Weed ‘em out: Talbot Lake offers prime pike-stalking waters

Talbot Lake is ultra-clear, shallow, and full of fish.

Located 30 kilometres east of Jasper, Talbot offers the ideal day trip for a fishing adventure of the toothy kind. And while the park is chalk-full of opportunities to catch all manner of trout, Talbot represents the only readily accessible body of water where pike are abundant. Mile 9 Lake has pike as well, but this lake has been closed to fishing for some time and it is unlikely that Mile 9 will reopen to angling in the foreseeable future.

Talbot though, has tremendous pike fishing for those willing to cast a line, and the great part aboutfishing here is how agreeable the pike are to biting your hook. I’ve caught pike everywhere on this lake, and they’ve hit plugs, spoons, spinners, and even small floating frog lures. Even fishing a small bead head fly intended for catching the enormous lake whitefish of Talbot has yielded pike. Hunting Talbot’s huge whitefish is a different story altogether, however, and will be the focus of some future article.

If ever there were a lake where polarized glasses would be considered mandatory, Talbot is it. Polarized glasses cut the water’s surface glare, allowing the angler to spot the fish. With polarized glasses I cruise the weed line edges and look for pike. Quite often I see them pushed up right on the weed line edge, and then I’ll make my cast to them. I prefer using smaller, single-hooked spoons as the pike have a taste for them, and using a single hook makes it easier to get the lure out when I do bring a fish in. I’ve even gone so far as to purchase some weedless spoons, allowing me to cast right into the weeds. It might surprise you how many pike are hangingaround in those shoreline weeds!

The shoreline weed pike can keep a person busy all day long, but there are more places that hold pike and I’ve found that if you seek out the deeper water, which is relatively rare on Talbot, there will be pike there too. Deep water in this case is more than eight feet deep, and if that deep water has some weed bed attached to it, well, there are likely to be pike setting up shop there all day long.

My favourite way to fish Talbot is from a boat. The mobility and the ability to effortlessly move up and down shorelines, probing a lure into every potential nook and cranny, means more lures in front of more fish. That said, I have also had good success chasing pike from shore. That entire weedy shoreline which parallels the highway has pike. I toss weedless spoons out from the shore and I am fully prepared to wade in and go after a tangled hook or a fish tangled in the weeds if needed. Waders can help with this, but I have also waded wet on hot summer days. On most days it’s pretty easy to catch good numbers of pike, whether I’m in a boat or on shore. While the entire lake has pike, I find myself almost always travelling to the east side of the boat launch. There’s a lot more structure in this direction—points, weed lines, islands and such. As a result, I feel I catch more fish there.

Talbot is the lake I go to because it is fun. There are a lot of pike there, and generally they are happy to bite a hook. I often see the fish before I cast to them, and every now and then I’ll catch a better fish. There are some really big pike in Talbot, but in general, the fishery is more about numbers and the quality of the experience. Most pike at Talbot are of average size, so if you catch a fish over six pounds, make sure you get a photo. A fishing trip to Talbot ranks very high simply because when I’m fishing there I’m surrounded by mountains, and it’s a very cool place to wet a line. Bring a friend and the fun factor doubles, which is why you will see me and friends back on Talbot this summer.

Fred Noddin calls Edmonton home, where he works as an aquatics biologist. He recently earned his MSc in Ecology at The university of Alberta, and has spent the last decade involved in the study of Alberta and NWT fisheries. Fred comes to the mountains at every opportunity, for the fishing, the scenery, the hiking, for the wide open spaces and for the great people. Email noddin@ualberta.ca

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