Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Back From New Brunswick Pt. 2

Sorry it took so long to get to the 2nd half of my trip (or at least the fishing part). Nonetheless here it is.

I have only been out fly rodding twice since I got back. Basically I was spoiled in NB. Not by big fish or numbers but by accessibility. Now east coast fishing and accessibility may not seem to go hand in hand what with 15 different licenses and heavy restrictions on where you can fish (right down to particular pools). No, the access I am talking about is being able to drive 20 minutes or 2 hours or more and everything in between to get to one's fishing.

Around here you need about an hour to get anywhere, 2 hours to get anywhere decent in terms of an outdoor environment and 3,4,5 etc. hours to get someplace that has it all (scenery, numbers or sized fish etc.)

Fishing the Fredericton area reminded me of fishing in southern Ontario. I could fish in town for trout, salmon bass or pike (depending on the season) OR I could drive any variety of distance to achieve a different goal.

So with all that water around me my favorite thing to do in NB was to fish the (unnamed) creek (trib of the Rusagonis) behind my Brother and Sister in laws place after dinner.

It has trout, salmon parr, bass and fall fish (locally called 'creek chub' and treated with utter disdain).

Here are some fish. Not big but on a 4wt in VERY skinny water stalking, hooking and landing was still a challenge.
A view of the River/creek I spent most of my time on

Through these brambles lay a fork and pool where the fishing was best

Fall Fish (or creek chub) as fickle as trout & fights as hard

A smallie falls for a bomber

I also fished the Oromocto just 25 minutes down the road. Similar fish but more open and miles and miles of it I never fish.

The wading boots that never seemed to get dry

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Back From New Brunswick, pt1 The Miramichi!

If you are at all like me, you have read a boat load of outdoor, general fishing and fly fishing magazines. Pretty well guaranteed you will have come across an article on Atlantic salmon fishing and probably one, two or a few about the Miramichi River in New Brunswick. 250 kilometers of river with the best salmon numbers of any river in North American !

A few years back I went to Newfoundland. I was psyched and geared up to fish for the 'King of Game Fish'!!  When I got there the weather was hot, the streams low and most closed to fishing.

I did manage to raise a few in Grosse Morne (in national parks you can fish w/o a guide) but not a hit sniff or bother.

This year I figured against salmon fishing (though I did bring appropriate gear in my 8 and 10 wts). I checked out the local Fredericton fly shop, Fredericton Outfitters, where I found very friendly helpful owners and staff. They proceeded to tell me that we were in the area at one of the best times, that the river had fish, the levels were dropping and that people were getting salmon.

So we asked about guides and such, when they mentioned Wilson's Sporting Camps who had access to the best pools on the river.

Turns out they had an opening and we could come up and fish  the afternoon and evening for a discount rate.

It wasn't a long drive, 1½ hours,by fly fishing in Manitoba's standards, but by the time we got there we considered staying the night.

They offered us ½ of a duplex and almost apologized about it, but the rooms where awe some, clean and classic in design. Came with everything you needed to make food etc.
Our Cabin

And our cabin looked out onto the Miramichi.

Now the term 'world class' is bandied around a lot. Anyone who knows me, knows I hate the term in most of its uses. Particularly when used to describe something similar you can get elsewhere in the world and is therefore considered 'world class'. By those standards I am typing on a world class laptop....

But despite the very unassuming nature of Keith Wilson (to whom the camp has been in his family for 150 years) Wilson's is considered world class. If I was in doubt; I found a European salmon fishing magazine in our cabin that wrote about fishing in Russia, Norway and yes Wilson's.
So 1½ hours from an international airport and you are on a legendary river, fishing for a reasonably unique and potentially large fish in a pristine environment...ya that pretty well sums up world class fishing.

So here I am with my wife at a  world class lodge (normally $700 per person, per day and not including tip or licenses) getting ready to fish a river that is on most fly rodders life list.

So into one to the jet outboard powered 26' canoes for one of the smoothest and scenic boat rides you'll ever have.

 My wife, Adelle, Henry our Guide and yours truly.
Yours truly looking kinda happy

My wife thinking that holding the hat that way makes it look better and our guide Henry

Our guide, Henry has been fishing/guiding the Miramichi for 57 years.

The method for hooking salmon is quite simple and either works or doesn't or in the words of our guide, "if they're there they'll bite if they're not they won't".

So you tie on w/e fly you heard works, the afternoon it was the Undertaker, then ¼ cast and drift through the run till the line straightens. Then step up or down the run, strip, t-snap or snake roll your cast and repeat.

It was nice and overcast, raining off and on and a bit cool so perfect for fishing. We didn't feel a single bump but some fish did pop up. One made a big splash upstream and Henry said 'that one got past you'.

We went in for dinner and back out at 6. This time we fish a run/pool just in front of the lodge.
The lodge from the river
Green machine
We changed our flies to Green Machines and finally started getting some hits. My wife was killing it with salmon parr and 1 nice brookie. I was getting hits but no hook ups. The light was fading, it was 8:30 and we are supposed to be off the water at 9, I had made 1,000's of casts.

At 8:45 I could finally yell 'fish on'. Put a good bend in the rod, got a coupla jumps and, just before the net and the perfunctory 'grip and grin', the hook popped! Now It didn't matter because my wife was taking lots of video. We have video of the trip up river, down river, our room, me casting, etc. But in the excitement of someone actually hooking a salmon she forgot to hit record.

I won't guesstimate the fish length because as Henry says " that fish'll be 40 inches by the time you get home" but fair to say it was a grilse (1 year in salt and between 5 & 7 lbs July weight)

So a few more casts in the fading light, then the trip back to our cabin, where we had a cup of tea and watched the sun set on the river and then the bats and fire flies come out.

Here is all that other fish free video.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Is There Anything Worse Than Putting On a New Fly Line?

So I haven't blogged on Fly Fishing in a while. I have been out, not much and nothing worth relaying.

I am aiming at my trip to New Brunswick.

So I am putting a new line on a new reel (to go with a new to me rod).

First problem is the backing. Apparently a Cabelas RLS #4 needs 250ft of backing! So I look at the online picture to see how far the backing fill the arbor. Many minutes later I think I am done so I move on to the fly line.

Now the Nail Knot is hard to tie and the tube knot a little easier but they are rarely tied so it took me a few trys just to get it close and a few more to get it right. I carefully start to reel on the new line when it falls on the floor and creates an instant birds nest!

So I untangle the mess, straighten the line multiple times and again reel up the line only to find I didn't put on enough backing!

Off comes the line, blood knot on the tag from the backing spool and re-guess-timate the amount of backing needed. Less grief (from practice) putting on the line with a nail knot, reel up the line and still not enough backing but enough to do the job.

Snake on the loop end. Now I know a lot of you are not fans of these things but I back mine up with a (you guessed it) nail knot! and then the heat shrink.

Of course then I look up rods need for the province and realize that the 10wt might be overkill.

So I am off to Cabelas to buy my 3rd 4wt

Till next til

Monday, March 26, 2012

Fairford River Freeze Off

Now leading up to this day we had temps in the high 20's but any other year fishing at the end of March and having a day time high of -1 with no wind would be considered a blessing.

So the Fairford River Freeze Off was on even if only 2 participants from Fly Fishing Manitoba were there.

It was -5 on the wake up in the 'Peg and 5 degrees cooler at our destination.

At Ashern there was icicles on the trees and signs.

Having seen some earlier reports including walleye being caught I was prepared to catch more than the usual Lake Cisco.

So with my 4wt 'normal' fly rod and 4wt switch rods in hand I we set off.

First to avoid any possible skunking I targeted the Cisco (locally known as 'Tulibee")...that didn't take more than a few casts.

With that out of the way we both moved to the south side of the river & I got re-acquainted with my switch rod. (Which means I was fussing about re learning how to cast the damn thing instead of catching fish)

First non cisco of the day, and arguably the best fish of the day, belongs to fishing partner for the day; Stephen Jay.

The picture doesn't do it justice it measured out at 22½" but the girth and head were enormous!

The crap on the lens is frozen water as I was trying to get some underwater pics/vids of the cisco schools.

I too caught a wally

The blue finger tips you see are the latex surgical glove SJ brought (based on a rarely good idea from Deanne from the FAOL site. Keeping our hands dry and therefore warmer through the day. (Even after dunking my wool gloves!)

Fishing the same spot (as SJ cooled his heels after his nice fish) I proceeded to foul hook some carp. I did manage this fair hooked one.

Giving up the spot SJ was also snagging carp but also landed this fair hook fish
Stephen also manage a bunch more walleyes about the same size as the one I caught

I think this is our 8th year and by far this was the best combination of weather and fishing. On top of the fish caught SJ also LDR'd a pike and we both saw plenty of perch and suckers.

It was also the busiest day we have ever seen on the river.
Apparently there was some sort of fishing derby on. If we were having a derby on our side of the river Stephen would have won hands down!