Switch Rod Initiation

I decided to enter the two handed world. Actually I have been thinking about it for some time but finally bit the bullet this past weekend purchasing a TFO Deer Creek 7wt switch rod. After trying a few different rods I settled on the TFO based on feel, a variety of reviews by others, price and the fact that I am partial to TFO these days based on their excellent support.

Monday night I headed down to Burritt’s Rapids not far from home to give the rod its first on the water test. It was an interesting experience to say the least. Two handed casting is new to me and if anyone was watching they could probably tell. I definitely need some practice – and some instruction would help too. However, I can see the advantages.

Despite that inept casting, there were a few sympathetic fish who found their way onto my line. That included my largest smallmouth of the year.

Looking forward to more.

Thanks TFO!

Its been an up and down spring and early summer as far as fishing goes.

One of the downs occurred three weeks ago when I broke my TFO Axiom rod in three places destroying the top two sections of the rod. A major up arrived today in the form of two replacement pieces courtesy of TFO.

I know several people have vouched for their warranty support but I would like to echo them in saying a big thanks to Temple Forks Outfitters! Much appreciated!

Not about the catching ??

With forecast for a cloudy, showery day it seemed like great conditions for fishing. Donna was busy in the evening with her dress rehearsal so it meant there were no limitations if I fished a bit later in the day. Thus was good since I had to wait for the internet service guys to do their thing with the antenna before I headed out to meet Bob.

I managed to get away before 11 and was at the agreed upon lake around noon. The inclement weather was no where to be found – good in one sense but not great from a fishing perspective as this lake can be difficult on sunny days. None the less it was good to get out on the water.

I expected to find Bob there but also found Doug fishing not far from the launch. He had landed one and had a hit from another. All very encouraging.
Unfortunately, the fishing didn’t materialize as I might have imagined. Three hours without a single hit. And that included kicking all the way to the far end of the lake where I have had success in the past. Bob managed one rainbow trout before we decided to pull out and head over to lake number two to see what was happening with the brook trout.

One of the things the warm weather brought out (actually millions of things) was the black flies. They were mildly annoying under the warmth of midday so I was anticipating the worst as evening approached. The access to our second lake is via a mucky, boggy trail from the parking area. The plan was to organize the gear as quickly as possible and get on the water before they know we were there. All was going according to plan until I realized I had forgot to switch to my floating line. Wasted minutes! Still it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be and I was in the water without serious incident. And then they hit. It was like a massive swarm was sitting at the shore ready to attack the minute I was in the float tube. Of course there was no wind and the lake is small so it took a while to get clear of them.

By comparison to our first lake, this one is tiny. With the wind at bay it was possible to talk to each other with one at either side of the lake. As it turned out, the wind wasn’t the only thing quiet this day.

The only evidence of fish was some smaller ones chasing bugs in the shallows. A small dry fly was enough to attract their attention and soon we were playing around with a bunch of scrappy little brook trout. Sizing any of them at eight inches would have been a stretch but they were still fun. And I count it as community service since half of them couldn’t seem to time their attack quite right, missing the fly with their charge to the surface After a couple hours of this and with little evidence that there would be any activity from larger fish we decided to pack it in.

If fishing is not always about the catching this was one of those days.

Back on the Water

A week has passed since returning from three days fishing. No wonder the season goes by so fast.

Our early season trip to Quebec for trout has to be considered a success. Four lakes fished, catching plenty of rainbows and brook trout, good food and good friends.

It was particularly good to have Brian back with us after almost three years in Japan. Here he is less than ten minutes in with a nice rainbow. Obviously he never lost his touch! And it was one of many that first morning.

Three Days of Fishing – Power or No Power

Tomorrow marks the start of three days of fishing. I have been looking forward to this trip for a long time.

Every trip has its prerequisite preparations and purchases. However I had not anticipated this purchase.
The Generac XG4000 was not exactly what I had in mind but Thursday’s windstorm and subsequent power outage necessitated purchasing the generator to keep the sump pump working – something I have been putting off for a long time. It is now close to 48 hours into the power outage (this post is coming via a local Starbucks – yeah for free WiFi). We are told power will be back this afternoon but Donna has given me the ok to go fishing tomorrow regardless. She has had the prerequisite generator training training. I love my wife.

Fishing At Last!

Monday marked the first day of fishing for 2011. Nothing whatsoever through January, February, March and half of April. A sad state of affairs!

The Bing Retreat is a private resort about an hour and a half from home. The owner Chris Fisher does a great job managing the lake, stocking it with rainbows and brook trout. The day rate for fishing it is quite reasonable and given that it was one of the first good trout lakes open in our area, it was an obvious destination of choice.

So the anticipation leading up to today was substantial. Ice out was confirmed over a week ago. The weather has been nasty this spring but it looked like we would have a window of good weather this Monday. Depending on the weather forecast one was following it would be sunny or sunny with clouds and temperatures up to 10C. And the wind – hopefully not as strong as it has been the last few days.

As it turned out the sun never really arrived until after we finished up. The wind never left and the the temperature never hit 10C. But it was still the first day of the season.

Wade, Roger, George and I arranged to meet between 8:30 and 9. Roger was first on the water but I wasn’t far behind. It felt good to be out on the water again – despite the fact it the water temperature was only 42F and the wind was blowing. I started with the brown krystal hackle bugger I had so much success with up at Kenauk at the end of last season but it wasn’t producing the same results today. Rounding the point it was clear that midges were hatching. There were lots of new insects on the surface and pupae just under the film. No fish were rising so I switched to a chironomid pattern for a while but with a clear intermediate line it wasn’t the best set up so that didn’t last too long.

By this time I had kicked far enough that I was along the south shore of the lake. I decided to change flies and switched to one of Denny Rickards’ AP Emergers I had tied up on the weekend. That seemed to be the ticket. I cast, let it sink with the intermediate line and then slowly stripped the fly back in. Almost immediately I had a hit. After a good fight I landed a 16 inch rainbow. About the same time George hooked into a fish not far from me but after a bit of a fight it slipped the hook.

My change in fortune continued with another hit. This time it was a slightly larger fish – approximately 18 inches. I tried for a photo but it is just too awkward trying to manage a fish and take its picture at the same time. So it was quickly dispatched. Between fighting the fish, kicking and the wind, I was now almost at the southeast corner of the lake. I had a couple more hits and eventually hooked into another fish. This one proved to be small, about 10 inches so it was played quickly and released.

My toes were starting to get cold and my bladder was telling me a trip to shore was in order so I decided to kick back to the launch spot. With the launch in sight I had a hit and immediately it was clear that this was a large fish. It took line for a good run and then bulldogged at depth. The ensuing fight lasted about 15 minutes as we exchanged line in and out. Eventually I managed to get him to the surface confirming it was a very big fish. When I finally got him to the net it out he wasn’t that long – maybe 18 inches but very fat. After a quick look he was released. I estimate he was somewhere between 4 and 5 pounds.

The fight over I was reminded of the reason for my trip ashore so no more distractions. Out of the tube and flippers off to deal with pressing matters. I also decided to apply a couple heat patches to my feet in an effort to fight off the cold. Given I was on shore and it was past noon, I grabbed a sandwich but decided to pass on liquids for the time being and was back on the water, waiting for the heat patches to kick in.

I headed back to the south shore and managed a couple more fish in the 16-18 inch range and then a couple more in the 10 inch range. All were caught on an AP Emerger using the same slow stripping approach. The wind continued to blow so I decided to move on around the lake as much in search of calmer conditions as anything. By this time my first AP Emerger was pretty beat up and the only other one I had looked so pathetic in the water (did I say I can’t tie soft hackles very well) so I decided to switch up to one of my Palmered Chenille Buggers. Casting close to shore and slowly stripping I was greeted by a solid hit and after a bit of a battle, brought to net another good sized rainbow.

By this time it had been almost 6 hours of continuous tubing so i started heading back towards the launch. There wasn’t much action so I switched to a Montreal wet fly for no particular reason but it proved successful as I was rewarded by another hit from a solid fish. After a good fight I landed and released another rainbow in the 16 inch range.

I was cold again and quite aware I had been on the water for over six hours. And since Roger and Wade were already ashore, it seemed like a good time to pack it in. George followed shortly behind me.

Other than the three smaller trout, all the rainbows were easily in the 16 to 18 inch range with the one closer to 20 – a good start to the season.

Google Knows!

He may have had strange symptoms but I had a good laugh over this one from my friend Eric. Thanks man.

Had a strange issue a few minutes ago. Looked up the symtpoms and Google tells me its menopause. Who am I to argue with Google?
Eric D. Brown

Winter Beauty

Not much going on in the fishing department and yesterday’s freezing rain didn’t help but the by product made for some beautiful sights as the sun went down. Here are a few images from the backyard.

Sparkling Branches Against the Evening Sky

Sparkling Branches Against the Evening Sky

Icy Branch

Icy Branch

Frozen Left Overs

Frozen Left Overs

Hanging On – Is Winter Over Yet?

As much as I wish it were different, winter means a slow down in my fishing. By this time of the year, I’ve had enough. Sadly, we aren’t done yet (although there is hope).

Today was an injection of hope. Our local fly fishing club and Jencor Entertainment Inc. (producers of The New Flyfisher TV program) made a dent in the winter blues.

While people skated on the world’s longest skating rink (Ottawa’s Rideau Canal) across the street, about 45 of us were treated to a great workshop by Tom Rosenbauer.  The topic: Prospecting for Trout.  For those of you who don’t know, some years go Tom wrote a book by the same title.  The latest version The Orvis Guide to Prospecting for Trout: How to Catch Fish When There’s No Hatch to Match was revised in 2008.

I have enjoyed Tom’s regular podcasts on various fly fishing topics and he was equally informative and good to listen to in person. I understand Tom has a new book coming out but I didn’t catch the title – something to watch for.

Judging from the enthusiasm in the room today more people than just me are chomping at the bit for spring to arrive.