Welcome to Week XXIII 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.''
Living as close as we do in Yorkton means looking to Manitoba for possible fishing spots is pretty logical.
Coming from Saskatchewan you can purchase a license, and can get the conservation version which is about half price, but does also come with reduced limits on some species. As an example a regular Manitoba license allows anglers to keep six walleye (with some size restrictions), while a conservation license allows only four.
Once you have the Manitoba license several spots beckon shore anglers, a couple of them only an hour or so from the city, which makes a nice drive to the lake.
The first stop this week requires heading down Highway #16 East until you the town of Russell. Turn north on Highway #83 and watch for signs a couple of minutes north which indicate Spear Lake.
Spear Lake is the reservoir for the Town of Russell, so it is not a large lake, but it is an intriguing one.
To start with the lake has a great picnic area built beside it. It is a great spot for some family time, room for the kids to run and play if they get bored with fishing, as they often do.
And boredom might indeed set in at Spear Lake because it is a trout pond with rainbows and browns.
Trout are perhaps the most coveted of catches in these parts, and with good reason.
On one hand they are plain tasty once caught and fried in butter.
And on the other hand when you have a trout in the creel you've had a really good day of fishing since they are crafty fish which are far more challenging to get on a hook than a hungry pike, or schooling perch.
If that sounds like building an excuse for getting skunked, so be it.
Yes, in a year where fish have been hungry biters all over, and I have managed catches in a dozen lakes, and a few reservoirs and rivers this year, I came up empty at Spear Lake.
And it wasn't because the lake lacked shore fishing spots.
In fact the opposite was the case.
Local support for the lake as a fishing spot has led to there being several piers into the water designed just for shore fishing. You can go out on the piers and cast or throw out a jig and wait.
It is too bad more lakes don't have the piers in place as it certainly enhances shore fishing.
On our fall morning we jig with marshmallows, corn, try spinners and grubs and after a couple of hours we succumb to defeat.
The good news is that once at Spear Lake you are close to the Shellmouth Dam and fishing there is usually steady, as discussed in a previous column.
But one day in 2013 I will return to Spear Lake. Somewhere in its watery depths is a trout with my name on it. I doubt the trout knows that at this point, but it should be forewarned I am coming for it.
In terms of trout another option within easy driving distance is Goose Lake at Roblin, MB. Yes you need a Manitoba license, but in terms of accessible trout ponds, few are easier. In this case just head east on Highway 10.
Like Spear Lake, Goose Lake is home to rainbow and brown trout, but walleye and perch also reside in the waters, so you have a few more fishing options.
The nice thing about Goose Lake is that if the trout there are not cooperating you have to cross the 'Roblin Bridge" at Lake of the Prairies and that means access to fishing options.
Or, you can turn north at the sign and hit the new Togo Bridge too.
But before you give up on Roblin, even if the fishing is slow, you might want to check out lunch. There is an Austrian restaurant in the old train station, and a couple of places in the town offer East Indian fare, a rare treat that in itself is reason to visit the Manitoba town.
At both Spear and Goose Lake fly fishing is often the preferred method. I bought a fly fishing rod and reel a few years ago when there were some rainbow trout stocked in Jaycee Beach here in the city.
I never mastered casting, and never saw a trout come out of the Jaycee.
Still learning how to fly fish is on my winter list of things to do, and a friend in the city has promised to help me do just that. I rather look forward to trying for a few early season pike on a fly rod, and then heading back to Spear and Goose Lakes for a fresh shot at some trout.