Kasba Lake’s World-Class Fly-Rod Action
Fine, I’m spoiled. I can accept that. I mean, my “job” is to travel around the world with my fly rods catching trophy game fish, and then telling people how much fun I had in magazine articles and books. Tough, sure, but someone has to do it, and the way I see it, it might as well be me.
My point is, I have pretty much seen the best of the best. But when I got to Kasba Lake Lodge, I knew that I had indeed arrived in a northern Nirvana, where the flyfisher will find hand-painted Lake Trout swarming in the shallows (yes, the shallows, as in water as shallow as two feet), killer Northern Pike attacking flies with unbridled anger, and the fattest Arctic Grayling I have ever encountered (3-pounders are nothing special) gulping dry flies like a child gobbling candy. Seems the stories Kasba’s Doug Hill had told me weren’t horrible exaggerations after all.
The World’s Weirdest Lake Trout Fishery
When I saw the schools of fat lakers feeding on Cisco’s in 2 feet of water on a clear flat, I knew something weird was going on. After all, Lake Trout only live in deep water, unless it is during the autumn spawn, right?
Well, no. Wrong. Kasba Lake’s lakers can be found in the shallowest shallows right into July and then again late in the summer as fall approaches, and they make perfect targets for the slack-jawed flyfisher who suddenly finds himself sight casting to mobs of beautiful Lake Trout, most of which have apparently never seen a fly, if the way they assault them is any indication. Cast, trout. Cast, trout. Cast, trout. That’s the way it went. And when the lakers did turn off, I simply switched flies or locations (short runs in fast, comfortable, quiet boats equipped with new 40-horse Mercury outboards) and was right back into them.
The hottest flies were 2/0 Clousers in chartreuse-and-white, although Deceivers were also productive and the Pike like to eat them when the lakers weren’t fast enough to get to the fly first. My Sage RPL+ and Winston 8-weight rods were perfect for these fish, with Harris Solitude V, Fly Logic FLP 890, and Scientific Anglers System 2 reels performing flawlessly. Orvis floating Wonderlines with braided leaders did the trick.
Are Those Your Real Teeth?
The Northern Pike of Kasba Lake come in big, big, and bigger. Using the same fly tackle that I used for lakers, except for the addition of a wire tippet and a standard 8-foot 1X leader replacing the braided leader, the Pike proved worthy in every way.
Kasba’s cabbage (pondweed) beds during the first week of July are approaching full bloom and the Northerns are hanging near and in them, waiting in ambush for some helpless fool of a bait-fish to wander by. 2/0 and 3/0 streamers, many designed for salt water, worked very well for hefty Pike up to 25 pounds and well into the 40-inch range.
One cove we hit with master guide Drew Myers was filled from side to side with very big Pike, and in an hour’s time we took maybe 20 fish over 36 inches, one of which broke off, that was clearly a 48-inch fish with a broad back. And on a fly-out to Bradford Lake we found good numbers of equally big Pike patrolling the edges of weed beds and hanging in quiet backwaters.
The Best Grayling Action On The Planet
I had caught untold hundreds of Grayling before showing up at Kasba, but never have I seen anything like the situation on the Kazan River. On this gorgeous, brawling river the Grayling average around 2 pounds, with many going over 3 pounds and some over 4 pounds. The river is teeming with them, too, with daily catches of 80 being reported, but with most days seeing between 40 and 50, most of which are fat and strong.
To make matters even more interesting, the Kazan is filled with large Lake Trout that from time to time try to steal Grayling you are fighting. There is no sight quite like the maw of a 30-pound laker suddenly opening behind a 3-pound Grayling that you are playing in fast water.
I recommend a 3-weight, 7½ – to 8-foot rod for experienced Grayling flyfishers (my Fly Logic FLO+ is the perfect such rod), but less experienced flyfishers should go with a 5-weight, such as a Scott Eclipse, so that they can better handle these fighting game fish in the rapids of the Kazan.
If you are a flyfisher thinking about going to Kasba then stop thinking and call them now to book your trip. As the author of 17 books on the outdoors and flyfishing, and having published more than 1,000 articles in magazines from Field & Stream to Fly Fish America, I get a lot of opportunities to experience the best flyfishing in the world. Kasba rates right up there among lodges offering genuine world-class flyfishing for lakers, Pike, and Grayling. If you don’t go, you will never know.
I have been to Kasba 10 times and every trip seems like it is the best one. The fishing is always great but what separates Kasba from other lodges is the passion of the guides. The Hill family has established a great culture with their guides that is awesome.
Terrific fishing at a very well run lodge. Great people and a great experience. My 4th time visiting Kasba. Superb accommodations and meals. Great equipment and guides. Pike, grayling and lake trout on a magnificent lake.
Unbelievable trip. Unforgettable time and experience. The staff and guides are second to none. We were on trophy fish in no time at all. The accommodations were above expectations. I cannot wait to plan this trip again.