My NWT: Terence Courtoreille, Fly Fisherman

Terence Courtoreille knows the thrill of landing a 48-inch Northern Pike on a fly rod. He also has firsthand experience fly fishing for Arctic Grayling, Dolly Varden, Pickerel (Walleye), Whitefish and Lake Trout. And as an international fly fishing competitor, he will tell you that the fly fishing in the Northwest Territories is right up there with other well known destinations. “Fly fishing locations in the Northwest Territories are more remote, less crowded and offer more exotic species. Seasons are shorter and access is limited, but the fish are big and feisty“ says Courtoreille. From his home town of Hay River on the south shore of Great Slave Lake, Terence has access to a range of lakes and rivers, and he tries to get in as much fly fishing as possible every summer. The largest fish Terence has caught to date on a fly rod is a 48 inch Northern Pike using an 8 or 9 weight, 10 foot fly rod. He says it only took 5 or 6 minutes to land the monster. Terence says the theory behind fly fishing – imitating insects or other food sources – applies in the NWT, but you have to know what insects or food sources are native to the streams and lakes up here. “Northern Pike are predators and they eat small fish, so we use a pattern that imitates the food. “ For Arctic Grayling, Terrence suggests stonefly or caddisfly patterns, and streamers or minnows for Northern Pike or Walleye. Whitefish, considered difficult to catch casting or trolling, come readily to a fly according to Terrence. Whitefish are in most NWT Lakes and feed primarily on insects such as stoneflies, caddisflies and mayflies. When asked about fly fishing for Lake Trout, Terrence says earlier in the season is best, when the fish are higher up in the water, although you can go down 30 to 40 feet when fly fishing in the deep lakes. Like many fly fishermen, Terrence is also a fly tyer. “I learned to fly fish when I was in college in Southern Alberta over 20 years ago. About 10 years ago I started tying flies as well.” Terrence is a serious fly fisherman who has qualified for the Canadian National Fly Fishing Team for the past five years and has participated in five World and one Commonwealth fly fishing competitions. Terrence grew up in Hay River and currently works at the NWT Power Corporation’s headquarters as an accountant. The only northern fish Terrence has not caught on a fly rod is an Arctic Char. This species is found in the northern part of the NWT, mainly in rivers running to the Arctic Ocean. But as Terrence says, “Some day…….”