Sunday, September 24, 2017

Fall Frenzy

The last couple weekends have been busy, the weather is cooling off and the leaves are starting to drop. School is back in meaning I am up to my neck in paperwork and my little bit of spare time I find on the weekend has been spent hunting. Well this weekend I decided to get out fishing despite the forcast of rain (which ended up only being a few drops here and there)

I went to a local lake that I had fished once before in August. The results were good and I was hoping for a similar day... which did not happen. However, contrary to what you may now be assuming I had an even better day.

It didnt take me long, maybe five minutes, and I found fish. I had rowed the shoreline in my pontoon and hooked up trolling a red ad black mohair leech pattern. I unbuttoned the rainbow and anchored up. Fanning my casts out in a circular pattern around me I was picking up a fish every three casts or less! There was no pattern to it, just fly in water time. Some were hooked on a fast retrieve, some on a slow and some on the drop after the fly hit the water. I even had a few hook ups where the fly had barely hit the water and the fish smashed it. I pumped one fish and there really wasnt much on the menu to imitate with a fly (see picture), but the leech was working so why change up?

I would fish that anchored spot until the action "died" down (meaning I went ten or so casts without a fish), pull anchor and anchor up just outside my casting radius from my last drop. This would put me back into the three cast or less ratio.
Long story short. The fish shredded a number of flies, I landed 40+ fish (I really tried to keep count but lost count in the 30's) and lost who knows how many. The fish were all rainbows and averaging 16" with some pushing 20". Many were acrobatic giving flying leaps, hurtling through the air, contorting and cartwheeling in an attempt to escape. Others bull dogged and tried to go deep. All were a good fight and I went home with a sore wrist.

It was a fantastic fall feeding frenzy.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Northern stream fun

Yesterday I made it out fishing with a friend to a little river that will remain nameless. I met him at his place early in the morning and we packed in all our rods, waders, gear, water, food and of course the shotgun as we were headed into Grizzly territory and you can never be to careful. Although we did not see any we did see eight or nine black bears.
I took my 8 weight and 5 weight fly rods with me in hioes for two different species; Arctic Grayling and Bull Trout. We had heard both could be found there.

The road in was long and rough but it appeared o one had been in for some time. The area we fished was beautiful with no signs that any other people had been there. The rocks were slippery and the water was very clear. Hiking down stream we came to a bend and found a really fishy looking pool so we set up our rods and began our day.

I started with my 8 weight and a big streemer fly I had tied up the night before, fishing the faster water above the pool first. As soon as I made my way into the deeper (3 feet deep) stuff of this little stream I was in to fish. The first one was an 18" rainbow with gorgeous colors. Second was a slightly smaller rainbow and third put a huge bend in my rod.... the third fish to be fooled by my fly was a real nice double digit bull trout. How could such a big fish be in such a small stream? This thing was a tank and fought hard until, to my dismay, he managed to spit the hook.
We tried to get another bull, and we could see a couple in there, but they didnt want to play. Switching to my 5 weight we caught rainbow after rainbow between 10 and 18 inches and even managed a couple chunky 2lb whitefish. Unfortunately, no grayling. Grayling is a fish I have never caught before and one I wanted to cross off the bucket list.

After playing with lots or rainbows on the dry we decided to head out and give another creek we had seen on the way in a try. When we arrived we spooked two black bears who tore off into the bush. Making plenty of noise we set up to fish a small pool in the new stream. Caddis dries were the ticket again and we were soon onto fish. Unfortunately the first few were whitefish again, but then something different rose and smacked my fly. Finally, I could cross Arctic Grayling off my list. What a beautiful fish.

The water was crystal clear, the weather was great and the fishing and scenery was amazing. Only down side was not landing the big bull but you can't win them all.


Friday, June 30, 2017

Coming soon..

Coming soon to a lake near you... me! I just bought my first boat (about time heh?). Ordered it in from a local shop and now its time for a trailer, motor and  accessories!
Boat is a LOWE 1240 Jon boat. I went with the 1240 because it has the extra 4 inches over a 1236. It will hopefully give me a little more stability on the water. My daughter cant wait to get out there with me and catch some fish.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Spawning

This weekend was a long weekend and I decided to brave a local lake. As I suspected the lake was busy with a full campsite and lots of boats on the water. Not my favorite way to fish but the weather was great and it was nice just to be out on the water.

Beyond the happiness of just being out there was some frustration. It's spawning time for the rainbows in the lake so the fishing was slow. Not only that it was disapointing to see crowds of people trying to catch the rainbows in the shallow water as they did their procreation dances. The optimist in me hopes they just didn't know any better.

On a comical note, when I was taking my pontoon out of the water at the boat launch there was a big "tough" guy swearing up a storm, acting all macho until I pointed out a little garter snake swimming eight feet off shore. Well, he started swearing, cursing and threatening the little snake with a look of fear in his eyes. He backed up the bank and nervously watched as it swam by praying it would not go in his boat, with a paddle in handready to give it a whack if it came too close. I just smiled and tried to contain my amusement.

Friday, April 7, 2017

The big thaw.

It's been a long cold winter with lows of minus 37 c and not a lot of snow. I really didnt get out for much ice fishing but the thaw is happening and soon the lakes and rivers will be open again. When I get home I am hoping the local river will be open enough to target a few bulls.
This week I am in the Vancouver area, where the water isnt so hard, and naturally I brought a rod or two. Its been raining lots so a lot of the rivers are higher than I like to fish but I did manage o fish the Vedder river with a friend last weekend. The rain held off for the most part but unfortunately the wind picked up which made it hard to cast the spey rod. We didn't get any fish but we watched a guy on the next run down hook and land a steelhead then go back to his sport and proceed to hook a second one within his next couple of casts. At least we onew there were fish in the river.
This weekend I am likely headed to a different river to look for steelhead and hopefully out for sturgeon on another day if the weather cooperates. Its been too long since I have hooked into one of those giants.

Here's to a good fishing season with bent rods all around.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Pursuit of Coho

This week I was out on the Skeena system again, this time chasing coho with my single hand fly rod and spey rod.

When we arrived at the Skeena, things looked promising. We set up camp and fished that evening at Ferry Island. There were coho and sockeye surfacing close to shore. Despite the water being colored up, and after a few fly changes, I did manage to hook a sockeye on the fly on a charteuse fly I nick named the "pick your prom dress" (a hybrid between a pick your pocket and a prom dress fly). This was my first ever sockeye on the fly.

The next morning we fished Ferry Island for a couple hours with no hook ups. So off we went to fish the Kitimat river in search of coho. We hit numerous locations and all we saw were zombie chum and spawning pinks. Nothing worth catching. I did manage a small cutthroat and a very nice resident rainbow. We retreated back to Ferry Island where we were camping. That evening we had no more fish to hand on the Skeena.

Thinking that the river may be more clear up stream we drove past the Copper river and found a spot to park way up stream to try our luck. Apparently luck didnt make the drive out with us and were were skunked, and demoralized. This was our last full day out there and nothing really to show for it.
That evening I did manage to hook in to a beautiful chrome coho on the spey back at Ferry Island. I had given thousands of casts over the last few days and only had my fly line knot up a couple of times. As I mentioned earlier luck was not there with us and as I was u tangnling a knot in the fly line near the reel was when the fish hit. I had it on, it turned towards me and I stripped lime mad to keep the tension on the line hoping I could play the fish without having to untie the knot at the same time. Well the coho wanted nothing to do with it and tore off in a big strong run. I had a decision to make. Let the fish run and pull the knot through the eyes on my spey rod or grab the knot before it went through and pray the fish turns. Not wanting the knot to rip off the eyes on my rod I grabbed the knot. Unfortunately the fish did not turn and it snapped me off. After a few choice words I tied back on a new fly and continued to fish. No more action that  night.

Back at camp, demoralized and exhausted we discussed our next steps and decided to leave and hit the Bulkley on the way.

The Bulkley was a little more clear than the Skeena and the dip netters at the Morricetown Canyon were getting sockeye, coho and even a steelhead. The first spot we found we saw a fish in a tail out and I got him to turn to my fly twice but couldnt elicit a bite. So, we moved on. We had a tip on a location and thought we would try it.

The Bulkey was a beautiful river and I cant wait to get back. We found a peach of a run, perfect for swinging flies. There was evidence of coho remnants in the water and two people were leaving with coho they had caught. Our hopes were high and it didnt take too long before I had a fish hit, although it snapped me off after a few head shakes. As the afternoon wore on the fish were rising here and there and we fished a seam where we kept seeing them rise. Out of nowhere I had a big hit on my fly and a brief fight with line peeling before it snapped me off. Awake and pumped I fished through that spot hoping to convince another to bite and it paid off. A fish hammered my fly and promply took off out towards the current giving a nice cartwheel on the way. It wasnt a chrome coho that was for sure, it seemed to have a bit of colour but I was happy I was into a fish. As the fight went on the fish bull dogged and stayed low in the water trying to get into the heavjer current. Eventually I had him on his way in and I got my first good look at him. It was a Steelhead! Nerves were high and so was my excitment as I worked it in and landed it. This was my fist fly caught steelhead and what a beauty. After a couple quick pictures it was on it was back in the river.

A short while after that my fishing partner was into a fish that hit like a freight train. The fish was quickly peeling line and burning his fingers before it broke his fly. It was a tank of a fish. It hit hard like a steelhead and I'm sure it was bigger than mine. Both fish hit on a black and blue intruder style fly.

Cant't wait to get back to the bulkley!

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Terrace and Kitimat

This week I was out in the Terrace and Kitimat area with my family on a camping trip. Naturally I took a few rods with me. I mean you can't camp along the mighty Skeena River and not fish it.
The first couple days posed a challenge fishing wise. We fished near the campsite, on the main stem Skeena and got nothing. Not even a bite. Talk to one old guy there who had fished six days with nothing to show for his efforts. The frustrating part was there were fish rolling frequently, close to shore, but none were biting. We tried flies, spoons, spinners and bar fishing. Most other people on the shore were bar fishing and no one was even getting a nibble.

The third day we decided to give the Kitimat river a try. We arrived at the river and hour before high tide in the area thinking a fresh push may come in with the tide. To our amusement, at the end of the gravel road just off the dyke road, there was a sign saying no camping or parking within 30 meters of the river bank (or something to that extent). We had a laugh because just beyond the sign and right on the river bank were a couple of campers. Then we looked to the right where the road turned and our jaws dropped followed by howls of derisive laugher [Bruce]. We saw about fifty more campers just down the road, again right on the bank. We had our laugh and moved on.

When we got out of the truck we hike a kilometer or two and found a nice pool. Out came the rods and not the reels. Unfortunately I left my reels back in the truck so I hiked back to get them. When I finally returned it was time to start working the water. It took us longer than I thought to get the first fish but after that the flood gates opened and many more were landed. We landed a few decent chum and a bunch of very chrome pinks. Three of which came home with us. Among the catches I was also fortunate to hook a real nice looking cutthroat that was about 12 inches long and put up a scrappy fight on the fly rod.

All in all a good day out despite not finding what I really wanted. A big ol' Kitimat chinook. Maybe next time.