Every year I plan a kayak fishing trip with my brothers and my cousin. One of my most memorable trips was in June of 2018 at Jan Lake, Saskatchewan. We packed our things and made the long drive from Calgary to Jan Lake. At the lake, Jed, the owner of Jed’s on Jan greeted us and set us up with a private waterfront camping spot in the overflow section of the campground. This site was exactly what we were looking for since we were tenting and wanted a spot on the water to store the kayaks overnight.
After setting up camp, we went out for an evening of kayak fishing. The bite was hot and we came back to camp with some fish for a late-night fish fry. Little did we know that a crazy storm was on its way. As we cooked our fish, all of a sudden the rain and wind really picked up. With no thunder or lightning, we figured it was safe to continue to cook our fish. The sound of the rain on our tarp that night was so loud, we couldn’t hear the trees breaking and uprooting all around us. The wind was so strong that our tarp was ripped from the trees it was secured to. That’s when we decided to take cover and wait for the wind to pass. After a very long 15 minutes, it was all over, but we knew there was likely to be a lot of damage to the campground around us. Luckily none of us were hurt, except for my vehicle, which looked worse than it was. A small dent on the hood was better than a tree on our tent and I am grateful for that. One thing I have learned from this trip is that the weather in Northern Saskatchewan can quickly change and it is always best to be prepared for an overnight thunderstorm.
After the crazy night, we decided it was time to get out kayak fishing and catch some fish. We weren’t moving the vehicles with all the trees that fell onto the road so why not get out fishing instead? The fishing was great, especially for northern pike. It ended up being a great day out on the water with a bunch of fish caught. I even got to experience my first authentic Northern Saskatchewan shore lunch. We picked the best rocky outcrop we could find, built a fire and cooked up some freshly caught fish.
Once we returned to camp, I was surprised to find that the 20 or so trees that were blocking our exit from the overflow campground were all gone. Jed and his crew had cut and removed them all including the one on top of my vehicle. I can’t thank them enough for all the work they did that week to clean up the campground and remove the full-grown trees off the roads, campers, and cabins.
The next few days were spent kayak fishing, enjoying shore lunches, and sitting around the fire. The fishing was excellent, but that isn’t what I remember when I think of the trip. I think of the epic breakfasts over the fire, the peaceful morning paddling, the late-night drinks around the fire, and that crazy storm we witnessed. Trips like this are why I enjoy kayak fishing. It gives me the ability to get away from the crowds, explore some uncharted waters, and experience nature. With open water coming in the weeks ahead, I will be planning more trips like this, with the hopes of making more great memories.
For kayak fishing and paddling information on Jan Lake and many other lakes and rivers, refer to Paddling Maps.
Wilderness Systems Pro-Staff
Facebook @Terran Bernhard