Tuesday, October 24, 2023

Fly Tying Mondays Start November 27th at Reliance Learning Centre

Hi Everyone!

I can hardly believe that winter set in so fast. Karen and I were lucky enough to get our boats serviced and put away just in the nick of time. It is time to start thinking of getting our fly tying gang together for the winter. I have posted dates below. I hope to fill in presenters in the coming days. If you are willing to do a tying session, please get in contact with me (403-598-3802) so I can get you on the schedule. You do not need to be an expert to led a tying session. New fly tyers are always welcome to join us!

Fly Tying Monday Dates for 2023-2024

November 27th-Bob Vanderwater

December 4-Rick Miyauchi
December 11-Bob Vanderwater
December 18th-Steve Luethi

January 8th-Bob Vanderwater
January 15th-Steve Luethi
January 22-Dan Reaman
January 29th-Dr. Bill Young

February 5th-Rick Miyauchi
February 10th- Phil Rowley All Day Workshop
February 12
February 19- Family Day-No Tying
February 26th-Doug Pullan

March 6th-Larry Prowse
March 11th-Ralf Kuntzemann
March 18th-Garnet Clews
March 25th


Friday, October 20, 2023

Winter is Just Around the Corner!

Finally Karen and I were able to get out and fly fish yesterday. I have been under the weather lately as well and it felt great to get outside. After taking a look at the long range weather forecast, I am glad we were able to get out! It looks like we are in for a big weather change. Sigh!

Well yesterday was beautiful. It was a bit windy but I was still fly fishing in my shorts and light sweater. The rainbows yesterday were eating shrimp and daphnia. Karen and I tied on a Bubba Gump Shrimp, Tokaryk Specials and blobs. The action was not fast and furious but it was steady! Later in the day I started stripping backswimmers and I was able to connect on a few rainbows as well. I was hoping their memory made them interested in boatmen. The hits were vicious. 

Time to find your cold weather clothes. It looks like winter is just around the corner! Bundle up and get out this weekend, it maybe your last chance.


Tuesday, October 10, 2023

Kerbes Pond Near Erskine

Kerbes Pond just 25 km south of Erskine is a designated trophy fishery.  Karen and I managed to get out there yesterday afternoon. It was another beautiful afternoon! Warm fall days are to be cherished. We even fished until dark because it was so pleasant! We had Kerbes to ourselves. How were the rainbows, tigers and browns doing at Kerbes?

I thought we were going for a drive because I figured the water levels were going to be extremely low. Once we arrived, we realized that fly fishing from shore was going to be extremely limiting because of the tules (reeds) that have grown all around the pond! We launched our pram at the tiny but quite useable boat launch! We motored over to the area near the 5 working aerators and we found the water was still close to 18 feet deep in places. The water temperature was only 50F and the visibility was about 2-3 feet, which is typical of Kerbes Pond.

As usual we set up along the edges to fly fish and we were into fish all afternoon. We started with Tokaryk Specials and Ice Minnows. We caught mostly stockers. After a while, we fished with floating backswimmer patterns and had a blast catching rainbows. I did hook a very large tiger trout that became unbuttoned near the boat. We saw several very large wakes of sizeable trout! We did not connect with any of them after I lost the big tiger trout! Darn!

I was quite encouraged with the fishery. So many sloughs were bone dry in the area. I hope we get lots of snow this winter. Out water table is low. It was certainly worth going. If you do go, take your pontoon boat or pram. Yes there are places to fish from shore but they are few. 


Sunday, October 8, 2023

Thanksgiving Sunday Fly Fishing at Sylvan Lake

Our house was full of family yesterday afternoon. We enjoyed our dinner outside on a beautiful fall day to celebrate Canadian Thanksgiving. Karen and I love having our home full of family. It is the best of times and makes our hearts full of happiness. We feel very blessed.

Thanksgiving Sunday was another warm day although there was frost on Saturday night! Karen and I loaded up the Gulf station wagon and headed for Sylvan Lake. Sylvan is down just a bit in water volume. We launched on a side road and headed to some weed lines we like to fly fish! We hoped to sight fly fish for lake whitefish along the tules (reeds). We had a great time in just 3-4 feet of water trying not to spook the lake whites and getting them to eat our bloodworms. If you get the presentation right, fly fishing 2.5 to 3 feet below our strike indication; you can watch the whitefish slurp down our bloodworm imitations. We spooked so many but we also had lots of success.

We did catch a few whitefish in deeper water but we enjoyed the sight fishing so much that we went back to that strategy! The water temperature at Sylvan was 54F. It was perfect.

I cannot remember too many days in October where I could fly fish in shorts and a light shirt/sweater. Looks like tomorrow is going to be a repeat in the weather. You know we did not unload the car. I wonder where we will go tomorrow.


Saturday, October 7, 2023

Happy Canadian Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone! It looks like we are in for amazing weather here in Central Alberta. I hope you have time to get out and enjoy the unseasonably warm weather. Karen and I were out just a few days ago. We were still using backswimmers and flashbacks. The rainbows were definitely still responding to them quite favourably. I was stripping a Great Water Floatman and Karen was using flashbacks. We both were quite successful.

I hope you are able to spend some time with your family. Enjoy the sunny long weekend.

Fly Tying Mondays are a go again this year. We will get going near the end of November! We will still be at Reliance Oilfield Learning Centre.


Wednesday, October 4, 2023

Fish Kill at Dickson Trout Pond

 I have received several messages that there has been a fish kill at Dickson Trout Pond. The evidence has been many dead fish along the causeway. I was rather surprised. I was there just a few weeks back and it was in great shape. Several of us have been speculating and we think the lake turned over and also had an algae bloom. Yep that would definitely choke the lake of the necessary oxygen that would sustain the rainbows and tiger trout! I am not sure whether there has been only a partial kill or a major kill. I hope I can get some feedback from others so I can share it with everyone!

Tuesday, October 3, 2023

Twin Lakes- Parkland Region of Manitoba

Twin Lakes just north of Roblin in Manitoba is a gem! It is a catch and release lake that has an excellent population of tiger trout, some are very impressive in size. Tiger trout are very cool. They are a cross between a brook trout and a brown trout. Tigers can be quite aggressive and that makes for very interesting days out on the water. I love the vermiculations on tiger trout!

From my experiences, tiger trout are like teenagers. They seem to take a while to really get going during the day. There seems to be no real rush to start early although there are definitely days they are feeding right away!

It was backswimmer and boatmen time when we arrived in the last week in September. Our days started off stripping streamers until the backswimmers got going. Steve and I were connecting with streamers, specifically, minnow imitations. As soon as we saw evidence of the backswimmers getting going, we tied on either a greater water floatman or an ultimate boatman. Sometimes we tied on both at the same time. The takes are explosive and great fun!

If there is a drawback to Twin Lake, it is the tiger trout constantly have fishing pressure. Catch and release fisheries definitely allow fishermen of all sorts to enjoy the opportunity to connect with a trophy trout. 

Over the last 4 years, tiger trout have been stocked into Pybus Lake. Unfortunately, nobody has taken care of the boat launch which is a mess. Several of us went to Pybus to check it out but we could not launch our boats. I do know that the Parkland Region needs more tiger trout lakes. That will help relieve the pressure on Twin Lakes. It does have an aerator and it has been running the last 3 winters at Pybus.

Twin Lakes has tigers that are heading towards 30 inches in length! Tangling with one of these beasts is exciting. Do use 2x tippet or you are going to get broken off! That advice comes from personal experience. You definitely have a chance at a master angler tiger every trip to Twin.

I hope Pybus Lake tigers are doing well. I do know that the boat launch should be good to go by spring! I will definitely be back to check it out! If you have a pontoon boat, small pram or float tube, you definitely can launch at Pybus!

Backswimmers constantly landed in my boat. 

Great Water Floatman- One of my favourite backswimmer patterns.

Watch out, backswimmers can bit you!


Monday, October 2, 2023

Patterson Lake in the Parkland Region of Manitoba


It has been 4 years since I have been to Patterson Lake. It is definitely one of my favourite lakes in Manitoba. It felt so good to see my old friend. Patterson Lake had fallen out of favour because suckers started to dominate the lake. Fish managers tried to remove suckers with some success but it is impossible to remove them all. Suckers eat blood worms, chironomids and anything else they can devour. My buddy Steve and I fly fished two good days at Patterson to see how the fishery was doing. My friend Phil Rowley and his videographer, Ryan, were also there to film an episode of the New Fly Fisher. We were all in for a pleasant surprise.

We knew the brown trout were doing well. What about the rainbows? Well we started to run our trap line to see what Patterson had in store for us. The first day was warm, cloudy with very little wind. The water temperature was 59 F. These are excellent conditions although a bit warm for the last week in September. Fish were rising all around the boat launch and some fly fishers were right out in front of the dock, although they were not catching much of anything.

Our first stop was choked with weeds. Steve and I motored to another favourite spot on the lake and set up along an edge of weeds. I used an ice minnow and Steve tied on a Tokaryk Special. We hung them just 14-16 inches below the surface. I missed several takes and finally Steve hooked a dandy rainbow that was easily in the 6 pound category. We took a throat sample. It was full of tiny boatmen. Steve connected with another rainbow of the same quality and it too had been feeding on small water boatmen. It was my turn to connect with my ice minnow. It was a 21 inch brown trout! It had beautiful colours. We caught three more from the same spot. Wow, we were excited. Both rainbows and browns were cruising along the weed lines. The rainbows were impressive sizes. They were cruising the edges just like brown trout behavior. We then moved all around the lake to several of our favourite spots to look. We caught many more rainbows. Steve then hooked a dandy brown that measure out at 24 inches. Wow. 

We had a great day. We stopped at so many of our old haunts and caught rainbows and a few browns in most of our favourite spots.

Three days later, we came back to Patterson. It was a big, blue sky day and the lake had been stocked the day before. Newly stocked lakes can mess up the fly fishing for a few days. We decided to motor well away from the launch area. The morning fly fishing was excellent. Both Phil and I connected with several quality rainbows. Just after lunch, the fishing slowed substantially. Patterson Lake had decided to show its fickle side. I managed to land a very large rainbow by a beaver house after lunch and that was it. The afternoon was glorious. Warm, vibrant fall colours were an amazing backdrop to our fly fishing. Snow geese, tundra swans and Canada geese were on their migration route right over Patterson Lake.

The two days we spent on Patterson Lake were definitely encouraging. The only downside seemed to be the fact that the lake was down a bit. The trout seem to be there in decent numbers and up to the quality that definitely makes it a trophy lake. Steve and I did a "run and gun" approach. We covered a lot of the edges. That seemed to be a good strategy for us. Some fly fishers stayed in their favourite spots and others trolled.

Suckers still will need to be managed at Patterson Lake. That will be a big continuous challenge.

Will I be back in the spring? Absolutely! This was a fact finding mission that made me smile!

Ken Kansas, the biologist responsible for getting these trout fisheries in the Parkland Region started was also out fishing.

Tundra Swans

Phil and Ryan filming!

Snow Geese

Early morning starts allowed us to enjoy spectacular sunrises!

Steve tangling with a dandy brown.

Did I mention that I love browns?

Tiny water boatmen in many throat samples.

Browns love minnows!

The beauty of Patterson Lake!