A day of low water and no fish

Welcome back to ‘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 continue to 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.''

 

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It has been a while since I sat the computer to share a fishing excursion in the Parkland, but with a new fishing season upon us it is a good opportunity to make a return, at least on a limited engagement in the coming weeks.

Up front I must admit I was somehow blind-sided by the arrival of the season here May 5. Yes, I was aware opening day was coming. And, yes the snow has been gone for ages which is suggestive of the start of another season of fishing.

Yet, somehow I was woefully unprepared.

In fact, while I worked the weekend, meaning no fishing opening day, even as I grabbed the gear to get out the evening of May 7, I was not ready.

I did have my licence, and I had bought some leaders, one can never really have too many leaders, and that was the extent of my preparation.

I was so ill-prepared my back-up rod was left tangled from a sad season-ending foray last fall, so was left at home. I headed out with one rig, trusting it to get me through the evening. That I recognize is folly, that a back-up rod and reel are on any fisherman’s ‘must take’ lists in terms of gear, but again, the season was rather stealthy in 2019, and snuck up on me.

Throwing caution to the wind, I tossed my main rod into the bed of my son’s truck, and headed north to the Canora Dam. We chose the site in-part because it is close for an evening excursion, and in-part out of pure curiosity.

The curiosity was simply to see how high the water might be.

A few weeks back we crossed the new Togo bridge on our way to a disc golf course design, and the water level was as low as I have seen it, late fall fishing trips through the years included.

Was the water level at the western end of Lake of the Prairies simply a case of over estimating how much water to let through the system last fall, or a more general condition?

Well, if Canora Dam is typical, water levels are certainly at low ebb compared to recent years at least.

The dam in spring is typically a place of high water, with a rapid current, making fishing there a bit of a unique experience in the region. Fast water creates its own challenges to fish.

As of May 7, you could almost walk across the area on exposed rocks. The levels are again late fall low, if not lower.

Of course we still fished.

Adam caught a nice little stick.

I had a hook that snagged on a rock causing me no small amount of excitement.

The unanswered question of course is whether the fish weren’t biting? Or, simply weren’t there?

The water at the dam would freeze near solid in winter I suspect, so fish will not over winter there. So they must arrive from upriver each spring.

Has low water slowed that process? Or, perhaps blocked it because of a beaver dam?

Those are questions we didn’t answer on our first trip of the season, but it is one that may be asked a lot this year as we take on low water fishing.

While fishing was more about hook washing, that does not mean that the trip was a bad one.

We drive through a little shower on the way, and had that lingered it would have been annoying, but it stopped conveniently to allow us to at least fish dry.

And we did see our share of nature.

On the way a few whitetail lounged in a field well off the highway. On the way home four were crossing the highway, one pausing in the lane to look at us with curiosity in its eyes. Fortunately, we saw them with lots of time to slow down and simply stare back until they moved on.

There were also several fields spotted with large flocks of snow and Ross’s geese on a layover as they migrate north.

As we fished small bluish birds winged over the water. I am guessing bluebirds but I am not an ornithologist. I do know they were pleasant company on a fish-less evening.

And just to make the night complete, as we threw up the white towel of defeat and headed home I spied with my little eye a beaver at leisure in a backwater puddle by the dam.

There is something that I always found fascinating about the industrious critters. Even as a youngster I could sit and watch them when they ventured into the small creek that ran through our farm on a short spring run.

When I look back on the new season of 2019, it may not be remembered for the fish not caught, but rather the joy of being out a touch closer to nature, and that of course is always an integral part of our hobby.

 

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