Its hard to stay away. The fishing is too enticing. Before our trip this past spring there were no plans for a return but a fairly short discussion led to a few of us committing to a fall trip.
It began September 19 with our flight from Ottawa to Winnipeg. By the time we landed, picked up our rental van and drove to Shoal Lake it was lunch time and by the time we got to Patterson Lake (including a return trip to the Shoal Lake Inn to pick up the flippers I forgot) we had time for a few hours fishing.
I was greeted by a very nice brown trout only moments from the launch. The picture doesn’t do it justice but it is a bit difficult to get a great shot of a thrashing trout in one’s net while sitting in a float tube.
Tuesday evening urban fishing was on the Rideau River at Hog’s Back Falls. Nice night for fishing – warm and humid. I was overdressed and by the time I quit was pretty damp from sweat as well as leaky waders. The water was pretty high and the fishing pretty slow – as in I caught nothing. John didn’t do much better. Todd caught a few.
Clearly the fishing reports have been a bit scarce this summer. That’s largely due to the fact that the fishing has been less frequent than hoped. Its time to get back at it before our summer is completely gone!
Yesterday I headed to one of my two spots just down the road. The goal was to get in some practice with my switch rod. It has been sitting dormant for the better part of a year and I wasn’t too good even then so I figure it is time to give it a workout.
Despite all the rain we have had this summer, the river is in pretty good shape and quite wadeable. This was my first time at this particular spot this year. I find it interesting how much the river bottom changes from one year to the next. Places I couldn’t get to in the past were quite accessible this year.
After a bit of fumbling around with the switch rod, the casts started to feel more or less coordinated. Casting practice was the main objective but it was nice that a few fish cooperated. This one took an interest in my crayfish imitation.
There weren’t a lot of fish but enough to keep it interesting. Still a lot of kinks to work out with the casting but it was good to get out.
Its taken a while but I finally managed to assemble the fly rod and put it into action.
Today was the start of the 2013 fishing season – for me. Earlier in the week I called Chris and arranged to fish the Bing Retreat for the day. Donna came with me and wandered off to browse the shops in Westboro and Newboro.
It was a beautiful day for shopping and not bad for fishing it you enjoy tanning. Mostly blue skies with little breeze made for a comfortable time on the water but probably weren’t as conducive to fish activity as some other conditions. Despite that, I manage to catch a few, lost a few more and had a number of other hits. So no complaining. It was great to get out.
The water temperature was around 62F and clear. All fish were caught at depth and were in the 12-14 inch range. I fished until about 3pm and it seemed that the fish were becoming more active towards the end of the day including more surface activity. The go to fly was the tried and true olive wooly bugger fished on a fast sinking line.
Side entertainment included a massive turtle who followed the float tube for a while. His feet were almost the size of my flippers (only a slight exaggeration).
After fishing Donna and I drove up to Perth and had dinner at Fiddleheads.
Being on the water from 9:30 to 3pm did me in but it was great to get out.
Our third trip to the Manitoba Parkland is in the horizon – next month, well actually six weeks but who is counting. This is what we are after. And hopefully some of his rainbow and brown trout cousins.
This will be our third trip to the Parkland. Our first was a September trip and last year we decided to head back in spring. That venture only wet the appetite for more so back we go at the end of May. Flights to Winnipeg were secured with Aeroplan points long time ago as was the time we will spend with Phil Rowley. with points were booked long ago as was our time with Phil Rowley but accommodations for the second half of the trip still need to be booked and we need vehicles to move us around. Last year the plan was to rent two hatchbacks for the four of us but since the rental companies would guarantee specific vehicles the plan only partially worked. When we got there there was only one hatchback available so we ended up upgrading to a compact SUV for the second. Although a hatchback is more than adequate for all our gear and access to the lakes is easy, the extra room of the SUV was nice so I will probably lobby for paying a bit extra and reserving one outright. I figure the extra cost is worth it.
The big task is finishing up my fly tying. I am in good shape for most things but need to tie some more chironomids which were absolutely essential last spring. And I need to tie some dragon fly imitations. Jeff Lauze just posted a version on his blog that looks like just the ticket. Never mind that I suck at spinning and trimming deer hair.
Amazingly, I don’t think I have any major purchases to make (shocking as that may be) although I am on the lookout for a new pair of float tube flippers. My Outcast flippers work fine when wearing wading boots but I have a tough time keeping them securely fastened with only neoprene booties over my waders. I am considering the Force Fin flippers but may compromise with something a bit cheaper. I am open to suggestions.
So that’s it as far as preparations go. To manage the anticipation, the plan is to get in as much local fishing if spring ever gets here.
I figure I might be able to swing one more float tube outing before the water temperatures drop beyond manageably comfortable levels in this part of the world.
I managed to get out for a day last weekend, fishing at the Bing Retreat. The last time I was there was in April and it was cold then too. Note to self, next year plan a trip at a more hospitable time. The Bing is private water and Chris Fisher manages a great fishing lake not far from home.
Although things started slowly with a bit of wind and snow flakes, it turned out to be a great day. I managed four nice rainbow trout which is not a lot but still better than not fishing at all.
This was the first trout after lunch. He must have thought my olive wooly bugger looked like something worth eating.
This was rainbow number two. Great colors on these fish.
This rainbow looks so completely different from the pervious two.
Its now the following Saturday afternoon. The short days mean its getting dark already. Monday is a day off. A chance to get out one more time?
Our fall trip to Kenauk was earlier this year than in the past. While it was great to be out fishing sooner than later for the most part we were still dealing with summer conditions and were a bit concerned that the fish would not be as cooperative as they usually were later in autumn.
We arrived to great weather – and warm water temperatures. The 69-70F surface temperatures were not promising.
While conditions were less than what we would have liked, intermediate and fast sinking lines proved to help get flies to where the fish were and it turned out they could be encouraged to bite. One of my first was a nice 18 inch rainbow that surprisingly was caught casting into shore in water less than 10 feet deep.
Afternoons proved to be slow going but early morning was productive yielding steady hits, generally over deeper water.
My most successful fly over the three day period was a rootbeer coloured palmered chenille bugger fished on a type 6 sinking line. Sometimes trolling worked best and sometimes casting and stripping.
Heading into the trip we were uncertain what to expect. Water temperatures had not cooled much but we still managed to coax quite a few fish to bite. All in all the fishing was pretty good as was the companionship. Enticing enough for a return trip.
The plan was to head down to a spot along the river not far from home. With the call for showers it seemed a good idea to wait until later in the afternoon to size up the storm potential. By five or so, it looked like the rain might give our area a miss so it was time to leave.
The spot I had in mind is close so it is possible in only a few minutes. The water is low which opens opportunities to wade in new areas and while the fish are willing they are mostly the small guys who don’t know better.
Off the cuff weather forecasting proves to be less than accurate at times but perhaps this storm will pass by to the north.
And it does. But wait, forgot to pay attention to the next one. And it doesn’t miss.
Sigh! But more amateur forecasting suggests it will pass quickly. And it does.
Going two for three on the forecasting seems pretty good.
The small, worldly inexperienced fish continue to be drawn to my flies for the next hour (rain free) before it is time to head home for dinner.