Sir Winston Churchill Provincial Park

Sir Winston Churchill is a park of the Alberta Provincial Parks system. Located in Lac La Biche, it proudly boasts its title of being Alberta’s only island park. We have been wanting to book at this park for quiet sometime, but availability in the park, never seemed to match up with what our availability was. However, this summer we managed to snag a site, so we made it our first stop of the summer.

Being that it is located on an island, this park is fortunate enough to be surrounded by 300 year old forest, untouched by forest fires. It is absolutely beautiful and lush. The campground itself has 72 campsites with power. We found 2 that have the cement pads making them wheelchair accessible. There is also a wheelchair accessible trail that winds through the campground. Other campground amenities include a store, canoe and kayak rentals, boat launch, fire pits, shower/ service center, laundry facility, picnic shelter, amphitheater.  It’s a tad more upscale then the camping we are generally used to, but it was a nice change!

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Campground map

This park also offers comfort camping. They have cabin rentals, and a few comfort camping tipis! I have always wanted to camp in a tipi. New bucket list item for sure!

You can find all information regarding the Provincial Park and reserving camping and comfort camping here Alberta Parks

The beaches around this island are top notch and the beach in the campground absolutely blew me away. I have never seen a life jacket loaner station at a provincial park before, but Sir Winston has one. They have a variety of different sized life jackets to borrow.  Just make sure to rinse and hang it back up when you are done.

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Campers beach in the campground is wheelchair accessible.  I noticed at the store that they do have the beach wheelchair as well. If you aren’t staying in the campground itself, you can check out the day use areas around the island. We took a drive into them and they are beautiful as well. Multiple private areas, with a picnic table and BBQ pit, sandy beaches and a playground. (Also noted that liquor is permitted between certain times in these areas). We didn’t check out this beach, so I am unsure of the accessibility. 

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Accessible beach
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One of the many trails in the park

Hiking around this area is awesome! There are tons of trails winding through the beautiful forest. We decided to use our bikes for the most part. Some of the trails were much easier then others to get around on a bike. However, none of them are overly long, so our kids didn’t tire out too much! We spent a lot of time out on the bikes this trip. It seemed to be a fantastic place to do so. You can find a link to the trail maps here Trail Map

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The path more traveled
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The path less traveled

 

So, how’s the fishing you ask?  We went out a few times, and successfully snagged both ample amounts of walleye and pike ( and even one tiny little perch).

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Just a boy and his fish
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Just a guy and his photo bombing daughter

The thing about this lake is the regulations. You are not allowed to keep ANY walleye or pike. Everything is catch and release. Unless you are awarded a special walleye permit by draw. It is still an excellent fishery. We mainly catch and release, so the regulations don’t really bother us any. I think we were a bit surprised how easily we did catch. We (or maybe just I, as Troy is more educated in the fishing world) assumed that it would be a hard bite if they have such steep regulations on it. Not the case!  You can double check the regulations for this lake here Fishing Regulations – Lac La Biche

fish

 

One of the great things about Alberta Parks are the programs they offer at the campgrounds. Run by Alberta Parks staff, our kids were able to enjoy some of the events in the park. Friday night they tested out their knowledge of space and made some simple bottle rockets. On Sunday they put their super sleuthing to work and completed 3 different CSI crime scene investigations. These programs are great and educational. If a park you are staying at is offering something while you are there, I strongly recommend checking them out! Kudos to the Alberta Parks staff for putting them on!

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Rocket building and space science

What else did we do?

Well we did hit the water of course. The kids went tubing for awhile, Troy was brave enough to go in the 63 degree water to knee board.

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These kids are braver then I

We also did some kayaking.

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Always the fisherman

 

There is a golf course right outside the park itself. We didn’t golf this time, but we were wishing we brought our clubs, because it looked like a fantastic course! You can find more info here Lac La Biche Golf and Country Club

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Lac La Bich Golf and Country Club

 

Our kids are museum junkies. They love going to them. For whatever reason. I suppose there are worse things that they insist we see so its no big deal. We checked out Lac La Biche’s museum and were pleasantly surprised! What a great little place! I recommend stopping in to check them out. You can find info on their operating hours here Lac La Biche Museum and Visitor Center

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Model ship – Lac La Biche Museum

 

Some things to consider:

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Firewood station. All neatly wrapped bundles

Firewood: While there is plenty of it, you do need to buy it at $5.00 a bundle.

Showers:

I’m going to take a minute here and rave. And I mean big big humongous rave.

THE SHOWERS ARE AMAZING! (and FREE)

By campground standards anyways. They were clean and the water stayed warm for our entire shower! This (as some of you probably know) is a rarity to find, and it was amazing.

Ice Cream: HUGE! Like extremely huge, kids bowls and cones were more then enough for us.

Algae: We did encounter blue-green algae at the boat launch. The beach was clear, however be on the lookout and be sure to keep pets away if you do see some.

leaving

I feel there is a ton more to see here. We only scratched the surface. The lake is massive, (7th largest in Alberta to be exact) and with so many little islands to explore. Had the weather been a bit nicer we may have ventured out farther on the boat. There are also other campgrounds in and around Lac La Biche. Lakeland Provincial isn’t far, and Beaver Lake isn’t far down the road. With so much more to see and do, I am sure we will be back again!

Until next time Lac La Biche!

 

Have you been to Sir Winston Churchill?  Got any extra information to share with us?  Leave a comment or send us an email!

Dorè Lake

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Things were going great that day.

We had the camper hooked up, the fridge was full, and the beers were cold. We were headed out for a much needed kid free fishing vacation! Nothing could rain on our parade….. I mean nothing!

Then the turbo on the truck blew up………

Fast forward through a flat bed tow truck, (shout out to Midway Auto Towing), a special 2nd truck delivery via one special Grandma and Great Grandma, a gas station, a 5th wheel hitch and rail swap out and re-install into the #2 truck, and we were on our way again!

Nothing, and I mean nothing, was going to hold us back from this trip. (We even made it to our destination before night fall!)

So where were we headed that we were so bound and determined to get to you ask?

Well……..

Dorè Lake Saskatchewn. It is Saskatchewan’s 7th largest lake. Known for ample amounts of walleye over 21.5″ and recording setting pike. (33 pounds to be exact).

Dorè has been on our bucket list for a very long time, so when the opportunity to spring fish this lake with NO kids in tow came up, we jumped on the chance faster then our kids on a new trampoline!

There are a few different choices in places to stay. We opted to haul our camper and stay at Dore Lake Fish N’ Camp RV Park. Its a newly established campground that offers full services. We are not usually the type to care very much about power and water, so full hook-ups were kind of magical. There are also a few different lodges that offer cabin & boat rentals on the lake as well.

Day one actually started kind of slow. While we were casting for some pike, Troy managed to snag one, but this wasn’t the legendary Dorè Lake fishing we had come to expect.

That’s it! Time to move!

Boom!

It didn’t take us long after we moved to hit the money spot. After only a few minutes trolling in this new location, trying a few different fishing presentations of bait, along with figuring out speed of the boat and our depth, we were hooking 8 pound walleye all day and the Vogt fishing derby had commenced, this was the fishing we were expecting to have… Maybe even slightly better then we were expecting to have!

Now, Troy is a field staff for Exsile Outdoors, so I’m going to let him take over to give you all the low down on our set up and all that jazz.

So for our two days fishing we found that 8.5 and 9.5 feet was where the fish were hanging out. The presentation that was working for us was bottom bouncing. Bottom bouncing is a led weight with a thick wire through it, hooked to your line, then a leader with some beads, a spinner blade and hook/hooks hooked to that! Top the hooks off with a worm or leach and you are ready to go!

I like to use a combo of my own tied hooks and bought hooks. There are many different options for making spinner rigs but the color pattern we found that worked at this place and time of year was gold, silver, and red! Also silver and blue,(not shown). Chartreuse, pink and white also worked but did not have the hook up rate that the other patterns did!

That being said the trick to winning the family fishing derby is to keep your rod tip bent….at all times with a fish on! As it keeps hook tension, and gives next to no chance for the fish to spit the hook!

Speed, that’s a tough one! We had to keep our speed at 0.9 to 1.1 mph. This is hard to achieve without a decent trolling motor. Ours has GPS and gives very accurate speed on the hand held remote. It’s a Minnkota power drive 24 volt 70lb thrust. If you dont have a trolling motor, you could use your phone and a tracking app for hiking or something like that, as they usually have a speedo on them. If using your boat motor and you are going to fast, tying a pail with a few holes in it and tossing it out the back can help to slow you down!!

Location, location, location. While we had never fished this lake, we did receive some pretty good intel to follow. Spring time, the walleye are moving out of the bays and into the main lake. We didnt have to venture far from our campsite to fish. In fact, we were able to come in and have lunch each day! If you are more adventurous and want to find some big pike, we have heard rumours of the infamous “T-Bay” across the lake- all the way across! We didnt brave the main lake this time. I’ve heard though, if you do go out on it to be prepared. It can go from calm to insane in .5 seconds. Many have been known to have to seek refuge on shore for the night. So bring some extra supplies.

Day 2 proved to be much of the same. Same locations, set ups, sizes, and numbers caught. We did try our luck farther back in the bay we were in, but had little luck. We are told the walleye head out of the bays by mid-June early July, so the fishing gets tougher and you do have to venture out on the main lake for best results. So we were pretty lucky to be there for the spring fish this year.

All said and done, we only explored a small amount of what this lake has to offer. There are many trails to explore, places to stay and fishing holes to find. There is also guided hunting in the area which we hear have stellar results.

We highly recommend checking out Dore Lake for a wicked walleye/pike fishing. We have plans to make this an annual spring time venture for us!

Heading to Dorè Lake?

Have questions for us?

Leave a comment or shoot us an email! We love to hear from everyone.

Oh, and if your wondering, yes I won, but Tanya makes for a great fishing partner, and if she would have kept the rod tip bent she would have won the derby.

Final talley:

Troy – 62

Tanya – 43

P.S. if there are items you would like to buy from the Exsile site, here is a promo code to use T_Vogt3.7M

 

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