Wednesday, September 21, 2016

A Foggy Start to a Beauty of a Day on the Water

Karen and I crawled out of bed in the dark and realized it was going to be a frosty start to the day. The lift back on the truck was even frozen! We had set aside today to head out to the west country to enjoy a day on the river together. It was a foggy wet drive out to Rocky Mountain House and beyond! Once we arrived at our destination, our two elkhounds sprinted around. They knew where they were. A day on the river.

The water was again high and more coloured than a few days before when I was out with my buddy Byron. We wore waders, the water was c-c-cold. After a 45 minute walk we rigged up and started to nymph. There were no bugs to speak of. I think we saw 4 rises all day!

It did not take long to hook up and the cutthroat certainly were in a feisty mood.

As the temperature warmed, the cutthroat became quite active.

If you are heading out to fly fish for cutthroat, take your time! The cutts get going late in the morning this time of the year!

Today, fall was at its best. Colourful trees made each run very beautiful! The thermometer crawled up to about 8 degrees. Karen brought her winter coat and she was glad to have it in the morning hours.

One month of cutthroat fishing to go! Bundle up and get out there. It is a long wait until next June!

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Bullshead in September

Betty and Steve MacKenzie as well as Larry Prowse and his brother, Ken, spent some time fly fishing Bullshead Reservoir in the Cypress Hills in the last week or so. The good news is that Bullshead water levels have risen dramatically since the spring. Lots of moisture in the area has allowed the reservoir to get back to normal levels. If you head down to Bullshead this time of the year, you will have the chance at catching large rainbows. You cannot easily fly fish from shore because of the weeds and you also have to deal with the strong winds that often blow in the Cypress Hills. Betty and Steve decided spend one of their days there touring around the Cypress Hills. There is lots to see! 

They even stopped and explored Orion, a ghost town in the area. Betty and Steve were fortune enough to get two relatively calm days to fly fish. They saw a boatman fall but the rainbows were not on the surface chasing these delightful morsels. Instead they found some deeper slots to  dangle their boatmen and backswimmer offerings. They had a lot of success with this. Larry and his brother had one day that was not too windy and another day where the wind was howling. They caught some nice rainbows as well.

Bullshead is open until the end of October. Once some serious frost sets in, the weeds start to die. At that point you may have a chance at shore fishing!

Thanks for the pictures Betty and Larry, much appreciated.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Early Fall in the Parkland Region of Manitoba with Betty and Steve MacKenzie

Betty and Steve MacKenzie just got back from a fly fishing tour that included a stop at several lakes in the Parkland Region of Manitoba. Betty said that Twin Lake was a little slower than they're used to but they caught some nice tigers on floating backswimmers. Betty and Steve camped at East Goose Lake, and despite the lack of amenities, it was great to be so close to the wonderful fishing at West Goose Lake.  The rainbows and browns were really biting and they had a couple of great days
there.  Betty and Steve even caught 2 rainbows that had tags on the dorsal fin. The MacKenzies then camped at Patterson Lake for a week and the fishing was excellent there.  They had time to try lots of different spots, and enjoying spotting and stalking the big browns along the reeds.  Where they fished often depended on the wind direction that day! Balanced leeches and backswimmers were the best flies.
Betty and Steve left just as the weather was taking a turn for the worst, and got to
Alberta just as the weather was warming up!

...and then they stopped at Bullshead!

Spring Creek Browns

Dr. Bill Young was out on a very popular spring creek fly fishing a day or so ago! The browns were chasing backswimmers. Bill was able to get a backswimmer in a feeding lane and this beauty attacked his fly! Well done!

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Piper Creek Restoration Project Needs Volunteers

Trout Unlimited Canada with help from the City of Red Deer are working on a restoration project on Piper Creek. The project is happening just south (about 500 metres) of the Red Deer Landfill (same road)  on the east side of the road at one of the city's garden plot areas. Below is a schedule of what will be happening the last week of September. If you have a few hours to spare, head over and lend a hand!

Elliot Lindsay, a biologist for Trout Unlimited Canda, will be there to oversee and manage the project!

We are now only two weeks away from the removal of the stream crossing (exciting!) and the month is flying by. At this stage in the game, we are planning on the following activities down the home stretch. I have also included some tasks and activities that we need help with, if you are able let me know if you, or any others are interested in helping out with any of these.

Monday September 26th
-          Harvest of willow stakes at a TBD location (working on this with Ken and Suzan).
-          Bring harvested willow stakes to site for soaking (and stealing by beaver).
-          Electrofishing 300m reach downstream of existing crossing, prior to removal.

Tuesday September 27th
-          Construct partial isolation of Piper Creek for dewatering of work area on the 28th and 29th. Help needed to fill sandbags and construct isolation.
-          Test pump capacity and adjust accordingly.

Wednesday September 28th
-          Isolate work area and begin diversion of water downstream of work area.
-          Conduct fish rescue in isolated area. Need a couple people for a half day (takes time to get water pumped down, etc.). You will need to bring leak-free waders for this, or let us know and we can lend you some.
-          “Roughen” south approach to loosen soil.
-          Remove stream crossing and stockpile materials away from the creek.
-          Remove isolation and restore stream flow to channel.

Thursday September 29th
-          Haul removed materials from site to landfill.
-          “Roughen” north approach.
-          Install Bio-D blocks, incorporating live stakes. Need a few folks to help with this task.

Friday September 30th
-          TUC will be off-site in Calgary.

Saturday October 1st
-          Volunteer planting workday at site to plant rooted stock and live stakes of Willow, Poplar, etc.
-          Distribute woody debris, leaf litter, and mulch throughout disturbed/reclaimed areas.

Wednesday October 18th
-          Beaver workshop I; late afternoon event (details to follow).

To Be Confirmed

-          Beaver workshop II; planting effort to improve beaver habitat.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Fall in the West Country

The weather has been almost perfect the last three days. Byron Stearns and I took advantage of the stable weather to do some cutthroat fly fishing. We did not rush out to the river because thermometer crawled down to 2C the night before we left. The window to fly fish is now smaller than in the summer because of the decreasing temperatures. The cutthroat are active for shorter periods as the water cools. When we arrived, we saw that the water was a high and off colour but quite fishable.

We decided to head downstream for 45 minutes or so and see what we could find. The high water as of late had rearranged some of the river. That was interesting to see. We discovered several runs that had active cutthroats.

As the air temperature warmed, the cutthroat really got active. There were just a few risers so for the most part we fished with nymphs and streamers.

The deciduous trees were a golden yellow. It felt like autumn today although the afternoon sun felt great as we fished. We did not wear waders but it is getting close to needing them just to keep warm.

Crossing the river was doable with caution today. The water was high for this time of the year!

Byron and I tangled with lots of quality cutthroats that were in great condition!

Great day on the water!

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Fly Fishing with our Grandson

The last week has been hectic for Karen and I with the birth of our 4th grandson. Today we headed out to Sylvan Lake with one of our grandkids who wanted to catch a fish. Now Gavin is only 2 but he loves his fishing rod. We were determined to help Gavin catch a whitefish with his "Cars" fishing rod.  He loves to yell, " Fish on!" We had a couple on with his rod which got off but then he was happy to reel in several we caught on our fly rods. It was a beautiful day out Sylvan Lake. The lake whitefish were not as aggressive as yesterday but we still caught lots. My grandson had a great time. When he got bored, we cruised down the lake for a bit and then got back to our favourite weed line. After 2 and half hours, he was ready to head home with his Dad.  Karen and I headed back out for some more sight fishing for lake whites after dropping daddy and grandson at the boat launch. Another beauty of a day!