Lloyd Lake Lodge serves up more than just great fishing

Derrick and Desi Uniat are always happy to share the story of how childhood visits to Lloyd Lake Lodge eventually led to owning one of Saskatchewan’s premier fishing lodges

The brothers were introduced to fishing at an early age. By six, they were part of family visits to the lodge each summer. In time, trips became more frequent. “We’d go there five or six times a year,” Desi said. “As teenagers, Derrick and I would spend 10 days at a time there during school holidays. Our grandfather would describe it as his ‘piece of peace.’ To us, it was paradise.”


Holidays were filled with fun and adventure. At the same time, the boys were taught important life lessons – respect for nature, the importance of family and friendships, and the fulfilment that comes with meeting people from around the world.


 Photo supplied by Lloyd Lake Lodge


Owning the lodge was always their dream. The property came up for sale in 2011, at a point in time when they were both ready and eager to take the plunge into owning and managing the site of so many treasured memories.


Lloyd Lake Lodge is situated north of the 57th parallel, approximately 100 km east of the Saskatchewan/Alberta border and along the northern tip of the remote Clearwater River Provincial Park. Guests can reach the lodge via flights from Fort McMurray, Alberta.


 Photo supplied by Lloyd Lake Lodge


The Uniats are proud to point out features that set the place apart from other lodges. “First of all, we are owners and operators – the first faces visitors see when they arrive,” Derrick said. “Our fondness of this place, you see it right then and there. Another difference is that there are seven other lakes and river systems that can be accessed from the main lodge and no additional fee to fish these outpost waters. You can be here for a week and cast in different waters every single day.”


In 2015, they began expanding package options to stand out in more ways and appeal to diverse markets. Culinary trips were a logical addition to the lodge offerings.


 Photo supplied by Lloyd Lake Lodge


A master chef, Derrick already had a sophisticated menu in place, with its nourishing breakfast of champions, legendary shore lunch and multi-course dinner to end the day. The next step was to design packages that took guests on a complete journey – from experiencing the thrill of the catch to cleaning the fish to preparing mouth-watering dishes.


The three-day culinary adventures now account for 20 per cent of visitors in a season. “The clientele has changed,” Derrick said. “There are more middle-aged visitors, more families and more women. We can tailor classes to accommodate different groups and take advantage of what is available from the lake and forest – freshwater clams, morel and pine mushrooms, and wild blueberries.”


Hosting a maximum of six culinary guests at once keeps the experience hands-on and clearly focused from start to finish. As for favourite dishes, the lakeshore fish fry tops the list. “It’s one of the best meals in the world,” Derrick said. “A lot of people have experienced it and are curious about how to do it themselves – how to start a campfire, heat the oil, cook the fish over an open fire.”


 Photo supplied by Lloyd Lake Lodge


Back at the lodge kitchen, guests learn techniques for smoking fish to create a burst of flavour in chowders, salads and more. Classes also explore cooking prime cuts of meat, pasta dishes and desserts that make the taste buds dance.


Lodge guests come from across North America and beyond, so it is important to provide them with recipes and tips that they will enjoy success with at home. “We’re in Saskatchewan, so I show people how to cook with walleye, pike and fish caught here,” Derrick explained. “But a lot of my recipes allow for substitution. If visitors are from the southern U.S., they are accustomed to different species. They can switch the main ingredient with their locally caught fish.”



 Photo supplied by Lloyd Lake Lodge


Derrick’s Dry Brine Smoked Lake Trout



Two 5-lb. lake trout fillets (skin on, deboned)



1 cup pickling salt

2 cups brown sugar

1 T coarse pepper (optional)

1 T crushed red pepper flakes (optional)

1 T garlic powder (optional)

1 T onion powder (optional)

1 T paprika (optional)



½ cup maple syrup (optional)



Mix the dry brine ingredients.


Place boneless, skin-on lake trout fillets in a vacuum-seal bag. Add the dry brine to the meat side of the trout. Vacuum seal and refrigerate overnight.


Rinse the fillets and pat dry with paper towel. Place trout in 180 F smoker, skin side down. Smoke for 3-4 hours or until trout reaches an internal temperature of 165 F. Brush with maple syrup during the last 10 minutes of smoking. Remove from smoker and let cool.


This is a universal dry brine. Try it on any fatty fish (e.g., whitefish, cisco, salmon, mackerel, herring). It can be made in large batches and stored for over a year.



A dry brine infuses flavour quickly, with less mess. Vacuum sealing is the key. Once vacuum sealed, the brine will still be dry. Overnight, it will turn to liquid and cure the fish.


If you do not have a vacuum sealer, wrap the filets tightly in plastic wrap or use a resealable bag. Remove as much air possible before sealing and refrigerating overnight.


Spices are optional, but the ratio of pickling salt and sugar is important. Make it your own with what you have in the pantry. Want more spice? Add chipotle spice or habanero powder. Love garlic? Double down on the dried garlic powder.


Use a mild fruit wood, like apple or pear, for smoking.


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