Welcome to Week XVII 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.''
It's back to the Qu'Appelle Valley this week, with a stop at Katepwa Lake.
But first a little side trip I have to share.
When we made a trip to Echo Lake earlier this season it was a hot afternoon, and while the location right below the fish hatchery was ideal for shore fishing we were skunked. Every fisherman has more of those days than they like to admit, and most of us will vow to return and catch something.
So that was the first stop of the day.
We arrived just in time to see a young fellow bring in a nice perch. Perch aren't exactly a heart pounding catch, but a fish is a fish.
This trip there are three of us and we take up spots and get to fishing. One of us is jigging with minnows, the preferred method here as most of the near-20 anglers that spread out down the shore opt for that method.
My son and I try some jigging, grow bored as the fish seem disinterested and go to tossing spoons with still no fish. So in my case I waffle back and forth trying a jig for a bit and then going to spoons rolling through most of the selections in the tackle box.
There is a carp brought in down the shore. Carp are a fun catch, they are hard fighters. For most they are a rough fish that never get eaten, which is something I want to research. If you watch cooking shows, and I love them, carp are often in Oriental dishes, so I imagine if you know what you're doing they are tasty too.
But our little trio were getting nowhere.
I was back to a Len Thompson hammered perch using my lightest rod and reel unit with six, or eight pound line in an attempt to get out as far as possible hoping there might be some fish lurking out there. It was that point in the day, nearing noon, and a couple of hours into being shut out that I was thinking Echo Lake was going to win again.
Then I get a hit. It was like a truck drove by and took the hook. The rod bent deep and against a drag set pretty tight, the fish was running line.
The retrieve was like hauling a log, that every once in a while swam away taking line with it.
I am not sure the light line will hold, and landing what I am thinking is a good-sized carp, won't be easy since my net is still in the trunk of the car.
Then the fish comes into view in the water. It looks like a log too, a big old pike. I get it close, but know I haven't won yet. It turns and disappears back deeper into the lake taking line with it. It tires, and I get back to pulling him my way.
This time I get him to shore, drag him out of the water and quickly get between him and the water in case he snaps the line on a rock.
The pike has the small 'OO' hook nearly swallowed, and I was glad I had a nine-inch leader, because a six-inch would have meant line far too close to his big teeth for comfort.
So how big was he?
Big! Ninety-four centimetres big, which according to the Fishing Guide has him flirting with 5.4 kilograms. I do not carry a scale, and in this case I let the big guy go. He was too thick to fillet easily, and I really don't have a saw to start making fish steaks.
It is my biggest pike in a quarter century, so it was a great day.
The day got even better as we packed up and headed into Fort Qu'Appelle for lunch at Country Squire Inn. The burgers would make the top-five list of burgers ever eaten, and the Chicken Grand-Mère was something I would not have expected in a small town restaurant menu and it too was great.
A full belly and a big pike to tell stories about and we were off. You head out of Fort Qu'Appelle on Highway #56 and head east and you will come to Katepwa, a provincial park, but one where there are no entrance fees.
The park was busy, and we drive until we get to a grassed area with picnic tables near the lake. I pop out of the car and head into the park finding a couple of ladies who I ask where we might throw a hook in the water.
They explained that people were catching perch just a few yards away earlier in the day. That was good enough for me.
Out comes the gear.
The spot is nice, with lots of place to set up a lawn chair.
The water however is weedy. It's mid-August in the Qu'Appelle Valley so there will be weeds.
But it takes only a few casts and I grab a small pike. He goes back but there are fish.
My son and I manage four pike, none very big, but for early afternoon one shouldn't complain.
My better half has no luck on a jig, the perch the ladies mentioned were obviously on siesta.
I take a walk down the beach and there is a nice sandy point and fewer weeds, but no fish. That said I would think the spot would have potential as an evening spot.
Katepwa wasn't a shore hotspot, but with a great picnic area, a restaurant in site, and the other amenities of a provincial park, it does have a lot of allure for family fishing. It's picturesque too, which is always an added bonus.