In Oil Country- Urban Fishing Edmonton Style!
The journey began with the first snow flurries in Ottawa... It's that time of year - no worries - these first few flakes of snow are hitting my windshield on the way to the Ottawa airport and I have an escape. Edmonton.
Most Canadians do not venture to Alberta when it gets cold; however, I was going for a purpose; to enjoy some urban fishing in the North Saskatchewan River for Edmonton's walleye and pike. While most anglers prefer the warmer months, the late fall can often be some of the most productive periods for catching both size and numbers.
We met our guide, John Kokotilo, at the hotel, and immediately set out to hit one of his favorite spots. We tied on a mix of crankbaits and various plastics Gulp! and Powerbait plastics and we quickly found what we were after. After a few fish, I quickly realized that Edmonton had one heck of a healthy fishery. All the walleye we caught were over three pounds and we caught one in the six pound range. Quite the feat since we were casting from the shoreline right in city limits. Walleye over 10 pounds are quite common and fish surpassing 12 pounds are often caught by patient anglers.
We found most the active fish were in and around faster moving water with a rocky bottom. As the sun was starting to set the walleye would move in close to shore to feed, I caught one less then a rod length away from where I was standing on the bank.
We also spent some time casting spoons and swimbaits for the areas northern pike. Although we didn't catch any that were 20 plus, the action from the smaller fish made for one really enjoyable day on the water. These fish were cruising the shallow flats and any areas with healthy weeds had these toothy critters waiting to pounce on our offerings.
It was obvious that John knows the local water and also guides on remote lakes in Northern Alberta (*note to self make plans in the spring). Edmonton has so many angling opportunities right in and immediately adjacent to the city.
For those of you with kids, there are many "pothole" lakes stocked with rainbow trout. This is a perfect way to get youngsters involved in the sport of fishing. Most of these lakes are stocked annually but there tends to be a winter kill and fish do not hold over.
The North Saskatchewan also holds loads of goldeye, a hard fighting, high flying fish that can be caught from early May to October. I had hooked one and knew I had something special but after a hard run and one quick leap, the fish threw my barbless hook. The river also is home to sauger, whitefish, brown trout, burbot, suckers and some really large sturgeon.
Off to the infamous West Edmonton mall before my flight back home!
Host- Big City Fishing
Special thanks to Alberta tourism, Edmonton tourism, John Kokotilo //www.northernspiritfishing.com ,Keith for meeting us for a great dinner, Chris Hockley at Pure fishing , Camerman Kevin Reid for braving the elements, the fish of Edmonton for being so cooperative especially when the camera was rolling.