Saturday, 29 March 2008

Movin' On Up

Wow, it's almost been a week since my last post. Time is flying for this cat. I've been training a co-worker to take over my job at Wild Game Consultants as I just agreed to a job promotion into management. I've been away from a high stress position since I sold my shares in Santannas and the need to move up and take on more responsibility has been gnawing at me. I've put my paramedic aspirations on hold for now as there is so much room for growth with this company I just couldn't say no. What I'm not sure about at this time however is whether I'll now have the time for my small guiding business. As it sits right now, I'm still planning on teaching and guiding for this summer but I'm only offering trips on the weekends.

Saw this video and thought I'd share it with you. It could have turned out so much worse but luckily it didn't. You know, sometimes I don't wear glasses because I don't like the 'raccoon eyes' look but this is just another example of how important eye wear is while fly-fishing.

Sunday, 23 March 2008

Outdoor Show & Sale

For those of you in the Edmonton area, don't forget about the fishin' hole / Campers Village Outdoor Show & Sale at the Mayfield Trade Centre starting this Thursday March 27 and running 'til Sunday March 30. If you've never been it's a great time and features presenters on fishing, fly tying, camping and more. There is also a casting lane, a kids casting game, kids fly tying center (Northern Lights Fly Tyers) and of course one of the best fishing and camping sales of the year. To top it off there is no charge for parking and no entry fee. They are asking you to bring some canned or dry goods for The Food Bank though so please donate what you can. I'll try and make it down on Sunday to work the Trout Unlimited booth, hope to see you there.

Speaking of Campers Village. If you haven't heard, they've opened a new store on the south side of Edmonton at 3235 Calgary trail. The store has a nice, new, fresh look to it. I think it's time for them to move out of that old warehouse looking location on the west end and into something newer like their south side store. But hey, what do I know?

Wednesday, 19 March 2008

Good news on the Raven River study

I just received an e-mail from Michael Dell (President of Trout Unlimited Edmonton) with some great news. It appears the Alberta Conservation Association has granted $50,800 for our study on the Raven River. We (T.U. Edm) are putting in $30,000. Most of which has been raised at our annual Lloyd Shea raffle at the Fishin' Hole Outdoor Show & Sale. Jim O'Neil put together a proposal for a study on the Raven and his firm Golder is committing $16,500 worth of their time (in-kind contribution).

It was the late Lloyd Shea's vision to see a study done on the Raven River and thanks to Jim we have a way to spend this money to honor Lloyd's memory. As a lot of you may already know, the North Raven (Stauffer Creek) has had enhancement work done to it in the past (much appreciation to the Central chapter of TU Alberta and all the volunteers) making this piece of water a world class Brown Trout fishery. With the planned studies completed on the Raven, it too may need enhancement work that could see better opportunities for anglers.

The objectives of the study are as follows:

Objective 1 - Assess current status and temporal changes in brown trout abundance in the Raven River, by comparing results of a mark-recapture program in 2008 with the results obtained from a similar program conducted in 1977 (Rhude and Kraft 1978). Based on the perception of the angling community, sport fish populations (particularly brown trout) have declined due to land use, the development of the Dickson Dam and other stressors.

Objective 2 - Describe riparian conditions and fish habitat of the Raven River, from the headwaters to the Red Deer River confluence using low-level videography (Mills and Scrimgeour 2004); in combination with ground-based assessments. The Alberta "Cows and Fish" RHA protocol will be applied to impaired river sections investigated under Objective 3.

Objective 3 - Evaluate the success of previous riparian restoration efforts (e.g., stream bank fencing, livestock crossing installations) on fish assemblages in the Raven River basin (including North Raven sites). We will also examine candidate metrics [for provincial Index of Fish Integrity (IFI) programs] that represent various functional and structural attributes of the fish community (e.g., species richness, % carnivores or carnivore catch per-unit effort; Stevens et al. 2006). Data will be collected on fish assemblages via electrofishing and compared among river sections having degraded riparian areas (n=10), sections with restored riparian areas (n=10), and sections with relatively intact riparian areas (n=10; 30 sites total).

Objective 4 - To identify critical spawning areas for brown trout based on a late fall redd survey; and investigate the influences of riparian and instream variables on the abundance and distribution of redds. The late fall spawning (redd) survey will be conducted by volunteers from Trout Unlimited Canada; similar to the survey conducted by the organization in 1997. Riparian and fish habitat data will be collected as outline in Objective 2.

If you would like to get involved with this project, you can obtain more information at the April 21 Edmonton TU meeting.

Ever wanted to be a fishing show host on TV? Well get you DVC ready as the World Fishing Network wants to know if you have what it takes to become Canada s next great fishing TV host!

This taken from their website; "a WFN panel will select a number of contestants that will appear online at The public will vote for their favourites. The top 50 entries from each region (Ottawa, Calgary, Edmonton and Toronto) will then compete in the contest s third round of live auditions during the 2009 Canadian National Sportsmen s Show (CNSS) season."

Audition Guidelines can be viewed here

Hmmm... maybe I'll giver a go myself.

Monday, 17 March 2008

Oh snow you di-in't!

In my last post I did some venting about the snow that fell Friday night. It helped to vent a bit but of course it had to snow Saturday night as well. My wedding season kicked off Saturday night with my first gig of 2008. The show rocked and everyone was pleased especially the Bride but what a crappy way to end off a great night. MORE SNOW! So in the last couple days the snow has been melting with these plus temperatures and it's feeling like Spring again. That is until this Saturday coming up when the forecast calls for snow again! And of course it has to happen on the weekend, it would be way too much to ask for plus temperatures on Saturday and Sunday now wouldn't it. Yes I'm venting again.

Of course the reason I want all this snow gone and the warm temps to return is so I can spend some time fishing for monster Pike at Wabamun again before it closes on April 1st. I guess I could watch this video over and over again but I don't have to tell you, it's just not the same. Not allowed to embed the video for some reason but it is one of the better Pike videos I've come across.

Pike Action Video

Saturday, 15 March 2008

Let it snow, let it snow, let it... I'm so sick of snow!

So here we are. It's March 15, the beginning of the spring season for most in North America. A time when we start to see the grass again, the birds start coming back, the ice is melting off of the lakes and the streams are opening up. Last Saturday I was fly-fishing for Pike on a warm spring day with some snow remaining on the ground but looking dirty, old and beaten up. You could tell it wasn't going to last long as spring was coming out of the corner with it's fists just a swingin'. And then today, exactly one week later; I wake up to this.

It seems that winter has pulled the old Rocky Balboa move. Just when you think he's done, he draws this strength from some supernatural place and starts giving powerful body shots to the ribs followed by a stunning uppercut.

I had these great plans for Sunday. It involved Wabamun, some monster Pike and either a boat, pontoon or float tube. That decision was to be made today. Ya, I heard about the forecast for snow but can you really believe these weathermen (or weatherwomen). And from previous experience, I've found that if you keep your plans 'til the last minute before pulling the plug, sometimes it pays off. Sometimes, but not this time.

You know, when I was a kid I absolutely loved winter. There was a time when I loved it more then summer. Hockey was the biggest reason but there was also snowball fights, building forts and ice slides, sledding, both cross country and downhill skiing and of course you can't forget; Christmas. That special time of year when magic is for real and dreams really do come true.

Now that I'm older however, I detest winter. The cold, the snow, the shoveling, the heating bills, the power bills, the starting your car 15 minutes before you leave for work and of course; Christmas. That special time of year that you need to get a 2nd mortgage on the house just so everyone you know has a present under their tree. Do I sound like a Scrooge? Sorry, it's just this dam SNOW! I know what you're thinking. Doc, you live in North-central Alberta, Canada and have for over 30 years. You'd think you'd be used to it by now. And your right, I should be. But you know when bad things happen to people and they sweep those unhappy memories under the carpets of their mind, pretending it never happened? I think i do that with winter and purposely yet unconsciously forget we still get snow storms as late as May. Actually, now that I think of it, I remember getting snow in August one year. Dam! I think I'm having a psychological breakthrough. But I don't want one... I JUST WANT SPRING!

Sooo. How's your day going?

Monday, 10 March 2008

It is a popsicle leech

In my last post, we were looking for the name of the fly I used to catch those Wabamun Pike on Saturday. Well, we've gone one better and not only found the name but got the recipe too. Phil has confirmed that the fly is indeed a Popsicle leech and here's what you'll need to tie it.

Hook= R74 #2 4XL
Thread = Orange 6/O
Tail = White Marabou & UV Pearl Flashabou (aka Blue Ice)
Body = Pearlessence Crystal Chenille
Body Hackle = UV Pearl Polar Chenille
Front Hackle = Grey Strung Marabou
Head = Orange Cone

To see the video, go to Phil's site, sign up (free), and search for popsicle leech.

Hey, looks like someone decided to make a couple bucks off of my X-Mas Chironomid pattern. I found it for sale on ebay. I e-mailed the tier/seller and let him know that the pattern calls for a silver bead and the red butt section should only take up 1/3 of the body. You can see it for sale here... X-Mas Chironomid on ebay.

Here's a pic of my original.

For those of you that live in Edmonton, don't forget the Edmonton Boat and Sportsman Show is this weekend. The Northern Lights fly tyers will be there teaching the young ones how to tie flies. Drop buy and say hi to the guys.

Thought I'd leave you this video. 'The Making Of The Orvis Helios Fly Rod'. I think the vid is pretty cool, maybe you'll enjoy it too.

Sunday, 9 March 2008

What, this old fly?

I've been getting quite a few e-mails from folks asking what fly I was using to catch those monster Pike at Wab yesterday.

You mean this one?

Phil Rowley tied this up and gave it to me at the fishin' hole outdoor show last year when he was tying up some patterns at the Superfly booth. I never got the name of the fly when he gave it to me so I phoned him today and asked him what it is. He of course didn't remember so I described it to him. After some investigation Phil, Brent and myself all believe it's a simplified version of a white popsicle leech. I sent a pic to Phil via e-mail so he'll let me know Monday what he truly thinks it is.

Outcast has come up with some new products for 2008. Some of them I'm rather interested in so I thought I would point them here on my blog.

Almost all of Outcast's float tubes have been re-designed with the new "Line Control System" or LCS. The tubes in both the Fish Cat and Fat Cat series now incorporate an adjustable height stripping apron for easy entry and exit and a tension apron surface for better control of stripping line.

The new Discovery 10-IR is also new. This new 10ft pontoon boat, offers a unique casting deck and lean bar which deploys and stows easily, allowing the angler to stand up for better casting or sight fishing on both rivers and stillwaters It offers many more features including a 450lb weight capacity and can be purchased for just under $1,000.

Anglers inflatable PFD. I don't think we can get these in Canada as they aren't approved by the Canadian Coast Guard (but I could be wrong). However, they are approved by the USCG. This unit is manually inflated and one size fits all. The cost of this PFD is only $95.00. Mustang's similar PFD goes for $160.00.

The other new product I'm interested in is their re-designed wader bag. It has both wet and dry storage compartments, a fold out mat and extra pockets. It comes in two sizes: small = 19x10x13 @ $60.00 and large = 24x12x16 @ $75.00.

If you'd like to check out their web site you can view it here and see what else is new.

Saturday, 8 March 2008

Still not fishing the Bow but check out these monster Pike

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?

Monday, 3 March 2008

Trout Bums cancelled, now I'm bummed out

I was really looking forward to the Trout Bum Film Tour coming to Edmonton. They were supposed to be here on Thursday March 6 showing their film at the Edmonton Public Library. According to their Blog, we should have been expecting to see; "films shot in extreme, exotic and distant locations; epic scenery, cutting edge music, and conservation pieces that are as entertaining to watch, as they are important; and of course gigantic fish on the end of a fly." Well, with a description like that you can see why I'm disappointed they canceled. I wonder if they canceled because of low ticket sales? I looked but other than the Edmonton date being removed from their schedule, I couldn't find any mention of the cancellation. I was planning on buying a ticket at the door. I guess everyone else had the same idea. For those that just have to see it, the show in Calgary is still on for Wed March 12.

Speaking of film (or is it video?). Talked to Phil tonight and asked him what plans he has as the new Director of Marketing and Communications of the TV show 'The New Fly Fisher'. Phil told me he's got feelers out for some new and exciting destinations to shoot new episodes. Some new locales may include areas of California, the Yukon and possibly even right here in the Edmonton area. I told Phil he needs to do a show on Lake Deifenbaker, catching 20+lb rainbows on flies after dark. Could you imagine the take by one of these pigs while you're holding a fly rod? Of course he'll need some scouting reports and I'm always up for that.

And that reminds me of this dragonfly pattern. It was Phil that first designed it as a booby fly (although it was pretty plain) . I suggested the marabou body and tail, the wing case as well as some silly legs to give it some life. The final pattern is what you see here. The idea with a booby fly is to fish it on the bottom with a sinking line and enough leader to keep the fly just above the top of the weeds. The big foam eyes and foam body will keep the fly buoyant and with some experimental stripping, you should be able to find a retrieve that the trout can not refuse. Just a warning though. Hold on to your rod. From my experiences, the takes on this fly are very intense. As far as I know, this pattern still doesn't have a name so if you come up with one that is catchy enough, let me know.

Saturday, 1 March 2008

I really need to go fishing

Oh, the shack nasties are really setting in now. Wetting a line is no longer a want and not just something to dream about but to maintain sanity, it has now become a need. I'm gonna start to plan something in the next couple of days and see who out of my fishing buddies is on board for a day trip to Cowtown. Phil messaged me about a doing a Bow trip soon but if you've ever seen his schedule in early season from Feb 'til early June... well let's just say we'll be fishing the Bow in July sometime.

I'm sure you remember reading about the world record Rainbow caught in Lake Diefenbaker, Saskatchewan this last summer by The Fish Geeks. Adam Konrad hooked and landed a massive Rainbow using a Mepps Syclops spinner. The Rainbow officially weighed in at 43.6 pounds to break the old record established in 1970 at 42 lbs 2 oz caught at Bell Island, Alaska. Well now there's a video coming out entitled "Diefenbaker Rainbow DVD". By clicking on the title you can download the trailer video to your own PC. These really are some 'Big Ass Bows'.

Of course fly-fishing is the first thing I think of when I wake up and the last thing I think of when I fall asleep (on a normal day). But one of my other passions is severe weather. I'm simply obsessed with lightening strikes and tornadoes. If you find yourself with this same obsession (and many do) here's s great site I've been visiting for quite a while. has video taped some of the best tornado footage ever seen and Reed Timmer was even there for the Pipestone tornado that hit Manitoba last year. These guys are the extreme when it comes to tornado footage.