Welcome to Week X of 'Fishing Parkland Shorelines'. 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.
When you head north to find spots such as Lady and Schutte Lake in the Preeceville and Endeavour area there is another shore option to investigate and that is the Assiniboine River.
The Assiniboine is the main waterway in the region and it winds its way through the area eventually feeding into Lake of the Prairies, a major fishery I'll visit in greater detail soon.
Major rivers are often highways for fish, and that is the case with the Assiniboine, with fish moving through the river, particularly in spring. Keep that in mind. The spots I am going to discuss today are likely to be better early in the spring. So when you buy your license and want some early season fish, think about river spots.
River fishing, especially early also offers a different kind of fishing than usual lake shore spots.
A river is generally moving water, and in spring that water moves faster. Fisherman need to be aware that when they cast the current is going to move the hook. Place a cast wrong and it will carry a hook to shore pretty quickly.
River shores are usually home to overhanging tree branches, if not submerged trees in spring, and that can mean saying good-bye to a hook caught in a branch.
In summer as currents slow, the impact lessons, there are usually cattails and other water plants along shore which can still cause a hook to get caught up rather easily.
The good news though is that you can also use the current to carry the hook into places you might not be able to cast directly into, and that can mean some spots behind deadfalls, or in little riverbank cuts which a big old pike or walleye might be lurking.
So the Assiniboine is long, but most of it runs through private land you would need permission to cross, and even then the river banks are largely to heavily treed to allow fishing.
There are however several places to give a try.
Once you are at Preeceville, the river crosses under the highway just west of the community. The ditch offers access to fish near the bridge.
Bridges are generally a good place to try your river luck because the river has usually been deepened when the bridge was installed. The deeper pools, with accompanying cover from bridge structure makes good fish spots.
Near the bridge you can also turn north on a grid road, the one we took earlier to get to Lady Lake, and there is a culvert crossing for the Assiniboine. It is the best spot I have found for fishing the river. There are spots on both sides of the road, and on both sides of the river, so you certainly have options. Locals fishing the spot on my visit, a rainy day when the fish were not co-operative, said it's basically a pike spot. A nice-sized pike left to rot on the shore confirmed the spot yielded the 'Prairie Shark'. I will add a note here that it annoys me to see a perfectly good eating fish left to rot. If you don't want to eat a pike, don't fish a water where they swim since as a predator fish they will at times strike at almost any hook you care to put in the water.
In the Town of Sturgis you can head to the Regional Park, pay the small daily fee (unless you have a yearly pass good at all regional parks in the province), and fish along the river. The park offers a longer section of shore accessible river which is handy when water levels are real high, as is the case in 2012.
Heading back to Yorkton, the Assiniboine crosses under Highway 10, north of Canora. The spot isn't very big, but it is handy.
If you are in Kamsack, there are fish ladders near the golf course where the Assiniboine River and Whitesand River come together. It's another spot usually noted as a spring spot, and as recently as late June this year was hard to even define because of high water. It is however another river shore option.
There are other spots along the Assiniboine, and undoubtedly a few secret places local fisherman would never share, but these bridges are a starting place for shore fishing the big river.