Saskatchewan is a province known for its excellent Northern Pike, Walleye and huge Lake Trout, but on today’s show Pete Bowman seeks out a provincial rarity… the Largemouth Bass.
This episode of the Fish’n Canada show may be one of the most unique episodes that we have filmed… in Saskatchewan that is. This fish-filled province is notorious for giving up trophy Walleye, Lake Trout and Northern Pike, however there lives a fish species in this province that only inhabits one body of water… and it’s one of North America’s most popular gamefish…
Hopefully we’ve got you thinking a little bit. Here’s a bit of help… Pete’s going to be fishing a man made reservoir with ridiculously warm water temperatures, the water clarity is anywhere from 6” to a couple of feet in the best of conditions and there’s more water skiers and tubers here than you can shake a Flippin’ stick at… and speaking of Flippin’, Pete’s after Largemouth Bass… In Saskatchewan.
Joining him on this unique trip is Keith Beasley from Canada In The Rough. Keith’s known as a remarkable big game hunter but as with a lot of the hunting community, he has a passion for fishing… especially Largemouth.
The destination water for this show is Boundary Dam Reservoir just outside the town of Estevan. As mentioned earlier, it’s a man made lake that doesn’t resemble the typical Largemouth water dotted with lily pads, reeds, rock walls. It actually resembles the reservoirs of the United States and even Mexico… which truly are, big Bass waters. The most unique feature of this reservoir however is it rarely freezes over. It was built as a water reserve for the local Hydro plant which uses the water to cool the generators. Water gets pumped into the power house, cools down the hot generators, then the now warmed-up water gets pumped back into the reservoir at a much more Largemouth Bass friendly temperature.
Warmer water equals longer growing seasons for Largemouth… a perfect ingredient for a Bass factory.
When Pete and Keith first got to Boundary Reservoir their high hopes of fishing something that resembled a typical natural lake dropped. Pete notes in the show that his little brain was already racing around… the water’s dirty, there’s giant steep mud banks everywhere… “I’m gonna’ get my butt handed to me… on my favourite fish species!”.
“We had a couple of hours to kill on our arrival day so why not go fishing” said Pete.
Things started out rough to say the least… lots of searching with very little fish contact… and the fish they contacted were… very little. But the beauty of Bass fishing is, there’s always a pattern or an area that can pay big rewards. Tomorrow would be another day…
A TOPWATER START
With an early morning start on the boys first full day of fishing, they decided to move to the south end of the reservoir and look for cleaner and more Bassy looking water. A beautiful row of cottages clumped midway down the waterway caught both anglers attention and upon closer inspection, the much cleaner water that was loaded with beautiful eel-grass built their confidence significantly.
Pete threw a Pop-R right next to the first dock and bam, a beautiful three and a half pounder!
This row of docks and cottages was the start of something great!
As the sun came up the topwater bite slowed down so with that, Pete and Keith headed to the bottom end of the lake. Upon arrival their jaws dropped, It was jigs and weed clumps… “if this works, it’s game on” says Pete.
Watch this entire episode On Demand.
SASKATCHEWAN BASS LAKE
The province of Saskatchewan is not known as a Largemouth destination. That’s because it was thought that the species couldn’t survive the local environment here since 17 attempts at stocking failed in the 1950’s. Boundary Dam Reservior though defied the odds. With the Shand Power Station constantly pumping out warm water, this reservoir has become a phenomenal Bass factory with fish up to 8 pounds being recorded.
PIKE AS WELL
As the day progressed, something funny was happening. Pete was catching the odd Largemouth but kept hitting Pike after Pike… and that’s a monkey on a Bass angler’s back that you really want to dump off… quick!
Keith however… just Bass.
Pete pretty much had enough so he tried to figure out what was happening… and all of a sudden after closely scrutinizing Keith, came to a conclusion. Pete was working his jig quite aggressively after the initial drop, shaking it and swimming it while, as he says in the episode “turkey boy over there is tryin’ to fake me out… talking up a storm but… not moving the jig very much”… Immediately Pete’s Pike annihilation came to an end and it’s strictly Largemouth… the hunter that just schooled the angler may just get a schooling back at em’!
The rest of the day… outstanding. Jig & Pigs on 3 – 5 pound Largemouth!
Pete says “This may be the best example of a rags to riches experience I’ve ever had on a Fish’n Canada shoot. I go to Saskatchewan with high hopes… which get annihilated upon my arrival… but in typical “Trying to figure Bass out” fashion… it turned into probably my best Largemouth trip of the year! This is definitely a bucket list bass destination!”
A TIP FROM PETE
“I can only comment on fishing Boundary Reservoir in mid summer with water temps near 80 degrees since this was my first trip here. This is definitely a fantastic water body to throw soft plastics and jigs to weed edges in the heat of the day.
Our most productive baits were 1/2 ounce black jigs with a black plastic craw-like trailer. The water was not only warm but quite stained in places with lots of green scum on top.[pullquote style=”right”]trust me, when you’re throwing a Jig for Largemouth, Pike are not a welcome sight[/pullquote] The dark silhouette or shadow-like look of a black jig believe it or not is very visible in this off coloured water. I know it sounds kind of bizarre, you would think a chartreuse or white would be the ultimate but for some reason black always works. Also we fished mostly 8 – 12 feet of water which adds to the bad visibility deal due to lack of light penetration. As for Rattles, the jury is still out on that one for me because I was using a rattle jig and although I was catching bass, I think that may have been one of the reasons I was catching lots of Pike as well— trust me, when you’re throwing a Jig for Largemouth, Pike are not a welcome sight.
This might have been just a timing thing but it certainly could have been part of the problem”.
“Since the water is so off coloured, go with either 20+ pound fluorocarbon line or 50+ pound braid… fish seeing the line isn’t an issue. A 7′ medium heavy to heavy action rod is perfect”
“The weedlines we fished there were classic… just like you would find on any good Largemouth lake in North America. Look for the typical nooks, crannys, points, anything that is different but don’t neglect the straight perfectly vertical edges… I think these fish cruise the weedlines here quite a bit”
“As a final note, the average size of Largemouth Bass here is awesome, with lots of fish in the 4 pound range. I’ve heard of 8 pound fish from the lake and have no doubt in my mind that it’s true. In fact, since this is considered one of Canada’s warmest waters (on an annual basis) Boundary Reservoir could be, in my opinion, in the running for the next Canadian record Largemouth.”