Friday, June 30, 2023

Deborah and Darren Petersen-Glass in the Garden Sale


Sparrow Glassworks












5331 – 44 AVE



(Cash, Cheque or E-transfer)

 Fellow fly fisher, Darren Petersen and his wife Deborah are having a sale at their glass studio. Darren often has several beautiful pieces that are fly fishing oriented; glass fish, original vases and etched scotch glasses with mayflies are proudly displayed in our home. The quality of his work is superb. Take the time to take a look on Saturday July 8th or make an appointment!

Wednesday, June 28, 2023

Incredible Caddis Hatch at Sylvan Lake

As water temperatures crawl up, you have to think about where, when and even IF you should be fly fishing. Karen and I decided not to target trout so we headed to Sylvan Lake for the afternoon after spending the morning helping parents with appointments.

We started off looking in 7 feet of water just before noon. The water temperature at that time was 65F on the surface. We did see some whitefish cruising but the actively feeding fish that we found were in 12-14 feet of water. Yes, Bernie water plus 2! Karen and I did lots of moving until we found the depth that got us into steady action! We took two quick pictures of some decent lake whitefish and the rest never got out of the water.

The interesting part of our day, was the heavy caddis hatch, a sprinkling of chironomids and some hexagenia to boot! We saw lots of lake whites rolling on the caddis but it is so tough to predict where they were going next. We decided to keep our tactics pointed at a foot off the bottom in 12-14 feet of water!

Our best fly was a size 14 bloodworm. It was money once we got the depth right!

Karen almost went for a swim to end her day. We did fly fish close to where her family had a cabin many years ago.

Enjoy the long weekend. The rivers in southern Alberta seem to be in decent shape although the rivers west of Red Deer in the mountains are running dangerously high! Do take care and Happy Canada Day Long Weekend to all!


Tuesday, June 27, 2023

Streams of Consequence by Lorne Fitch

 Hi Everyone!

Lorne Fitch is a retired professional biologist and professor at University of Calgary. He grew up on a farm in the Central Alberta area.

I’m not plugged in to social media outlets but I’d like to get word of my book Streams of Consequence- Dispatches From the Conservation World out to a greater audience. Please consider sending this announcement-  - to your contacts. I would very much appreciate it. The book is currently available for pre-order and will be on bookstore shelves October 17. Anything I make will be donated to environmental causes..

Saturday, June 24, 2023

Incredible Video of Chironomid Takes-From Sport Fishing On The Fly

 Chironomid fly fishing with a full sink line is a great way to catch your favourite trout. Don Freschi and his brother Dale used an aqua view to get some outstanding takes. Essentially you dangle a chironomid straight down about 6-12 inches off of the bottom with a full sink line. Then hold on. You can get the depth perfect by using a weight clipped onto your chironomid and raising it just off of the bottom.

Great idea Don and Dale.

Tuesday, June 20, 2023

Phil Rowley's New Stillwater book of Flies is Now Available for Preorder

New book. Presales are now available. Reserve your autographed copy today.

I have been the fly-tying columnist for B.C. Outdoors Sports Fishing magazine for over 17 years. During this time, I have featured many pattern types and styles. Stillwater Flies with Phil Rowley & Friends is a compilation of over 35 stillwater fly patterns featured in my column. The patterns within the book are a blend of my patterns and many other talented fly tyers.

As with my previous books, the patterns are broken into different categories based on the food sources trout prey upon in lakes, including chironomids, scuds, damselflies, leeches, dragonflies, mayflies (Callibaetis), and water boatmen. There is also a section dedicated to attractor patterns.

Each pattern contains a detailed narrative focused on a specific material, tying challenge, or development history, along with step-by-step tying instructions and over 250 full-color images. The book is spiral bound to provide easy access to each pattern while at the tying bench without the risk of damage.

Stillwater Flies with Phil Rowley & Friends is 9” tall and 6.6” wide and contains 154 pages.

You can order Phil's New Book RIGHT HERE!


Saturday, June 17, 2023

Brown Drakes Are Popping on the Red Deer River

My grandson, Nathaniel, and I discovered brown drakes all over the side of our house yesterday. We decided to capture some in a jar to take a close look. Nathaniel's curiosity towards these mayflies was quite fascinating to watch. Oh the fish on the Red Deer River love brown drakes. Brown trout, goldeye, walleye, whitefish, and even pike will rise to devour a brown drake. Brown trout will definitely come out from their hiding spots to sip down brown drakes. For the most part, brown drakes pop at dusk but I have seen brown drakes emerge on an overcast day. If you love fly fishing the Red Deer River, definitely have a spot for brown drakes in your fly box.


Friday, June 16, 2023

Eastern Slopes Rivers Are Now Open

Hi Everybody!

Today is the start of our mountain rivers being open. If you love fly fishing along the Eastern Slopes, our rivers in these areas are now open until the end of October. Most are catch and release. It is up to all of us to protect these sacred waters. The west slope cutthroat are calling. Do check the flow rates on your favourite rivers. Runoff is amping up. Check the flow rates right here. Time to find all of the camping gear and enjoy our beautiful Eastern Slopes. Remember to get the appropriate public land camping passes, Check that out right here!


Thursday, June 15, 2023

Fly Fishing in Mississippi and Louisiana-What a Great Adventure!

Karen and I love adventures. We just returned from from fly fishing in Mississippi and Louisiana. 

Our trip began with a long day flying to Atlanta, then on to Gulfport, Mississippi. My buddy Leon and his "adopted" grandson John (we called him JC) picked us up and dropped us off at our motel. It was a neat place to sleep because it was Elvis Presley's usual vacation hideaway. 

Massive oak trees are everywhere!

The next morning after a breakfast at a Waffle House (they seem to be on every second corner in the Biloxi-Gulfport area), we headed to a marina to meet a boat that was taking us out to the Chandeleur Island area where we would be staying on a large house boat set up called the Pelican. Our boat was loaded up by Captain Eli and off the 8 of us went. We motored at 30 knots out over 30 miles into the Gulf of Mexico. Luckily the going was smooth. Once at the Pelican, we tossed our gear in the bunk house, had a snack and then we got ready to fly fish. Eli gave us a briefing on the boats. Yep, we were self guiding. That meant I would be poling a flats boat as would everyone else. Poling, I had never poled a flats boat. I guess I would learn fast, so would JC and Mark. My buddy Leon and Doug lucked out and they would be guided by Richard, the owner of the Pelican.

Our main quarry was going to be redfish, speckled trout (sea trout), black drum, ladyfish and catfish. We rigged up our 8 weight fly rods and started to look for redfish. We were new at this so the going was tough. Getting used to poling and where to look had its challenges. Nobody caught much the few hours we had before dinner.

The food on the Pelican was amazing. We never went hungry. Steak, speckled trout, redfish and shrimp were on the menu. Eli and Richard were excellent cooks.

The Pelican

On day two, Karen and I headed out to a bay that was just around the corner. The tide was just right. Karen connected on 4 speckled trout before lunch that she landed. I caught my first redfish that absolutely slammed my redfish cracken fly. I had no idea how hard redfish fight once hooked. With Karen motoring the boat and me tussling with the redfish, we managed to net our first Louisiana redfish. We caught more speckled trout and then headed to the Pelican for lunch.

John Hicks photo
Julius, aka "Juice" with a dandy black drum

John Hicks photo

John Hicks photo

Juice with a thick redfish

John Hicks photo

John Hicks photo

Nobody was catching much. The high tides were high due to the full moon and the low tides we really low. After lunch we went to a flats. Some redfish were sight fished and caught and Mark landed a large black drum.

The third day out at the Chandeleurs, everyone spread out. Redfish were caught. Doug caught his first redfish and my buddy Leon also landed a redfish. JC and his son tangled with some redfish. Karen and I managed to catch some ladyfish and speckled trout but no redfish. The redfish were not on the flats in their usual numbers.

The final day JC and his son caught a beautiful black drum before we motored back to Gulfport.

The fly fishing was not at it's best along the Chandeleur Island area. We were disappointed but that is fishing. We figured that the full moon affected the tides which ultimately affected the fish on the flats.

The adventure though was NOT NEARLY OVER!

Karen and Doug headed back to Calgary and I stayed with my buddy Leon. JC, Leon and I were going to  fly fish in the Barrier Island area. We had two fabulous days. We caught pompano, ladyfish, mackeral, catfish, even a ray, and several large redfish. We had two fish fries, then made fish tacos that were amazing.

Leon and I also meet up with several local fly fishers in the Gulfport area. We had one morning where we tried to catch triple tail but we had no luck!

I learned a lot on this cool trip! I learned how to make leaders with a shock tippet set up. I learned lots about chasing redfish.  You also have to pay attention to tides, moon phases and most importantly, wind. The Gulf of Mexico can get rough and you have to respect it. You also have to realize it is hot and humid in the Gulfport area. 92F and humidity in the high 90s is a daily occurrence as is thunderstorms.

I would absolutely go again. The trip was great fun and I would certainly pay attention to moon phases, tides and when the crab migration is on. Hurricanes also can develop, so plan accordingly!

John Hick's family hosted both Leon and I at their house. JC's family was awesome to be around and they were so kind. I owe JC a big thank you! He was on leave from his military job and he took us out in his boat every time he could.

Leon ready to cast to a redfish

Speckled Trout

Mark, with a sizeable black drum

The Gang!

Leon on the casting platform!

Redfish tacos for dinner!

Local Fly club social.

Leon says that was an outstanding steak!

Sunrise at the Pelican tucked into a bay on the Chandeleur Island area!


Yep, these caught several sizeable redfish

Catfish- fun to catch!

Leon caught several pompano!

Karen with a ladyfish!

Leon tangling with a pompano!

A typical marsh fishing boat!

That was a dandy redfish!

Surprise, a ray ate Leon's fly and he landed the hard fighting beast.

Pompano are hard fighting and great eating too!

A great moment after JC came to the rescue with the net!

JC's boat

Fish on!

Ya, I was excited!

JC-John Hicks

Tying flies before the next day's adventure

Pompano for supper

Motoring in the Gulf of Mexico

Leon and owner of the Pelican, Richard, on their way!

Speckled trout on!

JC and his son, Julius, tangling with a redfish!

Doug and his guide chasing a large black drum!

Yep, I was poling.