Saskatchewan’s Best Fishing Hot Spots

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Fishing hot spot guide: With so many excellent lakes and rivers to choose from, Saskatchewan offers the resident and visiting angler alike an almost bewildering selection of world class waters.

1. Churchill River

For sheer numbers of healthy, scrappy river walleye, it’s hard to beat the Churchill River. This historic waterway is accessible by road at several points — Highway 102 north from La Ronge, then Highway 915 to Stanley Mission takes you to a small settlement with a boat launch. You can fish the immediate area on your own, or hire an outfitter like Voyageur Lodge to take you downriver. Continue up 102 to Missinipi, and you’ll find several lodges and outfitter just off the highway on Otter Lake. This part of the Churchill is easily fished without a guide, as rental boats are available. Spring fishing, into late-June is a good time to be there. Take plenty of 3/8- and ½-ounce jigs and plastic tails — rocks are everywhere. But so are the walleye, with 100-fish days a real possibility on less pressured stretches of the river.

2. Boundary Dam Reservoir

Boundary Dam Reservoir is a top five destination for one reason — it’s the only place in Saskatchewan and probably the whole of the prairies — to fish for largemouth bass. The reservoir provides cooling water for a coal-fired power plant, and the hot water return keeps water temperatures well above normal. Old bucket-mouth has been stocked in the reservoir and is reproducing naturally. Some bass have been caught in the seven-pound range. The usual techniques work — casting shorelines in the early part of the season, rip rap around the dam itself and a couple of weedy back bays as the season progresses. Jigging, worming, tossing crank baits, spinner baits and top-waters will all produce fish once you pattern the bass. Get there by driving south of Regina on Highway 6 to Highway 39 and follow it to Estevan, then take Highway 18 west and follow the signs to the boat launch.

3. Saskatchewan River

While Tobin Lake is one of the best ice-fishing spots in Saskatchewan, the Saskatchewan River that flows into it is the best bet to catch a world-class trophy walleye in Western Canada. Every open-water provincial record walleye caught during the last decade has come from the stretch of water between the Town of Nipawin and the area where the river enters the lake. Access is easy, with an excellent launch ramp in the regional park at Nipawin, on Highway 35. Most anglers will pursue walleye with live bait rigs, either spinner rigs baited with nightcrawlers, or Lindy rigs tipped with a live ribbon leech. Fish the edges, where the deeper part of the river channel connects with shoreline shallows. Drift down-current and be prepared for subtle, light bites. The walleye of a lifetime awaits.

4. Selwyn Lake

Every angler has a life-list of dream trips, and if big lake trout are on yours, then head north, way north to the Saskatchewan-Northwest Territories border and Selwyn Lake, serviced by Selwyn Lake Lodge. It’s a fly-in destination, accessible from floatplane bases at La Ronge, or for the more adventurous, Points North Landing, the end of the road (Highway 102) in Saskatchewan. The lake has been managed as a catch-and-release fishery for years, and it offers a chance at a fish of a lifetime. Besides trophy lakers, big northern pike and grayling are found in these waters. Trips like this aren’t cheap, but are worth saving for if you want a once-in-a-lifetime shot at first-class wilderness fishing.

5. Cypress Hills

Mention fly fishing and the southern prairies in the same sentence and you might get some strange looks. Pay no attention. Head for the Saskatchewan side of the Cypress Hills and you’ll find not one or two, but a bunch of small trout streams holding browns, brookies and ‘bows. Places like Bone Creek, Rattler Creek, Battle Creek, Belanger Creek and Conglomerate Creek are all accessible by road and on foot. Take Highway 1 to Maple Creek, then turn south on Highway 21 to the provincial park. Saskatchewan Environment has published a guide to fishing the creeks in this area, which includes a detailed map that includes points of access on private land and places to park and walk. Some of these creeks are small, and dapping with a short 4-weight rod is the best way to get to the fish. Some waters are more open and call for traditional casting. Depending on the season, you’ll want to carry a variety of flies, from #6 leeches and Woolly Buggers, to #14 or smaller dry flies. The scenery is gorgeous and the trout are wily and challenging.

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