run by two best friends who live in Yellowknife Jason Thibault and Andrew Moore.
“We were working together at another job and it was a ‘hey you like fishing? I like fishing! Let’s be friends’ situation,” Thibault said.” Since then we have done a ton of fishing together.”
“These guys from Yellowknife Sportfishing Adventures actually know what they are doing. I mean I grew up fishing and even I was impressed by the two mainlanders.”-Arthur C. Green
Thibault says they are good friends that bicker and argue like two brothers which can be pretty entertaining for customers who use their service.
“We are always in a way competing with each other to see who gets the biggest and most fish,” Thibault said. “That being said if one of us is having a slower day we share our locations, bait we are using and anything to make sure we catch more fish with our customers.”
Catching a Walleye through the ice with YK Sportfishing Adventures while having underwater vision is pretty neat. #LifeInTheNorth pic.twitter.com/ym6GI1pz9M
— Arthur Craig Green (@artcgreen) November 18, 2019
The pair started there fishing tour business in 2017 and at the time didn’t realize how popular it would become.
“I had no idea it would have ended up the way it has so far,” Moore said. “I expected to take out a couple of people during the summer and a few people over the winter. As soon as we legitimized the business(Business license, Tourism license, insurance, etc) it took off.”
Over the past three seasons, Yellowknife Sportfishing Adventures has made a very loyal customer base. Not everyone can do fishing trips every year, but close to 75 per cent of their summer bookings for 2020 are return customers, Moore says.
“They enjoy their trips so much they make it a yearly or an alternating year trip,” Moore said. “Our pre-booked time slots for 2020 are sold out but we will have more time slots available in January (for the 2020 summer) when we confirm our guide availability, If people are interested in the summer trips then they should get in contact with us ASAP to get their names on a waitlist.”
It’s the personal interaction and equipment that Moore and Thibault offer clients that separate them from the competition.
“We differ from other fishing charters in town because of a few reasons,” Moore said. “Being that we are a true sportfishing fishing charter service. We use the best equipment on the market for fishing and Professional guides that know what they are doing.”
That affordability and accessibility is a priority for their fishing services, Moore added.
“We want to make sure that everyone has an opportunity to be able to come fishing with us. The fishing in Yellowknife is world-class and everyone should be able to experience it,” Moore said. “Our charters are private. When you purchase a fishing trip with us it’s your trip and strangers will not be added to ‘fill spots’. You will get a guide, fishing equipment, a heated tent all for your group to enjoy. We really support the idea of being a tourist in your own City and love supporting the local people of Yellowknife providing them this type of service.”
For the winter trips, Moore says they are almost sold out of their December and January trips and the season hasn’t even started yet.
“We are expecting a very busy ice fishing season,” Moore said “We have made a reputation of catching people fish and that makes people happy. That being said fishing is fishing and somedays and we have had a few, they just don’t cooperate.”
My day ice fishing with Yellowknife Sportfishing Adventures was in no way a disappointment. I was treated to a snowmobile ride on a brand new machine, which brought me to an insulated tent that was safe and had warm heaters, the best fishing rods, lures and the best electronics.
“Our latest purchase is the Garmin Panoptix ice bundle,” Moore said. “This allows us to see up too 100ft around where we are fishing to spot fish. It is also a blast to watch fish on the sonar screen from far away travel in to go after your lure.”
It’s actually like playing a video game as you can visually see your lure dropping on the screen as fish sit on the bottom waiting to bite. A very helpful tool in my opinion because I was able to set my hook at point of contact, yes this equipment is that accurate. The location the guides brought me too, however, I will not disclose. Any good fisherman never tells his spots.
It must have been Newfoundlander luck because Moore says my day on the ice with them was the best Walleye day they have ever experienced.
“Yes b’y, da Newfie had some sort of luck,” Moore said. “I never have seen anything like it. It must have been all the Newfie jokes Arthur told while we were fishing.”
Although I left the Maple Leaf Vienna sausage’s at home in six hours we caught over 20 Walleye and 10 Northern Pike with the Newfoundlander leading in catch total by the end of the day.
“Our day with Arthur was the best Walleye(AKA Pickerel) day I have had around Yellowknife,” Moore said. “Catching over 20 Walleye in 6 hours is pretty impressive. Arthur must have had had some pretty good guides.”
These guys from Yellowknife Sportfishing Adventures actually know what they are doing. I mean I grew up fishing and even I was impressed by the two mainlanders. They also purchased most of their equipment locally, the best money can buy, between Polartech, Walmart and Canadian Tire keeping their hard-earned cash in the North.
“We rarely have to order items from southern stores,” Moore said. “The same motto goes for the Summer, we have purchased the best boats you can buy, best fishing equipment and electronics for Summer tours.
“Our summer trips can be pretty busy,” Moore said. “Some days we catch can catch over 50 lake trout in a day, some days its a lot less but that’s fishing. One of our best summer trips we landed over 400 lake trout in four days of fishing between two boats.”
For Summer trips, there are three options for customers:
- Day trips – For a private group of four it’s $999+tax which includes a guided charter on a 24ft Kingfisher to the East Arm on the Great Save Lake. All your fishing equipment and a shore lunch are provided.
- Two-night/three-day overnight trip – For a private group of four people, it’s $3500+tax. You will be transported from Yellowknife by their 24 ft Kingfisher to their East Arm Camp and spend three days fishing. All your food and fishing equipment is provided as well as your sleeping accommodations.
- Three-night/four-day overnight trip is $4500+tax and its the same as the two-night except you get an extra day of fishing.
“Over the next few years, our biggest plan is to continue to provide an affordable and accessible service that everyone can enjoy,” Moore said. “Next summer season we are looking at adding in a Trophy Pike fishing trip and over the next few years hopefully add a few more large boats like we already have to be able to do more day trips.”
As for Ice fishing, they are currently looking at options so they can transport people to lakes outside the Yellowknife area for a more remote experience, which is super exciting for the two mainlanders.
For Winter trips, there are a few options for customers to choose:
- Ice fishing – Half day (four hours) is $400+tax and its for a private group of four. All your fishing equipment, heated tent and guide are included.
- Full-Day (eight hours) is $600+tax. It’s for a private group of four. All your fishing equipment, heated tent, and guide are included.
“There are other options available to fish different lakes and for specific fish,” Moore said. “These trips can be personalized and customized but we would need to be contacted to arrange a price.”
When you book a trip with Yellowknife Sportfishing Adventure expect to have a great time. From the time you meet Jason and Andrew to the time you get dropped off you will be spoiled with the experience, I was.
“If you are from outside of Yellowknife, fishing in the south will never be the same,” Thibault said. “Also, expect to learn a ton about fishing. We spend a lot of time teaching guests what we know, so they can take that with them and use it later on.”
It’s very satisfying for us to watch guests catching fish on their own after teaching them, Thibault added.
“Fishing is fishing, but we make a 110 per cent effort to make sure you will catch fish,” Thibault said. “We haven’t had a trip where we were skunked (not catch a fish) but there have been a few slower days. There are days where we regularly catch around 10-20 fish then days between 50-80 fishing in a day and some days even more than that. Our biggest Lake trout caught was 45lbs, we have caught lots over 30lbs and even more over 20lbs. This last summer we caught a few thousand fish, between Trout, Pike, Walleye, Grayling, Inconnu, Bourbot and Whitefish.”
These guys live, sleep, eat and breath fishing.
“For the summer seasons over the last three years, which is 2.5 months long, we have done close to 150 trips,” Thibault said. “Which works out to be close to 400 days on the Great Slave Lake.”
For Moore, he grew up fishing and when he moved to the North he basically became addicted to it and you will too once you book a tour with these guys.
“The fishing up here is so good that it’s hard not to obsess over it,” Moore said. “I always had friends ask me to take them or family members out and I thought if I’m being asked this much by people I might as well make a legit business out of it.”
Moore knew that with the number of people visiting family and friends in Yellowknife he would be able to give them an experience that they would always remember.
“I love fishing and it’s so rewarding to see how happy people are during or trips,” Moore said. “Being able to let people experience something I enjoy so much is very inspiring.”
I was also treated to this experience and will hold it dear in my heart as a memory I will treasure. It was the best day ice-fishing I ever had in my life.
Thank you Yellowknife Sportfishing Adventures. To check out Yellowknife Sportfishing Adventures on social media please visit:
Facebook – @yellowknifesportfishingadventures
Website – www.yellowknifesportfishing.com
Trip Advisor – Yellowknife Sportfishing Adventures