Sunday, May 25, 2014

Police Outpost Lake near Cardston

Betty and Steve MacKenzie drove their trailer down to Police Outpost Lake to sample the trophy fishery for a few days. You can see Chief Mountain looming large from the Montana side of the border. Chief Mountain is a sacred area to many a First Nations person. Chief Mountain literally rises almost 5000 feet right off of the prairie and makes a very impressive backdrop for fly fishing at Police Outpost Lake.

There is a campground at Police Outpost Lake.

Police Outpost Lake is located near Cardston in southern Alberta. It has been designated as a trophy fishery. The rainbows are finally getting into the 18 to 20 inch category. The lake water maybe a bit cooler although overstocking may have slowed the development of the rainbows. Hopefully the correct balance of fish stocking with the amount of food that is available in the lake will be found so the triploids get large.

You can only harvest fish larger than 50 cm at the lake. The delayed harvest concept can work with the cooperation of the fisherman.

Betty said that the lake was amazing one day with hatches making the rainbows quite active. The next day, well, it was quiet. Not as much bug activity to make those rainbows eat!

I think I would have gotten caught up just enjoying the view.

Thanks for the pictures Betty and Steve!

What an impressive view of Chief Mountain near the boat launch!

Looks like the flies below received a good mauling at Police Outpost. Chironomids, balanced flies, a P-Quad variation and a caddis pupa imitation were getting the fish to "take."

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Whitefish on the Fly at Sylvan Lake

We had to get the G3 out for a test run before heading to the Parkland Region of Manitoba next weekend! We decided that we would take a run out to Sunbreakers Cove at Sylvan Lake and chironomid fish for lake whitefish! The fly fishing was amazing. We fished for 4 hours and caught whitefish after whitefish. We even caught two walleye on chironomids. Of course Karen schooled both Larry and I.

The boat launch at Sunbreaker's Cove is excellent although you can avoid a long walk from the distant parking area by being early and getting a parking place near the launch! We headed over to the last point before the bay at the north west corner of Sylvan Lake.

We all tied on black and red ice cream cone chironomids and the lake whitefish were extremely obliging. The water temperature was 50 C. We set up in 8 feet of water and the action was continuous.

Thundershowers were hovering just west of the lake so it was time to head back to Red Deer before we all got drenched.

Sylvan Lake is mostly over looked by fly fishers. It is definitely a cool place to catch loads of lake whitefish!

Lots of double headers today!

Walleye on chironomids is not that unusual!

Tiki and Pepper love to go fly fishing!

Betty and Steve at Bullshead

Betty and Steve were at Bullshead Reservoir in the Cypress Hills just after ice off. As you can tell by the wintery cloths that they were wearing, it was rather cold. Now if you know Steve, he is usually paddling around in his float tube in a sleeveless t-shirt. So it is unusual to see Steve with all of those layers on!

Looks like Betty and Steve are now fishing out of new inflatable. Looks great you two!

The rainbows were biting and the Cypress Hills wind made it tough at times to anquor. Looks like chironomids were working as were balanced flies and Todd Oishi's, Vampire Leech!

Well done you two! Thanks for sharing your experience at Bullshead!

Friday, May 23, 2014

Barbecuing with Mayflies

It is a beautiful warm Friday. It was a perfect night to light up the barbeque and cook supper. As I was getting ready to cook, I noticed a mayfly on the kitchen window screen. Nothing unusual about that but after I started to look at the side of my home, I could see lots of mayflies and at least 2 different species. Of course I had to get out my camera and multitask. Cooking supper and photographing mayflies are certainly an unusual combination. I don't own a great macro lens but the images turned out not too bad! I love to take fly fishing related pictures and these Blue Winged Olives and March Browns were quite a distraction while I cooked! Luckily the chicken thighs tasted great with the awesome salad Karen whipped up! 

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Bruce Tilbrook Fly Fishing the Catskills

Hi Everybody!

Bruce Tilbrook sent me a neat set of images from a recent trip he took to the historic Catskills to fly fish. This is an area deeply rooted in history. Fly fishing in the Beaverkill River started in the late 19th Century! I can tell Bruce was enjoying not only the historical significance of the area but the neat characters he meet on his journey. 

Bruce had been asked last January by a friend from Ottawa to join him with 3 of his Irish friends to fly fish the Delaware this spring. It was annual event for them for a number of years. The results were these pictures.

Bruce's buddy knew he had always been interested in fishing in the Catskills. Bruce had read many articles and stories over the years from guys like Harry Darbee and Lee Wulff. Considering this was basically the birth place of American fly-fishing and the original area where Theodore Gordon casted his quill flies, made it easy for Bruce to make the trip back east!

At the town of Roscoe, Bruce even had a look at the fly-fishing museum that Lee Wullf started and is continuing with the help of other anglers and donations. Looking at the various bits of tackle, flies, and writings, one does feel rather close to the 1800s when the streams were literally over run by brook trout (early 1800s). Brook trout virtually disappeared from the areas' streams by the mid 1800s and then stocking began with browns and some rainbows in the late 1800s. A terribly interesting place, even if you don't fly-fish.

Bruce and his friends angled the Beaverkill, Willowemoc and the East and West Delaware. Some of the pools were named on behalf of anglers like Darbee and Wulff.

Bruce caught browns but there were also rainbows present. It was mostly walk and wade but by this time of the year the anglers were many...almost too many. Something we here in Alberta are not used to such crowded water!

The reason for the fly-angler to visit this area at this time of the year was the Hendrickson hatch and tens of thousands were seen every day...along with 2 or 3 other mayflies, stoneflies, caddis and midges. Fishing was tough to say the least. .

Bruce says that he would go again in a heart beat. It is easy to see why!

...take a look!


This brown was 21 inches long and a fat 5 pounds! Bruce managed to fool him on a float trip on the Delaware. He was hooked on a size 20 parachute adams-6x tippet! Before Bruce arrived, one of the Irish fellows hooked and landed a 25 inch brown on a Quill Gordon size 18.

Fish Rescue at Bullshead!

Hi Everybody!

Every once in a while you meet a very dedicated passionate person who wants to do what is right! I knew Jeff loved Bullshead. He is affectionately known as "Beadhead" on a forum I occasionally check out. Just before heading to Bullshead, I wandered by the Fly Fish Calgary Forum and found out that Jeff was organizing a fish rescue at Bullshead right while we were there.

During the spring melt many rainbows in the reservoir took a crazy trip over the spillway and into the creek below the reservoir. Jeff realized that there were lots of rainbows just below the spillway and he hoped to capture many of them and get them back to their rightful place in the reservoir above.

Jeff was able to get the farmer of the surrounding land to lone a quad for the first day. Jeff was able to get special permission to conduct the rescue. There was a great crew on the day of the rescue. Unfortunately netting the fish did not work out so out came the fly rods to capture the rainbows. At the end of the day, 99 rainbows made it back to the lake; many of them were very impressive in size.

Jeff and his buddy John, meet Larry, his brother and I on day two. We had no quad so the work was going to be tougher. We did get close to 35 rainbows back to the lake before we ran out of energy. You can tell that catching the fish was the easy part. Humping the fish back up the hill to the lake was serious work.

Unfortunately we had to head home at short notice because of a family matter. 140 plus rainbows made it back to the lake and I suspect that Jeff will be at it a few more times.

I am sure that many of you have heard the "star fish" story. Putting a single star fish back into the ocean made a difference to that star fish! The last few days 140 plus rainbows made it back to a quality fishery. Those rainbows will grow large. Some will be harvested once they get to the 50 cm mark, many will enjoy being in the reservoir!

Way to go "Beadhead", I appreciate your passion. You made a big difference.

Jeff and his buddy John heading up the hill with a cooler full of rainbows.

Jeff and John releasing 5 more rainbows back into the lake!

Bullshead Reservoir

Bullshead Reservoir should definitely be on your to do list for fly fishing. Bullshead is in the Cypress Hills just outside of Medicine Hat. The reservoir is large with a main lake and a pond that it is connected by a large culvert. Yes it can be greatly affected by wind although when we were there, that was not the case. We caught decent numbers of fish using Glenn's Leech, "Rick's Special and chironomids. In the chironomid department, blood worms earlier in the day and a grey chironomid later in the afternoon and evening were the ticket!

There is lots of room to fish. It was not that busy when we were there!

The Cypress Hill are beautiful. The views are amazing. The reservoir has lots of fish, many of them are impressive in size. If you go, right after ice off until mid June is great and then in the fall. The triploids are getting large. 

This gigantic bull greeted us each morning!

Bob fishing on "Golden Pond."

A quiet moment one evening!

Larry and his brother Ken having a great time!