Wade and Andrew (aka The Army) with a DOUBLE HEADER
The Central Alberta Fly Tying Club hit the Parkland Region of Manitoba for 4 days. Our group was 15 strong. That included Bob and Karen as organizers, Phil Rowley as host and 12 avid fly fishers, all but two were from our tying group. Karen and I arrived a day early to get set up. We brought a lot of food across the prairies and we wanted to ensure it was safely refrigerated at Arrow Lake Lodge before we hit Patterson Lake for the day. Everybody survived the long 9 hour drive to have a chance at catching trophy trout and refining their fly fishing skills. With Phil Rowley there to mentor and instruct us in the evenings , we were all primed for a great 4 day stay. The lakes certainly did not disappoint us.
Phil Rowley and Barry Black
After a Friday night barbeque, we took in one of Phil's seminars on how to approach a new lake. Saturday we were all off to Tokaryk Lake, a mere 15 minutes from the lodge. To say the fishing was amazing would be an understatement. We caught so many trophy rainbows that our arms were sore. Rainbows well over 5 pounds were a common occurrence on this day. It was all about chronomids and hanging balanced leeches under strike indicators. The smiles on the faces of the gang was all the proof needed to see that the day was incredible. Our two fellows we called THE ARMY hit the honey hole. They caught well over 50 fish. That included 10 doubles. I even saw Phil edge over and fish in the same area as THE ARMY. Eventually 5 boats were right there and everybody was catching at an amazing rate. Another group was over by the dock and they too were enjoying chronomid and leech fishing at its best.
Bernie the Chef making sure the tenderloin was properly cooked.
Saturday night's seminar was all about approaching trophy waters. On Sunday, we headed to Patterson Lake. Its the main lake for FLIPPR (The fish and Lake Improvement Plan for the Parkland). Ken Kansas, the biologist who spear headed the development of the trophy lakes was there to great us and then hit the water. The trophy lakes in this area of Manitoba began in 2003.
Patterson Lake is all about BIG brown trout and TROPHY rainbows. Its a tougher lake to fish than Tokaryk Lake. The brown trout were often found along the weed lines and the rainbows were in 10 to 14 feet of water. Karen was chronomid fishing with great success while I was using a Tokaryk Special designed as a balanced leech. Karen had 6 in the bag including a magnificent monster brown before I had a hit. I think my new name for the rest of the day was Net Boy. I could hear Doug Pullen whoop it up several times when he tied into some very large rainbows . The gang caught many trophy browns using a variety of techniques. It was neat to see our group do so well on a very challenging lake. Rick was targeting BIG browns with his minnow imitation. His strategy was to hang his minnow under an indicator right along the weed beds and wait. He caught several browns using this technique.
Day three we were off to Pybus Lake. There was a chance at catching a 10 pounder there. Pybus did not give up its trout easily. Bob Hanna did have a magical moment. A 10 pound plus rainbow nailed his Thunder Creek minnow imitation and he managed to get the beast to hand. It was an amazing 29 inches long. We have a photo that we will post when Bob gets back from Manitoba.
I tied into a freight train of a rainbow that was near 10 pounds that turned my balanced leech into a straight pin. Sigh. Later in the day I caught an 8 pounder that I was able to weigh and it measured to be just shy of 26 inches and fat.
Tuesday was another travel day. Karen and I managed to go back to Patterson Lake before the 9 and a half hour run back across the prairies in rain storms. It was blustery at Patterson Lake but we managed nine rainbows and a nice brown. Vic was also there and he tied into several beautiful browns working the weed lines. We arrived home after midnight but we were quite thrilled to have such an enjoyable trip.
You can measure success in so many ways. I think each and every one of us had slightly different goals for the trip. The trip was educational because of Phil's excellent seminars and guidance on the water. The fishing was amazing at Tokaryk, good at Patterson and challenging at Pybus. The motivation to return to the Parkland Region of Manitoba to fly fish is extremely high. Phil has fished throughout North America and he thinks that this area of Manitoba may have no rival in this quality of fishery. That says a lot!
Yes, we are looking at a Fall trip. Stay tuned!
There are more pictures on the way!!!!