Like a bad April fools joke, Saskatchewan closes its lakes, ponds and rivers to fishermen and fisherwomen for a month or so. Now I know it’s only a month but it seems like forever. The funny part is that all winter, (and the winters here are longer than the summers), I don’t fish. I could never get into the ice fishing thing. Something is just missing. Fly-fishing and a lake covered in three feet of ice don’t mix, I like to see the water and not walk on it and I am not a polar bear, I need warmth. But during the winter I could fish if I wanted and that’s what makes the month of April and first part of May so bad. I’m not allowed to fish and that’s usually when the itch starts. I go through my gear, checking and rechecking everything, I buy fishing supplies, troll my way through every fishing store I can find, and generally do dumb things in preparation for opening day. (This year I sat in front of the TV watching fishing shows in my new float tube for two hours). It’s like Christmas in May, counting down the days, five more sleeps, four more sleeps etc.
So the trip was planned. Six of us were going on opening day for a one-week trip to Chitek Lake, Saskatchewan, two guys for a bear hunt and four of us fishing. Chitek lake is five hours north of Regina and is surrounded by other lakes containing trout, pike, and walleye. I could hardly wait.
We were going to be fly-fishing for pike. Now I have caught a pike with my fly rod before but totally by accident (I was practicing my casting off of a dock) and it was exciting. Saskatchewan pike on a 6-weight fly rod can be quite a fight. I proceeded to read everything that I could find on the Internet about fly-fishing for pike. I bought some special leaders to guard against those sharp teeth that are not present in a trout, bought way too many pike flies and generally spent two weeks thinking of nothing else.
Finally opening day arrived. My friend and I drove to Saskatoon to meet with the other members of our party. We ate a lot, talked a lot and about 8 p.m. that night realized that we could have been fishing. Saskatoon has a small trout pond and we jumped in the truck heading out on opening day. We caught one fish, or more specifically I caught one fish. A whopping 10 inch rainbow trout. As darkness fell and we walked back to the truck, I realized one thing. I have caught a fish every day this season.