Monday, November 30, 2020

Last Day in November on the Red Deer River

Whitefish, browns and walleye are still quite active on the upper Red Deer River. The warm chinook like weather is a blessing to us fly fishers. Karen and I went skiing in the morning (cross country) and then tangled with whitefish in the afternoon! On the other side of the river, I saw some successful walleye fishermen landing a few. It is a nymphing game or swinging streamers. If you have a chance to get outside and fly fish, the upper Red Deer River is a good choice. Just respect where others are fly fishing. 

An exhuberant fly fishermen tried to push Karen and I out of the run we were fishing. Not cool! Avoid confrontations, it is not worth it. It is after all just fishing.


Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Tying the Orange Crush-A Staple for Catching Cutthroat Trout

Phil Rowley photo

Hi Everybody!

The Orange Crush is my go to fly when fly fishing for cutthroat trout! It is simple to tie. Take the time to watch Phil Rowley tie this fly! It is well worth the effort to have a dozen of these in your river cutthroat box. I have also had amazing success using the Orange Crush on lakes, especially backcountry lakes. I have caught brookies, cutthroat and rainbows on this foam chernobyl. Trout love them!

Take a look!


Tuesday, November 24, 2020

It is Feeling a Lot Like Winter but the Walleye are Still Active

A chinook arch started to form just after breakfast. It was still -13c but there was warm air out on the eastern slopes getting ready to spill eastward towards Central Alberta. Doug and I decided to make a late morning trip to the Red Deer River to see if we could connect with some walleye. We certainly found some active walleye. Later in the afternoon we went looking for some whitefish and we connected with a few of them as well. We were not catching very many walleye but the chance to get outside is great therapy to help combat COVID-19. If you have a chance to get outside to go for a walk, to go skiing, to exercise or to fly fish, do it! It is a great distraction and a chance to clear your mind for a few precious hours. Several bald eagles paid us a visit as did a number of tundra swans. Now that was cool!

The warm air did find its way to where we were fly fishing. We thought it would be windy but that did not materialize. Doug and I enjoyed the fly fishing a lot when the mercury climbed above freezing; allowing our guides and tip tops to not freeze. Fabulous therapy!

Oh yes, here is some evidence of poaching. It is sad that individuals feel they do not have to follow the regulations. Do it right, everybody!

It was -6C at 11:30 am but by 2 pm, the mercury climbed above zero!

Tundra Swan


Saturday, November 14, 2020

A Gigantic Red Deer River Walleye


My buddy Doug and I were chasing walleye on the Red Deer River a few days ago. Walleye takes have been quite soft and hard to detect. My indicator bobbled slightly and I set the hook. I knew I had a heavier fish on, perhaps a pike. Once I got a look at the monster walleye, I asked Doug to come over and give me a hand. He netted the giant. I was fishing with 5x tippet to boot. Luckily we landed this trophy. It was easily the largest walleye I have ever caught. A quick picture and we sent this monster back. Well over 10 pounds. You can see a Candy Corn Balanced fly in its yap!

Now that was exciting!

Phil Rowley's New Book- You can Preorder for May 2021


Phil Rowley is in the final phase of publishing The Orvis Guide to Stillwater Trout Fishing. The book will be available in May 2021. You can PREORDER THE BOOK RIGHT HERE!

Thursday, November 12, 2020

Fly Tying Mondays During a Pandemic

Hi Everybody!

COVID-19 has certainly made a mess of everything. That includes Fly Tying Mondays. I have been getting input from many fellow fly tyers. First of all, there will be no fly tying at West River Fly Shop. Troy and I have had several discussions about this. It would be irresponsible of us to bring larger groups together especially with the pandemic second wave exploding.

Virtual Fly Tying has been discussed too! I have spoken to Phil Rowley who has successfully done this already. More about that later. I hope we can have an all day fly tying workshop but at this point it will have to be virtually done. Quite doable.

I am going to develop a small cohort group to tie flies. Small being 4 individuals. Perhaps you can do the same.

I am going to start posting on our blog, flies that I have been successfully using here in Alberta. They maybe flies you would like to add to your fly box! I am hoping others will do the same.

I am thinking of starting a new Facebook page for the Central Alberta Fly Tying Club. I have to figure out how to do Facebook live for those who wish to be involved.

I want to keep our group active and communicating. If you have any ideas, drop me a note.

More details to come soon!


Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Bonus Day on the Red Deer River

Well the mercury grudgingly crawled up to close to 0C but the wind was rocking. Do you climb into the waders and get after it? Of course you do, just layer up for the conditions.

Colin and I carefully drove to the Red Deer River on slippery roads. We broke trail through the fresh snow and tied on candy corn balanced flies. We caught a few walleye right away but the action was slow. We switched to a balanced silver minnow and then the fly fishing picked up!

We were pleasantly surprised at how active the walleye were. Colin even caught a decent sized brown trout that certainly made the day interesting!

Our hands tingled and were close to getting numb. We hung in there until the fly fishing slowed. The roads were slick on the way home so we just took our time. What a fun 4 hours on the water. I sure hope it is not yet over. I guess the weatherman will have the final say!

Do take the time tomorrow to pause and reflect as we celebrate Remembrance Day. We are so lucky to live in Canada.


Saturday, November 7, 2020

The Last Few Casts of the Year?-Maybe

The last few days, the weather has changed from unseasonably warm back to our usual weather pattern. Two days ago, the lake was ice free and fishing well with blobs and micro leeches. Rick and Larry were having lots of success. I had to heckle them because they were fishing from chairs off of a dock. 

Then the mercury plunged to close to -10C. The next morning, the home bay was frozen. Only 10 hours ago it was ice free. Well I rooted around for a long stick and broke up the ice enough to fish. Both Rick and I successfully caught rainbows on blobs. I even fly fished with a double blob. Crazy but effective. Rick even caught fish off of a dock that had been pulled out onto the shore. We both bundled up but eventually the biting wind took its toll on us. 

We thought the rest of the lake would be frozen today. I still had to drive out and look. Surprise, the wind had blown all of the ice off of the lake. It was snowing steadily and well below zero. I was able to tangle with some rainbows. I am pretty sure that tomorrow will be back to ice on and darn cold. Sigh!