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In Town Fishing Adventures

In Town Fishing Adventures
Posted in: Fishing Articles

I grab a pack of worms and a tub of frozen minnows.  “That’s everything,” I say to myself, and yell out, “I’m heading to the minivan,” letting our crew of little people know that it is time to jump in and buckle up.  An assortment of giggles, and happy chatter fill the air and quickly we are on our way.  We are off to the river, the North Saskatchewan River.  The wonderful thing about the river is that it is a mere 10 minutes from our doorstep, meaning that at the drop of a hat we can decide to go fishing, and fifteen minutes later, we are fishing.  That’s kind of how it worked out today.

There’s a lot of good fishing at the river in town

Within city limits we have at least a half dozen spots we fish, and this time we choose one with a sandy beach.  It is a decent spot for catching fish, but more so, it is one of the better spots for kids to play, especially with sand toys.  Within minutes we park our minivan and to my delight, I see that no one is fishing here.  Out come the camp chairs, the big nets, the little dip nets, the sand toys, the fishing gear and a healthy bag of snacks.  In five minutes we are comfortably set up on the beach and lines are in the water. 


A happy scene, playing at the river

I start the afternoon running two lines, each baited with a half a dew worm on a floating jig head.  The floating jig head is a recent, but wonderful addition to this little set up because it seems to prevent deeply swallowed hooks, especially from goldeye.  For protection against toothy critters, ie. pike, I tie a very small and thin steel leader to the end.  Twenty inches to two feet up the line I tie on a bell sinker and that is that.  That is my ‘go to’ river fishing rig, and it’s the rig I use for all river fish, save for sturgeon, which is a different kettle of fish all together.  The guys and gals at the Fishin Hole know this rig well and can easily get you set up with the same gear if you’re so inclined.

With lines in the water, the kids immediately find a suitable chunk of beach and start excavating and building.  Cedar decides that it is too hot for her liking, so she immediate jumps in, as does Fraser.  Rose doesn’t go full on in, but is happily splashing about in the shoreline margins.  It’s a happy scene.

A happy scene, playing at the river

Almost immediately the near rod starts bouncing and I pick it up.  Before I can even start reeling a silver fish is splashing here, there, everywhere.  I smile.   “Goldeye,” I think, but as it gets closer I see this fish isn’t all that big and doesn’t quite have the shape of a goldeye.  I get a closer look at the eye, and it’s more silver and gray than it is gold.  “Hey guys, I caught a mooneye,” I announce and the kids come rushing over.  It is a wonderful way to start the day.  The floating jig head does its job and the fish is neatly hooked in the corner of its mouth.  We take a couple of pictures, then without hesitation Cedar backs the hook out and the fish is free.

A mooneye gets us started

With the fish released, my kids immediately race back to their chunk of beach and continue their projects.  I rebait with a worm and cast the line out.  Again, it’s only a couple of minutes and the near rod is back at it, bouncing up and down.  I set the hook into a fish.  Wait, no I missed him, no I got him, what the heck?  I look out into the water and I’m not really sure if I have a fish or not.  Then there it is, surfing in.  It is a tiny sucker, probably just barely big enough to grab the bait.  “It’s a baby,” Fraser says.  Cedar excitedly cradles our little prize, eases the hook and out, and sets it free.

Quickly we reload and send another worm out into the current.  I look at the downstream rod and decide that it needs to move up closer to the rod where we’re getting all the bites.  I move the downstream rod up and it is now fishing perhaps 20 feet upstream of the near rod.  Before things settle the near rod is jumping with life.  Cedar takes matters into her own hands and is quickly on it.  This fish is jumping all over, and it’s bigger.  “Goldeye,” I say aloud and sure enough, the fish is a goldeye.  A big male in fact.  You can tell adult male and female goldeye by looking at the anal fin.  If the fin bulges out, it’s a male.  If the fin curves inward, it’s a female. 

An outward pointing anal fin means this goldeye is a male

While dealing with getting the near rod out, the newly relocated rod does a couple of shakes, then just gets pulled right over and stays that way.  “Big fish,” I say.  Momma Mel sees this too, and is on it.  She sets the hook into solid weight.  This fish doesn’t jump, but stubbornly pulls line.  It’s easy to tell this is a better fish.  “It’s a redhorse, it’s a redhorse, Mel says excitedly.  It’s a beauty redhorse at that.  With big shiny cream-coloured golden scales and a scarlet red tail, this fish is a prized trophy.  We all take a moment to admire it before Mel points its head out into the river where it gently swims off under its own steam.

A beautiful redhorse is a welcomed trophy

It’s never more than a couple of minutes before something else is biting our hooks and everyone is having a lot of fun.  Then, much like the redhorse, we get another hard and heavy bite.  Mel is on this fish too, and it has shoulders, pulling line repeatedly.  I know this is a better fish, so I wait patiently, watching the battle unfold.  It takes a few minutes before the fish is close, and then we get a glimpse of green and white.  The fish materializes into a big walleye.  Probably two feet long at least.

A chunky walleye bites and makes our day

We catch a couple more fish, but it’s easy to see that that kids have used up their energy and it’s time to make the run home.  We pack up and shortly we are back in our driveway.  I happen to glance at the clock and I am surprised to see that, all in, round trip, we were only gone two and a half hours.  It’s amazing the quality fishing adventures that are available right in our backyard.  It’s just so close.  Cedar and Fraser immediately ask when we can go back.  “Soon,” I say with a smile.  “Very soon.”  I’m thinking perhaps even today!

There’s great fishing to be had just minutes from home

10 months ago
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