It has been ages since I last provided a post. This past fall has been one of my busiest. My travels have taken me to Manitoba twice, B.C. twice and Utah for stillwater seminars and filming. I have been home steady for the better part of two weeks now and I am only now starting to feel a sense of being in control and caught up.
Rather than cram all of the experiences, tales and lessons in one entry I thought it best to walk through each adventure at an entry per week pace. So let’s go back-up to early September and Fortress Lake.
The purpose of this trip was two-fold. I had a small group to start that was part of a hosted trip I had put together with Dave and Amelia from Fortress Lake Retreat that was part of two auction donations we put together in support of Trout Unlimited Canada’s (www.tucanada.org) coldwater conservation efforts. For the second part of my trip I was joined by eight students as I provided one of my stillwater schools. The weather was spectacular and conditions couldn’t have been better.
Located in Hamber Provincial Park, Fortress Lake is located along the B.C./Alberta border, its eastern end a mere stone’s throw from the Alberta border. Running in an east west direction, Fortress Lake is approximately seven miles long and up to one mile wide. It is a mono-culture fishery full of trophy Lake Nipigon coaster strain brook trout first introduced in the early 1930’s. Fortress Lake Retreat is an Orvis Endorsed Expedition lodge and was the recipient of the 2011 Expedition of the Year. For all of its remoteness, the facilities and food are first class.
Visitors have the choice of visiting Fortress Lake Retreat by float plane, an approximate five hour hike or three hour mountain bike trek. For those interested in the hike or bike option Dave and Amelia pick you up at the east end of the lake and ferry you down the lake to the retreat. The floatplane, of course, drops you off right at the lodge. For me I lean towards the floatplane option as the scenic flight alone is worth the price of admission.
At this time of the year Brook trout were beginning to congregate in large numbers at the mouth of Chisel Creek and in the Wood River which flows out the west end of Fortress. The Wood River is closed to fishing at this time of the year but the approaches are still fishable. Chisel Creek is minutes away from the camp and during calm evenings we would venture down there and sight fish to cruising brookies using #10 Elk Hair Caddis or Stimulators. At times mouse patterns also produce providing for some explosive surface action. Watching a large brookie leisurely rise to the fly is breathtaking. Not all of the brook trout were pushovers. Often they completely ignored everything tossed at them or worse followed it with apparent interest only to turn away at the last second. Combined with the short walk and sheer numbers of fish it was tough to leave the mouth of Chisel and shoreline areas around the camp to pursue fish elsewhere. The compelling scenery and a chance to explore provided a powerful lure you shouldn’t pass up.
We had a number of sticky hot, flat calm days that were perfect for sight fishing. It something to see one or more large brook trout meandering leisurely prowling the woody debris or worse passing directly under your boat without an apparent care in the world. Cruising the edges of the lake, we often came across pods of brook trout, sometimes 10 to 15 fish or more, darker males above difficult to see silver females below. We always crossed open water slowly, always on watch for a wayward pod.
As Dave from Fortress Lake Retreat told us, “Wood is good!” In and around sunken or trees that suspended out into the water brook trout were often around. After spotting a likely looking haunt we cut the motor well back rowing towards our target, rod at the ready. Often, you would see one or more brook trout suspended against a tree looking more like bass than brook trout. We learned to take our time, study our quarry and get into the right position to make the cast. If possible, getting behind the fish provided the best chance for success. Your first cast provided the best opportunity for a hook up.
My line of choice was a Rio Deep 4 line that sinks at about 4-inches per second. The crystal clear water gave the impression that the fish was only a few feet down but experience soon taught everyone that the fish were much deeper. It was important to get the fly down quickly and with the 4-6 inch strips we used most often the line kept the fly level during the retrieve. We also took fish using CamoLux clear intermediates and Nymph Lines and long leaders. My Balanced Leeches worked well in and around the sunken debris. These flies ride point up and tended not to get hung up should a tight cast be necessary.
Aggressive fish bolted from cover and pound large streamers without hesitation. The pace at which they rushed the fly was unbelievable. As the week progressed we found smaller #6-#8 dubbed leeches and Woolly Buggers worked better.
I recall one morning at Washout Creek. Ken, one of Dave’s guides, and I had spotted a pod of fish milling around the outflow of a small creek attracted by the cool stream of oxygenated water. Ken began working to these fish as they drifted in and out of view. After a few minutes something made me look out to the main body of the lake. Silhouetted against the turquoise blue background was a lone large brook trout, seemingly suspended in space. Doing my best to remain calm I lead the fish with my small black/blue leech. My fly plopped a good 15-20 ahead of the fish and I recall saying to Ken, “I think I led him far too much, hopefully he will see the fly.” I began to strip the fly back aggressively, in part because I figured I would have to place the fly a little closer to him. I was wrong. As the fly passed in front the brookie spotted it and pounced, covering the distance between itself and the fly in the blink of an eye. The memory is still as vivid now as it was then.
The sight fishing opportunities at Fortress are amongst the best I have ever experienced. In 2012 I will co-host a specific sight fishing school with Dave Jensen from August 27-31. We will teach you how to approach fish, casting techniques, dry fly and streamer tactics, equipment and fly selection and much more.
I will also be holding a chironomid school from June 18-22, 2012. Fortress Lake has an unbelievable chironomid hatch at this time. At times you think you are sitting in a blizzard. The surface is littered with shucks and there are thousands of chironomids flying around. Brook trout of all sizes including some monsters take full advantage of this bounty gobbling huge numbers of large (#10-#12) chironomid pupa. At this time Fortress Lake offers the opportunity to take fish using strike indicators, floating lines and long leaders and a number of different sinking line techniques. Rarely do you find a location that offers the opportunity to target fish with such a variety of chironomid techniques.
Students will have the choice of hiking/biking in or by float plane. Please keep an eye out on my website Calendar or the Fortress Lake Retreat website (http://www.flyfishalberta.com/fortresslake/) for additional details.Filed under General | Comments Off
On Wednesday July 20th I headed south, boat in tow, for Island Park, Idaho. I was looking forward to a stillwater school with Lynn Scott from BS Flies based out of Lakeside Lodge on the shores of Island Park Reservoir. The drive was long, roughly 14 hours. I took my time to enjoy the sights of this scenic drive down the eastern side of the continental divide. The drive takes you across and along some of the most famous trout waters in the west such as the Missouri and Madison Rivers.
As the seminar didn’t start until the evening of July 21st I had time to fish a lake I have long wanted to fish, Henry’s Lake. Henry’s Lake is steeped in history and known for producing large Yellowstone cutthroat, brook trout and hefty cutthroat/rainbow hybrids. As we prepared the night before, Lynn informed me we would have to be on the water early. Now I have been up early many times before but we were up and on our way by 4:15am heading to the boat launch at Henry’s Lake State Park. The temperature gauge read a brisk 49F! It was definitely cold and dark.
The boat launch area was deceivingly quiet. I thought for a moment we might have Henry’s somewhat to ourselves. I was mistaken. Henry’s was starting to warm so the outflow at Targhee Creek was our first stopping point. As we motored into position I could see were late as in the early morning light I could count over 20 boats had beat us to the punch. The ‘boat hatch’ as Lynn referred to peaked at 32 boats! Not to worry, we found a suitable spot, anchoring in roughly 8-10 feet of water. I began with my Rio CamoLux line and a black Balanced Leech. The new CamoLux is a fantastic line, I can’t believe how well this line has performed this season. After letting the fly sink for roughly 10 seconds I began a steady 4-6 inch strip retrieve with prolonged pauses. About halfway through my retrieve I felt a snagging sensation and decided to set the hook. My rod bounced to life and I soon landed my first Henry’s Lake trout, a two pound Yellowstone cutthroat. A fish on my first cast, this could be the start of a great day or a dark omen. I have taken fish on my first cast in the past only to struggle for the remainder of the day. On this day it was to be the former as we all began to hook trout. After a while I tried hanging a Balanced Leech under an indicator with limited success. On this day the Henry’s Lake trout wanted motion to their flies. Throat pump analysis revealed no active feeding at all. We figured that the somewhat brisk retrieve appealed more to the trout’s aggressive predatory nature than a feeding impulse on this day. We didn’t mind.
We fished until just after noon. I had over seven hours on the water catching predominantly cutthroat and few hybrids. No one in the boat crossed path with any brookies. After fishing Targhee for a couple of hours we moved once the sun was above the horizon. Lynn toured me to some of Henry’s more famous spots including Pintail Point, Staley Springs and Duck Creek.
I took a good fish on a Cruncher at Pintail point as I ‘hung’ the flies at the surface prior to recasting. The 20 plush inch hybrid rocketed from the depths as my Cruncher dangled just beneath the surface. After every retrieve always get in the habit of hanging the flies prior to casting. Any fish following pounce on the flies as they change both direction and speed as they angle up towards the boat.
In the afternoon we wanted to launch my boat on Sheridan and give it a bit of a pre fish as this would be the featured lake for our stillwater school. Sheridan is a private lake located just west of Island Park noted for its trophy rainbows.
As we prepared the boats we were smothered in a swarm of recently emerged damselflies. Nymphs were gathering in the shallows and clambering up the cattails and emerging all around us. Needless to say we hastened our pace to get on the water. We found the largest concentration of fish in the inlet bay taking advantage of the cool oxygenated water from a small feeder stream. Lynn and his guide Chris were using clear intermediate lines. As we were fishing in skinny water, at times only two feet, I opted for my Midge Tip line. Callibaetis shucks and spinners also greeted us on the water so I opted for a #12 Gold Bead Pheasant Tail (GBPT) on the point and a light olive #12 Pearly Damsel on the dropper. On this day the Pearly Damsel outperformed the GBPT by a considerable margin. My best fish came in less than two feet of water and weighed an estimated nine pounds!
The stillwater school went well. Students were provided over eight hours of classroom instruction and on the water instruction and assistance with both Lynn and I. Everyone caught fish, in both good numbers and size. Jim Fawcett caught and released a beautiful 6.5 pound fish while he was with me. Clay Hash had a great couple of days using a clear intermediate line and Denny Rickards Callibaetis nymph. For a student’s perspective on the seminar please visit Clay’s blog. It also includes a step by step tying sequence for the Rickards Callibaetis Nymph Clay put to such good use.
Even though damsels were still present in good numbers Callibaetis nymphs was the preferred choice. Throat analysis on some of the fish we caught revealed feeding on leeches, small chironomids, damsel nymphs, snails and Callibaetis nymphs, duns and spinners. Of all the prey items I sampled Callibaetis nymphs were the least common but the trout seemed to want more! I did well with a tan version of my Herl May from my Stillwater Solutions Recipes book.
Student feedback from the course was excellent and Lynn and I are already planning another event for 2012. We hope to build on the success of this inaugural event perhaps including time on Island Park for focused chironomid fishing and Henry’s Lake in addition to the trophy opportunities on Sheridan.
I delayed my return by a day for the opportunity to spend a day on the water with Rio’s Simon Gawesworth. As one of Rio’s Advisory Team members I was looking forward to catching up with Simon to catch up and talk a little ‘shop’. Simon and I had talked on a number of occasions about getting on the water together but we could never seem to pull it together until now.
Simon and I had a wonderful day drifting Hebgen Lake ‘loch style’ working nymphs and teams of dries to fishing fish. It was one of the most enjoyable days I have had on the water in recent memory. Simon’s casting prowess was humbling. He casts equally well either left or right handed. If a fish rose within casting distance Simon switched hands in the blink of any to present his fly quickly and efficiently, often at a staggering distance.
In the near shore shallows brown trout cruised and sipped Callibaetis spinners that blanketed the water. In the calm clear conditions these trout proved both challenging and frustrating but we did manage to coax a few to our flies. As the day wore on the breeze increased and we were able to get in some great drifts working our team of dries into the long slicks that formed. Believe it or not Simon and I were hoping the wind would pick up. Using a team of three flies our goal would be to place the point fly in the slick the middle dropper on the seam and the bob fly in the adjacent ripple. Just about every slick held trout. Once the fly landed I would retrieve the dry using a super slow hand-twist. The small movement this produced turned trout consistently.
I began my journey home thoroughly satisfied with my experience, particularly my day on the water with Simon. I left the boat launch at Hebgen at 7pm and got as far as Great Falls, Montana. I checked into a hotel just after 11pm and was up and on my way again by 6:30am. I made it home just after 4pm on Monday the 25th. Yes I was tired but I can’t wait to go again!
If you are interested in attending one of my stillwater schools why not enroll in the Learning with the Pros Stillwater Seminar Brian Chan and I are holding at Roche Lake Resort from October 14-16, 2011. For course information or to book a spot please contact Annie Mullins via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone, 1-604-464-1876.Filed under General | Comments Off
The challenge with blogs is when you have time, you really don’t have much to say. Well at least in regards to on the water fishing adventures. This is often the case over the winter months when fly fishing is tough if not physically impossible. Then once the season rolls around there is so much to communicate but no time to do so. Such is my dilemma!
Since my last entry I seem to have been in a constant state of travel to and from various destinations across western North America. Beginning in mid May my travels have taken me to California for a Stillwater School with Bill Forward from Forward Bound Guide Service. During my time there I also had the pleasure of speaking to the Davis Fly Fishers and even managed to sneak east for a day on famed Pyramid Lake. Then back to BC to film an episode with BC Outdoors Sports Fishing on Horse Lake followed immediately by a Learning with the Pros Seminar with good friend Brian Chan at Ruddocks Ranch. I was also back home briefly where I spent one day chasing trophy pike on nearby Wabamum Lake. It has been a busy stretch. Here is a summary of my experiences
On May 19th I hopped a series of flights from Edmonton to Vancouver, Vancouver to Seattle and finally Seattle to Reno for a stillwater seminar on Lake Davis California. This was the second time I had the good fortune to be in the Sierra Nevada region of California. The scenic peaceful beauty of the region is something to behold. I once again partnered with Bill Forward from Forward Bound Guide Service to provide a comprehensive stillwater seminar over the weekend on May 20-22. Over 20 enthusiastic students joined us. Bill and I provided classroom sessions on a variety of subjects and students were able to practice what they learned on nearby Lake Davis.
Compared to last fall when I was last on Lake Davis the lake had changed dramatically due to high water. Lake levels were up at least three feet. Areas that were high and dry last season are now new cruising grounds for trout. The challenge is targetting the right regions. Cattail or willow outcroppings close to deep water produced well. Too far back into the freshly flooded areas and you were casting over barren water. Few if any trout prowled these regions as the invertebrate population had yet to recolonize these regions. Small black and red or dark olive #16 chironomid pupa suspended 5-7 feet beneath and indicator worked best.
Bill and I plan on doing additional stillwater seminars, perhaps as early as this fall depending on my schedule. If you are interested at all please don’t hesitate to contact me.
On Monday May 23rd, prior to a speaking engagement I had with the Davis Fly Fishers, Bill took me for a one day trip to Nevada’s Pyramid Lake. Pyramid is famous for its huge Lahonton cutthroat trout and is one of North America’s hallowed stillwaters. Though it doesn’t not contain Lahontan’s to sizes that first made it famous Pyramid Lake is still home to some pretty solid trout.
For those not familiar with Pyramid fly fishing there is unique, done almost entirely from shore using step ladders to gain access to deeper water and the edges of the drop off. Some season Pyramid anglers have taken step ladder evolution to new heights in comfort and functionality.
We arrived late in the season as the typically large schools of Lahontan’s that cruise the shoreline margins had begun to disperse. We fished primarily at Pelican Point. I only managed to land one 20 inch fish choosing to spend the windswept gusty afternoon talking with fellow fly fishers about my stillwater experiences. One angler next to me managed a Pyramid grand slam, a number of Lahontans, a Tui chub and a large Sacramento perch! Bill soldiered on and landed a 30 inch, 10-11 pound monster on #10 Zebra Midge suspended about seven feet below an indicator. Pyramid is a unique fishery all stillwater fly fishers should experience. Located on tribal land, an inexpensive one day $10 license gets you into the game. I was pleased to strike Pyramid off my stillwater bucket list.
After returning home from my California trip I was back on the water chasing pike with two clients on Wabamum Lake. Wabamum is a trophy pike fishery located roughly 45 minutes west of home. The weather was warm and the winds were light, near perfect conditions. In years past Wabamum was noted for its warm water discharge that originated from a power plant. The warm water discharge helped gather and concentrate clouds of baitfish which in turn attracted large numbers of hungry aggressive pike. The plant shut down last year and the pike have since dispersed. The large fish are still around but you now have to roam and hunt them down. From a guide’s perspective it was nice to have fish concentrated in one area but for the resource it is better to spread the pressure out. The good news was I found pike in every area we tried. We even ran into a couple of larger females one of which I managed to hook on a fire tiger Half N Half of mine while taking a few casts at the request of my client. She weighed out at just over 15lbs in my Moby cradle. However, just as she first swam into the cradle she performed a quick unexpected about face and with the near vertical rod position I had my 10 weight snapped at the tip section just above the ferrule. Bad angle it would seem.
After spending the weekend at home I was off to B.C. to film an episode of BC Outdoors Sports Fishing T.V. on Horse Lake located near the town of 100 Mile House. As most of you know, winter decided to hang on this year so everything was about two weeks behind. Water temperatures were cool and the lake level was up about two feet over last year. Callibaetis where just starting to stir but I was quite happy taking fish on chironomids as you might imagine. Horse is a long, clear lake that contains rainbows, kokanee and lake trout. We were hoping for a grand slam of all three species but only managed rainbows and lakers on the fly. The kokanee where still too deep for us to get at with our fly gear.
We stayed at Cariboo Bonanza Resort during our stay, a beautiful place for both those that like to camp or take advantage of their rustic and luxurious cabins. Resort owners Bruno and Dora Sprecher were wonderful hosts and Bruno was keen to point out all the best spots to try. If you ever need to find Bruno the best place to look is on the main dock that reaches out onto one of the better shoals. Bruno loves to spend a few moments whenever he can staying in touch with Horse Lake and its residents.
After finishing filming host Mike Mitchell and I were heading to the Lytton area and Ruddocks Ranch to meet up with Brian Chan for our first Learning with the Pros stillwater seminar of the season. Over 20 students joined Brian on the ranch’s private lake, Ruddocks Dam, an intimate body of water known for its trophy rainbows.
Students camped at the lake so provided all of our seminars lakeside, a beautiful backdrop for the weekend’s events. Brian and I along with the BCO staff that joined us had the good fortune to stay at the ranch house, a short 20 minute drive from the lake. The ranch house sits above the Fraser River and offers a stunning view. The accommodation was wonderful and provided a welcome respite after a day under the sun. If you have a group of anglers looking for a place to stay and fish Ruddocks Ranch makes an excellent choice. Contact Kevin Estrada for booking information.
Over the course of the weekend Brian and I provided seminars on a variety of subjects including lake biology, entomology and specific presentation techniques. Brian and I also spent time with each student on the water. I enjoy these one on one exchanges with students and working with them on specific questions or challenges they may be having. Often I learn as much as the students through the exchange of information and experiences.
Trout were in 12-15 feet of water feeding steadily but not heavily on a stream of small #14-#16 black and dark olive chironomid pupa. Hanging matching pupa anywhere from 10 to 13 feet below and indicator proved quite successful. I also did well on an olive body burnt orange tail Balanced Leech suspended beneath an indicator.
For the most part Ruddocks Dam trophies did not want to play but there were enough three pound trout to keep our students happy. Gary Elgear from Riverside Fly and Tackle in Port Coquitlam was on hand to help out. He managed the largest fish of the weekend that was an estimated 10lbs.
As we were packing up for the return trip home carpenter ants began falling on the water in numbers great enough to garner the trout’s interest. It was tough not to grab a fly rod and toss a large Chernobyl Ant at the fish that were taking the large ants in aggressive splashy rises! You have to a love a lake or body of water that leaves you yearning for more!Filed under General | Comments Off
Well summer must be here as forest fires, fire bans and high temperatures abound. At this time of the year the stillwater opportunities narrow as trout move to deeper cooler climes or cease feeding. Still there are a few opportunities.
August is ‘bomber’ time! On a number of the province’s rich mud bottomed algae type lakes huge pupa are beginning to stir. Although the lake may look like pea soup at times rest assured that the trout use the blue green algae cover to their full advantage. Remember, algae growth is stimulated by the sun’s rays and as such extends down anywhere from 6-10 feet. Below the green algae canopy fish cruise and feed confidently in the dark sometimes cooler water.
Large pupa patterns, some tie on #6 scud hooks, in dark brown, olive, green and the ever popular anti static bag variants are often the patterns of choice. Use stark white beads such as the Stillwater Solutions SuperWhite beads. White beads are immune to algal staining and their bright nature draws trout from a distance.
Although large patterns often predominate smaller patterns also have their moment in the sun at this time. Last summer on Leighton Lake for example during the midday a small #12 or #14 Collaborator or Summer N Red moved fish consistently when the larger patterns wouldn’t. Keep this in mind when your larger pupal patterns aren’t producing.
Our spring Learning with the Pros seminar weekend was a huge success with over 30 people in attendance. Brian and I enjoy these seminars and the friendly interaction they provide. Fishing was unusually slow. Brian and I believe that the high water and full moon had a definate effect. Still there are worse ways to spend a weekend. One gentleman drifted by us with a unique and effective alternative to hours of casting or staring at an indicator!
This fall marks the first Advanced Learning With the Pros weekend seminar. Brian and I are looking forward to the October 2-3 weekend. At last count 13 people had booked in with some coming from as far as Wisconsin! I believe there is only one space left. Based upon this response I think it is safe to say there will be another Advanced Seminar in 2011.
Enjoy your summer and be safe!
PhilFiled under General | Comment (1)
June as with most months is going by at its usual fast pace. In a few short weeks I will be joining Brian Chan at Tunkwa Lake Resort for our next Learning With the Pros seminar. As with our previous Learning With the Pros seminars this one is a complete sellout.
Brian and I are also putting on our first Advanced Learning with the Pros slated for October 1-3 at Stoney Lake Lodge on the Douglas Lake Ranch. The large trout Minnie and Stoney Lakes are noted for should be cruising the shallows in earnest stocking up on just about anything they can chase down for the long cold winter ahead. Fall is the time for the largest fish of the season and we should experience some exciting fishing.
The advanced session was created as an opportunity for past Learning With the Pros attendees to further improve their stillwater skills and improve upon the lessons learned from the original Learning With the Pros format. In addition to past Learning With the Pros students any stillwater fly fisher with prior lake experience will benefit by taking our advanced session. In addition to personal one on one time with Brian and I on the water here is a sample of what we will be covering.
- Hands On Leader Construction
- Advanced Lake Limnology
- How to Fight Big Fish
- Advanced Floating Line Techniques
- Presentation Secrets
- How and When to Use Attractors
- Tactics and Techniques for Tough Days
Brian and I will also be providing on camera tying demonstrations detailing some of our favorite patterns.
There are only 14 spaces available and I know some spots are already taken. Cost for the weekend is $850/person and includes food, accommodation & courses. To reserve your spot or for additional information please don’t hesitate to email email@example.com or call 604.464.1876.
It promises to be comprehensive and detailed weekend. Hopefully Brian and I will see you there.Filed under General | Comment (1)
I recently spent a couple of enjoyable days fishing with Editor Mike Mitchell. We hit Heffley on the first day and finished up on White for the second.
Heffley was fishing well and we bounced around trying different locations. For us the narrows produced consistently on #12 black and red Ice Cream Cones. We owe a debt of thanks to Kelly Davison for coming up with the pattern, no stillwater chironomid collection would be complete without a cross section of Ice Cream Cones in a variety of colors and sizes. I use this pattern style in olive, black, green, brown and of course anti static bag bodies. The SuperWhite beads really stand out in algae type waters and never stain as is often the case with other materials such as ostrich herl and Midge Gill. When ever I put on a chironomid pupa and I am not sure what the predominant color might be a black and red #12 is the way to go.
When we were at Heffley we suspended them under one of my Quick Release indicators about 2 feet above the bottom. There was a nice breeze present to riffle the surface and mask our presence so fish were constantly cruising by. You could see them darting left and right picking off emerging pupa. Our best presentation involved a quartering cast across the ripple and then allowing the line to sweep and drift down below. Rarely did the indicator get below as my black and red Ice Cream Cone was intercepted during the swing.
The next day at White proved a bit different. White is a crystal clear and I love the challenges of fishing these types of lakes. They test your presentation skills and pattern choices to the limit. Early on we targeted fish cruising on the shoals. The winds were calm and the trout patrolled randomly in front of us. This can be frustrating as it is tough to determine their cruise path. We cast and retrieved a number of patterns through and across the foraging trout. We got follows and few brief hook ups but nothing proved consistent. We ended up fishing small #16 and #14 black and red Ice Cream Cones once again suspended under small indicators so as not to spook the fish. Downsizing to 6X (3.6lb) Flouro Flex was also necessary, as flies presented on larger diameter tippet were snubbed. It is an eye opening experience watching trout cruise by and reject your fly only to have another one take it without hesitation.
We jumped around to a number of favorite haunts and took fish on Callibaetis nymphs, Crunchers and small #16 green and copper chironomid pupa. The Cruncher is a deadly English pattern that traces its roots back to the tried tested and true Pheasant Tail Nymph. On White, when Callibaetis began emerging in the early afternoon a Cruncher hand twisted just below the surface worked well suggesting the emerging adults. We had hoped to have a good afternoon of Callibaetis fishing but the weather turned ugly as clouds and showers rolled in. Loading the boat at the Provincial campsite launch proved interesting as the winds whipped up from the west turning the usual placid White Lake into a white capped monster. By the time we were finished loading the boat and gear back into Mike’s Tundra we were pretty well soaked. We looked like we had taken a plunge into the lake! All in all thought it was a good trip. Lots of fish and fun company!Filed under General | Comments Off
Now that my show and seminar season is winding down I can now look forward to spending more time on the water. The new season offers a new sense of optimism and excitement along with a chance to try out new patterns and techniques as well.
I just finished fishing a number of the local lakes in and around the Nanaimo area. Brian and I were there filming a TV show together. British Columbia is fortunate as many cities such as Nanaimo have excellent fishing opportunities within their city limits. The lakes are typically well stocked and offer good numbers of trout and also some lakes are home to some large specimens. In the Nanaimo area you also have the chance to cross paths with alternate species such as smallmouth bass.
While Brian and I were there we found fishing leeches or chironomids under indicators or attractor patterns such as Boobies worked quite well. If trout wouldn’t fall for the imitative approach then they definitely fell under the spell of a Booby stripped or hand twisted at a good pace. when fishing Boobies remember to use a fast paced retrieve and short shank hooks to avoid deep hooking. Never fish a Booby static.
Brian and I are also preparing for this year’s Learning with the Pros seminars. Our spring seminar is full but there is still space available in our advanced session slated for Douglas Lake Ranch. I have been asked by some past Learning with the Pros participants about the agenda for the advanced session. The course will take students above and beyond the course material featured in our usual Learning with the Pros sessions. The advanced class features a smaller class size allowing Brian and I to provide more individual attention for each student.
We will have both agendas finalized shortly. I will post them both as soon as they have been finalized.
Until next time, make a goal of exploring at least one new water this season, but don’t forget your old favorites either as they always teach you something new.
Keep in touch,
PhilFiled under General | Comment (1)
This time of the year is typically my busiest when it comes to shows and writing. My travels to various shows and clubs have taken me to Salem Oregon, Boise Idaho, Calgary Alberta and this weekend to Pleasanton California. No matter where I travel people are always interested in British Columbia and the world class fly fishing it has to offer.
I am looking forward to the upcoming BC Boat & Sportsman’s show running from March 5-7, 2010. Please drop by the BC Outdoors booth and say hi. In between presentations both Brian and myself will be there. This is a great chance to pick up a copy of my latest book Stillwater Selections or our DVD Learning with the Pros Volume 1, Tying Stillwater Flies. Both the book and DVD have a definite B.C. flavor. The book in particular features 55 patterns from a variety of B.C. tyers. For those wondering, these patterns have never been featured in any of my previous books. The DVD features six of my patterns from the book along with on the water presentation tips. I hope you enjoy them both!
Be sure to ask about the Learning with Pros seminar weekends as well. These seminars have proven to be very popular and each year we continue to improve our presentations based upon valuable feedback from past participants. These seminars are an excellent way to improve your stillwater skills and techniques through a combination of seminars and on the water experience. This fall Brian and I will be hosting the first advanced Learning with the Pros seminar. If you are a past Learning with the Pros participant this is an excellent opportunity to grow your stillwater skills.
The current issue of BC Outdoors (Mar/Apr 2010) features a collection of egg patterns you can use for salmon, steelhead, cutties or dollies. My next column features a favorite pattern of mine called, Static Interference and focuses on chironomid patterns and the use of antistatic bags. A common pattern component for many chironomid addicts. Here is a picture to whet your appetite.
My tying columns are designed to be educational focusing upon a particular material or technique. If you have a particular tying subject you would like to see featured please let me know by leaving a comment.
Keep an eye out for feature articles on shallow water tactics and using wind to your advantage.
Time to continue prepping for shows and writing articles. Somewhere along the line I have to begin getting things ready for the upcoming season as well. A promise I make every year but never seem to fulfill! Last minute gear prep and tying are standard! This happens to everyone else I hope!Filed under General | Comments Off