Monday, 26 November 2012

The Guessing Game.

Seems Winter  made an early visit to some Ontario towns and cities this past weekend. With temps dropping late Friday and some wintry conditions forecasted for Saturday and Sunday  I  figured any outings would be tough.  It's funny how we  try to pattern our quarry.  We form theories based on our past experiences only to have them flipped upside down and proved false at the drop of a hat.  This weekend is a perfect example of this.  Saturday would be the toughest weather conditions I have ever endured while fishing.  I fished  very close to the Lake on a well know river.  Squalls would rip in off the lake . Snow was accumulating on my windward side at a steady rate.    50km winds gusting to 70km would be on menu for the time I spent there.   I figured the fishing would be poor.  I was wrong.  It would be some intense fishing.  My landing ratio took a beating that morning, but I was unfazed.  I was happy to be hooking fish, and  bewildered by the cooperating Steelheads behaviour in this horrible weather.  I regret not taking any photo's. I wasn't about to dig deep into my waders to fish out my iPhone and take a chance of having it be damaged by the flying snow or dropped in the water.  Hooking and fighting fish in those conditions is lodged firmly in my my mind at any rate. On a side note, I would reclaim my digital point and shoot for Sunday, only to find the battery dead.

 Sunday.  Squalls have stopped, and  light snow is falling.  Although morning temps are chilly I assume Sunday is going to be even better than Saturday.  I was wrong again.  I fished all morning with zero action. Finally I break for lunch.  While snarfing back warm soup and sandwiches I receive a call from Neil.  We make plans to meet in an hour and after a nice break I am recharged and determined to turn this day around.

Neil would arrive  about 20 minutes late.  Exactly the time it would take him to spin his way out of a ditch he slid into while turning on to the gravel road just up from the access.  No harm or damage done, we laughed about his story as we slid our way through the bush.

Reaching the river we noticed tracks going down river, so our obvious choice was fresh snow.

Up we went.  We split up on two different runs within sight of each other.  Neil was quickly into a fish, and so was I.  My first of the day. A bright hen.  Warmed me up!

Neil made his way up to me where we would fish the rest of the day.  I brought a couple more fish to hand and Neil was kind enough to tail them for me.

Some very nice fish made Sunday worth every bit of effort spent.  This Buck is a favourite of mine this season.  Such a beautiful fish. 

A nice Hen would follow. I was a very happy camper!

 On our way out I would watch Neil work a couple runs with no results.  We were pleased  with the outing, as a few others on their way out at the access were reporting no action at all.  So this past weekend I had all my theories and ideas flipped.  As much as we try to understand Steelhead and their habits,  at best we really are only guessing.  That's OK with me.  I quite enjoy a good guessing game every now and then.  

Friday, 23 November 2012


Well it worked... I'm speaking of my two day repair on my G3's. This morning I was able to put myself on the river for a short test drive. Rain the night before did nothing for the river , but happened to bring some new players to the game. Not only did I stay nice and dry this morning, I also got to tangle with some hot fish....

Wednesday, 21 November 2012


Might be an understatement.

  After one warranty repair last season my G3's were shipped back with new feet and gravel guards. Some minor leaks had been repaired also. So after testing them,  they seemed to be good.  That was the case for about a week, shortly after  they started to leak again. Looking back that was a great week.   Being dry was an added bonus.  After that week  I wore them and just would deal with the fact of being a little damp.  No big deal.  That is until this past weekend when I noticed the leaks were now causing full fledged soakings.  No one likes to dump out  their waders at the end of a day of angling.  Nor does any sane person enjoy wearing work boots and gym shorts to the local Tim Horton's after said outing for that habitual Jalapeno bagel and large coffee. In my defence,  it was all I had in my van.  Obviously I opted for the drive thru.  So to take matters into my own hands, and hopefully make my winter fishing a little more comfortable.  I have started a "void your warranty repair".  Not really as bad as it seems because I was notified by Simms, the next time they come in for repairs I would be paying for it.  I should state now,   I have no qualms with Simms.  I did get three seasons out of my G3's.  The fourth I am hoping won't be a wet one anymore.  So here are some shots of the gooping in progress. As I type this entry I swear I can smell Seam Grip...

  2 ounces in and 1 more to go. back and front, all seams and numerous pinhole leaks.

Hopefully this works.  If not, I will be praying for an early lock-up on the Huron Tribs.  If by chance they don't lock-up and my work fails,  it's going to be a long wet and cold Winter on the year round sections.  It will take a lot more than leaky waders to put me off of fishing.


Monday, 19 November 2012

Old Habits Die Hard...

After a couple fish on the  Spey during my recent float trip, I was eager to get back out and try for another hook-up on the Swing.  With a day spent at home Saturday,  I headed out Sunday afternoon. Arriving,  I set up with a 10' all float tip with a 6' lead of 8lb tippet and an unweighted tube fly. Starting at the top of the run I worked my way down swinging through the faster water, considering the air temps I assumed perhaps a fish or two would be holding behind one of the many boulders close to the head of the run.  I reached the gut and switched to a 5' float and 5' of T-11 tip and removed a foot off my 8lb tippet and used a weighted Olive Sculpin pattern.

The swing became slower and I felt confident I was going to get hooked up. shortly after  I finished up at the tail with no action.  Fishing river right I was able to practise my double Spey, so all was not lost.  Only having a half day and not  enough time to access some bigger runs the single hander would be the workhorse for the last couple hours of daylight.

Old habits die hard, and the burden of hiking in with two rods paid off as I leaned heavily on my trusty crutch. 

I started at the gut with small Stone flies, black and brown, next the dirty San Juan in natural colours. Finally yarn would be tried also.  Still no hook-ups I was perplexed.  I knew there were fish in this run,  I was however starting to think their numbers were dwindling and most had started to drop back to more favourable lies.  I went back at it and this time started with the biggest pattern in my fly box.  A huge black Stone fly, hitched of course.

 Minutes later the indicator slid to the side and I checked it with an over zealous down and to the bank hook-set.  The clean hen thrashed about and made several nice jumps, waiting patiently for her to settle I landed her.  

 After a quick pic she bolted back to the stained deeper water vanishing from sight.  I stuck with the pattern and would take another fish on it.   A scrappy buck with more colour and just as much spirit kept me pointing the tip of the rod at him as he took to the air five times.

I decided to head back as I was running out of time and did not feel like hiking out in the dark.

  I broke both rods down and with my headphones in and tunes cranked,  I rocked my way back to my Van.

Sunday, 18 November 2012

The First Drift

November 16th 2012....  I had been counting down the days for months till it's arrival.  Hiking  (for me) is required in finding new digs and or reaching old favourites.  This day however I would fish some great new water for the first time ever via drift boat.   Floyd and I were booked with Mike Verhoef of Flyfitter's for a full day drift and the tools for the day would be Spey rods.  We would swing for aggressive fish.  Truth be told, I couldn't leave my trusty single hander at home so it was rigged and packed. Unknown to me at the time,  It would see hardly any action and would not take a single fish during our trip.

  The Location of the drift was finalized the night before.  We  arrived early at our meeting location the next morning.   Mike arrived  shortly after pulling a frost covered drift boat behind his vehicle.  We packed up our gear and were off to our put in spot, soon after we were drifting down the river.   We approached our first run,  Floyd graciously gave me the first pass.  Big thanks to Floyd.   As I neared the end of the run I got a good solid smack mid swing.  Eventually  I landed the first fish of the day.

After working the run for about 20 minutes with no takes we jumped back in the boat and continued our adventure.  The next spot would have  Floyd set up on river right and myself casting from the boat on river left. Within minutes the 13'-6" Loop Evotec was bent again.

This time the strike would come at the end of the swing while twitching the intruder.


The day flew by as we drifted from run to run.   Early afternoon we stopped for lunch.  Floyd and I fished while Mike warmed up the tasty homemade soup he had prepared the night before. We also ate sandwiches and sweets.   For the remainder  of the day we would fish four more nice runs.  As it turned out we would not see anymore fish that day, but it didn't matter. It was an incredible trip, and very relaxing.  Seeing the river from a drift boat for a day was a real treat.  I think I will have to treat myself again and again....

 Until then, I guess it's back to following deer trails, or making my own...    



Monday, 12 November 2012

Sometimes you have to switch it up...

  "Switching it up" would be the theme this past weekend, not only in offerings to  Steelhead, but also in locations.  In following another "hunch" I put myself on a dud  before first light.  As day broke it was evident I had made another mistake and it was time to make the hike out and implement my plan B.

 With the sound of gunshots echoing through the bush I stuck to the trail, I was happy I remembered  my "Hunters Orange" toque. Coming to the end of the trail I was greeted by some Doe's.  Beautiful.  Luckily there were no Bucks in the field.

About 45 minutes later I would find myself alone on a nice section of another river, and as it turned out full of Steelhead. It wasn't very long till the rod was bent and I was into my first fish of the weekend.

I let the run rest and just relaxed for awhile enjoying the solitude.  It is such a treat to be set-up alone on a fishy piece of water.   When I  made my way back into the river,  I was hooked up instantly.  This time with a fish that would test my patience. Finally I was able to slide this Hen into the wet grass. 
As the afternoon approached I was kept busy with willing fish.  Black Stones would become the hot fly. Sadly all the fish I hooked on the stones would get the upper hand on me.  I did however enjoy the show they put on. Strong runs and frantic jumps were the norm with these fish. I decided to return the following day and made the hike out.

Arriving the next morning I was once again alone.  Spoiled!   I was however looking forward to some company as my friend Neil would be joining me mid-morning.

  Yarn took the first fish that morning. The  fish would keep me guessing after and I would switch patterns for the rest of the day, only nabbing one per every two or three new patterns I tried. The highlight of the morning was taking a large coloured up male on a black stone, whom I just couldn't get to smile for the camera. He put up an incredible fight and tried to bully me around the run. 

Neil made his way down river and set up above me swinging his way down the run.  No takes, he set-up his Nymphing rod, and  as usual it didn't take long for him to hook-up. He landed a very clean Buck, which still had a roe bag and a yarnie stuck in it's mouth.  We cleaned him up and he slipped through Neils hands before we could snap a pic.
After fishing with Neil for awhile and losing every fish I hooked I decided I was done. We traded some patterns before I left. I am looking forward to trying the "Duker Nuker" out when we get some high water.  Neil went through his fly box and managed a few more fish. It was a very good weekend. I located some fish and enjoyed the beautiful weather. I am however hoping for some rain and cooler temps to get things really rocking again.  Next Friday  I have a float trip booked with Mike V at Flyfitters.  It will be a nice change to drift down the river. After all this hiking, my legs need a break!   

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Up... Down... and then Up?

With all the rains last week I had planned a couple outings for the weekend.  Saturday would be a half day jaunt, perhaps to locate some fish and solidify Sundays location for a full day.  My friend Neil and I agreed on a location late Friday night, and were very excited as  we would be fishing a smaller system that had been rising for several days.  The level was one I was familiar with but, only on the drop. I was thinking we would have somewhat dirty conditions.  Neil confirmed the colour as just about perfect, the only thing lacking was perhaps a bit more flow. A personal preference of his and mine.  Alarm clocks set and off to bed, the "am" couldn't come soon enough!

As I drove I passed several access points that were just loaded up with Vehicles.  I hoped our access point was not as busy.  I managed to avoid the slew of potholes on the wet dirt road and was pleased to see the access empty.  With flashlight in hand I walked to the bridge to get a look at the river, a set of truck lights made there way down the road and slowed as they approached the bridge. I  was pleased to hear the voice of a good friend. Gil, with  Brent also a great guy were the only other people at this stretch and we enjoyed a nice chat and a couple snips of Baileys.   Gil and Brent made the hike in. As I watched their headlamps bounce in the darkness Neil arrived.

We fished first light with no takes. Neil was confident the section we started at held some fish. He stayed put as I went  a little further up. I set up on a nice little dig. I decided to fish it from the opposite side as I couldn't seem to get a nice even drift.  Navigating the overhung branches above me proved to be tricky, not only in performing a roll cast but also in fighting the first fish of the day.  

Neil arrived shortly after and we continued up river.  We were confident we would hit a pod of fish and having this whole stretch to ourselves kept us heading up.  Little did we know we would unfortunately not connect with a pod.  Neil took the next fish. A beautiful Coho still very fresh for this time of year, and so far up River.

With each piece of great looking water fished, we blanked.  You guessed it...further up we headed.

Finally I hit my second fish. Unfortunately it would be my last of the morning.

  I only had a half day, so it was decided to fish our way back.  It was a beautiful day and the flow and colour made it all the better.  Reaching our starting point I called it quits and headed home. My plans for the following day would see me fish a lower section of this beautiful River solo.

Fast forward 16 hrs and I was hiking into the lower section well before first light.  So much for gaining an extra hour of sleep, as I used it to put myself on a decent stretch for another shot at some fresh fish. First light arrived and I quickly took my first Steelhead of the day.   A shaker, but at least I knew I had made a good decision in my choice of a location . The next hour was nice and I loaded up the rod several times with some willing players. They lost interest in the San Juan so I turned to yarn.

Seemed the Yarn bite was on big time so I stuck with it and continued to hit fish.

This fish was my favourite of the day.  Very Hot. It took me up and down a few times.  I was very happy to finally bring it to hand.

Late morning saw the bite slow. I managed another shaker  and it shut down.
Then I made the worst move ever, instead of waiting it out, I made the Long hike out and returned to the stretch that Neil and I fished the day before.  When I arrived it was very clear I had made a bad move.  The flow was gone and so was the colour. I fished for a bit and then packed it in. All in all a great weekend of angling. So in closing I fished up, down and up again and covered a lot of River.  Migratory Steelhead can keep you guessing when they have water to travel, and this is one of my favourite things about fishing for them.

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Not as much as they forecasted...

 It is a far cry from what they had forecasted originally but hey, I'm willing to bet there is going to be some very nice flows on the Huron side this weekend and early next week.  This pattern has been constant for a day and half now, and the graphs are up.  Game on Guys. Game On. Bring on the "Drop." 

Monday, 29 October 2012

Steelheading Time Again!

Hey all...  Been too long. Once again I have neglected the Blog.  I'm going to jump in quickly.

 Every year I fish my Birthday, the 3rd of October.  It just turned out this would be my first outing of the Fall.  Past years I would fish close to home, this year however I decided to treat myself and make a drive up to the Saugeen River. This would be my second time on the Big river ever.  With the flows in early October on the Huron side being so low, I was happy to fish the Saugeen, and although it was low also it offered a little more flow than the Rivers south of it. 

A friend and I set up on a well know Run early on the 3rd. It was midweek which was nice as we only had two others to share the run with.  First light came and I drifted my yarn and Black stone fly offering along the inside seam, within minutes the indicator twitched and I set the hook on my first fish of the Fall.  Unfortunately the hook-up was short lived, the line went slack just about as fast as it had tightened. I continued on and shortly after I repeated this weak hook set again.  My buddy encouraged me and said, "Well at least you have them dialled"  His words really didn't make me feel any better, I was headed  down that path... that way of thinking when you just can't get it right.  I had to turn this around. I wanted to bring my first of the season to hand.  For the next hour I made mistake after mistake. everything from  letting fish get into the faster water to having my line wrap around my reel foot.  I decided then to relax and to remember last fall when I was on my game. With a little luck and a good solid hook-set down and to the bank, I played and landed my first fish of the season.

The day continued on and my landing ratio improved. My Buddy had prepared a Lunch for us and we enjoyed Sandwiches, crackers and cheese, pepperettes and cold drinks tailgate style mid day.   I was very happy to have such a good first trip. Outings like this spoil a Steelheader.  No guilt. You got to take it while it's good and work extra hard when it's tough.

 Speaking of tough... my next trip to the Saugeen was a humbling experience. Blanking, I made the long trip back home and refusing defeat  decided to check another system on my way. Arriving at the River I spoke with a lone Angler who was stating how slow it was, we fished for an hour with no action.  Finally it was if a switch was thrown and the fish turned on.                     
 What a feeling, to fish 80 percent of the day and nothing then finally the rod is loaded up for the remainder of the day. We took turns hooking fish.  switching up patterns would produce a few fish and re-spark the action.  What a treat, Overcast grey skies, light drizzle and HOT Steelhead. What a sweet ending to a long hard day.

 Luckily I have been doing well on each of my outings.  After that first trip I have seemed to worked out my problems and I feel to be settling in to a nice rhythm.  I am so blessed to have such a compensating Wife who understands how much I love to fish.  I spent some time fishing with a friend whom I hadn't fished with since last Fall. He is a very fishy guy and our outing would find us sharing some great water alone.

Two runs and a bunch of fish was on tap for the day.  Good times indeed. We both took turns picking them off till the action slowed and we made the hike out.  With plans set for November we are hoping our favourite little stream sets up nicely by then.

Monday, 11 June 2012


1. likely to change, especially due to caprice, irresolution, or instability; casually changeable:fickle weather.

Yup that was me.

  This past Friday I had decided I was going fishing on  Saturday. With a BBQ to host at our place for my Mother-in-Law on Sunday this would be  my only day to get out and blow off some steam and try to hook that Trophy Brown I have been dreaming about.  I started the tried and true routine of checking the River charts and forecasts.  Trying to pick a good location was frustrating and discouraging to say the least.  A well know Trout Stream was setting itself up perfectly by Thursday only to show a steady rising past fish able conditions when I checked it Friday morning. I started to question the data and set the Stream in my mind for the AM.  Several times throughout the day I checked it's levels only to be discouraged more and more.  I finally abandoned the plan and set my sights on a different system.  No doubt there was a snag with this location also, and I was unsure of the visibility of the River.  The flow was normal as it is regulated, but it would turn out the Algae Bloom had made its appearance early this year.  Reaching out now to a good friend I fired off some text messages,  Gil would offer some access points on a different system that seemed pretty decent.  I now had another option available and I juggled the two locations around in my brain for sometime.  I finally decided I wasn't going fishing at all.  I was going to have a few drinks and perhaps sleep late on the Saturday.  I was fine with this decision for the first part of the evening, but my thoughts kept creeping back to Angling. Later that night I decided while taking a shower that I was going fishing.  I rigged up my rod and put my gear together. One last check of the forecast sent me reeling,  70% chance of thunderstorms.  Perhaps I shouldn't go?  Ah that's it I'm going!!!  And I'm glad I did.
My Personal best from this River!

The Thunderstorms never materialised. The early morning was rainy, but the skies eventually cleared and the day was fishy.

Although there were some hatches I ignored them and continued swinging the "Black Bush" for aggressive fish.  I only brought four fish to hand but they were no doubt my best four from this River ever.  Unfortunately the two other fish landed would not permit a photo. 

This fellow was much more photogenic and It was a pleasure to watch him work the River for a brief moment.

So in closing, I am very happy I decided to make the Trek.  It turned out to be my best day thus far on this River.

Saturday, 19 May 2012

May 24 A "Grand" Start

I was lucky  to get out today and fish the Grand River for the first time this year,and even luckier to get into some decent fish. The morning was cool with a slight breeze and I was surprised to see fish rising early.  An emerger pattern took a few small fish quickly.  It felt good to have the rest of the morning and early afternoon to try for something larger.  No skunking today.  I left the rising fish and limped down river.  For the record I have been nursing a sore back for the past several days. A pinched nerve I suspectIbuprofen was my friend today, and took the edge off the pain and allowed me to hobble my way slowly around the few runs I would fish.  I am happy to report as I type this that the pain has almost completely faded.  Finally.  So back to the fishing.  I stopped at the next decent run and for the first pass came up empty handed.  Time for the Black Bush.  I would have success dead drifting it as opposed to swinging it.

The run would not give up anymore fish, so I decided to go back to the Van and try the next access. I was the fifth vehicle... 9:00 am on a Saturday...Time to hobble.  I had one run in mind, it was occupied, So I decided to have a seat and wait it out.  I watched as the run was worked many times over by the two anglers.  Nymphs took a couple small fish at the tail only,  I became confident that the "Black Bush" was going to come through for me. They finally pulled out of the run and made their way back downstream.  I started at the head and by the time I had reached the tail I had hooked 3 decent trout,  unfortunately I only landed one.

I passed through the run a couple more times drawing blanks.  I was now convinced it was done. and so was I.  I arrived home a couple hours earlier than planned.  What a "Grand" way to start the long weekend!

Tuesday, 15 May 2012


I spent Monday fishing for resident Brown Trout. Finally a full day that would allow time for a jaunt to a nice Trout stream! The system I wanted to fish was dropping and clearing days prior to my arrival.  I knew conditions would be tough by the time I would be there. The norm these days, as planning holidays around flow rates can be tricky to say the least. Good timing is always a bonus but does not guarantee success. I love when I arrive at a stream and it is ripping at the perfect level. One does not need to hike far to find the bigger runs and slots, or fumble around and try to fish the cursed "Frog Water". This day would be filled with Hiking and exploring new water in hopes of hooking some decent Browns. I enjoyed limited success instantly. I was so eager to fish, I nymphed a skinny slot as soon as I stepped into the stream. My prize was confirmation that I needed to find some deeper runs.

That's exactly what I did. I skipped the next couple digs and headed right for a spot I had enjoyed success at  last year. It didn't take long for the line to go tight and feel the weight of a decent Brown. I was happy that my instincts led me to this fish. The 4wt had a nice bend in it and I offered the fish no line. My second fish of the morning a nice 14" Brown.  

I covered the run with no more players then headed to the next likely spot and sure enough.... Within a few minutes it was "Fish On". My third fish of the morning 13.5". 

It was still early and my friend was scheduled to show up, so I waited on the trail. Once he arrived we walked down to the next access and turned back and headed up River. The action was done, the fish had shut down completely and we were baffled. We reached the bridge with only a few small fish between the two of us. My friend had to head back as he only had the morning. I contemplated driving another hour to a well know River. I fired up the Van and headed out, as I was coming to the overpass to get on the Highway I changed my mind and continued into a small town where I stopped at a Tim Hortons for lunch and pulled out my torn road map. After eating I had formed a plan to hit another stretch I had never tried before.

And so part two of the day began... I walked a fair distance until I started to hit some nice water. Little Rainbows were abundant and aggressive.

Every bend was now just getting better and better. I was amazed at the quality of the water I was finding. Classic Trout water for sure! 

I fought with one more decent Brown that afternoon but couldn't seal the deal. Finally I had to call it a day. I broke the rod down and made the long hike back to the Van. What a great day.  A couple nice fish brought to hand and I found some new wicked water. Beauty!