A tale of fishing woe, and of ticks and ladybugs too

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 is the second foray to water of the new season, a Sunday morning filled with anticipation after the disappointment of a no-fish first outing.

This time the destination is the Theodore Dam, a spot where mid-sized pike are usually happy to attack any hook that Len Thompson makes. They might not be the size you want to fill the freezer with, but they can be feisty fighters for those leaning ever more toward catch and release fishing.

We arrive just as a truck is pulling out, the driver we were pretty sure was a conservation officer.

It is always good to see a CO checking things out. The regulations of fishing in Saskatchewan are hardly arduous, but not everyone follows them, so a level of policing is required.

The departing truck was however the only vehicle.

That is always disconcerting as you start to think others know something you didn’t, like maybe the fish were still on their winter holidays.

But few things can deter a fisherman, and besides we had our pick of the best spots. At the Theodore Dam the best spot is generally that one which has a nice flat rock for sitting.

Finding one I began to cast, a standard red and white spoon to start the day. It is usually my starter hook if I am going to fish spoons, although a perch back will sometimes be the first choice. In this case I know my son’s tendancy to grab the perch back first, so we were essentially doubling up to see which might be most favoured by the fish.

Soon it was onto a red five of diamonds, a black and white, a few others, and a lady bug.

I mention the lady bug because a real one was traveling up and down a dried grass plant close to where I was perched on my flat stone.

Ladybugs have always fascinated. I recall as a youngster catching them and letting one crawl over my fingers and hands watching it with the awe only a child can have for something that has his attention.

A quick web search for this article I was astounded to learn there are around 5000 species of this insect present all over the world. North America has more than 450 species of ladybugs.

You could spend a fair amount of time just trying to see how many species you might find on a slow day fishing a local shoreline.

There is an interesting U of Sask article at gardening.usask.ca/articles-insects/ladybug.php on the ladybug that would be of interest to gardeners in particular.

While the ladybug is a beneficial bug, there were also ticks at Theodore Dam.

After a morning of washing hooks without so much as a nibble for our efforts, we prepared to head home.

At this time of year preparing to head home includes an additional step, that of a thorough tick check.

While I am not as freaked out by ticks, as say my better half, who requires all clothes worn after fishing or disc golf go straight to the washing machine after turning home, I don’t like the annoying critters either.

Generally ticks don’t seem to like me a whole lot. It might be because of a daily intake of garlic oil pills, or just dumb luck. That said a couple of years ago one settled onto my shin and was attached pretty good by the time it was noticed. I thought I had removed it cleanly but a couple of days later a hand sized area was slightly swollen, was red, and warm to the touch. It was off to the doctor for drugs to deal with the infection.

At Theodore I had the morbid pleasure of plucking several off my jeans,  releasing them on the end gate of the truck and dispatching them with definite malice under a handy stone found lying near by.

So for a quick refresher course, ticks are generally out from early spring until October, particularly in tall grass, brush or wooded areas.

“We want people to enjoy the summer weather, but it’s important to take precautions against ticks,” Deputy Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. Denise Werker said in a recent government release. “It’s also important that after spending time outside to check yourself and your children and pets for ticks, and if you find a tick, remove it carefully and promptly.”

The Ministry noted precautionary measures include:

*Wear pants, long-sleeved shirts and shoes that don’t show your feet.

*Pull socks over your pant legs to prevent ticks from crawling up your legs.

*Wear light-coloured clothes so ticks can be seen easily.

*Use insect repellents that contain DEET or Icaridin.  Apply repellent to clothes as well as your skin.  Always read and follow the directions.

*Shower or bathe as soon as possible after being outside to wash off loose ticks.

*Do “full body” tick checks after being outside on yourself, your children and your pets.

If you find a tick attached to your skin:

*Carefully remove it with fine-tipped tweezers and grasp the mouth of the tick as close to the skin as possible.

*Pull slowly upward and out with a firm steady pressure.

*Be careful not to squeeze, crush or puncture the body after removal as this may also contain infectious fluids.

The risk for Lyme disease – an infectious disease spread by black-legged ticks - is low in Saskatchewan, but not zero.

The release also noted; most ticks found in Saskatchewan are the American dog tick. This species is not capable of transmitting Lyme disease to people. Rocky Mountain wood ticks and the winter tick (or moose tick) are also found in Saskatchewan.

As of December 31, 2018, 28,899 ticks have been collected and identified in Saskatchewan and only 71 were black-legged ticks. Among these 71, only 10 black-legged ticks tested positive for the bacterium that causes Lyme disease, said the release.

For more information on ticks and Lyme disease, including how to submit a tick for Lyme disease testing, visit http://www.saskatchewan.ca/lyme.

As for fishing, well they say the third time’s a charm, so we will hope for better luck next time as we explore another shoreline.

© Copyright Yorkton This Week

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