Finding fish at Fishing Lake

Welcome to Week XIII 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 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.''

Pack the tackle box and hop in the car and head west on the Yellowhead this week.

The destinationof Fishing Lake just north of Foam Lake, so follow Highway #16 until you hit the town, turn north on Highway #??. You will come to a curve in the highway, but you'll want to keeping going straight to get to Leslie Beach, one of several small resorts around the lake. The Sunday we went the grid road was a washboard, so slow down. The good news it's only three clicks to the park entrance.

Leslie Beach is once again a Regional Park, so if you don't have an annual pass, good for entrance to all regional parks in the province for a year, then you have to pay a small daily fee.

Initially I had been told to check out fishing at 'the berm' a new construction at Leslie Beach to help hold lake waters at bay in the spring, a safety measure put in after some severe flooding a couple of years back. So we asked the attendant at the gate how to get to the berm. She was quite accommodating, with some simple instructions.

But then she added if we were looking to shore fish she suggested the point, adding that is where she had been catching. It never hurts to get on the spot suggestions, so the point it was. I figured if the fish weren't cooperating there, the berm was a good back-up plan.

We never got to the berm.

The point is easy to find. You follow the road in from the park gate until basically the road comes to an end. Park the car and walk down to the lake. It's a rocky spot, so a launch chair doesn't sit very well, so park a cushion and find a big rock.

I suggest a perch simply because you are likely to set a jig for walleye, the standard two hook affair with minnows as bait is a pretty standard first way to after the golden fish.

My wife was in the water with a jig quickly, it was about 10 a.m., so no we weren't up very early on this trip.

It didn't matter. It was not long before she had a hit, a nice little strike, well all right a big strike, with a 60-centimetre walleye coming to shore.

The fish equalled my biggest of the season, the difference being she got to keep hers, while mine went back because of the slot limits in the Lake of the Prairies water, including those at the new Togo Bridge.

Like Lake of the Prairies, Fishing Lake is a barbless water, so make sure you use a pair of pliers to bend down, or break off the barbs.

The reason they require barbless at Fishing Lake is because it is a catch-and-release lake.

In Saskatchewan there are a number of catch-and-release (CR) lakes, and those are further broken into three categories, each with its own fish limits.

In the case of Fishing Lake it is CR1.

A CR1 lake has a take-home limit of only two walleye/sauger, and only one of those may exceed 55-centimetres.

Northern pike are limited the three, with only one of those more than 75-centimetres.

There is a 10 perch limit in CR1 waters as well, with lower limits on other species as well -- check your Angler's Guide -- which I suggest you keep a copy of in your tackle box. A large ziplock bag will keep it safe from the elements of fishing, and doubles as a place to keep your license that way it is with you if a Conservation Officer stops by while fishing, and not in the wallet you forgot at home.

Just for information CR2 and CR3 limits are smaller, for example the CR2 walleye limit is two, and none may exceed 55-centimetres. CR1 the limit drops to one and again no big fish.

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Now back to the fishing. The 60-centimetre walleye was a beauty. The handy Angler's Guide pegs such a fish at 2.16 kilograms, so that's a lot of walleye.

I opted to spoon fish and the Len Thompson array (in particular the hammered-perch design) was up to the task, finding pike just as hungry as the walleye.

Although in the end something unusual happened. By noon we had limited out on walleye, and still needed one pike. My wife took up a spectator spot and I fished on, throwing a red and white spoon, usually ideal for pike and not so appealing to walleye. I ended up releasing three walleye and never did get the last pike.

After the 60-centimetre walleye the sizes were smaller, but still made a nice string. Ditto the pike that while not monsters, were the right size to be very tasty.

We could have stayed longer, but about one the last five inches of my rod snapped off landing a walleye. Not happy was I.

But, I did have a secondary rod and reel. There are too many things that can go wrong, from lost line to stripped reel gears to broken rods to have a day of fishing rely on one outfit.

The second unit I had put Spider Wire line on at the beginning of this season. The stuff was prone to tangles from the first cast, and at Fishing Lake it bundled into a snarl that looked a bit like a bird's nest made by a drunken robin. So I gave up for the day. The line has been replaced with Fire Line and the results are much better.

So while the take-home limit is lower, the spot at Fishing Lake is relatively close, and easily accessible, both bonuses. There are also washroom facilities at Leslie Beach, which beats a tree, especially for gals out fishing. And there is even a restaurant at the park, which is good after a day of fishing if you don't want to pack a lunch.

Overall, a spot shore fishermen should mark on their maps.

© Copyright Yorkton This Week


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