Welcome to Week XV 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.
So you are heading to your favourite winter spot for a bit of 'hardwater' fishing. You have a nice little ice rod rigged up for use over the primary hole, but the regulations allow for two holes, as long as they are within 25-feet of each other, and you can see it clearly.
That technically means if you are going to be sitting in a hut, you should have a window allowing you to see the second hole.
Obviously if the holes are well-apart you aren't going to be manning the second hole, so you will want a tip-up fishing rig.
In general terms a tip-up is an apparatus whereby when a fish strikes the hook under the water it triggers a flag to 'tip-up' and wave, indicating you have a fish on the line. You run over, grab the pop-up and go about landing the hungry fish.
As is the case with most fishing gear there are several versions of tip-ups on the market, and knowing which ones to opt for is like most things with fishing gear, a case of personal preference mixed with the likelihood new gadgets are likely to hook your attention.
HT Enterprises Inc. (www.icefish.com) offers up several tip-ups which are worth a look.
The first option I'll look at is the Polar Thunder. It's a pretty straight forward tip-up, using a spring that pops a fluorescent plastic flag which is certainly visible within the confines of Saskatchewan's 25-foot rule.
The Polar Thunder has a thin profile frame which makes for easy storage and transportation, which is never a bad thing. They suggest a dozen will fit in a five-gallon bucket.
It has an adjustable trip bar for multiple tension settings, which gives the fisherman some control.
The spool handles up to 500-feet of line, and massive amount unless you happen to hook a very big fish that goes on a long run before you get to the tip-up.
The Innovation comes with the same large capacity spool.
The trip bar is glow-in-the -dark on this one, a bonus for anyone wanting to ice fish in the dark.
The trip bar can be adjusted here so that lighter hits pop the flag, good in perch water, whereas you might opt for a strong hit being needed to pop the flag in pike country.
And then there is the alien-looking Magnum Polar Pop-Up. This one that is pretty sci-fi. A bud stopped in recently, saw it leaning against a wall and had to ask what it was.
The Magnum forgoes the usual spring loaded flag, in favour of popping a lighted tube. It uses a three mm X 25 mm light stick to produce the glow.
The pop up is held in place by a magnet, which is released when a fish strikes.
There is a built in light metal tripod which holds the Magnum over the hole. The tripod comes with a cover, which once in position covers the ice hole, a nice feature on a day with wind is drifting snow which can clog a hole pretty quickly.
The spool capacity here is 1500-feet, which seems a bit extreme in terms of local fishing, but at least you have the option for a ton of line.
Any of the three HT models mentioned seem completely workable ice fishing options. The Magnum might be a bit fancier than required in most situations, although the glow stick lighting at night is a definite plus.
In choosing either the Polar Thunder or Innovation models, you get solid construction, a straight forward operational system which should work in even the most extreme ice fishing conditions.
Grab an HT tip-up, drill a second hole, and hope for the big one.
While tip-ups are all about hardwater fishing, it is above zero as I write this, and with the sun shining, it's hard not to think about spring.
Dreams of spring fishing tend to further fueled when you stop at the local newsstand and see the 2013 fishing guide offerings which are already making their appearance.
As a resource guide for fishermen, check out the newsstands right now and hope you can still grab a copy of 'Gear'.
'Gear' is the 2013 equipment guide from the folks at In-Fishermen, and hit the shelves a few weeks ago.
Most anglers who have an interest in reading about their passion will know In-Fisherman, one of the premier fishing magazines on the market, and they do it again with the special edition 'Gear'.
Now be warned this is the stuff which will make most fisherman experience pangs of longing to be out on the lake again, and it is also likely to make grown men suddenly begin to drool uncontrollably.
Within its page 'Gear' gives us a look at what new is hitting the market in time for the 2013 season, rods, reels, line, lures and electronics included.
I was amazed at the ever-evolving technology of fishing line, in particular the impact the development of fluorocarbon line has had, and more recently the introduction of nanofil. In the simplest terms what we are seeing is ever finer diametre lines with ever increasing strength. That is off course good news. The smaller line diametre the more we can wrap on our favourite reels, and the less likely the line itself is to spook a wary fish.
That said smaller lines are a bit more difficult to cast effectively, so there is a learning curve for fishermen too.
Having some insights provided by expert writers never hurts as many of us will put fresh line on come spring before going out opening day.
I am also always intrigued by the latest lures, and in particular these days the expanding realm of softbaits, the world of rubber grubs, grayfish, minnows, worms and grubs. The colours, sizes and uses grow every season, and it's great to get a sneak peek at what might be hot in the new year.
Of course for fishermen in our neck of the woods the Walleye is the prey of choice for most.
In-Fisherman's 2013 Walleye Guide is also out already.
Again there are lots of lure tips, enough to send most fishermen to the fishing aisle in their favourite gear store searching out a few 'can't-miss' options for the season ahead.
But for me the most interesting article looks at the '10 Top Walleye Destinations - Canada'.
Three of the destinations are on the Prairies, the Red and Winnipeg River system in Manitoba, and two locations in Saskatchewan.
Tobin Lake makes the list. That's my old stomping grounds as a kid who grew up at Tisdale. I can remember several days on the big lake with a couple of high school buds. One of their father's had a 16-foot Lund and a motor nice for trolling but a tad underpowered to get anyplace on a big lake in a hurry. We found that out all too clearly one day when the wind came out, and we headed back across the lake, bouncing over whitecaps holding onto the seat with whiter knuckles. I can remember Tom remarking after we got back to the boat launch that it was the roughest water he had ever piloted a boat on. Even with the bravado of our teenage years, that was more than a little scary.
But making a walleye list is not a surprise, since the lake harbours a lot of deep holes and hiding places where the golden fish are able to grow fat and large.
The second Saskatchewan destination on the In-Fisherman list is Last Mountain Lake, a spot I have yet to visit, but since it made the top-10, with a notation of good spring fishing, it is on the radar for sure. The fact that they suggest many walleye surpass 12-pounds in the lake further enhances the lure of the lake which is a reasonable distance for area fisherman to travel.