Originally Published by Outdoor Canada, November 19, 2015
By Gord Pyzer
Virtually every province in Canada offers a wealth of stocked trout fishing opportunities with the lakes often being located in easy to reach majestic settings.
Better yet, since the brookies, browns, rainbows and splake are typically planted in waters where they will not spawn successfully, the season remains open throughout the year, offering you opportunities that, quite frankly, you can’t find anywhere else.
And right now is possibly the very best time of the year to take advantage of the world class opportunities.
The reason is because the waters have chilled down mightily so the trout are typically relating to shallow shoreline cover. Things like fallen trees, logs, beaver lodges, rocky shoals, weedlines and springs.
Better yet, while the fall spawning browns, brookies and splake generally don’t reproduce successfully in these lakes, they still attempt to mate and lay their eggs. So the males, in particular, are clad in their outrageous fall finery.
They’re also mean, aggressive and spoiling for a fight.
“The folks at the Fort Qu’appelle Fish Culture Station have done a great job of stocking a variety of trout species throughout the province,” says Saskatchewan based friend, Rebecca Eberts, who isn’t one to miss out on the fabulous fall fishing. “Some of these lakes are easy to get into and fish from a boat or shore, while others require a little bit more time and dedication. We use belly boats in the more isolated lakes.”
While Eberts has fly fished for trout throughout Canada and the United States, she picked one of Saskatchewan’s stocked lakes recently – on Halloween to be precise – to catch her first ever splake, the hybrid cross of a male speckled trout and female lake trout.
And what an outrageous trophy it turned out to be.
“Splake develop brilliant orange and black colouring a this time of year,” says Eberts, “so it coincided well with the Halloween spirit. We knew that the fish would be aggressive and likely feeding on other splake eggs, so we tried a variety of egg patterns and large streamer flies, as well as shallow crankbaits.
“We had takes and follows using all of the techniques and landed some gorgeous fish, but the orange and yellow flies that mimicked smaller splake and splake eggs really encouraged the big males to bite.”
A short distance to the east of where Eberts was fishing in Saskatchewan, buddy Jon Hrychuk was trolling spoons, spinners and small swim baits and catching gorgeous brown trout in Manitoba’s famous Parkland region .
“My approach in the fall,” says Hyrchuk, “is to upsize and use much bigger baits. Most anglers know that brown trout are elusive when they reach adulthood so they downsize their lures. But in the fall, when the leaves turn and the days get shorter, browns become aggressive predators. And when they enter the pre-spawn period, they’re hungry and extremely territorial. The best advice I can give anyone wanting to take advantage of the amazing fishing right now is to throw much bigger lures. It’ll pay off far better than downsizing.”
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Photos courtesy of Gord Pyzer.