Sunday, October 31, 2021

Happy Halloween-Introducing the Billy Munster, aka Baby Vampire Leech with the New Tungsten Head Turner Beads

Happy Halloween everyone. Phil Rowley just released a new tying video to his YouTube Channel. His new video is of a Baby Vampire Leech aka The Billy Munster. The originator of the Vampire Leech is Todd Oishi. The Canadian Llama Company has come out with a new bead design called the Tungsten Head Turner Bead. The idea is the bead is a tear drop shape and it will invert the hook and the bead also nearly balances the fly without using a pin and tungsten bead to extend the hook shank so it will hang horizontally. As you will see with Phil's video, by using a clinch knot; you can hang the leech horizontally by placing a clinch knot just right!

In Alberta, we can fish with three flies. I have talked to Phil and he loves matching the Baby Vampire (and his Baby Bruised Leech) with a Blob!

Take a look at the video!


Saturday, October 30, 2021

Kerbes Pond Was Maybe the Coldest Place in Alberta

Karen and I drove out east of Red Deer to Kerbes Pond that is south of Erskine about 25km. It was a bone chilling day with a north west wind that could cut right through a poorly dressed fly fisherman. Karen and I wanted to try out some different ice minnow patterns, photograph snow geese and see if there was any signs of running the aeration through the winter. We did not have a lot of time but we decided to go for it anyways!

When we arrived, a new sign has been added at the entrance to the parking lot that suggests that the ACA will be aerating in the winter.  That is fantastic news.

We double layered our coats and started to fly fish with tiny size 14 ice minnows tied just on jig hooks and using head turner beads.  We dangled our ice minnow just 18 inches below our strike indicators! We caught lots of rainbows including several larger specimens! We were thrilled.

We had to tangle with mud along the shore but we were able to wash off our boots after fly fishing for 90 minutes. We should have brought a towel to dry off our hands after releasing the rainbows we caught!

One of the bays was frozen already and we spent a lot of time photographing snow geese that were passing through! 

Forage Fish!

Can you see the frozen back bay?

Massive pods of forage fish were along the edges in many places.

Snow geese were passing through. They are a big distraction!


Friday, October 29, 2021

Did You Know Piper Creek Was Broken, ...We Fixed it!

You will see several members of the Central Alberta Chapter of Trout Unlimited involved in this project!


Producing Fly Tying Videos with Phil Rowley

Phil Rowley has an extensive You Tube Channel. A few days back, we were able to get together to film 12 new fly tying videos! The pandemic, lousy road conditions and work deadlines have made a real mess of things. We finally got down to work. Phil was on his game and his new videos will be made available over the course of the next several months. I will be posting these tying videos as we head into the winter.

Dust off your fly tying kit! It will soon be time to get back to the vice!

Thursday, October 28, 2021

Last Shot at the Eastern Slopes Before Halloween Closure

Doug and I wanted one last crack at one of our blue ribbon Eastern Slopes rivers before they are closed until next June 15th. The weather forecast encouraged us to make today the day. Snow was in the forecast and Doug had his snow tires on and ready to go! Doug picked me up at 7 am and off we went. We were fly fishing by 9:30 am when it was a frosty -5C. Iced up guides and nymphing was going to be the order of the day. We had our layers on. Doug is an experienced steelheader so he knows how to stay warm on the coldest of days! Our day started off slow. We were probably a bit early. We hooked a few cutthroat and they all shook off. After walking to two other runs, we came back to our starting spot and the cutts were active. Our best fly was a size 18 red brassie on 5x tippet. We connected with a lot of our prized west slope cutthroat. By 2 pm the action was mostly over. As Doug said, the window seemed to shut! We had already done very well and as we packed up we paid homage to one of those special places that we love until next June. We packed up and made our way back to Red Deer. It was a perfect way to close out our cutthroat fly fishing season. 

We still have several lakes that we can fly fish until freeze up and the Red Deer River below the dam and of course parts of the Bow River and the Crowsnest River are open still.  Remember that Sylvan and Gull Lakes are closed on October 31st until December 11th.

Still lots of fly fishing to be had! Bundle up and get out there!


Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Silver Minnow-Balanced

The Silver Minnow tied balanced is one of my favourite forage fish imitations I use for walleye and lake trout. Many species will respond favourably to this fly! I like to tie it balanced so I can jig it. I often will use it under an indicator but I also will cast and retrieve with it as well! If I am lake trout fishing, I will definitely beef up the hooks. You can see the materials I use to tie up this pattern in the picture below! The Silver Minnow above is tied on a size 6 jig hook!


Monday, October 25, 2021

Walleye in the Bright Sunshine

Monday, Monday! Karen and I did not want to waste a warm fall day. The direction of the wind and the clouds in the sky encouraged us to head to the Red Deer River and chase walleye! It was a good decision even though the clouds pushed away leaving a bright sunny day in front of us. The river is in great shape and we found several willing walleye. We used silver minnows, candy corns and vampire leeches, all tied balanced, to catch the walleye! Karen loves to fish a run slowly and jig her balanced fly. It is a strategy that works well for her! We both caught some nice specimens today!

Just a small side note about our day. We had to discourage a fly fisherman who wanted to step into the run that Karen was fishing. There is literally 100s of kms of great walleye water on the Red Deer River. Karen stepped out of the water to change her fly and the fella headed quickly to where she was having success. I had to tell the fella that she was just changing her fly. Over time, he still edged his way to where Karen was fishing and stared her down.  I moved over there. He finally got the message. We do not want confrontations on the water. If someone steps out of a run and you want to fish there, just ask if they are finished. Do not try to push them out.  That is not cool. If you are within casting distance, you are too close. Another retired gentleman came out to try to catch walleye with his spinning gear. He did it right. He said good morning and walked upstream of us to fish. He then asked if he was too close to us (which he wasn't). That is a considerate fisherman. Give everyone the space they deserve.

Cold weather looks to be moving in early next week. Get out there if you can! Today was definitely not a manic Monday!


Sunday, October 24, 2021

Ice Minnows for Forage Fish Rich Lakes and Ponds

I love Ice Minnows! They are so simple to tie. A black marabou tail and then silver chenille or brill for the body! We have several excellent lakes/ponds that have forage fish. A great example is Kerbes Pond east of Red Deer. The rainbows, browns and tigers will cruise the shallows looking for forage fish to munch down. I learned about ice minnows from Bob Morenski. He is the originator of this delightful pattern. I have tied up this great little pattern as a straight streamer, balanced and just on a jig hook like the size 12 examples above. I have had moments when fishing right along weed lines and in the shallows where my ice minnow is only 6 inches below my strike indicator. Crazy but it works.

I also use ice minnows to catch walleye and whitefish!

My favourite moments are fishing along weed lines for big brown trout who are herding minnows. Take a look at this short video of my buddy Phil Rowley fly fishing the shallows for big browns!


Saturday, October 23, 2021

Do You Reuse Hooks and Beads?

It is a rainy day, hmm I think I will take some time to rebuild some wiggle worms. Wiggle worms fall apart easily because they are fragile. I have decided not not throw away these demolished set ups. In a few minutes, I stripped off the disintegrated materials and retied them. I saved high quality hooks and tungsten beads from the trash!