29 March 2009

Tails a waggin or stuff for sale

Spring is officially here in the Crows Nest Pass... I got in a three hour fish yesterday . Between my shift at the Crows Nest Cafe and Fly Shop and the Ducks Unlimited Banquet ,Winston the dog and I jogged into a spot on the Crows Nest River. My goal was to try out a couple of size #22-#20 midge larva/pupa patterns I had tied up. I hate using flies that small . Being a big guy I want to throw out big flies for big fish . Even though I know those winter rainbows spend most of their winter, expending as little energy as possible ,they just sit down there slowly waggin their tales opening and closing jaws on the tiny and abundant midge larva and pupa , still I want to throw out a hamburger size fly with a maraboo tail with a rubber legged articulating bead head stonefly as a trailer. The guys (Doug and Doug ) in Banff who taught me fly tying in the1980's loved to fish #22 midges. I thought they were nuts and resisted fishing tiny midges till the bitter end of the day...or not at all . That fishing strategy changed about two years after landing a job guiding with the company Banff Fishing Unlimited . Now I was fishing two hundred consecutive days a year . Now decades of those weekend fishing outings made sence (or more sense).. Sun , moon ,cloud, wind ,rain, spring, fall, hatches, no hatches....Fishing all day, everyday now , so many ideas can fall into place for the fly fisherman, but still there are those days when you can't even buy a bite ! or even spot a trout . The guides job is to catch fish , and to catch those evil #!*+?#@!* every day..I would still resist fishing those size #20 and #22 sub-surface flies in that big Upper Bow River , and from a guides perspective take a size #20 hook, add 5x tippet, add 3 split shot , add 7 ft. moving water, add one 3 1/2 lb.brown trout lip , add one first time tourist + total = 0 . Often a guides act of desparation on a tough fly rod river like the cold Upper Bow and hopefully not to late in the day,was the dredging of the#20 olive nothing on a hook. It would always get a fish (never say the word skunked) . It was there on the Upper Bow where I came up with the theory for those fishless days , the day you can't spot a fish and if you did spot one, it was on the bottom hardly waggin a tail . If You Can't Buy a Bite... FISH A #20 MIDGE Now all of the winter outings this year , in my boxes all the left over midges, were size #18 or even a giant #16 , it was hard work fooling a fusy Crows Nest rainbows but you always fool at least one per hole. So now I have #22-#20 olive larva and black pupa tied onto 6x tippet, split shot and stike indicator (bobber) ick!. Dead drifting the olive larva brought in the first bewildered looking 18 inch rainbow... it was a good fight..the little barbless hook came easily out of the tip of her tongue.The little olive offering on the two fly rig was catching them all , so I took it off ? I am not here just to catch fish . The little black pupa took a couple of trout when they were not given the choice.. All nice fish today 17-19 inch. All this time a few fish were rising in a fashion a little aggressive for midge sipping . I suspect the little black stone was hatching here and there in the sunny spells. In honour of that agressive tail wagging, I re-rigged with no strike indicator, just a single split shot, long 6x and #20 black pupa and fished not Czek nymph style , not the Leisinring lift, (how do you figure any one or country claims invention to that ) just good old Canadian fishing by instinct, mix it up , sink it , drift it , lift it , twitch it, set the hook when the hair stands up on your neck , strip hard, swing it , or don't...four more were caught and it was time to jog out to the truck to get to the Ducks Un- Limited Banquet ..I am always impressed how a size #20 hook lands a good size trout stuck into that tough skin on the lip...I think the reason I still resist fishing those little nothing flies is they look so insignificant out there in that big river and there is so much olive coloured algae and crap floating down the cleanest of rivers how do the trout pick the little olive offering out ?? My BIG tip of the DAY is this.. you are at a DU Banquet.. if nobody at you're table is drinking those two bottles of wine on the table ..don't be watching the Auction when you should be watching you're wife behind you drinking the wine and bidding on all this stuff...FOR SALE... two signed duck prints- One Custom Putter -(we don't golf)-one DU Martini Mixing Set 403-563-3258 .

08 March 2009

Drilling holes and dropping lines

A colder than usual winter calls for drastic measures, still waters...ice augers...worms..minnows... power bait, jigs and thirty inches of ice.... I had only fly fished Crows Nest Lake twice over the years as I have become exclusively a river fisherman over the years... My first row out onto the lake in my old dory, was on a rainy evening a few years ago. I netted myself a 10 -11 lb. lake trout on the fly...caught on a steep drop off, that fish peeled line from the reel from 10 ft. to 90 ft. in seconds ..... a memorable moment not to be recreated on the ice that day... in fact, where we hiked in was not exactly where we wanted to fish , but it was out of the wind so we drilled half a dozen holes each and could not find water over 20 ft. We were hoping for around a hundred ft. It was pretty slow fishing the bites were light except for what ever hit Gary's one rod ..the rod and holder almost went down the hole...that was the big excitement for the afternoon. A quick road trip to the West Coast happened with my old fishing buddy from Banff, Rolfe Furhmann , A good trip was had , but we sure have mellowed with age... The spey rod went along, but all the fishing was out on the Pacific at Pedder Bay a couple of Spring Salmon were caught at 169 ft. on the down riggers ..I saw killler whales for the first time.. very cool !! There was lots of snow on Vancouver Island .. every day the temp. went up, the snow up high melted and the rivers went up again.. The Vedder River was cleaning up on the trip home,it had colour still, but it,s greenish and resonable flow...steelhead are in ! Other than that, a few fly fishing afternoons have been had on the Crow... nothing special to report ,midges and not many of them..the March full moon phase will soon be over and hopefully this will be the last of the nasty cold spells for the southern part of the rockies and the fish will start to wag their tales a little harder. A few people have come into the shop and bought some of our size 20# midge patterns and heading out...in a few weeks the small winter stones will officially start off a new season of fly fishing.. so don't hurt yourself skiing!