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Thursday, September 16, 2021

One of My Favourite Fall Days at Patterson Lake in Manitoba

I love fly fishing in Manitoba! The fly fishing is at times amazing but the best part are people we meet and fly fish with! My buddy Phil Rowley was gearing up to shoot a New Fly Fisher Episode in the Parkland Region. Phil had a half day to fly fish at Patterson Lake. The fly fishing was outstanding. Phil, our buddy Larry and I had a hoot! We rarely get to fly fish in the same boat together! We laughed for 4 straight hours and caught some amazing brown trout! Eventually Phil had to go back to Russell for a meeting. Larry and I motored to the dock to drop off Phil. On the way back out , a rain squall came through and a spectacular rainbow came out as the shower passed by. Larry quickly angled the boat so I could get a few shots! Larry and I continued to fish. Larry caught one of the biggest lake brown trout I have ever seen. I was quite envious! We eventually motored back to the dock to pick up Barry Acton. Barry was the videographer and editor for Phil's New Fly Fisher shoot. Barry loves fly fishing too. We motored to an area we call the Southern Cross. In the back corner, Barry hooked a big male brown trout that had incredible colours. Moments later, Larry hooked a sizeable rainbow. Both trout were landed. It was late in the day. We caught a few more trout but were were all quite thrilled with our success. We were laughing and having one fabulous time. Yes, we had a great day but it really was because of the great individuals we spent time with in the boat!


Friday, September 10, 2021

Whitefish on the Red Deer River

Karen and I always enjoy fly fishing for whitefish on the Red Deer River. Everyone has their favourite spots. We do too! Today we had a few hours and dashed out the door. We set up with size 16 Rainbow Warriors and Wiggle Worms. The rockies liked both patterns. The rockies likes riffle like water. It does not have to be deep either. We always have split shot handy so we are close to the bottom! Rocky Mountain Whitefish are a very scrappy fish! Take care when releasing them too. They sometimes need a few moments to revive!

Garter Snakes are on the move this time of the year! Keep an eye out!


Tuesday, September 7, 2021

Beautiful Backcountry Brookies

The long weekend is behind us but Karen and I saw what looked like a great week of high pressure over the mountains! Karen wanted to hike to a backcountry lake that is full of colourful brookies that love to eat chernobyls. Well it was going to be an early start to the day. We climbed into the Gulf station wagon along with Pepper the maniac elkhound at 5 am and we headed well into Banff National Park. We were heading up a steep trail at 8:15 am. It was a cool 2C so the walking felt great. After 2 hours, we topped out over a mountain pass and there was our lake. The sun was just warming up the lake area as we started to fly fish. The brookies loved rising up to our Orange Crush chernobyls. It was a big blue sky day and we had the lake to ourselves. We did see a few day hikers passing by in the distance although the only ones fly fishing was Karen, a loon, an osprey and me! 

The brookies are absolutely beautiful. We had 4 hours of steady action. By late afternoon, Pepper let us know that it was time to head back to the car! We wandered back.  We walked over 20 km and there was lots of up! It was one of those days in the mountains where you wanted to linger for hours and just enjoy where you were. The warm sun, great view, fabulous fly fishing and the amazing company made the day outstanding!


Sunday, September 5, 2021

Boatmen and Backswimmers are on the Menu!

Karen and I had an interesting day. Our day started early fly fishing with our grandkids and son-in-law. We caught a few rainbows but the morning was quite slow overall. Our grandkids ditched the boat because they wanted to explore in the forest and the fly fishing was slow. By the time they were finished, it was time for them to head home.

Karen and I wanted to get a bit more fly fishing in so we got back on the water. Yesterday the water was 60F just below the surface. Today it was just a bit warmer. Karen was using scuds and I was stripping flashbacks because I saw several rainbows just below the surface. It did not take long for me to get a few rainbows and Karen then switched to stripping flashbacks. The action for the next two hours was steady. The takes were hard and the rainbows were quite aggressive as they slashed around inhaling boatmen. Karen and I could see what looked like boatmen hitting the water and swimming down to below the surface. The rainbows were on them too as you can see from the throat samples.

Our strategy was to cast our size 14 flashbacks that were set up in tandem at rising rainbows. As soon as the flies hit the water we would strip them in. If we did not see any risers, we would cast out our flashbacks set up on a 12 foot leader, count to 15, then strip them back. At times we hooked rainbows on the drop! Both strategies worked well.

The excellent action lasted two hours then tailed off although it did not stop! We decided to head home to watch the Winnipeg -Saskatchewan CFL game, after having to switch out a tire on our boat trailer. 

Take a look at the throat sample below. The rainbow was definitely eating shrimp then switched over to boatmen. 

As the water temperature drops, the rainbows will start to put the feedbag on. Time to get out there!


Saturday, September 4, 2021

Reid Stoyberg Breaks the 50 Pound Mark at Great Bear Lake

Reid Stoyberg has been guiding at Great Bear Lake for 7 years for Plummer's Arctic Lodge. He is a top notch guide. This year, Plummer's Arctic Lodge was able to have a limited Canadian guests only season. Reid saved the last week of his guiding for several members of his family, including his dad, cousins and uncle. During the first few days of their week, the fishing was slow but on day 4, Reid's dad hooked and landed a 41 pounder and on the last day in the last hour, Reid's Uncle landed that magical 50 plus lake trout. Reid told me that the number of 30 plus pound and 40 plus pound fish that their group caught was mind boggling! Reid motored almost 28 miles to the mouth of Bloody River on the last day and that is where the magical moment happened. How about that for excitement for Reid and his family! Wow, double wow is all I can say! Way to go guys! I bet the smiles on the guys' faces will be there for a long time.


Who Are Best Fishermen on the Lake?

I love watching osprey on a lake looking for a tasty snack! Fish Lake next door to Nordegg has several osprey and a handful of loons that feed primarily on the stocked rainbows in the lake. It is quite fascinating to watch their hunting and feeding behaviour. The osprey in particular smash the water  and their razor sharp talons grasp their lunch. Loons just seem to cruise around looking for an unwary rainbow. Often the loons hang out close to the fishermen. When a rainbow is released, the loons try to chase it down for a tasty snack!

Have an awesome Labour Day long weekend!


Thursday, September 2, 2021

Catching Rainbows Under a Rainbow at Fish Lake

A foggy morning at Fish Lake and one of the resident loons!

Fish Lake from the Summit of Mount Baldy, aka Shunda Mountain

Fish Lake is just a stone throw away from Nordegg! There is an excellent provincial camping area there as well with many "pull through camping sites." Our provincial fisheries program stocks this lake with over 20 000 rainbows each year. I do believe that the rainbows from last year did winter as well. The rainbows are not large but they are plentiful. Karen and I took our grandkids, relatives and friends out on the lake while we were camping there for almost two weeks. Late last week, Karen and I decided to launch our pram just after dinner. The evening rise is always a lot of fun! Just after launching the boat, a rain shower came over Fish Lake. It was a brief shower and we were treated to several rainbows as the showers tracked east.

Small micro leeches always seem to give us lots of action. Catching rainbows under a rainbow was a lot of fun!

Our grandkids love Fish Lakes too! We usually just put a micro leech on their spinning rod line under a bobber. They always seem to do well!

Rainbows Under Rainbows