Friday, September 23, 2022

BWOs Can Be the Answer

I had an interesting experience yesterday. I was out buying some cross cut rabbit so I could tie up a Master Splinter Mouse fly pattern for a tying order I was working on. I bumped into a fly fisherman looking for BWOs. They were not to be found so I told him to drop by my house and pick up some. I pulled out half a dozen from my fly box that I had tied up a few days ago and he was off to his favourite brown trout stream. Last night he sent me a picture of this beautiful brown. That certainly made me smile.


Walleye Love Mylar Minnows

Phil Rowley developed a mylar minnow for casting and retrieving a number of years ago. I made a few changes to this effective pattern to make it balanced. I often jig it under an indicator or just jig it off of the bottom. The walleye love it! I add a 5/32nd tungsten bead under the mylar tubing to get the minnow balanced!


Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Walleye on the Red Deer River

One of the cool things about the Red Deer River is the diversity of fish species within its waters. There are days that I enjoy targeting Walleye. My "go to" patterns include a fly called a Candy Corn. It is a fly designed by my friend Dave Green. It is an easy tie. You can tie them as streamers or balanced. I do like to fish them slowly under an indicator (8 feet down) and let the current do the work. Tie them up size 8 or even larger. Trout love this fly too!


Friday, September 16, 2022

Boatmen and Backswimmers are on in Central Alberta

Today was warm, not too windy and the possibility of boatmen and backswimmer action spurred Karen and I on to get out on the water for a few hours. We launched at 11:30 am. Like two days ago, casting and retrieving flashbacks was working great. By 1 pm both Karen and I were both casting and retrieving. We were having excellent action as well. Long leaders with two flashbacks, one size 12 and one size 14 again worked well. We casted at rise forms. Strip, strip, pause, KABOOM; fish on!

By 3:30 pm; we packed up and headed to the football field. Friday Night Lights is a tradition in our house!

A Backswimmer-Careful These Critters Can Bite!


Shrimp and Daphnia


Thursday, September 15, 2022

Flashbacks Work Great When Trout Are Slashing at Boatmen and Backswimmers

I love fly fishing with Flashback Pheasant Tails. I do make a few minor changes to the pattern during boatmen/backswimmer time. I add biot wings wings and I use red or rainbow beads. Easy to tie and they are fish catchers. I usually tie on two flashbacks; one size 12 and one size 14 on a 12 foot leader, tying the smaller flashback at the point just 18 inches from the larger flashback. I cast at trout I can see because of a rise. I usually use a strip, strip, pause cadence with my floating or midge tip line. If I do not see a slashing trout, I fan cast. I usually countdown 5 to 10 seconds before retrieving. There are times that the trout will hook up on the drop. That happened 4 times to me yesterday.

There are certainly many great boatmen patterns out there! I am amazed how well Flashback Pheasant Tails do work during boatmen/backswimmer time.


Wednesday, September 14, 2022

Throat Samples Over the Course of 6 hours on the Water

It is quite interesting to see what trout dine on over the course of a day. It is early fall and trout will be starting to put the feedbag on as the water temperatures start to drop. Today was very telling. We were on the water at 10 am and got off of the water about 4 pm. The day started off slow.  I was casting and retrieving flashbacks and Karen was using a shrimp imitation under an indicator. I was hooking up regularly and Karen's indicator was just bobbing on the surface. Throat samples suggested that the rainbows were eating daphnia and shrimp. One trout was dining on immature damsels, that was interesting. Karen switched to fishing blobs and I started to use a Tokaryk Special. We both caught fish about evenly. About 2 pm, the rainbows were chasing boatmen (smaller) and backswimmers (larger). Karen put on flashbacks below her indicator and I continued to cast and retrieve with flashbacks, size 12.  By far, casting and retrieving got the most attention of the trout! I tie my flashbacks with rainbow and red beads. Thanks Larry for that idea. They certainly get the attention of the trout! It was a beautiful day on the water. Do continue to take throat samples during the day and do not assume what they are eating, you might just be surprised.

Shrimp and damsels!

This trout switched from Daphnia to Boatmen and Backswimmers


Tuesday, September 13, 2022

Cow Lake, ...I Finally Got to Fly Fish There

Dr. Bill Young and I spent yesterday exploring Cow Lake. The rumours that there are some decent trout there spurred us on! It took us about 60 minutes to reach the boat launch. The launch is in excellent condition and there is plenty of parking. We launched his 14 foot Marlon and Dr. Bill fired up his 15 hp Honda. We were off. The lake is shallow, real shallow. There is very little structure so we decided to fish the edges. We used Tokaryk Specials that were small (size 12 and 14). What struck me right away is the low visibility in the lake at the moment. I suspect wind had churned it up. I finally got a take. It was an 18 inch rainbow. Shortly after, Dr. Bill hooked a rainbow. I then hooked up with the rainbow pictured above. I was pleasantly surprised to see a 5 or 6 pound rainbow. We continued to work shoreline. We were broke off by pike several times. We did hook a few more rainbows but we kept losing them. By the way, we set our indicators only about 2 feet down. The edges are about 5-8 feet deep.

I did get a telling throat sample from one rainbow that had backswimmers and shrimp in its throat!

Cow Lake is definitely worth exploring with a fly rod. I would recommend staying mostly in the northern part of the lake.


Sunday, September 11, 2022

Backswimmer and Water Boatmen

 It is that time of the year where we encounter boatmen and backswimmers. This special presentation by Phil Rowley and Brian Chan is a comprehensive discussion of these great little critters that the trout definitely key into this time of the year! Get a coffee and take a look!

Friday, September 9, 2022

Blue Winged Olives (BWOs)

Blue Winged Olives seem to make an appearance early in the spring, in the fall and during lousy weather days. Trout definitely will key in on them. I keep my BWOs simple, super simple. I usually tie them size 20-16. I mostly like size 18 BWOs. I use micro fibbets for the tail (look in the paint brush section of a hardware store if you cannot find them or use grey hackle fibres. I like using olive thread or olive superfine antron dubbing for the body and grey hackle for the wing. I do not add a separate wing on tiny flies. If you tie them parachute style, some grey para post material or macrame yarn will be needed. BWOs are the smallest mayflies we have in Alberta. I like fishing them with a long 5x leader. I am always amazed that larger trout will slurp these little morsels up all afternoon! 


Sunday, September 4, 2022

Exploring the Upper Red Deer River

Karen and I finally had a day to ourselves. Our aging parents, helping with our precious grandkids and our sick dog have taken up a lot of our time as of late. That's ok but we finally got a day for ourselves and we decided to drive to Sundre and poke around the Red Deer River areas with our fly rods. We did make one mistake and that was doing our exploring at the start of a long weekend. We were quite surprised at the number of trailers, quads, etc heading out! We should not have been surprised considering the weather was hot and it was one of the last long weekends that you could enjoy camping. Whitefish, cutthroat, and bull trout are in this area. We did connect with some fish but we were mainly interested in just exploring. We are trying to find some new hidden gems to fly fish! There is so much excellent water to explore. 

I hope you are enjoying the Labour Day long weekend!