Welcome to Week I of 'Shore Fishing the Parkland'. Like most of us I am a novice fisherman, loving to fish, but far from an expert. In the following weeks I'll attempt to give those anglers who love to fish but just don't have access a boat a look at some of the options in the Yorkton area where you can fish from shore, and hopefully catch some fish for a good summer fry.
Our first trip takes us north of Yorkton, but not too far. Just get on Highway #9 and head to Canora. You stay on the highway through the town and watch for Whitesand Drive, where you make a right hand turn, and head east.
The road is a grid, and when we headed out Mother's Day it had its share of rough spots, but don't worry, you don't have far to go. It's about three kilometres to the town's water treatment plant, where you turn in and follow the road around to the Canora Dam.
A friend at a yard sale had said the fish were biting, so I had to check it out.
Early in the season the water here is high, and it's moving plenty fast coming over the spillway. The water the day we ventured out was roiling with plenty of white froth on top. Set against the still bare trees which border the water it has a very rustic, wild look to the place.
With the high water finding a fishing spot means finding one of the cut out areas. Some look to be man made to create car access to near the water's edge, while others are nestled in the trees and take a bit of climbing around some deadfall to get too.
The cut out areas provide lots of room to cast, although be ware if it's windy, and Mother's Day afternoon it was, your line may still find a tree. A red five of diamonds of mine was left dangling in one such branch. I could see the hook, but wasn't wading out in the water to try and get it back.
So I found a cut out and headed to the shore. I had heard a yellow lead head was a good choice and went that route to start. It took only a couple of cast and I had one. It was a fighter, and I was expecting a pike as there were a couple of real good-sized 'jacks' on a stringer nearby.
To my surprise it was a red horse sucker, and to my shock it had actually taken the hook, it wasn't a snag catch.
Now you can fry suckers although I never have, and some people can them, and they are tasty that way, but I tossed this one back.
It would be the only one I caught during the day, but I probably saw a thousand. The suckers were jumping in a veritable frenzy. I have fished for years from the Hanson Lake Road south, and never saw fish jumping like that. It was an amazing experience.
A couple of casts later I had a pickerel, and figured I was in for a good day.
I was, but it wasn't an easy one.
The fast water and wind was enough to take a lot of hooks to the bottom where rocks and other snags claimed them. The fast water meant cast positioning was important because in some areas the current would speed a hook toward shore and more hidden branch to snag on.
There was a trip to the fishing lure aisle to replenish lead heads after the day, but that is part of fishing.
While the start was promising, the third catch was a pike, the fish weren't exactly stampeding to bite. Nibbles out-numbered the bites, and on more than one occasion a fish close enough to shore to see it in the water spit the hook and swam happily away, leaving a frustrated angler.
By later afternoon I was tired from fighting snags and wind, but at least the bucket was slowly filling.
It helped too to see a beaver out for a current-enhanced swim, and the sun setting over the water was beautiful.
So was a shore supper of cold fried chicken and homemade potato salad.
As evening arrived the wind went down and fishing became easier, aided further by a move to a small red five-of-diamonds hook.
By 8-ish I had my limit of pike, nothing massive, but a good eating string.
And as the sun dipped lower the five-of-diamonds did what it often does, attracted the pickerel. I had two, and was within a cast, or two of giving up for the day when number three bit and stayed on the hook until shore.
That was enough incentive to give it a few more casts, and one of them got a bite. As I turned the reel handle all I could think was 'please don't be a 'jack'.' Fortunately it wasn't. It was the fourth pickerel.
Since moving to Yorkton I have had good nights catching pickerel, and good ones putting jack on the stringer, but to limit on both in the same day is something I don't recalling having done since my school years fishing Tobin Lake, so it was a great day.
The fishing was at times trying, and I was throwing hooks for about six hours, but the results were worth it. Being that the fishing spot is only about 35-minutes away means more trips are in my future.
Definitely one to check out early in the season at least.