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As we flew back to Yellowknife, I reminisced of the impossible possibility that I might hold the women’s world record for lake trout. It all started four days earlier when we were flying to Aylmer Lake Lodge for a fishing trip. My husband and I were both excited to catch lake trout and Arctic grayling; in addition, we were looking forward to experiencing the remoteness offered at this lodge.

The experiences just piled up. On our floatplane flight to the lodge, we had to fly low to keep under the clouds. Due to this closeness to the ground, we spotted two herds of muskox, and something off in the distance that could have been a barren-ground grizzly.

After landing on the water, we were warmly greeted by Kevin, the owner, and Nathan, his guide. It was not long before we felt like we were old friends.

After going to the main lodge for a hot meal and a briefing of the safety issues, Kevin showed us a picture he had taken a few hours earlier of the lodge. A beautiful rainbow had silhouetted the entire lodge.

Each day we caught amazing numbers of twenty to forty-pound lake trout. The pristine water was so clear that you could see the lake trout swimming fifteen feet below the boat. We even took time out of the fantastic fishing to stop on shore for lunches and breaks. It was surreal walking on the soft tundra and inhaling the exhilarating fragrance of the Labrador tea and eating wild blueberries and cloudberries.  

Kathy and the muskox
The fishing lodge is located 227 air miles northeast of Yellowknife in the remote barren ground of the Northwest Territories on Aylmer Lake. The lake, together with Clinton Colden Lake, stretches about 80 miles in length and has only been recreationally fished in the last few years. Due to the fragility of the northern environment and the slow growth rates, the lodge has a catch-and-release policy. There are no roads within the area and the lake has never been commercially fished.

Of the many memories that were made on this trip, two captured the essence of the remote experience of this trip. On the third day of fishing, we were trolling and BAM! my rod bent down ninety degrees. Nathan controlled the boat, I slowly fought the fish and when possible, gained some line and eventually reeled in the fish. When I could finally see the fish, we could not believe the size. We hollered at Kevin and my husband to bring their boat over. Unbelievable and remarkable kept echoing in my mind.

We measured the fish to be forty-eight inches long, with thirty inches at the girth. According to the commercial lake trout weight tables, the calculated weight was fifty-four pounds. I just couldn’t believe my eyes. It was surreal! I may have the woman’s world record.

After taking pictures and video, we held the fish in the water until it was restless, and then released it back into the lake. Hopefully, it will spawn again and continue to grow. Everyone had to just sit back and contemplate what had just happened.

Kathy and Dwayne Tiede with Kathy’s behemoth lake trout.
The other moment that will stay with me as a memory happened on the final morning of fishing. We spotted a lone bull muskox on shore, about a mile away. Quickly, we reeled in and then headed towards the shore. We landed our boats and then headed in the direction it had moved before it went over the hill. After a half-mile hike, we spotted it once again moving over another hill. Cautiously moving again over that hill, we were able to get within a few hundred yards of it. Silently, we watched this majestic animal and took some pictures. Then it snorted a few times and trotted off over the hill, with us hearing the click, click, click of its hooves on the rocks. The entire trip will have lifetime memories; however, these two experiences were the pinnacle ones. 

Kevin did contact the IGFA World Record group about the fish I had caught. We had even saved a 20-foot section of the 30-pound test line, with the hook for IGFA to test the line as part of their process to qualify. They responded that according to the information, it was the contender for the Women’s World Record for lake trout. Unfortunately, it was not to be, as we later found out that due to not being able to weigh the fish on a certified scale prior to it being released, the fish would not officially qualify. We didn’t even consider keeping the fish to have it weighed later, as it was just too beautiful.
A consolation is that it is the largest fish caught since Kevin has owned the lodge and so it is their lodge record fish. Despite not qualifying, I have fond memories and even consider myself the “unofficial” Women’s World Record holder for lake trout. ■

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