Sept 28-29, 2019 Duncan's NWT ATV Fishing Trip (28 Photos)


28.   Myself and a couple friends from town loaded up 3 ATV's and headed south for an overnight camping/fishing adventure. The lake we were travelling to is called Billy Lake, and this photo shows our route. Itís about 17k as the crow flies, but about 35-40km on the trail.




27.   It was warm September day in town, but once we got up about 1000ft in elevation the temperature changed dramatically.




26.   The snow was coming down HEAVY. We lost the trail (which I'd only traveled twice before) and I relied heavily on the GPS. The trip itself was about 40k one way to the fishing lake and in good conditions about a 2 hour ride.






24.   Visibility was super poor, down to 10m at some points!  Hereís me just after we re-acquired the trail on Day 1, on our way to the lake. At the last minute I decided to bring two spare sets of AA lithium batteries for my GPS and Iím glad I did. I didnít use any of them, but it gave us the freedom to use the GPS to find our trail and not have to worry about having enough batteries to get us home if the blizzard kept up.



23.   We set up camp at the southern end of the lake. That giant yellow bag on the back of my Yamaha is an Arctic Oven 10x10 tent. We had a few extra things in the bag, but that tent is big to pack. Worth itís weight though in the winter. It comes with an aluminum frame, and is set up with a really robust inner layer and fly. It stands up to enormous winds and is the closest thing Iíve seen to a portable cabin.



22.   Here we are setting up the tent. You can see the inner layer of the tent, which is very breathable. We had no heat inside overnight and the weather was ripe for condensation. The breathable inner kept all the condensation on the fly, and nothing inside the tent



21.   You have almost 7í of head room at the peak. Lots of room for the 3 of us.


20.   The Arctic Oven has big aluminum poles. Easy to set up too. No messing around with wall tent poles being custom cut from trees (if you can find them). Everything fits together quick.



19.   Iím getting on a tent tangent here, but it's pretty sweet. Nothing more I would feel safer in during a tundra storm. They make 8x8 (I think) all the way up to 24x24, this was a 10x10. Perfect for two people and a wood stove. Their 12x18 is a solid size for a family or hunting group.



18.   The tent came from Every spring they usually have a 15% of sale.






16.   Side note, Iíve got one of these stoves:

Itís one of the few actual ďairtightĒ camp stoves that Iíve seen out there. Buddy is on and off for making them, but this one I have personally run for 8 hours on just spruce. Normal camp stoves need to be stoked every 2-4 hours and it really fucks with your sleep. This one will just smoulder away if you want it to. I actually burnt Steve's north face sleeping bag on it when we were bison hunting!








13.   We fished right off this point, just about 60m from our campsite. Straight across the lake you can see a bunch of tiny dark dots. Those are about a dozen caribou that came over the hill across the bay, about 980m away.







11.   It was cold over night probably -10 or so. We were just above freezing in the tent but we each had a -30 or -40 sleeping bag and it was NOT overkill. You can see the frost on my display cluster for the Yamaha that I had to scrape off.




10.   For bikes we had my 2014 Yamaha Grizzly 700, a 2016 CanAm 570 and a rental 2016 Honda 500 solid rear axle, 5 speed with a front locker. All three bikes were loaded up pretty good, and none had any issues.



9.   I rented the Honda to let us go on this trip and I drove it exclusively (one of the conditions of being able to rent it was that I drive it). It was my first time on an extended trip with a Honda. Obviously the solid rear axle was not as comfortable, and the 5 speed wasnít quite as useful as an automatic in this constantly varying terrain, but using an apples to apples comparison the bike worked really well. It was by FAR the most fuel efficient. On the one way trip, the CanAm used about 8 litres, the Yamaha about 3-4L, and the Honda 500 used about 2-3L fuel. I did find the terrain a little tougher, and it was the only bike to get stuck, BUT it was the only bike on stock tires, and those stock tires had about 1500k on them already. Very impressed with the machine, and it would hands down be the best value of all the bikes used.



8.   It was cool to not only travel by ATV in the winter, but to have three different bikes to try it on. We didnít catch a single damn fish, by the way. For as remote as we are, the fishing up here isn't great. Itís crazy how fished out the lakes are up here. Thereís fish in the spring, but by the end of September itís almost impossible to catch something again till February/March.



7.   Our campsite the next morning. Winter is here!



6.   Heading home! our first leg back north along the lake.



5.   Pit stop at the north end of the lake, before turning east for the inland part of the trail.



4.   A few shots along the way home. There are lakes everywhere.









1.   This is the last peak before heading back down to sea level to get to town. If you zoom in along the coast, just left of centre you can see a few white dots, which is Paulatuk.

Cheers, DUNCAN

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