Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Euro Nymphing is So Effective

My buddy, Leon, wanted to try euro nymphing while we were out in the west country! Phil Rowley showed him the basics and before he ate his breakfast, he had several fish on! With a bit of practice, Euro Nymphing is so effective.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Boatmen/Backswimmer Season is Upon Us!

Well when frost arrives, the boatmen/backswimmer activity starts to heat up! This pattern is a combination of several contributors. I like the brill body material. It has a UV quality that gets the attention of the fish!

Brill Boatmen

Hook: Dry Fly or Nymph sizes 12-18
Tail: Pearl Crystal Flash, one strand
Underbody: Brill, small, olive or silver
Legs: Stretch floss, olive or brown
Bead: Red, 3/32nds
Overbody: Tan 1 or 2 mm foam

Coming Back into Shape

Rivers in west central Alberta are slowly coming back into shape. I suspect they will be fishable by the weekend BUT do not look at the weather forecast! Looks like more rain coming just in time for Labour Day Weekend. Boo!

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Penhold Bridge Osprey and a Muddy Red Deer River

While Out photographing my son participating in the MS Bike Challenge, I saw Penold Bridge Osprey taking in all the action from their nest. Many of us have driven by the nest many times without slowing down. Today I was waiting for my son to come careening down the long hill on his Trek road bike, I took the time to photograph the three osprey in the nest.

Below you can see that the Red Deer River is still high and off colour! Most rivers in West Central Alberta are flowing high and are off colour. Hopefully by next weekend, we will have some fishable river water other than our lakes to fish!

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Michele Lakes Video, ...Fly Fishing for Golden Trout

Take 10 minutes and take a look at some video of our trip to Michele Lakes to fly fish for golden trout:

Last Week Was Fantastic but then the Rain Came

Last week we had our annual fly fishing camp out in the west country. We were so lucky with the weather. The river was in perfect shape, the cutthroat were hungry although a bit fussy and 25 fly fishers and friends came by for a visit and to fly fish! Yesterday and today, almost 5 inches of rain fell and the rivers in the west country are "blown up" big time! It will be a bit before they come back into shape! 

Take a look at all the fun we had last week! The theme of the week was relaxation and fly fishing. We had a great time!

The cutthroat were eating PMDs, Green Drakes, Flavs, ants and Yellow Sallys. Small ones were the ticket for us as well as the usual assortment of nymphs!

We did have a heavy frost one morning. That made for a slow start to the day!

I already miss the campfire banter!

Tree River Char and a Big Laker from Great Bear with Guide Reid Stoyberg at Plummer's Lodge

It has been another fantastic season for Reid Stoyberg who has spent his summer guiding at Plummer's Lodge on Great Bear Lake as well as the Tree River. The char this time of the year are beautifully coloured as they stage for spawning. The Tree River has a reputation for the big char. As you can see, Reid has got his guests into some spectacular specimens.

The lake trout on Great Bear are gigantic. Many are over 40 pounds and the occasional ones are over 50 plus pounds.

Love seeing that TC Outfitters hat on you Reid! That will make Troy smile!

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Fly Fishing for Golden Trout at Michele Lakes

Have you ever visualized being inside an incredible scene from a post card? Well that is exactly what Rick Miyauchi, my buddy Leon Buckles and I did last weekend! Neither Rick nor Leon had caught golden trout before so we decided to make a 2 day trip up to Michele Lakes. The two days were spectacular. The flight in with Icefields Helicopter was amazing. Their new helicopter was a delight to fly in. The flight included a glacier tour. I will share some video of our flight in another blog post! The flight is about 20 minutes and Michele Lakes is just under 8000 feet above sea level! We tracked the weather carefully to choose the days we would go because I have been snowed on big time even in August at Michele Lakes.

After the spectacular flight, we quickly rigged up and started to fly fish. The lower Michele Lake was glass and we found several rivulets trickling into the lake from a glacier not too far away. We fly fished along these rivulets as they entered into lower Michele Lake. We brought small flies. Micro leeches in size 14 to 18 worked great. Reliable flies like Glen's Leech but tied small and sparse were the ticket. We also used smaller black and red ice cream cone chironomids and flashbacks with a lot of success in sizes 16 and 18. Black gnats worked great in the evening on the surface. Darker micro leeches consistently got us goldens from 4 inches to 14 inches. The average sized goldens were in the 6 to 10 inch range.

The golden trout originally came from the Kern River area in California. Fortunately for us we have several lakes that have self sustaining goldens. You can get to all of them by hiking if you have the fitness and time.  A hike up Owen Creek is steep and tough. Hiking through the Sunset Pass area is easier. Do some research, it is well worth it!

We lucked out on our flight back. We got another amazing tour of the White Goat Wilderness area. We flew by several glaciers, Lake of the Falls, Entry Lake, Landslide Lake, down Entry Creek and finally down the Cline River to Icefield Helicopter's base at Cline River!

You need a minimum of three to helicopter in. Your gear is also weighed and figures into your flight costs. Typical flight charges for an overnight or several nights trip is in the $450. If you are day tripping, the cost is closer to $400 (lighter load).

The first day we fished, we caught goldens almost at will. They were willing to eat all of our small flies. The second day continued like the first day but the catch rate slowed a lot in the afternoon. We caught lots of goldens, many beautifully coloured. To use a John Gierach phrase, many looked like they were dressed in a clown suit!

We fly fished until dark, the evening rise along shore was a fish per cast. The moon rise from behind Owen Creek and Mount Wilson was amazing! We did get several thunderstorms overnight but Sunday was almost a repeat of the the picture perfect Saturday. 

Rick and Leon enjoying the flight in!


As you can see we hit it just right for the weather. We brought our warm clothes but did not need them this time. The last time I was at Michele Lakes, we needed winter jackets, gloves and toques. Go prepared for any type of weather!

We only fished the lower lake. I do not think there are fish in the upper lake any more.

If you fly up, do bring some hiking boots and wear your waders on the flight in. The alpine area is so spectacular and well worth hiking some of the local ridges. Your waders allow you to fly fish some spots that others cannot get to without getting real cold. The water temperature at that elevation is cold.

Michele Lakes is only open to fly fishing in August and September.

The golden trout are beautifully coloured.

We brought a small cooler for our food so rodents stayed out! We stored our food well away from our sleeping area at night.

This is the view off of the back end of Michele Lakes, quite spectacular to look down Shoe Leather Creek!

Upper Michele Lake

The helicopter coming in to pick us up. Rick is keeping his head down as he holds gear down.