Saskatchewan Fishing Report (December 2010)
The biggest fish story in Saskatchewan these days is the ice conditions. The province had a mild, wet fall and then when the lakes finally froze, the thin ice was quickly covered by heavy snow. It has made for abnormally dangerous conditions throughout the province, but especially in the Souris River, Moose Mountain Creek, Assiniboine River, Red Deer River, Carrot River, Whitesand River and Qu'Appelle River systems. All of these rivers have all been placed on Advisory/Warning by the Saskatchewan Watershed Authority (SWA).In the Qu'Appelle River system, which includes Last Mountain Lake, Pasqua, Echo, Mission, Katepwa, Crooked and Round lakes the situation is even more treacherous. An unprecedented series of events has caused Last Mountain Lake, the largest natural lake in Southern Saskatchewan, to enter the ice fishing season at full pool. This means that if even normal spring runoff and melt conditions were to occur the lake would flood, resulting in considerable damage to lakefront properties.
As a result, the Lumden Dam, which controls water flow out of Last Mountain Lake into the Qu'Appelle River has been opened to a flow rate of more than 14 cubic meters per second. Normally at this time of year the rate is around 3 cubic meters per second. It means the amount of water entering the Qu'Appelle River system right now is at spring-time volumes. Combine this with the ice having an initially thin, fragile layer, followed by heavy, insulating snow, and the results are not good. As a matter of fact, the weight of the snow pushing down on the ice is causing water to flow over top wherever current exists. (How big do the walleyes get in Saskatchewan? Check out this 18.6-pound world ice fishing record landed by Father Mariusz Zajak in Tobin Lake.)The bottom line, reports Saskatchewan fishing guru Bob Schlosser, is that anglers have been advised to exercise extreme caution throughout the entire ice season. (You can get more information about the situation and the Advisory at www.swa.ca/WhatsNew/Advisories.asp )If that is the bad news, the good news is that the anglers who have been walking out on the lakes have been enjoying great success. The Qu'Appelle lakes in particular are experiencing good shallow-water perch and walleye bites. And pike of all sizes are being caught.Buddy, Jeff Matity is one of the hottest sticks and top fishing guides in Saskatchewan working out of Rob Schulz's G&S Marina Outfitters www.gsmarina.com on Last Mountain Lake. Jeff tells me he's whacking big yellow perch and walleyes using jigs and spoons tipped with salted-minnow heads. He says the fish are showing a definite preference for these combinations as opposed to the fresh perch eyes that usually work so well at first ice.
In the shallows, Jeff's two best spoons have been a 1/4-ounce Reelbait Plane Jane spoon and 1/4 ounce HT Jig-A-Whopper Hawger spoon in white, silver and glow colours. For back up duty he is using 1/8- and 1/4-ounce Reelbait Flasher jigs and LINDY Max Gap Rattling jigs in the same colours tipped with a minnow head or perch eye. Matity is fishing the flats quickly, in order to locate pods of active fish and then playing the cat-and-mouse game of visual manipulation from a portable shack.By the way, Matity is the co-creator, co-writer, guest-host and underwater videographer for "REEL 'EM IN" on CTV. His brother Jason is the producer and you can catch all the action on-line at www.fishing-in-saskatchewan.com . The segments are filmed exclusively in Saskatchewan. And if you're looking for a great Christmas gif">Andrew "Smitty" Smith and Steve Bunka are two other hot Saskatchewan sticks who are tearing up the fish right now. Bunka and Smi