Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Research Reaps Rewards, ...BIG Brookies and Rainbows

Darren Petersen and his buddy Blake just got back from an amazing fishing adventure. Blake did some winter research and found a rainbow/brook trout lake that held some giants. Now Blake lives in Northern Alberta and the two guys headed off to this lake in pursuit of some trophy sized rainbows and brookies. As you can see from the pictures, the guys caught several incredible trophies. Darren did mention that this lake does not give up its trophies easily! The guys put in long days but the rewards were definitely well worth the effort! I smiled when Darren told me that John Kent's Hog Magnet saved one day when the fishing was slow but the few fish caught that day were all giants. Darren had only 1 Hog Magnet, the one we tied during an evening tying session. A big trout took his one and only Hog Magnet to the weeds and unceremoniously broke him off. Well you know what the guys did at lunch, tied up a few more.

Take a look at the impressive specimens that the guys got to hand.   When people talk about fish that look like footballs, I think they had this lake in mind!

Catching 4 to 10 pounders would make me smile! Well done guys!

All the photos are courtesy of Darren Petersen! Awesome images!

Saturday, May 28, 2016

A Couple of Hours on the Red Deer River

It has been a bit since I have gotten down to the river. That in itself is a bit pathetic since I live 200 meters from the river. I have been getting organized for the annual trip to the Parkland Region of Manitoba. But today is Saturday and I figured a few hours down on the river would be great therapy.  But, ... where is my gear? The garage has everything laid out for the trip across the prairies so I would have to keep it simple. The Red Deer River is up and slightly off colour after our thundershowers the last few days, no matter. I decided that my fly box would be one tiny container.  A bit disorganized but it would do!

I got out the door and down to the river. The river was quite fishable but I saw no bugs and no fish were rising. I decided to nymph in a few of my favourite haunts that are close to the house. I put on a wiggle worm and a size 16 flashback. It turned out to be a great decision.

The rocky mountain whitefish were all over both patterns. I even tangled with a couple of browns. One kicked my butt, the smaller one I landed. I did catch a pile of rockies. That made me smile!

If you look for a riffle with a bit of a drop off after the run, you will probably find some rockies, goldeye, maybe a walleye or two and if you are lucky a brown trout!

Do not forget your split shot. Two small split shot made all of the difference in the world for getting hook ups!

Well my stomach turned me home after the bite slowed. I enjoyed the wander home after stealing a few hours away from packing. My buddy Byron will probably notice that I did go fishing, even after I decided I did not have time. Sorry!

Why did I not get down to the river a few more times this week? I am blaming the job jar!

Yes, a few hours on the river was great therapy!

I apologize for the shoddy photography. It was a low priority today.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Estancia Laguna Verde Video with Rick Miyauchi

Barry Acton put this amazing video together for Estancia Laguna Verde that includes both Rick Miyauchi and Phil Rowley fishing at Lago Stobel, aka Jurassic Lake! Well worth the 4 minutes to watch!

Friday, May 20, 2016

Fly Fishing Big Sky Country with Garnet Clews

Garnet Clews made it down to Montana. He had a great time. Thanks for the pictures and write up Garnet!

Trout Bum Adventures May 2016

Destination Craig Montana

May 06 2016….. depart Red Deer at 8:00 pm for an 8 hour drive to Craig Mt….. No plans of making it down without a break but its Trout Bum Adventures….. Need to spend at least one night in the back of my Jeep (AKA the Trout Assault Vehicle)

Loaded up and en-route…. Made it to Milk River by 1:00 AM…. Time for a rest….. Drift off to sleep under the yard light at the UFA Bulk Fuel station in Milk River….. at 01:30 wake up shivering at 04:00 who needs more than 2.5 hrs sleep right?!?

As I cross the border at 04:45 the US Border Guard asks where I am headed…. Craig Mt Sir….. WHY???? Is his question…. Then he see the rod vaults on the jeep…. Never mind have a good trip…. And that was that…. On the road to Great Falls for groceries and beer…. I love Montana…. Aint but 2 rules…. Don’t kill no one lessen of course they needed to be killt…. And you cant buy beer after 02:30 and before 08:00….. Really its ok to buy it in the grocery store and gas station…. But only outside of that 5.5 hr stretch….. Wind up waiting in Great Falls for Albertsons to sell me beer with the rest of my groceries….. on the road for the short 45 minute drive to Craig.

The original plan was to head to Twin Bridges to spend a week on the Beaver, Big Hole, Jefferson with a friend of mine who owns a house and a boat in Twin Bridges….. But early season run off and likely a call for irrigation water turned the headwaters of the Missouri brown…. Will have to fish the Tail water section down stream of Holter Dam…. This is the Blue Ribbon section that has estimates of 5-7000 rainbow and 7-850 catchable (over 10”) Brown Trout per mile. This section has incredible bug life….. at times the river is carpeted with dead Baetis….  A dry fly paradise….. If you know how to catch them….. it’s a humbling experience if you don’t know how to catch them…. 

Saturday…. We launch from the Wolf Creek Bridge floating to Craig…. A total of  5.5 miles of river…. We caught fish on size 20 Zebra midge nymphs, cripple Baetis on the surface and Caddis. This section has hogs as residents…. Big thick slabs…. We finished up the night with streamers (a few caught) and caddis dries cast to picky rising trout (no fish were harmed at this part of the night) weather was bright and sunny…. Baetis hatch coming off around 11 am…. Caddis in the shadows of the evening…. Highs of high 70’s to low 80’s….. plenty of sunscreen needed for that day.

Sunday…. Mothers Day…. Graced us with several good hatches of the Brachicentris (Mothers Day Caddis) (I have a very understanding wife to agree to my fishing on Mothers Day…. And the diamond earrings really didn’t cost that much…. )
We floated from Mountain Palace to Pelican Point (9.1 miles) we saw Caddis in the willows at 10:00 am when we launched. This is a particularily beautiful stretch of river…. It is right in the canyon…. Rock towering straight out of the river… deep holes, steep banks…. And Caddis… beautiful plentiful wonderful caddis. This is a stretch of river that you can make out ok prospecting with a Caddis, or terrestrial pattern….  Even if they are not rising…. You will entice a strike or two if you put in the time…..
We stopped at a run that my buddy wanted to nymph….. I explored and found a hole that we had not noticed as we drifted over it…. Caught a Bow on a Caddis Puppa….. then a rise… and another and another….. I retrieved the only dry fly rg that I had strung up….. a 3 weight with a caddis pattern on it…. I grabbed gink and a small fly box…. No net I mean why would I need a net on the Mo with a 3 weight???? Long story short the gink is somewhere between I-15 and the Gulf of Mexico now…. I nailed three reasonable sized fish on dries in 20 minutes or less…. And landed exactly none of them… but what an experience. I have never had any success with dry flies on the Mo…. I am thrilled.

Just because we could we put in for an evening drift from Stickney Creek to Dearborn Ramp…. Got into 2 pods of rising fish… taking emergers…. Again nothing landed but we fooled em…. And that’s progress for me…. Again highs of high 70’s low 80’s (hard on the beer in the boat for sure)

Weather change for the balance of the week…. mid 30’s to low 60s depending on the day…. Rain, wind…. Cold more rain lots more wind….

Drifted from Wolf Creek Bridge to Craig in 4 short (or long) hrs… that stretch normally takes us 6-10 hrs…. pouring rain…. Winds that pushed our boat upstream against the current… hundreds of Swallows swooping and picking off the Baetis as they hatch….. but in that wind it was almost impossible to find heads…. We did take a side channel and picked off 4 or 5 tiddlers each that were rising in the shelter from the wind.

Tuesday was a little nicer than Monday still cold… but no rain…. I waded for a few hrs and hoped for an evening hatch… but decided to get a decent dinner (cold fried chicken from Albertsons was getting old) Ran into friends at Izaaks in Craig…. Great eats, cold beer, good selection… fun people… worth the stop.

Wednesday we put in around 10:00 am at Mid Canon (yes I know that’s not how you spell Canyon…. But that’s how they spell it) and drifted through to Pelican Point again…. When we dropped of my Jeep at Pelican a guy who was camping there came out to ask about my rod vaults…. I showed him the benefits of them and he thanked me with a couple of hand tied Caddis that he had come up with…. Wound up catching one of the few top water fish by prospecting with that one later in the day. Mixed weather from sunny and warm to cold and rain…. Spend more time changing clothing that day…. 

Thursday was our last day…. We put in at Holter dam and drifted to Wolf Creek Bridge…. Decided to drift to Craig…. So we had to shuttle vehicles…. Had amazing weather with not many fish (mostly on nymphs) up to Wolf Creek Bridge… We got into dries just before the bridge….. but we got into wind and rain again…. Finished the trip by 6:30 that evening…. Changed and headed for home….. Fuddruckers for dinner in Great Falls… rain which turned to snow between Great Falls and Conrad…. I was ready to pull into Conrad for the nite…. But missed the south exit off I-15 due to the limited visisbility…. 3 miles later at the north exit….. the weather changed and dried up for the balance of the trip…. 

One cranky Canadian Border Guard at midnite…. And into my hotel in Lethbridge by 1:30 am… kinda back where I started a week earlier.

In my opinion…. A great week. I love the Missouri and am always willing to talk about it…. So if you haven’t been there…. You should go.

Wolf Creek Anglers will take good care of you for guides, rental boats, accommodation’s and gear… Plus Jason is a real good guy to talk with. They were full up this time as was everything in Craig… so we wound up staying at the Prewitt Creek in on Old US 91 12 miles north (or so) of Craig…. Real good folks run the motel/campground there… small fly shop but has the essentials…. And you are not far from Craig…. The epicenter of activity on the Mo….

Looking for a few days in June now so the Trout Bum Adventures can continue down to Twin Bridges this time…. I hope….

Off to wear out my Ab license now…. Take care. Garnet 

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Opening Day on the Red Deer River

These are pictures from opening day on the Red Deer River from Steve Luethi along with Darren Pettersen and his son. Darren and his son, Gavin got into lots of fish including goldeye, pike and rocky mountain whitefish! Steve caught a beautifully coloured brown trout.

Darren and his son fished nymphs, dries and streamers.  

Darren played around with the Voodoo Thang at a beaver dam and caught a couple pike and goldeye.  Actually, the pike snipped off a couple streamers before he wised up and used a butt section from an old tapered leader for his tippet and then he caught him.

Lots and lots of boatmen!

Vodoo Thang was a winner on the Red Deer River!

Nicely done Gavin!

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

The Dedication of Mitchell Pond

Today was a very special day for the Mitchell family! So many made their way down through the pathways at Heritage Ranch to the pond for the dedication ceremony naming this water, Mitchell Pond! Barry until his passing was a champion of keeping our cold waters pristine. Barry and his dad, George, before him published the Alberta Fishing Guide. Barry was passionate about ensuring our trout waters and the trout that were within these waters were protected for future generations to enjoy!

We all met at Heritage Ranch. Some walked, some road their bikes and many enjoyed a hay ride down to the dedication ceremony. The naming of the pond at Heritage Ranch after Barry Mitchell was a joint project of Central Alberta Chapter of Trout Unlimited with lots of help from the City of Red Deer as well as the Mitchell family.

The dedication ceremony included Mayor Tara Veer, sharing her thoughts on behalf of the City of Red Deer; Doug Pullen, secretary of the Central Alberta Chapter of Trout Unlimited, thanking the Mitchell family; Jennifer Stange, Barry's daughter speaking about her passionate dad and finally we had a ceremonial cast from Barry's son, Matthew to bring the ceremony to an end.

The plaque above is a very fitting reminder to us all about who Barry Mitchell is and what he believed in!

A big thank you to all who were able to attend this special ceremony!

...Doug Pullen's speech on behalf of the Central Alberta Chapter of Trout Unlimited

Our Central Alberta Chapter of Trout Unlimited felt that this dedication would honour and recognize Barry Mitchell’s contributions to our fisheries, fish habitat and his promotion of environmental initiatives. Barry was a man who portrayed genuine emotion in everything he did. He addressed any issue head-on and with passion. The plaque that stands guard here at Mitchell Pond not only is a permanent legacy honouring Barry Mitchell but it also allows people to recognize the person who did so much for Alberta’s fisheries and nature’s spaces.

Passionate conservationist, fly fishermen and author with a deep respect for the environment. Longtime Red Deer resident. Active member of Trout Unlimited Canada.

These words that are etched on this plaque illustrate only a small part of Barry’s life. This story doesn’t just start with Barry, but symbolizes the core of the Mitchell family. His dad; George Mitchell, who cared deeply for our fisheries, together with his son Barry developed the Alberta Fishing Guide magazine. The magazine promoted not only fishing but also inspired good stewardship of our water resources. The Alberta Fishing Guide was eventually taken over by Barry and his wife Ann.

Barry was directly involved for over 40 years in conserving, restoring and protecting our freshwater ecosystems. Barry contributed to the fishing community extensively and was heavily involved with Trout Unlimited Canada; both with our Central Alberta Chapter as well as nationally. He spearheaded the Stream Watch Program as well as fundraised to make the program fly. He has been involved with developing policy with regards to Alberta’s fishing regulations and addressed concerns regarding our fisheries with Alberta government agencies such as the Alberta Conservation Association and Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resources. He played a major role in leading the initiative to have the Bull Trout declared as Alberta’s provincial fish. He paved the road to bring attention to water and forest management policies that directly affected our fisheries. 

Barry also authored his book The Trout Highway which has severed as a guide all the way up and down the forestry trunk road located in Alberta’s West Country. 

Barry was directly involved in the successful stocking of brown trout and the ill-fated rainbow stocking in the Red Deer River. Barry was awarded the Order of the Big Horn in 1998. The Government of Alberta established the Order of the Bighorn Awards in 1982 to recognize outstanding contributions made to fish and wildlife conservation by private individuals, organizations and corporations. Members of the Order of the Bighorn have enriched the lives of all Albertans by helping conserve Alberta's world-renowned fish and wildlife resources.

Even though Barry Mitchell has left us, his legacy will remain strong and provide inspiration to all who believe our fisheries and the environment are worth caring for.

Ken Lehman was our Master of Ceremonies for the Dedication

Mayor Tara Veer 

Doug Pullen

Jennifer Stange (Barry's daughter)

Matthew Mitchell making the ceremonial cast into Mitchell Pond!

Jennifer, Matthew and Barry's wife, Ann