Saturday, October 31, 2015

Last Day on the Eastern Slope Rivers

Today is Halloween and that means it's the last day that we can fish on our Eastern Slopes rivers until mid June 2016. A quick check of the weather revealed that the mercury was at a brisk -6C. Jay, Karen and I decided to not rush out to the west country. We hoped that the mercury would crawl above the freezing mark. Well after our two hour drive out, it was still below zero. Of course there was not a soul on the river but us die hards. Everything was frozen except the river. Tiki and Pepper sprinted down the hill to the run we were going to fish. We rigged up and amazingly enough, we were catching cutts in the first few casts. The temperature never did get above zero. Our net was frozen and the guides on our fly rods were clogged with ice.

We had our winter clothes so we were comfortable. 

The first run had lots of active fish. We were having a ball. A few hours later, the fly fishing slowed and it was time to relocate.  In a few minutes, we were back in business. 

We knew the fishing day would not be long and besides, it's Halloween so we had to get back home to give out some candy, especially when the grandkids came to the door!

The day went by way too fast. We caught a lot of cutthroat trout today. We will have to wait a long time before mid June 2016 arrives. We loved our last day fly fishing in a special place.

Plants were definitely frozen!

There was frost on the rocks.

We had to dip the net in water to unthaw it!

The roads were icy and of course slippery!

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Swinging Clousers for Walleye

 A chinook arch, warm air and no wind made a trip to the tailwater below Dickson Dam in search of walleye just plain perfect! Casting a spey rod for walleye is great fun. You can cover lots of water and when the walleye are in the mood, there can be lots of excellent fly fishing.

I have been meaning to tie some articulated clousers. I finally got half a dozen done. They worked great.

I saw one chap catch a 8 or 9 pound pike on a size 8 "bugger" and I had to convince another chap that fishing with scented bait was not legal and all walleye and browns had to be released. He was not very happy with me. I just about had to call the RAP (report a poacher) line.

I highly recommend walleye on the fly. You can find some impressive walleye in the Red Deer River.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

An Evening with Kevin Van Tighem

On November 18, 2015 Author Kevin Van Tighem will be joined by photographer Brian Van Tighem for a presentation of Heart Waters: Sources of the Bow River. His presentation deals with various headwater tributaries of the Bow River and the conservation issues around them. Kevin and Brian will touch on topics like non-native trout introductions, hydro dams, beavers, flood engineering, and more. Brian's beautiful and thought-provoking photographs of the Bow River area will also be shown.

This feature event will be held at the Cardel Theatre, 80 Quarry Park Boulevard Southeast, Calgary. Doors open at 6:30pm for a pre-event social during which Kevin and Brian will be available for signings of their Heart Waters book. The presentation starts at 7:30pm. Also during the pre-event social Trout Unlimited Canada and other conservation organizations with have informational booths in the lobby. A bucket raffle will be held in the lobby before the presentation with prizes such as gift cards and merchandise from retailers and sporting goods stores. All proceeds of the event will help support Trout Unlimited Canada's conservation and education projects.

Here is the link to additional information including how to purchase tickets through Event Brite on our Newsroom,

If you have any questions or need any further information please let me know.


Phil Rowley, Marketing and Communications Trout Unlimited Canada   
#160, 6712 Fisher St. SE, Calgary, Alberta, Canada T2H 2A7        
O/ (780) 464-5499 F/ (403) 221-8368 C/ (780) 901-5071

Monday, October 26, 2015

Aeration of Our Lakes in Alberta Maybe be Stopped

There has been lots of discussion going on about serious legal issues that relate to aerating our trout lakes here in Alberta. It sounds complicated. I do understand that there was some discussion as to what to do at the recent Fisheries Round Table.

Will aerators to be turned on this winter in Alberta?

We think that the ACA will be aerating Beaver, Ironside, Fiesta, and Mitchell Lakes here in Central Alberta. To the north of us Muir, Millers, East Dollar and Figure 8 will hopefully be aerated.

Alberta Parks runs aerators at several other lakes. Lakes like: Police, Spring and Sulphur may not get aeration and that would certainly be a disaster.

Many of our prized trout lakes would probably winter kill without aerators.


Here is a note from Don Andersen:


Copied below is a email sent today to the Minister of Environment and Parks regarding the aeration issue in Alberta.
Please craft your own and send it along to the Minster of Environment and Parks - Shannon Phillips @

Police Outpost lake is one of those effected.

This email will be followed up by a physical letter c/w paper and stamp. I find real letters tend to get more attention. The email was send only to attempt to get the Govt moving.
Honourable Shannon Phillips 
Minister of Environment and Parks
208 Legislature Building
10800 - 97 Avenue
Edmonton, AB
Canada T5K 2B6


Dear Minister Phillips,

I am wish to bring to your attention the value Albertans place on the trout lakes that are contained within Alberta Parks. Many of these lakes are equipped with mechanical aeration systems to provide enough oxygen to the water thereby allowing fish to survive. 

As a result of the Alberta Conservation Assoc. discovery of an obscure law within the Canadian Criminal Code, the ACA is revising it's techniques to comply with the law. 

However, the Alberta Government has other options one of which is to close parks to public access thereby not requiring the large, expensive and perhaps ineffective actions the ACA is undertaking.

Would you please provide to myself and the sportsman of Alberta the actions your Ministry will be undertaking to resolve the aeration issue.


Don Andersen

Director Trout Unlimited, Central Alberta Chapter

Bighorn Award Holder

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Alberta has Tiger Trout, BUT ...

photo courtesy Steve Luethi

We now have three lakes in Alberta that have tiger trout.

Several members of our fly fishing club went to one of the lakes to see what all the fuss is about. Tiger trout are quite cool. They are a cross between brook trout and a brown trout. They are quite aggressive and they are quite scrappy.  The males this time of the year are beautifully coloured and their vermiculations are quite spectacular.

Unfortunately the introduction of this new species has meet with some controversy.  The new species of trout has meet with excitement, fascination, and a lot of questions.

The good news is that the guys who were out there today were practicing catch and release.

There certainly have been lots of fishermen checking out this new species in Alberta.

I am excited to see tiger trout in Alberta. From what I have seen from the Manitoba FLIPPR program (Fish and Lake Improvement Program for the Parkland Region), tiger trout need to be protected.

photo courtesy Steve Luethi

photo courtesy Bruce Tilbrook
Phil Nash getting ready to release a nice male tiger trout!

photo courtesy Bruce Tilbrook

photo courtesy Bruce Tilbrook

photo courtesy Bruce Tilbrook

photo courtesy Bruce Tilbrook

photo courtesy Bruce Tilbrook

photo courtesy Steve Luethi

Friday, October 23, 2015

Handcrafted Glass Sale

Darren and Deb make many great pieces that have a fly fishing theme.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Fly Fishing with Big Streamers

Steve Luethi took his streamer box out to the west country in search of some post spawn bull trout. Yes the flies were gigantic. To Steve's surprise, several colourful cutthroat attacked his streamers. Steve did find some bulls and of course the cutthroat were a real bonus! I am always amazed at what a cutthroat will attack. Those streamers are gigantic! 

...on Sunday Steve and his buddy Troy decided to chase big pike on a local lake. Again it was all about big streamers. Steve was casting his 9 weight Redington Vapen black that he picked up at TC Outfitters! As you can see, Steve connected with some giants. Steve and Troy were having so much fun on the lake that another fisherman came by to investigate all the excitement. I would be hooting and hollering too if I tied into some quality pike like these. Well done guys!

Fall Lake Turn Over

Rick and I hit a local trout pond on Saturday. When we arrived, we noticed that the visibility in the pond was about 10 inches. Are you kidding me? The wind had been blowing quite a bit in the last week and surface temperature was heading towards that dreaded freeze up. Wait a minute, could this be fall turnover of the lake.? Well maybe. The pond is quite large and it is deep in several places (about 18 to 20 feet). As the top layer of water cools to about 4C, we can have the bottom layer and top layer of water mix. The themocline basically is eroded to nothing. That will cause the lake/pond to get clouded up and it will take about a week to settle down.

Did this happen where we were? ...  perhaps. Wind can also cause a lake to turn over, sometimes with devasting results for the fish because oxygen in the lake can diminish causing a kill/partial kill of the trout.

Several of our pot hole lakes are not deep enough to turn over so that is why I am not sure if certain lakes actually turn over here in Central Alberta.

So how did Rick and I do considering the low visibility.. Well not great but we did catch 10 rainbows, several nice ones. We fished the top two feet of the water column with micro leeches. Most of our success was close to the tulles. A black Glenn's Leech was my best fly. I think that was because the fish can see it when the visibility is so low.

Lake freeze up is not to far away.

As you can see, the visibility was low.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Another Amazing Steelheading Trip for Taryn

Fly fishing for steelhead means you better bring your "A" Game, especially when hitting the main stem of the Skeena. Big water can be rather intimidating but Taryn is no rookie and she had a good idea about how to handle the big water. Taryn escaped Red Deer and headed for the Skeena system last week and she and her friends seem to hit it just right. The previous week saw rain and that probably meant that steelhead were heading up the river. When Taryn arrived, the weather was fantastic. Taryn even had a chance to cast her spey rod in in short sleeves. That doesn't usually happen. Doesn't wet rainy miserable weather go with steelheading?

Taryn is on a roll. A good one! I have talked to several steel headers from the Red Deer area who absolutely are addicted to this sport. Taryn's spring trip and now her fall trip yielded fantastic results.

When the water is clear and there are steelhead around. Your odds of a hook up improve.

When Taryn's trip ended, the rain came again and the Skeena's volume doubled.
Taryn loves steelheading. I bet getting on the plane in Vancouver was tough after tangling with these spectacular creatures. you think Taryn is addicted?  I do know, she doesn't need a therapist!

Thanks for sharing you adventure Taryn. Well done!

Monday, October 12, 2015

A Windy Thanksgiving Monday

Karen and I had planned on going out to fly fish for cutthroat on Sunday but the wind was rocking everywhere. Better wait until Thanksgiving Monday. We already had our big family dinner on Saturday so we had some flexibility! We got out to the river and there was little wind although there definitely was a chinook arch forming right over our heads. About 20 minutes later I thought we were in southern Alberta. Man did it blow! We stayed at the run we were fishing for two hours and then moved upstream and alas we got in front of the chinook arch and the wind came dramatically down.

The water was darn cold but the cutthroat were still quite active.

We did see some BWOs on the surface but they blew away almost immediately! Wiggle worms, evil weevils, stoneflies and flashbacks helped to get us into plenty of beautiful hard fighting cutts!

The window to fly fish seems to be closing down. By 3 p.m., we headed to the truck and enjoyed listening to game four of the Blue Jays-Texas baseball series. A big win for the Jays.

Karen and I loved our day on the water despite the early wind!