Welcome to Week XXI 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 the final Saturday of September. The alarm goes off at 5 a.m.. The sun is shining with a forecast of temperatures climbing surprisingly close to 30 degrees Celsius.
It is a perfect fall day for a fishing trip which has been on my list to make for most of the summer.
We grab a to-go coffee and muffin, and head north on Highway #9 to Canora, then turn right on Highway #5 going through Kamsack and on to Duck Mountain Provincial Park.
There are three lakes in the park with fish, and the plan is to hit each one.
This week's articles will look at the two smaller lakes.
The first stop is Batka Lake, a right hand turn off the highway, just watch for the sign, and then follow the grid road a few kilometres to the lake.
The campground is nice, with outdoor toilets and a covered picnic table shelter in case of hot sun, or shower.
But we are there to fish.
There is a floating boat dock in the launch area, and that is the spot I walk down to first.
A large, commercially produced park sign proclaims no fishing from the dock, or the dock area. As a shore fisherman I immediately feel wanted.
Back to the camping area I find a trail to the shore and an area maybe a dozen feet wide where I can cast.
There is a second spot even smaller nearby, and that folks is all the opportunities Batka offers shore fishermen.
I still give it the old college try though, and in about an hour of fishing do not catch a fish, nor do I see boat on the water, or one using the dock.
It is understandable at a busy boat launch fishermen on the dock might be a bit of an inconvenience if launching a boat. You have to wait for them to reel in and move, but the question is why is the boat enthusiast more important than a shore fisherman?
With not so much as a bite, in a lake where there are pike, it is a chance to try some new hooks, in this case from Koppers.
One big plus with Koppers line of 'Live Target' lures is that they come with a nicely detailed set of instructions.
When you are casting lures which are designed to mimic specific fish prey there is more to it than having a life-like lure.
Frogs, crawfish and young perch all have specific actions in the water.
A frog will not generally be found in wide open, clear water. They hang around lily pads, weed beds and over hanging branches because they offer some cover from predators, including pike, one of the local species you will be using the Koppers Live Target hooks to entice.
You need to present a surface floating frog lure into areas they would naturally inhabit.
But the fishermen's job does not end with getting the hook cast to likely places for frogs, or young perch, or crawfish to be hanging around.
There are retrieval techniques which help the lure act like the prey it is supposed to be.
Those techniques include knowing the angles to hold the rod at, the way to work the rod as you retrieve line, and the speed you reel in line.
A company should know best what works with a lure bait lure it has designed, and instructions to aid the fishermen are a huge asset. That is one area in which Koppers shines. The instructions in the lure packages are detailed, and even include illustrations. A fisherman can pretty quickly grasp what he is supposed to do to make the 'Live Target' lures work the way they are supposed to.
Not every bait cast lure comes with the detailed instructions, and if it is your first surface frog, or crayfish, you might well be retrieving it in a fashion that works against you in terms of catching the attention of a predatory fish.
Yes the techniques, particularly for the surface floating frog, take some practice, but with the instructions you have a solid idea of what you are supposed to be doing, and you will get better the more you use the lures and its associated techniques.
The frog, crayfish and perch hooks are going to be a great addition to my tackle box arsenal.
So with no luck at Batka Lake we pack up and head back to the highway and head just a bit farther east to the sign for Jackfish Lake, which again is on the south side of the blacktop.
It's another short drive and we find the lake laying right up next to the grid road.
Here there is an area about a football field long that is open to the lake, and that is good news for fishing from the shore. Some of the area is weedy, it is late fall, but it's not hard to find a good spot to fish.
In spite of the name 'Jackfish' the small lake is a perch pond, so we jig with minnows.
It doesn't take long before I get a strike, a perch that would not be overly big in the average goldfish tank. He goes back, but it did mark a catch in my 12th lake of the year, which made the lack of success at Batka all the more disappointing.
Over about 90-minutes of fishing we get a dozen perch, only four making it to the pail to go home, and all of them still small enough the quartet was not enough for a meal for one.
In terms of fishing you couldn't really justify driving from Yorkton for perch at Jackfish Lake, but if you are in the Duck Mountain area the little lake is a nice spot to fish, made nicer against the backdrop of the colours of fall.