What Gear to Bring for Fishing in Saskatchewan
Saskatchewan isn’t always a land of snow of ice. Summer weather reaches well into sunburn territory. But be prepared for wide temperature swings from windy cold to t-shirt weather in the same day. It may feel like you experienced three seasons in the same day.
Fishing Clothing Recommendations
When packing your gear bag before you leave for a fishing adventure in Saskatchewan, you will need to take into account the potential of wide swings in the weather. DO NOT rely on the weather forecast a week in advance, or even a day in advance. Weather systems in the Canadian central Prairies can shift quickly and severely. Be prepared. A fishing trip in Saskatchewan in early June to mid September could mean mid-day temperatures in the high 70’s to low 80’s but might also mean the early morning coffee happens in temperatures below freezing. Add in the windchill on the open water and that’s a pretty wide swing in conditions.
An important tip for the early morning boat ride to the fishing spots, make sure you have layers of clothing. You should include rain / wind gear, neoprene gloves, waterproof boots. Your windproof / rainproof outer layer should be light and use other layers of clothing as your warmth, knowing you may have to peel some off and put them back on during the day.
Tackle choices are usually based on your target species. This includes rod choice, reel choice, and especially lure and bait choice. Some tackle is truly universal and capable of catching nearly any species of game fish in Saskatchewan. But while these general use tackle choices can produce fish across a wide variety of species and conditions, there is much to be learned from the knowledge and experience of your local guides who have likely seen it all and know what really works. Add to this their knowledge of local waters and habits of fish making for good advice to follow.
While tackle choice is often a matter of personal preference, there are some must have tackle items for fishing in Saskatchewan. For rod choice this includes a medium action rod which will be suitable for fishing for Walleye to Northern Pike and Lake Trout. For Walleye you may prefer a rod with a more sensitive tips for use while jigging as Walleye can be known to feed lightly especially when baiting with leaches. Pike and Lake Trout tend to hit the lure more aggressively and are, on average, a heavier body fish so a rod with more backbone may be desired for a stronger hook set.
Most fishing lodges will have their own on-site tackle shop with a supply of the tried and true lures that produce fish. Fishing boats supplied by the lodge will most likely include a good quality net designed for hauling in the local varieties of fish. Make sure you check with your outfitter in advance as to whether they also provide other tackle needs such as rods, lures and accessories.
Fly Fishing Tackle
If you are coming to Saskatchewan with plans for fly fishing then there are two ends of the spectrum to consider. If you are headed up north to chase Arctic Grayling, you will want a light tackle presentation such as a 4 weight rod. These small fish will chase small dry flies as well as larger nymphs and woolly buggers.
If you plan to cast your flies for the larger species of game fish in Saskatchewan, consider an 8 weight fly rod and a fly box of brightly colored streamers. Pike will attack a fly. In May and parts of June, and beginning again in late September, when Lake Trout are in shallow waters they will willing eat a streamer fly as well. Walleye can be caught be caught on flies as well but you will need a sinking tip line and let the fly swing down to the depths. Streamer sizes are as big as t you can handle. Pike will eat fish over half their body size so it’s hard to go too big with your lure choice.
Other Articles to Bring Fishing
Clearly clothing is the most important category of gear to bring when fishing in Saskatchewan. Let’s also run through the list of other essentials.
- A gear bag to carry gear, food, ammunition, and water to your stand or blind
- Your camera or phone
- Spare batteries or battery pack
- Any prescription medications you may need throughout the day
- A tape measure
- Sunscreen & polarized sunglasses
- Bug spray
When practicing catch and release fishing, a tape measure is often the tool used to “weigh” your fish. The combination of length, girth, and species will give you a very close approximation of the weight of the fish. Combine this with a couple quick photos and you can also get a replica mount made by most taxidermists.
These last two need some emphasis. In early and mid-summer daylight in Saskatchewan can stretch for 18 to 20 hours. Mid day UV exposure can be quite high and magnified by reflections off the water. Sunglasses are also important safety equipment for your eyes for when you are fighting that big pike near the net and a violent head shake results in the hook getting spit out of the fishes mouth. With tension on your line from the rod bend, that lure may be header your way, or towards another fishing buddy. Polarized lenses will give you better underwater visibility as well.
Just when you think you are far enough from shore, that black fly lands on your calf, or a mosquito on the back of your neck. Keep the biting insects away with an ample supply of bug spray. Bring it with you in your gear bag to reply as needed.