Monday, September 30, 2019

Finally Out on the Water

In our house, family rules. That means fly fishing gets put on the back burner. Well after snowstorms,  and obligations are behind us, a quick afternoon of fly fishing below the Glennifer Dam was in order. It felt great to get out!

I caught a walleye on the first cast. Now that made me smile! I was fly fishing with a double ice minnow rig. The second fly was attached with a tag of line about 2 feet above the point fly. Take a look at the second picture to see what it looks like.

Three walleye, a big whitefish and a sucker came to hand. I missed a few others. No matter, I was out on the water.

An osprey was hounding the local eagle unmercifully. A large flock of cranes made quite the ruckus as they cruised past on their way to warmer climates. Fall was in full swing in Central Alberta

I wore a winter coat. I was comfortable except for my fingers. They were definitely cold after they got wet unpinning walleye and then the 2 C wind blew over them.

Warmer air is in the forecast. The daylight hours are getting shorter. Try to time your adventures to enjoy the warmer afternoon air!

Monday, September 16, 2019

Rocky Mountain Whitefish on the Red Deer River

The Rockies move upstream this time of the year. If you fish the riffles you have a chance at finding them. A size 16 pheasant tail works great. Be sure to have split shot to ensure your fly is getting down to the fish!

Fly Fishing with Our Son-In-Law and Grandkids

It was Alec's birthday and he wanted to go fly fishing! He is only 3 and his brother Gavin is almost 6 years old. Well we launched the 1756 G3 in the water at Sylvan Lake and headed out of the wind looking for a few fish, any fish that the kids could reel in. We have two ECHO gecko rods that are made for kids. They are the right size and easy to manage. We caught whitefish, walleye and a nice pike. All on bloodworms. The grandkids reeled them in. They missed so many strikes. They got interested in the loons, eagles and a float plane flying overhead!

If I was giving any advice about fly fishing with kids, it would be to make the day all about them. Help them hook the fish but let the grandkids reel them in. We lost lots but we landed 7. No matter, great fun.

A few hours later it was all about birthday cake.

Be Careful When Fishing in the Raven River Area!

My buddy's trail cam picked up several images of a rather large boar grizzly bear that was invading his bees looking for something sweet. There is also a sow and three cubs in the same area. Be careful and always carry bear spray!

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Monster Lake Wyoming with Phil and Patsy Rowley

A Fun video of fly fishing Monster Lake in Wyoming with Phil and Patsy Rowley. Take a look.

Put a Tiger in Darren's Tank with Frosty the Snowman!

Darren and his good friend Blake spent a rare sunny day recently on a central Alberta lake with Rainbows and Tigers that they had been meaning to try out for a couple years.  It quickly became evident that conditions were perfect for fishing backswimmers.  The challenge was providing them with the right backswimmer pattern.  Blake had a simple version with a white bead that did well at the start of the "hatch" then petered out as they got more keyed in on the bug.  Darren was having poor luck with his 4 variations on backswimmers but had caught a few fish on balanced leeches.
Then out of desperation Darren tried a pattern from fly tying night which he only had one of.  At the time when Larry Prowse introduced the pattern  (Hans Stephensons "Frosty the Snowman"), Darren liked the fly but wondered if any self-respecting trout would actually eat it. Turns out the aggressively feeding fish on this lake appeared to like it as a backswimmer and that one fly turned around his day.  Darren fought and netted each fish carefully to avoid losing his only one.  Thanks to Central Alberta Fly Tyers for introducing new patterns to try in challenging situations.  Darren will be tying up more of these to have in his arsenal.These Alberta Tigers have less vermiculated patterning than what he saw in Manitoba, more like leopard spots.  They sure pull hard! 

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Ferris Bueller Day at Sylvan Lake

When you wake up and see a cloudless big blue sky, you better not waste it! Especially when you are retired. Karen and I unearthed the boat and headed to Sylvan Lake. Unearthed is an understatement too. All of the summer gear was piled up in the boat! Once everything was unloaded, we loaded up the 1756 G3. It is a 30 minute drive to Sun Breakers Cove where the boat launch is. The RCMP were doing a boating course at Sylvan and we had a good giggle when one of their fleet was launched without a boat plug inserted. We have all done it too! I admit it!

We motored across the glassy lake and set up to fly fish for lake whitefish in 7 feet of water. A quick check of the water temperature and we knew that the lake whitefish should be around here someplace.  The water temperature ranged from 59-61 F. We finally found the lake whitefish cruising in 8 feet of water. A good old back and red ice cream chironomid was all we needed. The fishing really picked up around noon. I even caught a nice pike on a chironomid.

The wind started to blow mid afternoon so we checked out one of our favourite weed lines, watched a moose that Pepper spotted and then headed to the dock.

The beautiful big blue sky certainly was a big motivator. The shadows are getting long. Get out there while you can!

Sunday, September 8, 2019

Floating the Bow River on a Big Blue Sky Day

It felt like summer. A warm breeze; the river in perfect shape and our friends, Steve and Taryn, inviting us to float the blue ribbon Bow! Steve has been guiding for Out Fly Fishing (OFF) this year. He knows the river well and today maybe his last day to float. His regular work responsibilities are now going to take up a lot of the next 6 weeks!

The day was not to be wasted. We floated from Police Flats to Mackinnon Flats. We decided to fish hopper dropper looking for the big eats that an aggressive rainbow or brown can make when they see a succulent meal.

Well the boat had the 4 of us. That was fun in itself! We visited, enjoyed the sunshine and had lots of laughs.

The fishing? Excellent. Lots of eats by rainbows in fantastic shape. A break off by a biggie, jumping rainbows and hitting Mackinnons Flats in the dark. 

The hoppers were everywhere and we saw lots of October caddis as dusk decended upon us!

We got home late but that big blue sky day with our friends was perfect.

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Video of Tay River Restoration Project

Take a look at what we are trying the accomplish! Worth a look!

Darren Exploring New Water

Darren Petersen got out for a bit of exploring some water he was unfamiliar with, a copy of Barry Mitchell's Trout Highway in hand.  He had his buddy Dean's Brittany along, Marten is a hard working hunting dog and he was impressed by his stamina and fearless approach to river crossing in places where most would think twice about.  Marten wasn't too interested in fish but kept the squirrels on their toes!

A smattering of mayflies and small lime and yellow stoneflies were active mid-day and migrating Wilson's warblers and Say's Phoebes darted out from the rock cliffs to fuel up on them.  The whitetail fawns are getting bigger but still have their spots and they saw a doe with twins.  The rock formations covered in moss and rugged cliffs were impressive and their day packs grew heavier as the guys hiked and collected interesting stones for our rock gardens back home.

The guys caught an even mix of Cutthroat and little Rockies.     

Marten growled several times in the darkness around the campfire and later from Dean's tent which made for a lighter sleep, my vivid imagination fretting about whatever the brittany was hearing.  The courage that bear spray and a long blade give in daylight in grizzly country is substantially diminished at night.  Darren laments that it makes a person feel alive being in situations where you might not be the top of the food chain.