Monday September 01, 2014

A day of dry mouth at Outdoor Expo

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Welcome to Week XCV 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.

I've always been of the opinion, if you are a fisherman, or hunter, and you are planning to take in an event like the Parkland Outdoor Show and Expo you should stock up on bubblegum to chew as you visit the booths. The gum will help you avoid dry mouth as you will tend to drool excessively at what is displayed at the show.

That might sound like writer's hyperbole, but really it's not. Show's like the Expo are as much about selling dreams as they are about moving merchandise.

I suppose I am not particularly typical in most things I do, but when it comes to the Expo, I suspect I am.

Take this past Sunday, my son and I head to the Expo, the good wife in tow. We see a 16-foot fishing boat in the corner and are drawn to it like moths to the proverbial flame. Yes I am an avid shore fisherman, and that has been the major focus of this column since its inception, but I will admit I focus on shore fishing mainly because I do not own a boat.

While there are certainly many fine shore fishing opportunities in the region, you can go to where the fish are much easier in a boat. Sure there are days people come off the water having fished from their boat and I have had greater luck tossing lures from shore, but many days when fish are not lurking near shore accessible to a fisherman, a boat can take you exploring more water.

So yes folks, I want a boat. Well ideally Adam, or one of my other fishing buds would buy one, and I'd have access to use it.

Now the boat I want is not some huge thing that doubles as a floating party place. I do have a bud committed to buying a pontoon boat, but those are not ideal for fishing in my book. They don't pull easy behind a smaller SVU, or work well on lakes such as Wilson and Lady, where trout call home. They are too much boat.

The same with those craft with motors which seem better suited to a Leer Jet. I'm not looking to pull water skiers and tubers across a lake for fun.

I want a craft that gets me to fish, allows me to cast or troll easily and with a good live well to keep all the trophy catches which come with the dream of owning a boat of course.

Well there were several boats which fit my dreams nicely, and while I am still not an owner, the dream certainly received a nice boost.

Of course there were other dreams fostered at the Expo.

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Although dropping a hook in the waters of Canora Dam in early spring is a treat, and the spillway at Shellmouth Dam can be great, as can a day at Stony Lake, or Schutte, but as a fisherman there are always thoughts of heading north to fish colder waters for bigger fish.

Whether Saskatchewan, Manitoba or Northern Ontario there are fishing options which would be the places of forever memories.

Sure a 75-fish day at Canora Dam is not something I will forget, but a weekend on a northern lake would be amazing.

It would certainly create fodder to fill this space for a week, or two. Such trips are as much about the experiences of being on cold lakes, new waters, amid the natural beauty of the north, as it is about the fishing and fish.

That all said, a chance to catch some really big pike, lake trout, maybe try for a grayling, those too are the stuff of stories to fill pages like this.

And so as we walked around the Expo I collected brochures, Nordic Lodge at Reindeer Lake and Park Lake Adventures both in Saskatchewan, and Eagle West Resort at Eagle Lake, ON., among them.

The pictures in the brochures fire the imagination. A weekend with buds catching big fish and soaking in the Canadian north is certainly drool worthy, and if nothing else will give us something to talk about the next time we are together fishing.

Speaking of dream trips, Cat Daddy Fishing Guide Service out
of Lockport, MB. was back at the Expo. It had been my intention to go after some big channel catfish with guide Paul Munroe last summer, and never quite got things arranged to make the trip. It is a priority to make it happen this summer.

I was also happy to see a booth promoting the upcoming Bug Chucker Cup, the annual fly fishing derby held in the Roblin, MB. area each year.

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My meagre fly fishing skills are not up to a tournament, but I do appreciate what the Cup means to trout fisherman.

It was also interesting watching Mac Warner of Moose Jaw tying flies at the booth. I am still amazed by fly tiers,even as I explore the process through my own humble skills at the vice.

As fishermen are apt to do, I got to talking with Mac, and mentioned there was a group in Yorkton now meeting about monthly to learn more about fly tying. He was quick to offer his card and noted he'd be happy to attend our little gathering sometime to impart some of his wisdom on the craft.

That an accomplished tier was so eager to share his insights tells a lot about the fraternity of fly fishermen.

There are times it is seen by some that fly fishing is the realm of elitist fishermen. While fly fishermen want good gear and take pride in tying flies that are part art, most are also ready to share their knowledge as well.

Bill Pollock of Roblin was also at the Bug Chucker booth. He had a number of tied creations for sale, flies for pike and walleye, poppers for bass, and smaller ties for trout. I of course grabbed a couple of perch-like flies, and a couple of red and white 'Bug Bunny' flies for pike. They will be fun to try out this spring on outings with Patrick Thomson or Ray Bailey, buds who are also eager to tie into a pike or two with a fly rod.

For non-fly fisherman there was Pine Ridge Outdoors. Out of Winnipeg they create antler mounts, clocks and similar wood creations. But for me, what drew me to the booth was their wooden plugs.

There is a craft to a wooden plug which harkens back to an earlier time.

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I still recall a time at Greenwater Lake when I was like eight, or 10. I was with my dad, who was always a gregarious sort, so quickly took up a conversation with a fellow shore fisherman. I don't recall his name, but I do recall having the chance to look into his tackle box which was crammed with literally dozens of handmade wooden lures.

As is often the case, an older fisherman is apt to help out a younger one, and he gave me three, or four lures. (I'll add here I saw Pollock giving a little girl a pretty pink fly at the Expo). Now I can't honestly recall if I ever caught a fish with the gift lures, and they are sadly long gone, but it is a fishing memory to cherish.

I do have intentions of contacting the artisan and learning more about his great looking lures, so keep an eye on this space.

It was also interesting to meet Paul Perron, a carver with the Saskatchewan Wildlife Art Association. He had a carving of a very nice trout on display and again that lured me to the booth.

Perron was promoting not only his work and the Association, but also the upcoming Seventh Annual Saskatchewan River Valley Art School, scheduled for May 16-21 at the Shekinah Retreat Centre near Waldheim.

While I have enough hobbies, alright way too many, but I will admit I've always wanted to try carving and if it was a fish, well you can see where this is going. I wonder what a set of carving tools is worth?

Ah, but that is a thought for another day, and brings to an end a quick stroll around this year's Expo.

And besides I was out of spit by this point.



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