Saturday, 6 July 2019

Maybe My Last Fishing Day of '19

So here I was in a sling on the Saturday of the July long weekend. I was trying to free my mother's wheel chair from the back seat of my sister's car when suddenly I felt a pop just below by bicep. Found out later I tore my tendon and as I write this, I still haven't gotten in for the ultra sound to determine how bad it is. The reason I'm telling you this is because it's my casting arm. I can cast pretty decent with my left arm but that still doesn't help in playing or netting the fish. So, I thought I would post about the last time I went fishing.

I was just getting home from work on June 25 when I got a call from my buddy Joe. Asked if I'd like to join him in his (new to him) jon boat I recently sold him. In reality, he forgot his battery at home and I live not even 10 minutes away from Muir Lake so I figured if I'm gonna lend him my battery, he might as well take me fishing.

If you haven't been to Muir lately, the water is up and the lake is looking good. All this rain has done wonders as I'm sure it has for many of the small pothole lakes. The fishing however, from the reports I've been hearing has not been so good. Although I heard that last year too. The secret to this lake is targeting mid lake weed beds. Because of the browns, I'm almost guaranteed a fish or two hanging a leech pattern in amongst the weeds. As a bonus, some big rainbows also like to hang out in the weeds too. I caught three large trout that day, 20" brown, 22" rainbow and this 23" rainbow. All on a small black balanced leeche hung under an indicator.

Now I'm not saying you're going to catch a lot of fish everytime you cast your presentation into weeds, there's more to it than that. Obviously your technique and presentation has a lot to do with your success. What insects you see on the water can help with your fly choice and choosing to fish where active fish are cruising is always a smart choice. But also the time of day can be a determining factor. These trout were all caught after 6pm when the air and water temperature starts to drop. Where in the water column are the trout feeding, closer to the top or hanging near the bottom? How much movement are you placing on your fly if any? Of course constant experimentation while you're on the water is usually the only way to unlock these stillwater mysteries.

This particular day was especially important to me for a couple of reasons. As I stated above, I tore my tendon in my casting arm and I'm not yet sure how bad it is and if I'll need surgery. That being said, this may have been my last fishing day of 2019. But there is another reason too. I took a trip down to Montana in mid-June to check some things off my bucket list. One being to fish the Missouri River and the other was to fish the Big Blackfoot River. The Blackfoot is the river made famous in the movie A River Runs Through It. Although I enjoyed every minute of Montana and had a great time, Frank and I didn't do so well in the landing or netting department. We did hook into a good number of fish but in the four days we were there, only one whitefish was netted and being a stillwater guy, the Muir Lake evening was redemption for the skunking I took in Montana.

I'll leave you with a few photos I took in Montana.

Big Sky Country

The Missouri River

The Big Blackfoot River

Momma leapt out and left this beautiful fawn behind

Thursday, 23 May 2019

Just a heads up for all the Moms & Dads out there.  Here are all the Kids Can Catch Events coming up in Alberta.

If you are not familiar with these events, each year, multiple Kids Can Catch events are held across the province. Volunteers are on-hand to help teach new anglers the proper ways to bait a hook, where to drop a line, and what to do once a fish has been caught.

Interested in helping make Kids Can Catch a success in the communities where you do business? There are many ways to get involved from employee volunteering to sponsorship. Contact Sheila Campbell at 780-410-1979 or

For more info, visit the Kids Can Catch page here...

Monday, 13 May 2019

Went For A Quicky :)

Finished work today and jetted home. It was 21c when I left and such a nice day I figured it was time to get the boat on the water, even if just for a couple hours. After ensuring I had everything I needed (or so I thought), I hooked up the boat and away I went. I pulled into the parking lot and started preparing the boat for launching when I realized, I forgot the depth finder. Oh well, I know Muir Lake pretty well and I fished for years at that lake without a finder so I wasn't going to let that stop me.

I steered the boat to the south end of the lake taking notice of the plentiful amount of chironomids on the surface of the water and anchored down in about 14ft of water after seeing some trout activity in the area. I noticed all different sizes of chironomid pupa and adults including some bombers so I set-up my rod using my usual set-up when I'm seeing chironomid activity or when I'm not sure what the trout are feeding on. This static presentation setup includes a long tapered leader, an indicator and either two chironomids or a leech patter and chironomid combo. I decided my first fly would be small olive leech pattern and the point fly, my Big Ass Bloodworm patter.  It was 6:30 PM before I made my first cast. As usual, I set my point fly one foot off the bottom and after about 4 casts, I'll pull my rig up and secure the indictor one foot closer to the flies. The wind was whipping up pretty good and probably offered a little to much action on the flies so using the boat as a wind break, I kept my presentation only about 10-15ft from the boat. It was about 30 minutes in when I got the take. It was aggressive
and the indicator went down with purpose.

She took the bloodworm pattern and as I was fighting her and trying to get her on my reel, I looked down in the boat and realized, I forgot my net. It all worked out however, I was careful to remove the hook after hand landing her. I picked it up for this quick photo and released her back to her lair. If you're not familiar with Muir Lake, the regulation stipulates, you may keep one trout per day over 20 inches, all trout sizes 20 inches and under must be released back into the lake. In all honesty, from my experience fishing local pothole lakes for the last 42 years, anything over 14" tastes muddy anyway so you may as well release them, even on the lakes where you can keep 5.

I headed over to the north side and fished by the dock until 8:30 PM. I don't have to check the stocking report to tell you Muir has already been recently stocked. I caught a bunch of them and they look to be about 5 or 6 six inches. Fun couple hours anyway, nice to get the boat wet.

Sunday, 5 May 2019

First Venture Of 2019

 It's been a really long time since my last blog post. I'm not even sure people still blog, do they? Well, I'll start my first fishing venture of 2019 with how things went at Salters Lake.

I started the day off, arriving to the water at about 9:30 am. When I left my house the temp was 0c and when I got to the lake it had risen to +2c. I finished setting up my first rod with a two chironomid/indicator set-up. Then I went to the truck and warmed up. Back outside and set up a washing line using a weighted leech pattern with a size 16 boatman on the point. Then I went in the truck and warmed up again.

After I pieced together my smaller pontoon boat (the IR9 has a bladder leak and the Cougar takes longer to set up), I went back in the truck for one more blast of heat, then I headed out on the water, it was around 10:30 am.

On May 17th I turn 52 years old. They say age is just number but I’ll challenge “they” because as I sat there in my truck staring out at the lake, warming up for the 2nd time before I embarked on my first fishing adventure of the year, I came to the realization that I am no longer a 'hard core' fly fisherman. Yes, I’ve gone soft. I so wished it was +21c with the sun shining on my face. I even thought about packing up the rods and going back home.

The wind was pushing over 20km/hr, the water was about +6c and air temp did eventually reach +10c but that wasn't until home time. The water was stained, almost a tea color and the lake had recently been stocked with little 6 inchers just days before which is known to put down bigger trout in the lake. I know I should have spent more time changing flies and moving around the lake looking for active trout but I didn't. My buddy Joe did hook into one decent size trout but other than that nothing over 6 inches was caught. Did I mention it was cold?