Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Urban Fishing

Most cities and towns are situated along some form of a body of water, be it a creek, lake, river,
even a retention pond.  A lot of people don't have the means necessary to go far for fishing and
are stuck only able to fish close to home, that doesn't mean the experience can't be fun and full
of memories.  Many areas receive a lot of angling pressure, while others off the beaten path might
not, it is usually evident by the amount of garbage in the region. For every caring and conscious
angler there seem to be ten who are not.

A recent family emergency had disrupted our mid summer fishing plans and my wife and I were spending more time in the big city than we would have liked to.  None the less with many options and bodies of water to wet a line, we were going to make the best out of the time and surroundings we had to get some bites and land a fish or two.  Little did we know over the next few weekends we would be catching and releasing hundreds.

Cars in the distance, train horns sounding, airplanes coming in to land over head, these aren't the familiar sounds I associate with fishing. They were easily tuned out though, once we were relaxed and settled in on the shore.  Empty bait tubs, loose line, tangled rigs and jig heads, empty coffee cups and all kinds of plastic, not the kind of shoreline I'm used to seeing but again easily dealt with.

For those intimidated by larger rivers, creeks and slower moving rivers can be a good place to start
and sharpen your skills, even the odd retention pond can produce the occasional bullhead, sucker or
creek chub.  Light tackle and small jig heads tipped with scented plastics or a worm chunk slowly
drifted under a bobber or worked along the bottom is a good way to start.  It isn't long before you
can differentiate where the bullheads are holding up from the goldeye, or where the rock bass like to
hunt as oppose to the young sauger or walleye.

Smaller rivers and creeks in the Winnipeg area never failed to show us a good time, mostly juvenile fish with the occasional large carp, medium sized catfish or toothy pike thrown in the mix. Most creeks and smaller rivers have walking/biking paths or deer trails that make good access points. Once we found a few different spots, we made a point of working them when ever time permitted.  Wetting a line for an hour or two helped me deal with what we were going through and provided an added challenge of fishing new water bodies.

Different times of the day call for different tactics, I used our trips as an opportunity to try new techniques and lures once we were familiar with what was in the water. Small spinners and spoons produced some fish but a bobber and worm would never fail.

Returning to a few of our favorite spots to get to know them a bit better we would find ourselves catching the same drum we did a week ago or the same torn up young walleye.  I even got glimpses of a resident pike through my polarized glasses, that took to biting off my small jig head on a weekly basis.

Whether it was the frogs calling before a storm, the fishers hunting in the shallows or the herons poking in the mud, there was always something to put a smile on your face.  Sometimes it was the ounces of lead stuck in the trees above.  Watching the schools of bullheads grow in size as the weeks went on became something we looked forward to as well.

The Red River and the Assiniboine are two large, typically heavy flowing rivers that meet in the
centre of Winnipeg. With an abundance of spots to fish from shore, the opportunities are endless. One
should remember that some property owners have land rights to the waters edge and keep their property private. With a bit of hunting around and checking out the different green spaces, many a good spot can be found along these rivers. Slack water and current edges are the easiest areas to fish, with stronger current holding fish as well, but beware of the many sunken trees, shopping carts and rocks that can snag your lure or line.

The Forks is where these two rivers meet and with ample parking and tons of shore space it's a great
place to take the family.  A slip sinker catfish rig or a bobber and a hook baited with whole shrimp
or cut bait work well for catfish there, leave the bail open, wait for the take and hold on!!  Jig
heads and a worm or minnow seemed to interest the juvenile cats and stonecats. Many other species
call the river home and are caught at different times of the year, word has it the odd sturgeon gets
landed once in a while there as well. Snacks and shade are easily sought out and there are bathrooms
near by as well.

The weekend trips appear as though they may be lasting well into fall at this point, with new spots to try and old ones to check up on, my wife and I plan on continuing to make the best out of our time urban fishing.

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