Welcome to Week LXXI 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 to a boat, a look at some of the options in the Yorkton area where you can fish from shore, and hopefully catch some fish.
Over the past weeks I have written about how, at times, a fishing trip can be enhanced by a visit to a museum, or a walk in nature with a camera.
The trip itself may be primarily about hooking into some fighting fish, but some added elements can make the trip a bit more memorable, especially on those days the fish are less than co-operative.
The reverse is also true.
Any time you head out on a holiday trip you really should make sure to pack a rod and reel, and the tackle box.
I know in June we headed to Brandon for PrairieCon, a gaming convention. It was a place to play boardgames and drool over games you wanted to own, but didn't.
That said the Assiniboine River runs through Brandon and I made the comment as we passed over it that it was likely there were fish in the water below. Next year I think I'll toss a few hooks to see.
Which brings me to a recent whirlwind weekend with friends, the same ones we trekked to Townsend Lake with earlier this year.
I am trying to turn Rob into a more useful buddy by getting him out with a fishing rod in his hands. I'm also priming him as a disc golf bud, and this weekend was really about exploring courses to the west.
We took their camper trailer, hit the Yellowhead, ventured to Saskatoon, and then headed to Asquith, well more correctly to Eagle Creek Regional Park near Asquith.
The park is one which has a disc golf course, so it was an ideal base of operations for the weekend.
Our first night we head to the disc course. It is unusual in that it exists on the same land as the park's golf course. I can see that being something of an adventure ducking balls and discs if the course was busy. This night that was not an issue as we were alone on the course.
The disc course at Eagle Creek had been a nine-basket one, but is being expanded to 18. As a result there were no tee box signage, so following the course, especially the early baskets was not easy. I am pretty sure we threw from a few wrong spots, and at wrong baskets, but it was still fun.
Further into the course the natural progression of the course was more obvious, and easier to follow. It's a fun course through 14, and from there being part mountain goat would help. Baskets 15 through 17 are on the valley wall. You are throwing uphill getting progressively higher with each basket. The incline is steep. I set my disc bag down and it rolled down the hill like a soccer ball, much to my chagrin as I had to retrieve it, and then retrace my steps up the hill.
The 18th basket is back on the valley floor, so you get to launch the disc from high on the hill. It's a deceptive shot with the elevation change.
Overall a nice course, although the hill holes are exhausting for a 53-year-old tosser.
Tired as I was after the round, Eagle Creek winds through the park, and it has fish.
I headed out amid the growing swarm of mosquitos and tossed a few hooks. A nice size pike hit a Len Thompson Fire Tiger. I was using a light line unit (more on it in a minute) so the pike was a nice challenge. There was no hoisting it hard to shore, but rather a case of keeping a good bend in the rod, letting the pike make a few runs to tire, before dragging him out.
It was near dark, and one fish to clean was not particularly appealing, so back he went. But it was a great way to conclude day one of the weekend.
Another of the features at Eagle Creek is a stocked trout pond.
The pond was the reason for the rod and reel with light line. It was also the reason I wanted to pack the fly rod, which I forgot.
Still early Saturday morning, before the bacon and eggs, the better half and I headed to the pond. The water was alive with surfacing trout. If one broke the surface that morning, a couple of hundred followed suit.
None were large, likely the result of a spring stocking, but at least there was no shortage of fish.
As it turned out every one of those trout was surfacing to laugh at our feeble attempt to entice them to nibble at an artificial lure.
A couple of hours of fishing was relaxing on an early September morning, but successful in terms of fish, it was not.
So back to camp we went, and the bacon and eggs were near ready, so that was a good thing.
It was then off to Martensville. It is a community that has grown out of nearly nothing the past decade or so, a bedroom community for nearby and rapidly growing Saskatoon. It is also home to what is likely Saskatchewan's newest disc course.
It is a course you might want to carry a fishing rod on because there is a lot of water. You definitely want to throw a floating disc on several baskets, because over time you will put a disc in the drink.
It starts on basket one where you throw from the tee across a small rivulet. It is more psychological in terms of hazard than real difficult to cross, although Rob managed to shank a shot far right. At least I got to see it hit the bigger water body, and slowly sink away. It was a highlight of the weekend since it happened to him and not me.
Overall Martensville is a great course. A golf ball retriever would reach a floating disc on most water hazards, so just be prepared.
Like Eagle Creek all the baskets were rated par-threes, although basket seven might be a par for one in a thousand shots. It's longish, hugs an equally long water hazard, and has a tight landing zone at the basket nestled against a bush.
The rest of Saturday was spent in Saskatoon. I could get lost in McNally Robinson's, and while there found a copy of Hobby Farms magazine with a neat story on raising hogs on grass. It highlights a breed; Berkshire, I once raised on the farm, and spurred an agriculture column idea (see ag page this issue).
Sunday, the last day of our excursion, started off with a late breakfast, early lunch. It was pan fried walleye, brought from home after a good day fishing the Qu'Appelle River, fried spuds and coffee. Sitting outside on a nice early fall morning enjoying such fare is hard to beat.
Stuffed on walleye, we pack the trailer and head back into Saskatoon, home to an 18-basket disc course. This course, located at Diefenbaker Park, is an active one, with dozens of throwers on the course on a hot Sunday afternoon.
This is a wonderful course — well 15 out of 18 baskets are.
The experience of this course was actually tarnished in the middle by three what I can best call, novelty baskets.
Basket 10 sits on a terraced wall. An over throw that landed on the steep hill had me doing a shoulder wrenching crab crawl to recover my disc. For the 20 to 35 crowd, who were easily the mass majority on the course that might be all right. I'm 53 and won't play that basket again.
Basket 13 is up a hill, acceptable, but overthrow the basket by three-feet and it would land on a steep incline. In fall the dry, dying grass is slippery. I can only shudder at how I might have retrieved my disc had it gone over the edge. So you throw defensively, and that runs counter to how you should approach a course.
Basket 14 is another throw down hill offering. The tee area is one where a slip would have landed me in a broken mess well below the throwing area. As it was you descend a goat trail, then have to jump down off three walls, the last about a five-foot drop.
If in Saskatoon for sure play the course, but if you are not in the prime of life, make it easy on your body, and miss the novelty baskets.
One other good thing about the disc course in Saskatoon is that it is close to the city's branch of the Western Development Museum. If you have never visited this museum, I can only give it the highest recommendation. We hit it with only about 90-minutes before closing, so it was a hurried viewing, yet worth every minute of time.
So while fishing was not the main focus of this trip, having a rod along sure helped make it just that much better.