Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Back Country Bull Trout

Taryn and Steve were out wearing some felt off of their wading boots in pursuit of bull trout! One of their goals was to find some new water well away from the crowds. They were quite successful finding some bulls in water (that was open to fishing) that had no other fly fishers around. Well done you two!

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Dangling with Chironomids

This is an excellent article to read about dangling with chironiomids. This article, written by Phil Rowley details the technique. Take a minute and read this very informative article. You will also recognize one of our own in the pictures!

Take a look for the article RIGHT HERE!

A beautiful tiger trout caught dangling chironomids with a full sink line!

Monday, April 25, 2016

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Chasing Lahontans at the Same Time, Same Place, with the Same Characters, but ... a Different Story

(click on the pictures to make them larger)

It is a trip we all look forward to every year. It is a long drive to this lake in Washington State, almost 10 hours but the fun, camaraderie, quality fly fishing and beautiful fish make the trip simply amazing. It was the same gang as last year: Darren, Larry, Doug and Bob from Red Deer along with Leon, Bob and Claude from south of the border. Leon and Bob come from the Inland Empire Fly Fishing Club in Spokane and Claude is from Montana.

After our trip over the rocks and down the Okanogan, we finally arrived at our destination. We got our licences at the North 40 Fly Shop and we got a few hours of fly fishing in after almost 1000 km of driving! 

The lahontans are a beautifully coloured strain of cutthroat trout. They tolerate alkaline water well and that is why they are in the water we fly fish!

Our fly boxes are full of damsel patterns, sculpins, caddis, micro leeches, chironomids and streamers of a variety of colours. The lahontans can be found cruising along the shores this time of the year as well as deep on the edges of the shoals. There are times that they are merely 18 inches under the water but they also can be almost 10 feet or deeper in the lake that is almost 200 feet deep.

We love to chase the lahontans down the shore. This year we had two boats and that mobility allowed us to explore the 7 mile lake. That made for lots of interesting fly fishing. We were able to discover several new productive spots to cast a fly!

The day usually started with 6 am breakfast, off to local Safeway to get lunch and then heading to the lake. After a full day at the lake, we visited local restaurants including a favourite Mexican joint with fabulous service. Of course Doug had to sample the tequila (so did most of us). Yes, he slept soundly afterwards!

Like past years, the visiting and socializing is just as much fun as the fly fishing. The weather was amazing. Maybe a bit too good. No wind for almost all 6 days we fished and temperatures around the 30 C mark made the fish a bit spooky.

We caught a lot of beautiful specimens. Many lahontans are spectacular in their appearance.

Darren caught the biggest lahontan at almost 29 inches. We caught several over 24 inches with the typical  cutthroat in the 18 to 19 inch category!

After an amazing week we made the long trek home. Just like last year, the snow started just after we got home. A typical spring snow storm. I am thrilled to see the moisture come to Central Alberta.

Another amazing trip.

Darren with a Monster

Doug casting into a lake that was often glass like!

Doug chasing a pod of lahontans!

Damsels are one of the main menu items for the Lahontans at the lake!

Doug sending another lahontan back home!

You have to cover up to avoid sun damage to your skin!

We had success with chironomids!

Mobility allowed us to explore a lot of the lake!

Leon sight fly fishing!

Casting to a deep pocket! 

Bob Burton had an incredible morning fishing 10 feet down!

Larry had a favourite spot that allowed for both sight fishing and fishing a deeper pocket!

Claude enjoying the good life!

Raw oysters back at the motel, not for me thanks! Claude, Bob and Leon loved them!

Bob Buron sight fishing!

Second year in a row we got home and then a spring snow storm hit!

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Balanced Flashback

I have had a lot of success with this great little fly this year. Head over to Phil Rowley's You Tube Channel and take a look at how to tie the Balanced Flashback!

Balanced Flashback Pheasant Tail

Hook: Knapek Jig Hook sizes 10-14 or Daiichi 4640 sizes 10-16
Thread: UTC Red 70 denier
Bead: 7/64ths gold or rainbow
Tail: Pheasant
Body: Pheasant
Flashback: Medium Mirage Opal Tinsel
Rib: Small copper
Thorax: Peacock Herl or Ice Dub
Collar: Partridge

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Two Days at Bullshead

Larry and I just got back home after spending two days at Bullshead Reservoir in the Cypress Hills. The two days were an amazing contrast in what unfolded on the water. Day One started with a 5 am departure from Red Deer. We were fishing by 9:30 am on a very windy day. The wind was blowing from the south and the lake was rocking. No boats were out and there were only 4 vehicles in the parking lot. Was that an omen of what was to come? Absolutely not. By the time Larry and I headed for our motel at 6:30 pm, we had one of those days that could be classified as epic. The lake was on its side but the fish were in the top three feet of the water column feeding heavily! We have never experienced a 100 plus fish day until today. We exceeded that by a lot. We caught lots of stockers but we also caught numerous well conditioned rainbows in the 16 to 25 inch category. We were both amazed. Our best flies included a balanced Flashback, a regular Flashback and a balanced Bruised Leech. We fished the south west part of the lake. The parking lot had only one other truck when we wound down our fishing. What a day!

Well Day Two started off warm with not a breath of wind. Bullshead was glass. What a change from yesterday. A light sweater was all we needed. The lake was looking awesome. Our catch rate however was not even close to yesterdays amazing day! We continued to catch all age classes of the lake's rainbows including several impressive specimens. The fishing really got going once the south west wind started to wind up in the afternoon! We did several throat samples and confirmed the rainbows were dining on scuds (shrimp). We switched to baby damsels and smaller flashbacks to imitate the scuds. They certainly did the trick. Larry caught two monsters on ice minnows early in the afternoon. We also had an opportunity to explore a lot of the lake. We called it a day at 4:30 and were back to Red Deer a little after 9 pm. Not bad!

If there is one concern, it is the fact that Bullshead Reservoir's water levels are down. If the Cypress Hills has another dry season, the reservoir's rainbows might be in trouble. I hope not!

What an impressive fishery. Lots of quality rainbows. We fished from shore during our trip. It was better to be in the water with your waders on! Today there were lots of boats on the water. You can fish from shore until the weed growth kicks in. The next few weeks should continue to have great conditions at Bullshead.

Larry and I caught many quality rainbows over the last two days.

For the most part, the regulations at Bullshead are respected. The COs do make spot checks, especially early in the season!

Low water is a concern. Lets hope for rain and lots of it!

The landscape going home for the first 90 minutes is rather boring and repetitive!