Fishing Lake Newell

Through the eyes of traveller Quentin Randall:

On a map, Lake Newell is a curious body of water in the relatively dry and tough Southern part of the province. It’s a large body of water, coming in at nearly 70 square kilometers, and is likely the largest man-made reservoir in the province. Of course, being the curious explorer I am, this massive oasis called to me and I just had to see it for myself.

Arriving at the Newell Marina with my home-made donut and fresh coffee, I was greeted by Bryce and Dawn of Trebled Life Guided Fishing Trips. The couple already had our fishing boat ready at the dock, along with at least half a dozen prepared fishing rods. Probably more.

“We’re going find some pike and walleye this morning,” Bryce tells me. “The pike get up to 30 pounds out here. They can put up a helluva fight” he says as we shove off from the dock.

Now I’m no fisherman, but I know what 30 pounds feels like and I imagine when they’re fighting for their life, it can indeed be quite a battle.

Heading away from the marina and to the morning’s fishing spot, Dawn and Bryce point to what looks like a mirage floating above the watery horizon. Dawn explains that the mirage is actually Pelican Island. It’s a protected island within Lake Newell and is one of the few places in Alberta where baby Pelicans can be found. Because of its biological importance, no one can go within 100 yards of the island’s shores. In fact, Lake Newell is becoming a popular bird-watching destination, and telescopic lenses help birders get good shots of some amazing wildlife.

Arriving at our destination, Bryce and Dawn pull out some pre-prepared fishing rods, set for walleye and pike. They have a brief conversation about what we should start with and settle on pike. It’s clear they know these waters, and have a ton of respect for each others’ abilities.

They hand us our fishing rods, give some quick instructions and before we know it, we’re casting. Shortly after that, we have a fish on the line! I’m actually relieved that it’s not a 30 pound fish, as the fight is not as bad as expected. In a matter of minutes, the fish is right alongside our boat.

We spent the better part of the morning on the lake with Bryce and Dawn, alternating between casting, getting a few tips, and covering everything from education to food to family. Bryce estimates that his 11 year son has caught hundreds of thousands of fish in his young career. Dawn proves that women can fish and says that they have guided groups of girlfriends who have never held a fishing rod before.

For us, the water was calm and the company was good, even if we didn’t catch the big one. It’s the motion of the ocean that counts, I suppose.

It was clear that Bryce and Dawn have a deep appreciation for Lake Newell and the living they’ve been able to make there.