26 June 2009

June 26 th . high tech report

We had some rain last week and I got almost two inches in my bucket ( high tech ) so all rivers got pumped up a bit and they are are slowly going down and with good clarity 5 - 10 ft. . So I figured out that I get comments back on the Blog .. excuse me all , for not replying . Suzy and I are old school and not great with computers and tech stuff .. I will be checking in the future I just have to figure out how to add a photo or two ...Before I get back too my choice of three channels on the TUBE .. Here is a quick report ... Water temps. are still cold in the head water streams( 50*F ) in the afternoon , and bug hatches are generally sparse .. I got into a good green drake hatch while guiding in a Castle R. tributary yesterday but it was short lived . But the hatch was right on time and we got into it from start to finish and all was good . I floated the lower canyon today , and there was barely a bug to be seen (a few PMD's ) .. but it was fished well by my two dry fly guys .. and each tagged dozens of trout .. Be carefull ! the Castle is still like " Big Water" in the canyon as it gets squeezed through . Water temps. on the Crowsnest R. are higher than head waters streams 56 *F in the morning .. producing good hatches .. something new going on every day .. the Crowsnest Cafe' and Fly Shop is open 7 days a week 8am - 6pm .. Fish tales at the Rum Runner Pub in Coleman at 6:05 Spawn On ... Al B.

20 June 2009

This is an amazing June ! We should be pumping our basements and watching helplessly as river banks change ....so Pale morning duns , march browns ,yellow sally's , salmon flies , stone flies , and any and all midges...ON TOP !!! Finally!!.. It's just sooo nice to fish dry Crow is a wee bit high clear.. Castle med high glacial colour.. and Oldman med high and clear... TREAD CAREFULLY ... YAHOO it's SUMMERTIME!! Suzy Q

18 June 2009

Duffy's got some questions

Duffy googled "full moon fly fishing" and got my blog. He was floating the Gunnison River and his group camped for the night, awkened by rising trout on a black night shaded by a canyon wall ...they were going nuts on caddis .He woke up his buddy and they caught fish "till their arms were tired "(quote ) all the fish were Browns . His questions are Do trout feed more often at night during the full moon phase ? and What about caddis hatches ? Should I plan my trip around the moon phase ??? Before I answer you Duffy let it be known , I believe there is nothing black and white in the world of fly fishing ... there are to many variables ... for example, I had read in some magazine years ago about the golden stone flies hatching at night , crawling to the banks to safety ( written in California )... Where I was guiding in Banff at the time on the Upper Bow River (a Brown trout fishery ) . We worshiped the hottest sunniest days in mid summer to bring on a Golden Stone hatch, miday in the middle of a fast run , Browns smacking them as they topped a roller , it was the best! and rare on a sunny day. I assumed the variable for the Stonefly might be the water temp. ..our glacial river was never warm and always a cure for a hangover . Nothing is black and white in the fishing world and the trout know what to do and when to do it . It,s their world and we just stand above it and make our best assumption and or maybe try to replay a similar scenerio . So was it the caddis hatch or the nights light , maybe the water is cooler and perfect at night , I don,t know the Gunnison ? Tough to answer .. I have moved south, I like to fish the Crows Nest river in high run off and catch fish in the mud , it pisses off my friends who insist it can,t be done . So one evening I go down to where Todd Creek comes into the Crow. A travelling sedge hatch is in full swing and trout are cruising in slow muddy water. Only two inches of visibility,. Picking up on the caddises vibe or scent ? tracking caddis and sucking them down . The trout were right in the surface, bulging the water as they tracked down the caddis . the water was so dirty you could not see the trout , but follow the bulge you could guess their route and cast ahead and skate the fly too them . It was good fun . Beside me I noticed fish swimming up Todd creek doing the same .Todd creek comes out of cattle country and is twice as dirty ,so I should give it a try ... Trout know what to do and when and were to do it . I fished the bulges in the water and landed my fly perfectly on the biggest swelling bulge of the evening . The timing couldn't have been more perfect to hook that beavers nose as it broke the surface . My fly was gone with the bang of a tail . Not really an answer ? well there isn't one Next ... Do I think moon light has an effect on trout fishing ? definately , but not always . On browns more so than other trout definately ? but not so much on some rivers . From river to river I see different behaviors in trout . The Upper Bow river Browns were so tough during a long full moon phase ... One thing I do know for sure is sometimes they sleep in the day and they get locked into that night shift just like the sunny high pressure scenerio common with full moonphase gets locked in for a week , added torture for fishing guides . If we nymphed long and hard on those tough moon phase days, we would pull in a bewildered brown, like dragging in a wet rag . When you release the nymph from it's lip it would stay at you're feet .You have to nudge it do deeper water . It was pretty much asleep . I would fish any piece of trout holding water with a touch of shade or cutbank facing the right way looking for a trout not on night shift. Those Browns hated the sun so much I would prey for that single cloud to move and cover the sun, and when it did that clients fly had better be in the air ready to land . There would often be a immediate sip on the surface and it was over for the dry flier as the cloud passed. On my southern Alberta steams some moon phases are tough some are not ??? but I never catch sleeping trout.. we have numerous trout species and downhere and the Browns jump . I have some thoughts on that after twenty years guiding. So Duffy if you are planning your float on the Gunnison again, maybe ask yourself , how was the fishing during the daylight hours of that memorable trip ??? A QUICK RIVER REPORT A bit of rain brought up the Waterton and Castle while it barely hit the Crow , and the Oldman level continued to go down but it,s still cold water and not many hatches reported on the Oldman , while the Crow is quite buggy. .... all streams down here are open ... and the Crowsnest Cafe' and Flyshop is open 8-6 everyday untill October ... If you get a fly in your soup thats an extra $2.oo

12 June 2009

Bug report for June 16 th. opening

Just a qick fishing report ... Depending on weather ... Blue wing olives #20 , PMD's #16 ..sulphur Duns #14 ... were hatching when Suzy ,Gary, dogs and I hit the Crow after closing the shop on Tuesday. It was threatening rain , perfect .. Swallows worked the suface of water ,and they buzzed around our drifting flies , pulling out at the last second , kind of worrisome , as they would get so close you want to pull your fly away from them . I just tried to fish , and just after thinking to myself that I have never seen one make the mistake of taking a fly , Suzy catches one . The swallow came in easy and crashed into the grass at her feet . I was across the river willing to help, but the hook was just into the feathers at the base of the wing and neck , she got it out , and off went the bird ... Back to work with it,s squadron , birds dodged our lines and leaders mid air at full throttle , amazing creatures ! I caught one of those Bow river steelhead strain rainbows , and it fought like a fish twice it,s size . Upstream there was a decent fish rising on my side , by the time I got to casting range the setting sun peaked out bellow the clouds, and it stoped rising immediately .. I cast a few times in it,s zone and gave it a rest ,it was a big trout.... Keeping an eye on it,s feeding spot a cast else where . The sun vanished breifly behind the cloud and the trout came up again... the sun peaked bellow the cloud and it stoped before I could get a fly to it. Definately brown trout behavior .. Gary had caught one here the week before along with a 4 lb. lake trout . I put on a little nymph . I did not not catch the big trout but a 17 incher ( Rainbow ) that had a deep loonie size bite out of it,s neck . Most likely the bite came from a mink . The fish still fought hard , I felt badly for it . So the sun was out the last two days .. somewhere, some one on this river was in the right spot and saw an explosion of Salmon Flies (size big ) and little olive stones (# 10 ) may be a Golden or two .. The Crows Nest River has never looked this good in early June .. Clear and wadeable .. All rivers are looking good for the opening of the season , June 16 th. CROWSNEST CAFE and FLY SHOP now OPEN 7 DAYS a WEEK ...8:00 am to 6:00 pm .. Untill we go Steelheading ... Watch out for reds , mostly in the tailouts .... Spawn on .. Al B.

11 June 2009

05 June 2009

It,s 11:00 oclock somewhere

We had some hot days this week and the Crow cleared and dropped a foot at least Run off is over somehow on the Crow and should continue clearing unless hard rains come. Salmon flies are out and about , all you have to do is find them . I fished close to the shop for a couple hours this morning with no sign of a Salmon fly or shuck . While two miles down stream , swallows gorged themselves on the bug almost half their size the day before.... All I saw this morning was the dreaded tiny white midge, I call "Dust" . Still I wanted to fish my freshly tied Salmon Fly patterns , and why wouldn't a rainbow want ot ROCKET out of the water for such a colossal crunchy feast , slow and hapless , stuck in the surface film... Always the opptomist starting with a dry , I worked two runs on the way up stream. I gave the trout plenty of oportunities before I put on a big Salmon fly nymph. A trout was eventualy caught on the nymph and I worked up stream to the big corner.. Another nymph invention was tried , then another dry pattern was worked at todays turning point and then down stream for a bit . My third nymph was fished back to my starting point ... this whole time there was not a rise or even a fish spotted , they were all deep.. ...no trout were sittting in their reds.. With water so clear , any day time spawners would be osprey food ... I startled an osprey here the week before , it was flying upstream at 30 feet , seeing me , it flared and dropped a good 20 inch rainbow into a shallow riffle . No doubt the fish had some holes in it , but it hit the water like a beaver tail and tore into the deep . So decision time , back to the shop ?? ..the dog had some good swims ...a fish was caught , there is some success in that . But had I solved the problem that us fly fishers must solved ? ..the one that leads us too say " O.K. this is the last cast" until we are late for Mothers Day dinner.. the Problem of the Day (the problem of the moment is more appropriate ) . So when I go back to the fly shop today , other than salmon fly patterns for salmon fly season , what else do I sell my fellow anglers in good conscience ? Well a few more casts are in order . I think I know exactly what needs to be cast out...I think ? Suzie will be in a pickle if I don't get back too the shop before the lunch rush ... With the full moon comes the midge . The midge rules the river , even when the giant salmon fly is crawling , swimming , hatching and egg laying . Midge fishing can be great. When I see the DUST size midges buzzing the surface , I often feel out numbered, tossing another speck into a flowing river . What is it ? about the popularity of the midge .. Tastes good ? easlily digestable ? the numbers ? easy feeding rythm ? or security of not get caught on a hook that small ? The hook I tied on was a size #20 , probably three times the size of the" Dust" A bead head midge larva I tie. In a fly box or in a fly shop ,it may be the last fly you would pick to toss into a big flowing river . Subtle differences in the tie may or may not catch fish , but it gives me the confidence to toss it out . Any how , the full moon is now a familliar scenario, so out goes the size #20 into the spring run off .... tied back a few feet of the last Salmon Fly nymph , add some lead , indicator free . It was down with the fishes..it was down for less than a minute ..a hard take, and a good fight was going on under the fast water dumping into the pool . At this point all I want to know is," did it hit my big nymph or little nymph " so as to answer the problem of the day ! As I lifted the fish out of the depth , she responded with a jump. She was on the little hook . Now was that luck or had I solved the problem... back to the" one last cast before I go" ...I fished a little further back in the pool to let the fish settle ... So about a dozen" last casts later " another solid hit (those little hooks really stick ) . I brought it to up to get a view , on the little hook again . Moving up to the front of the pool and half a dozen" last casts" later a third raibow landed on the little midge .. So I wasn't late after all the "last casts " the problem was solved quickly today.. When I try to sell little flies like this in the fly shop, I get a variety of looks and not many takers . Often I read the look as ( I'm not spending two bucks on that little fly) . I too always hated fishing with midges and I always try something else first, at least something the client and I can see. A trout may spend 75% of it's life eating this little bug and often we are so reluctant to fish this tiny but plentiful speck of protein that trout focus on and go blind to banquettes of bigger bugs like the salmon fly.. But tommorow if there is a chance of sneeking away from the shop I will start fishing with a salmon fly . Fishing the big bug is also a beautiful thing. Just a few other things to mention .. where you will want to wade across probably has a trout red or two you will want to step around.. Also bears are out and about .. Two boar grizzlies killed half a dozen sheep near hwy 22 #. One was trapped , one wasn't. Also T.U. Lethbridge boys are taking out some fencing on Saturday on the Burmis Lake Lease if you want to help.. And two Lake trout where caught in the Crowsnest river this month ...whats with that ?? The Crowsnest Cafe' and Fly Shop in Coleman .... will be open 7 day's a week starting opening day June 16 th. Al B.

News at 11:00

A rare event on the Crowsnest River..... The Salmon Fly hatch is on , and the river is clear , wadeable (watch out for spawning reds in tail outs ) with a visability of 5 ft... News at 11:00 .... Al B.