So here I am. It's Saturday night and I'm sitting at my PC, writing on my blog. I was supposed to be standing in the Bow River this afternoon, casting some nymphs, streamers and maybe a San Juan to some eager trout. Right about now I'd be driving back to Edmonton on the Q.E.2 with a great big smile on my face. Unfortunately, my buddy Brent (Weedy1) backed out again (this is his second time since the snow has fallen) because of another lame excuse. Like his job is anywhere near as important as fly-fishing. Not that he even had to work, he was put on call at the last minute. And to top it off, he has a three hour response window. Like we couldn't get off the river and back to Edmonton in three hours. Oh it can be done! IT CAN BE DONE!
So Brent and I headed out to Lake Wabamun in search of monster Pike instead. Yes, with the fly rods. There's open water at Wab all year due to the coal generated power plant in town that uses the cold lake water to cool the generators, then forces the warm water back out into the lake. This warm water discharge keeps bugs and aquatic life active meaning the fish stay active all year as well. So during the cold days of winter and into the spring it's not uncommon to see 10 - 20lb Pike sitting in 2 - 10ft of water feeding on smaller fish that are taking advantage of the numerous simple life forms. Before we headed out to Wab though, I had to find all my Pike stuff. Not an easy task if you've ever seen my garage (something I have to remedy this spring). When I started looking for my Pike stuff, I noticed that I couldn't even find my regular fishing gear like my waders, boots and my fishing jacket. So while I'm searching Brent shows up and I decide to take my old neoprenes and an old pair of wading boots (these boots are brutal, made of canvas with no ankle support). Anyway, we reach the 7-11 where Brent stops to buy some pop and I realize that my fishing license is in my waders. For a brief minute I thought about taking the chance and fishing without it. Wouldn't that have been nice if I got caught. Headline~"Fishing Guide gets caught fishing without license!" Well No Spank You! I told Brent to go back to my house and wished him good luck as there is no way I could fish without my license. So he thinks we should look for my stuff some more when suddenly a light bulb clicks on. BINGO! We're in business. We're in a hurry now so I don't remove the neo's and the old wading boots from the back of Brent's Cherokee as we don't want to run out of light before we get at least four hours in. As we drove up to the lake through the town of Wabamun, I couldn't believe how much open water there was. Then I saw all the ice fishermen. Wow, driving on the ice only about 100yrds from open water. Nuts I Say, Nuts! Anyway we make our way towards the power plant and park at the gate that leads down the warm water outlet with the six other vehicles. As we're getting ready, Brent exclaims that he forgot his wading boots. Uh oh! "Heh, wear mine", I tell him as I point to my old canvass boots. He tries them on and they fit. Back in business again. So we make our way to the lake climbing over the gate, crossing the railroad tracks and following the path beside the fence that parallels the outflow. When we start getting close we start seeing the other anglers, some fly-fishing but most bait fishermen. I ask one of the ladies I see, "how's the fishin'?" "Not so good, one little one so far" she says. I then asked a guy tightening up his line, "catch anything?" "Nope, nothing yet" he tells me. Then I see a familiar face (can't remember the name however, but that's not surprising I've always been bad with names) of a guy the works part time for the fishin' hole west (a tackle shop retail chain in western Canada). He's fly-fishing and tells me it's slow and he hasn't caught anything yet. So I decide to tie on a white bugger with an orange cone head (a fly Phil Rowley tied up for me) and within 10 mins. I hooked into this 40 inch pike. It was my biggest for the day. Unfortunately, I didn't get a pick holding it 'cause when I started to lift it, it shot right out of my hands.
Here's the second pike I caught, taped in (according to the measure net) at 35 inches.
And the third pike also at 35 inches.
The fourth was a decent size pike but didn't bother netting it. Probably around 8lbs. Brent caught one for the day, a little smaller than my 8 pounder but it gave him a good scrap. Man it was nice to get out, I'll be going back before April 1st for sure. The Bow? What's that?