Back in 2012, I had a 3-day trip to the National Parks in Western Canada. My schedule was very tight and I wanted to visit as many places as possible, with a mixed activities of hiking, canoeing, and sightseeing. The trip was actually organized by a friend of mine in Edmonton and it was very successful. So, I decided to share some photos and the places I and my friends visited. Hope this will help you plan for your next trip 🙂
A. 1. Beauvert Lake: calm and peaceful in early mornings, almost like a mirror.
B. 2. Patricia Lake: not far from Beauvert Lake, you’ll pass by Patricia Lake before you reach Pyramid Lake.
C. 3. Pyramid Lake: the lake and the Pyramid Island is one of the most visited destination in Jasper National Park.
D. 4. Maligne Canyon: a wonderful deep canyon and a good hiking trail.
E. 5. Athabasca Falls: great water falls that you never want to miss.
F. 6. Columbia Glacier Icefields: not many glacier icefields are left in the world, be sure to check this one out. Bring a water bottle with you and try the glacier water.
G. 7. Lake Louise: a beautiful lake and very popular place for visitors.
H. 8. Takakkaw Falls: the waterfalls and the mountains make great pictures.
I. 9. Emerald Lake: a peaceful lake that is great for canoeing.
J. 10. Natural Bridge Yoho National Park: come and see the nature’s carvings.
K. 11. Moraine Lake: nice lake and nice hiking.
L. 12. Johnston Canyon Water Falls: one of the most popular and best hiking trails.
M. 13. The Fairmont Banff Springs (Castle): luxury historic resort and conference centre.
N. 14. Sulphur Mountain: great hiking trails, Banff gondola, sight viewing platforms, panorama and bird view of Banff Town, Bow River, Minnewanka Lake, and many more.
Banff and Jasper National Parks offer great opportunities for wildlife viewing. Bear-watching offers both adults and children exiting moments in travel. This posts summarizes locations I have seen grizzly or black bears. Note that I never tried hiking to a remote area just to see bears. Actually, the bears I’ve seen are all found not far away from highways. See pictures below for more detailed information.
Astotin Lake is my favorite destination in Elk Island National Park, which is famous for its bison. I’ve been there both in summer and winter times. It’s a beautiful lake, great for recreational activities such as kayaking, bird/wildlife watching, camping, etc.
“Crayfish are native to the Beaver River system. However, they appear to have been illegally introduced into many Alberta waters and may be adversely affecting aquatic ecosystems.”
“Some people have expressed a desire to consume crayfish. In all waters other than the Beaver River, people may catch crayfish for consumption. Legal capture methods include angling (sport fishing regulations apply) or catching them by hand. No licence is required to capture crayfish by hand. The retention and transport of live crayfish is illegal and all retained crayfish must be immediately killed to prevent the spread of this species. Please help prevent the spread of invasive species.”
Locations crayfish have been found in Alberta: North Saskatchewan River; Peace River; the trout pond in Lacombe Park; Cardiff pond near Morinville; Heritage Lake; Nose Creek; Rotary Park pond; and other places. Crayfish can be caught close to shore as they usually live under rocks or other structures.
North Saskatchewan River offers people with great opportunities to enjoy fantastic fishing without having to drive far away from their home, especially for people living in Edmonton and area. The river produces good Walleye, Northern Pike, Goldeye, Mountain Whitefish, Burbot, Lake Sturgeon, and five species of Suckers (they are fun to catch, even though not known as game fish). For those who are new and experienced to the sport, please read my article about 6 factors every fisherpeople need to know to catch any fish successfully and consistently.
So, let’s get straight down to business. Here are a few locations that I fish regularly within the Edmonton city limit.
Location 1: a storm water outfall in Hermitage Park in northeast Edmonton (GPS coordinates: 53.587385, -113.370447).
Location 2: Whitemud Creek mouth where it meets North Saskatchewan River (GPS coordinates: 53.505516, -113.561743).
Location 3: the storm water outfall across Whitemud Creek, under Quesnell Bridge (GPS coordinates: 53.507426, -113.565987).
Other fishing locations: look for storm water outfalls, creek mouths, bridges, river bends, and other structures that may provide food, shelter, resting places (slow moving water pools, eddies, deep holes, etc.).
As mentioned in the beginning of this article, there are many fish species that can be caught in North Saskatchewan River. For me, I often catch Walleye, Northern Pike, Goldeye, Mountain Whitefish, and White Sucker. Here is a pdf file for fish identification from Alberta Regulations.
Baits: earthworms (red wiggler or night crawler); cut shrimp; minnows.
Live earthworms worked the best for sucker fish species, goldeye, and mountain whitefish. Earthworms also worked well on all other fish species. Berkley Powerbaits grubs or worms worked well for walleye and pike.
Dropshot rig has been my favorite because it’s very versatile. You can cast and retrieve, jig, troll, or do fine presentations when fish is finicky. Otherwise, Caroline rig and Pickerel rig are popular. The water in North Saskatchewan river is usually not very clear, so line thickness does not play a big role in catching fish there. In addition, common game fish species like pike and walleye are not line sensitive (unlike trout, which feeds mainly using eye sights). So, 6 lb test, clear monofilament line is good most of the time. If you want to catch big pike, either use a stronger line or use a stainless steel fishing wire as a leader to fight against the sharp teeth of pike. I had a 50% chance of landing 50+ cm pike using 4 lb test monofilament line (the 4 lb test line broke for 50% of fish hooked).
I have caught fish in the morning, during the day and before sunset in North Saskatchewan River. But people generally agree that one hour or two before or after sunrise or sunset are the most productive, as most fish feed actively in these time periods.
Fish feed most actively after winters (they are hungry) and before winters come (to store energy). Average temperatures of May to September (5 months) are typically above 10 degrees Celsius in Edmonton. These months are great for fishing in the river. The river water tends to be muddy in summers when snow melt and rain water runoff bring soil (mainly from the riverbank) to the water. The water clears out in falls. But no matter what color the water is, you can always go fishing and be productive. Actually, if you want to catch sauger, you’d better find muddy/darker water near structures like outfalls.
Each fish species has its own preferred water temperatures. Knowing the fish’s preferences is the key to locate and catch them (especially in lakes). 12 degrees Celsius (54 degrees Fahrenheit) is a good rule-of-thumb preferred temperature for northern fish species. Below is an example preferred temperature chart for different fish species. In North Saskatchewan River, the water can be as deep as 5 meters at some holes. Fish dive deep before winters come.
Some fish species (e.g., sauger and walleye) are sensitive to light. So, you could be more productive on cloudy, dark days than sunny, bright ones.