Summertime and the fishing is easy with Winefred Lake Outfitters.
My line sails into the air, arcing into the steely waters of Winefred Lake. The sinker drops, sending ripples outward. Somewhere below pike and walleye swim in search of dinner. In the distance, pelicans fish too.
In this ecosystem, we are the minority – just another part of the food cycle. We troll for our meal as Trapper Paul Padlesky steers the boat into the best fishing holes.
Having come to the area 30 years ago, few know the area like Padlesky. He built his lodge here from scratch, after acquiring the trapping lease for the area. In summer, he brings clients out on the lake to fish for pike and walleye (mostly catch and release). Winters, he guides hunting for moose, and trapping for beaver and wolf.
Guests stay lakeside in large log cabins, and cross their fingers that there’s fish for dinner; when they come straight off the lake, the larger pike yield steaks that are so good you’ll wonder if you’ve ever really tasted fish before. And nobody fries them up like Padlesky.
Once they’ve discovered a taste for it, many of Padlesky’s guests become return visitors. Some have been coming back for as long as 25 years. Bookings are made up to a year in advance.
“It’s the best spot, no doubt about it,” says Mark Witholt. He and his friend Pat Callaghan have brought their two sons up from Edmonton for a boys’ getaway. “It’s the best cabins, best people, best boat launch – this bay right here is perfect. You have to fish Winefred Lake.”
Reeling my line back in, I get a bite and soon enough there is a pike dangling above the water, Padlesky’s finger hooked in its gill. Tonight, there will be fish for dinner.