This week we're going to stay in the Qu'Appelle Valley stopping for a day at Crooked Lake.
Finding Crooked Lake is pretty straight forward. Head down Highway #10 to Melville, turning east on Highway #47. Follow Highway #47 until you see the sign for the Hwy #247 Qu'Appelle Scenic Route and follow it, and soon you are at the lake.
Unlike most lakes where shore fishing spots are rather limited, Crooked Lake offers several options.
Our first stop was Melville Beach -- you will see the sign on the highway around the lake.
There is a small lunch canteen just off the beach, and you can head down to the beach and cast away. There is a portion of the beach designated for swimmers, and it is posted no fishing in late morning and afternoon, but there is still area to fish.
While not attacking the lures the Saturday we hit the lake, there were some obliging hungry pike which made it a successful spot for some morning catches.
Stopping at the little canteen for a rather tasty apple barbecue chicken burger and homemade fries didn't hurt the experience either.
Then it was down the highway a bit for a stop at Cedar Cove Resort. Here there is a full service confectionary, so if you need some hooks, chips or an ice cream, this is the place.
You can make your way to the beach area just below the store, and while there are a number of boat ties, there is still plenty of room to fish.
I nabbed the biggest pike of the day at this spot, although it was generally slow fishing coming right after lunch. It seems fish are generally on siesta after lunch.
So we go farther east to Sunset Beach, where I find the damn structure at the end of the lake. The road is not in shape for the car, but it's a short walk.
Like most control structures through the valley this one is wrecked after flooding a couple of years ago.
A couple of fisherman had a few walleye on a stringer, but lament they have not being biting for a while. They soon leave, and I quickly determine the fish aren't going to bite for me either. One day I'd like to try the spot earlier, or later in the day, but this time I move on.
We head back west along the lake and find Indian Point.
This is a great fishing spot with a spike of sand protruding out into the lake a couple of hundred yards. I imagine in spring the littler outcropping is flooded over, but by our July visit it was a great spot. Only a dozen-feet wide it is easy to fish off either side.
In places there are weed beds, but that isn't all bad. It's evening by the time we hit the point and the pike are patrolling those weed beds hitting on red and white, perch back and red five of diamonds with near equal success.
The pike were hitting about as far out as I could cast, which only added to the fun. The longer you have to battle the feisty critters the more fun it is.
The last pike of the night even broke the water surface twice, and few things in fishing are more fun than seeing that.
Now a pickerel jig off the point enticed only one little 'toss-em back' walleye to bite, but late August walleyes off shore are generally tough to get.
As an aside I was recently asked if all I use are Len Thompson (LT) spoons?
Well they are certainly my go-to hooks in the sense I will start most days tossing an LT, in particular red and white, perch and red five-of-diamonds.
But like most fisherman I am easy prey for new hooks once in the fishing department. If fish bit on fancy hooks as easy as fisherman it would be easy to limit out anytime.
Generally if you shore fish you will be a 'spoon-tosser'. Yes pickerel rigs are employed for perch and walleye in many locations, and lead-heads with rubber grubs have their place, but spoons are always a core element in a tackle box, and over the next few weeks I'll give you a peek inside my cluttered tackle box.
In some cases an LT spoon takes a back seat to other choices, one of those being the Syclops line from Mepp's.
Mepp's might be best known for its spinners, useful at times, but I like the Syclops, which are basically a spoon, although with a different design.
The Syclops casts like a regular spoon, but at equivalent weights retrieves higher in the water than an LT spoon, which is good in weedy conditions. In later summer the lakes of the Qu'Appelle Valley get weedy close to shore and you have to cast in, around, over and through weeds. The Syclops, which comes in a broad range of colours and weights, deals with weeds better than most hooks, and that is a good thing. In terms of weights 1/2 and 5/8 ounce are ideal for local area conditions, and my favoured choices in most circumstances.
So a few Syclops in the 'box' are never bad as an option, and they can be very effective at catching pike and even walleye too.
But back to Crooked Lake when pike are biting, the sun is shining, and you have the options in term of fishing spots you do at this lake, it is a good day to be a fisherman.