Monday, 30 September 2013

An Early Outing

Last weeks rain events sent my brain into Steelhead mode... the only thing playing with my conviction to head out had been these beautiful " Indian Summer" conditions we have been experiencing as of late.   My mind was set on a location none the less,and at worst   it would be an excuse for an alternative workout .  The weeks leading up to this  outing had been filled with family obligations. Truth be told I didn't mind as I was not really in the mood to go tramping all over a river in search of a fish or two that might have made its way in with migrating Salmon. Although I did check the lower section of a river one week earlier... what can I say Steelheading is a powerful drug.  I'm addicted. In my defence it was on the rise.

  Right at the peek of my constant feverish thoughts of Steelheading came a text message from a good friend, Gil.  Seems great minds think alike.  Last minute plans were laid for an early outing.  A couple days dragged by and finally I was at the access waiting for Gil to arrive.   Lights came over the hill and a wave of panic hit me...could it be someone else is going to make the trek in the dark to have a crack at this Run we were planning on hitting??? Luckily It was Gil.   We had a quick chat and began our hike down the trail.  Walking down the trail I stayed a step ahead of Gil.  I'm sure Gil understood it was because the trail was only wide enough for one. The real reason however was that if the legends about the Wendigo were true, I figured if it jumped out from the dark woods it would grab Gil first and therefore I would be able to make a safe escape... Scared yes, but alive and unharmed. Finally out of the dark tunnel through the woods,  Gil listened to me ramble about this and that as we navigated deer trails through the tall grasses. Oh and I should note if it were not for Gil leading me back to the rivers edge a handful of times, the walk could have been easily half an hour longer.  Thanks Gil.  Deer trails are for Deer. 
The light came and  before us flowed a low river, a little stained and fishable, but still low.  surprising enough the water temps were favourable for our game and we started at it.  Although the river was low, we still felt optimistic that this run held some Steelhead. An hour passed and Gil decided to move down to a nice little dig.   I stayed put and continued to fish with no success.
  Gil returned about 40 minutes later and had lost a nice fish on his trip.  Finally I hit a fish and promptly broke off. We both watched as the Steelhead jumped several times fleeing downriver obviously stung by the hook.  I felt as though I had blew my one chance. Funny how I need to learn this lesson every year... Check you tippet and re-tie.  Gil made his way to the top of the run and I set myself below.  It wasn't very long  until the indicator zipped under and the rod was bent with a fish.   After a couple nice runs and some spectacular jumps the beautiful Steelhead was tailed by Gil.

We fished late into the afternoon but we both sensed that with weather conditions the way they were it was a morning and evening game.  We made the long hike out and said our farewells. 
  Sharing the day with a good friend looking for fish was a perfect way to kick off the Fall season.   Gil, thanks for the day.  As always the pleasure was mine.  I look forward to our next  outing.

Monday, 10 June 2013

I am Here. You up or down stream?

My first outing for Brown Trout finally rolled around.  To make things even better,  I would be sharing the day with Gil,  .  It's not often our schedule's line up.  I was looking forward to seeing Gil again almost as much as hooking my first Brown of the year. Almost...

 Getting a late start to the day I left my house as Gil was arriving at the River.  The text of off coloured conditions made me anxious.  It wasn't till I heard of the actual visibility and of the nabbing of a decent fish that I relaxed and enjoyed the drive. Excitement grew with every Kilometre I banked as I neared my destination.

Finally I was suiting up and firing off a quick text to Gil.  With only a few vehicles at the access I was surprised at the number of Anglers on one run and that my favourite run was unoccupied.  I crossed the stained flow slowly with direction from Gil.  After fishing for a bit we made our way down to a faster piece of water.

This Run has always been top on my list when I fish the Grand.  With the fish rising in the other slower runs it seemed many did not want to fish here.  I have hooked good fish here and was hoping for a strong tug.  Out came the shot. We fished for a little and Gil made his way further down river.  I continued to probe the soft side of the seam and worked my way down.  I was just up from the tail out when finally the tug came.

  The Brown darted into the chop and pushed a little up river then turned and after about a minute or two came to hand.  I returned to the top and went through the process one more time, missing a decent hit from the mid.  I watched Gil make his way back up river and took a break as he fished. It wasn't long before Gil would hook an excellent fish, by the look of the bend in his rod there was no doubt.  Unfortunately the fish came off.  Next time my friend.

We spent the next part of the day a little further up river.  The conditions were improving slowly, with the visibility at somewhere around 12".  A few small fish each was all we could manage.  Approaching mid afternoon, Gil had to call it a day.  We parted and I headed back down river to our starting location.

Once again the run was empty.  I fished it with no action.  I then headed  just  up a bit  to a much slower piece of water.  Earlier in the day Gil had pointed out an excellent holding lie to me and told a story of a decent fish rising in this area.  We joked and laughed about how such a fish would be caught quickly by accident or luck by some kid fishing recklessly, and that many experienced fly anglers would spend countless hours trying to coax the larger Trout to sip a dry only to be refused time and time again.
  For the record,  I am not reckless. I'm leaning on the side of lucky. The Brown took my offering on the second drift and I was surprised to feel the 7wt load up. I knew instantly I was dealing with a good fish.  When fishing the Grand I hardly ever fish dries.  Truth is,  I do not have the skill or patience needed to present the fly in a perfect drag free drift.  I have opted to use the same tactics I use for Steelheading.  Match this with using a few patterns they rarely see and I seem to do okay. 

I could not have wished for a better end to a first outing, nor a better companion to share most of the day with. Fishing with Gil is a real pleasure and I look forward to his insight and knowledge. Until next time Gil.  


Thursday, 23 May 2013


Once again I have dropped the ball when it comes to keeping this Blog up to date.  So on that note I'm going to jump back in with an entry covering the Spring so far and it's many outings.  I will start with a few pics from before Opener.  These fish were  caught in the year round section of the Maitland river.

Some incredible conditions occurred early this year. 

As the river dropped fishing was good, although I didn't fish as much as I would have liked too, it was good to load up the NRX every so often.

  This Opener would be a special one.  Dave my best friend for  many years has always been interested in my Steelheading outings. Sadly our schedules seemed to be at odds all the time thus trips together never materialised .  A visit in early April would have us making plans to fish the Opener together. Over several Beers Dave decided that he wanted to fly fish. I was happy, but stressed the fact that he could fish however he wanted.  He insisted, so I rigged up the 10' 7wt for him.  Funny, it was to be a back-up rod but its new purpose is now a loaner for Dave. 
  Finally the day arrived and Dave and I were  hiking through the woods in the dark to reach the Run we would start our day at.  Of course we arrived a few hours before first light, just as planned. We  promptly opened the backpacks to fish out a couple of  Luke warm beers.  We sat and enjoyed some great conversation as the hours passed, before we knew it the chirping of Robins could be heard and daylight was on its way.  We scrambled to assemble the rods then took our places on the Run. As it turned out we had the run to ourselves. I set Dave up just below the Mid and told him to work his way to the Tail out.
I took the Head and would work my way to the Mid.  He picked up roll casting instantly.  Fish started to rise immediately  in Dave's section as if they were signalling  they were ready to be caught.  Several botched  chances missed and Dave finally was into his first Steelhead ever and his first fish on the fly.


I watched from the bank as the Steelhead jump several times and took line.  It was a decent fish and watching my best friend with his first was way better than hooking my own.  Finally I
tailed the fish and it was official.

Dave continued to do well as the day passed,  he missed fish and hit a few more.  I finally hooked some fish too, but for me the highlight was watching as Dave tumbled into the Steelheading addiction.  We never did leave that Run.  A friend of mine Brian Watson showed up and we all rotated through the Run and hooked a considerable amount of Fish.

Plans were made with Dave for an outing when Bass season begins and a Fall date for Steelhead has been set for us to do a drift with Mike Verhoef of Flyfitters. Unfortunately Dave was busy for the remainder of the Spring Steelheading window, but funny enough he was constantly texting me for updates and reports.  I'm glad to say another Steelheader is born.

The following week after opener would be spent fishing whenever I could.  Here are a few pics from some quick outings.

With River levels at prime or close to it, I would squeeze in several more outings of course.

  One of which would be a drift with Mike Verhoef.  Early May would see us on the Maitland River, drifting lazily down the river as the rains poured down from overcast cloudy skies.  We passed over fish on beds and watched as they darted back and forth in the swift current.  Dark males were easy to spot, and every once in a while we would see the unmistakable flash from a Hen.  I look forward to my drifts with Mike.  He has become a good friend and his knowledge of this River is impressive.  One trip with Mike is worth four of my own in learning.  We Swung intruders and Nymphed  untouched water.  It was a great day.

The next day I would head out again to explore some water further downstream on the Maitland river.  I arrived late and tired from the previous day at the access only to find a couple cars.  I
headed up river and was delighted when I reached a favourite piece of water that was void of anglers.  Several drifts through the feeding lies and I was into a strong fish, surprised by the fight
I was in shock as the clean silver Hen left the water multiple times and proceeded to cover every inch of the run to free herself. 

As the green algae grows on the river rocks you know things are coming to an end.  This spring was a good one.  Fish are still high in some systems but levels are low and river temps are on the rise.  Time is now best spent doing yard work or flipping something tasty on the BBQ .  Although, as I type this sentiment its raining and I am hoping that a little trout stream I know of is about to spike...  Perhaps some Resident Trout fishing will be on my list soon.  Until then, there are a few gardens that need weeding and grass that needs cutting. 

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

It Was A Long Wait.

It was a long wait... Ice fishing this past Winter was fun, but quickly became old hat. We enjoyed a couple feeds of Lake Huron Perch and Crappie, and my son (who is three and a half) iced his first fish.   A feisty Bluegill he quickly called a "Whale shark" as it came through the ice.   Luckily the hit came while his attention was on fishing. This memory will last a lifetime. It made cleaning all the fish this winter worthwhile and then some. 

The plain truth, I was waiting patiently to get out for some Steelhead. The thought of getting the NRX out was driving me nuts. Several times this Winter I rigged it up and would sit in the living room holding it and dreaming of hooking up. I know, pretty bad eh?

Finally an opportunity presented itself and I would find myself heading up the familiar stretch of Hwy 21.

I would fish a full weekend, and luckily I was able to put the NRX to work. I matched it with a SA 7WF floating line. In those two days I hooked a modest number of Steelhead Nymphing Yarn, San Jauns and Stone flies. I was impressed with the way the rod handled fish.

The highlight of the weekend would be the last fish of the weekend. This fish  was strong and smart. He quickly took me into the fast water and headed down river. I had thoughts of standing my ground, but the line peeling off my reel told me I should follow, and follow I did. After taking me into my backing and a long stumble down river in chase, I was able to gain line back and land him. A perfect way to end the weekend and end the long wait.    

Thursday, 24 January 2013

A Trip Down Memory Lane.

Today I made the trip on my lunch to grab the NRX. A day I have been looking forward to for awhile now. I raced back to work and with 20 minutes left to eat I wolfed back my Sandwich as I admired the rod.

  My mind was wandering as I wiggled the blank. I thought first of fishing it, how great it would be to load it up on a fish. After succumbing to the fact that the rivers were locked up and I would have to wait to try it out I somehow got thinking about a Christmas many years ago when I was 14 or 15 and my parents had given me my first real quality Skateboard. A Powell Peralta Tony Hawk. Yes I was heavy into the Skate scene. Growing up with the Bones Brigade,
 I was a huge Tony Hawk and Steve Caballero fan. I loved watching them skate in the movie "The Search for Animal Chin".  Anyways, that Christmas I unwrapped the unmistakably shaped present and was confined to the cement floor in the basement to try it out. I remember holding the telepost in the basement and spinning around in circles. I would Ollie and Kick Flip over whatever I could find in the basement. I remember praying for an early spring so I could rip it up outside. That winter was a long one.
I am ultimately happy we are finally having some wintry conditions.  Hopefully the snow will stick around and this spring will be a slow melt. It would ideally be the best bet for the spring and produce some nice river levels. However as I type this my ear is catching the forecasted highs on the Weather Network for next week.  I can't help but think how great it would be to get out and rip it up with this rod. Either way Spring is on the way,it could be a bit of a wait, but eventually this stick is going to see lots of action.  Just like that first deck did so many years ago.   Perhaps this Summer after I have had my fill of fishing I will get back on a board....

Sunday, 20 January 2013

A Little Slush Won't Hurt You.

Friday afternoon and my phone beeps, a text message from a friend. "FYI River is full of slush, not sure if she will clear or not, might not be worth the trip". Damn. The weekend prior a friend and I attempted an outing. We knew the river was off but to what extent we were unsure. Long story short she was way off and huge masses of icebergs were making their way to the open waters of Lake Huron. Determined or crazy, I'm not sure which, we decided to fish her anyways. For the next several hours we dodged the ice floe and probed the dirty brown water for those fish we love so much. You guessed it.... nothing, except all the hooked bergs and logs brought to shore. I think that the fun of hooking them ultimately kept us there longer than we should have stayed. So my sights were set on the coming weekend when I knew she would be past prime conditions. Back to the text.... I was going...I can handle a little slush.  I had waited a week and who knows when the next chance to fish will be. I had to go.  I arrived late the next morning and although the river was slushy she had great flow .

 I began by breaking and releasing a huge slab of shelf ice and pushed it out into the flow. The slush was soft, I was hopeful that it would clear out with the mild temps. Several hours passed and the slush cleared, shortly after I rolled two fish, one right after the other. I was annoyed that I missed my first couple chances, but ultimately happy conditions had allowed the outing. The sun came out several times while at that first run. I decided to walk up to the next dig, happy to find it vacant I went through an array of patterns with no success. The wind was picking up and a light rain/snow mix was falling. Finally I felt that awesome feeling of the rod loading up on a fish. Instantly like a reflex I worried about rolling this one too. After a minute I was confident this was my first of 2013, that is until I somehow allowed this fish to reach the tailout and into a set of riffles. I couldn't get below her so I followed quickly, gingerly giving her line as needed, finally I was able to slide her into a soft pocket of water and promptly tailed her. I was impressed with this fish as she fought with intelligence and strength .
She darted out of sight and I returned up river and made my way back to the Van. I decided to call it a day, satisfied I drove home.

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

A New Reel Calls For A New Rod, No?

Well I thought I would throw in a quick entry.  Upgrading the set-up.  I am a die hard nympher who likes to swing every once in awhile too, so the obvious solution.... a switch rod.  well after looking for awhile, I decided to treat myself. The decision, a G Loomis  NRX 12'-6wt.  Some basic factors in coming to this decision were, I wanted something light and not too long.  I fished this stick once in the fall and it was unbelievably light.  Going from a 10' 7wt to a 12' 6wt was an amazing difference.  Mending and reaching was so much easier.  So one thing at a time.  I needed a new reel for this stick, so I headed out and grabbed the Ross Evolution LT #4.  I then ordered the rod and threw down a deposit on it.  I should have the Rod in several weeks and I am just dying to get my hands on it.  So here is a pic of the Ross Evolution LT#4 in  Grey Mist.

  An amazing light reel.  The LT#4 is rated for lines 7-9.  I will be running a 7wt nymphing line, and ordering an extra spool for backing, running line and a 400 grain Skagit head for swinging.  Very stoked to say the least.  For now the 10' 7wt will see some more action, but I plan on retiring it soon.