Sometimes the best you can manage is a few hours fishing close to home. That was the case this weekend which was a combination of lousy weather and bathroom renovations. When Sunday afternoon was shaping up better than forecast, I headed to a spot on the Rideau River less than 10 minutes from home. I like the spot for the closeness but also because it is generally wade-able for some distance above and below the bridge. The fish are generally plentiful even if the big ones are harder to find. Later in the evening they are but I was starting around 4pm so I took the light rod and prepared for the smaller guys.
I had decided to take my DSLR with me but when I go to the water I began to have second thoughts. The water was higher than I had hoped and I wasn’t too anxious to get the camera wet but after sizing things up for a bit, I managed to work my way across the river upstream of the bridge to where I usually start.
It didn’t take long to find fish. There are a lot of smallmouth bass hanging around the rocks along side the moving water and they were quickly on to my fly.
As I worked my way downstream, the fish kept coming. Most were less than a pound but they were energetic on a light rod.
Below the bridge as the current slowed I started to pick up other fish including rock bass, bluegills and a few pumpkin seeds along with the bass.
I fished for a couple hours and for most of that time I was carefully watched but the local ospreys. This one never moved the entire time I fished below the bridge. I’m not sure if he was counting how many fish I caught but I released them all so he should have lots to feed himself and the family in the nest a few feet away.
This was my first trip to the Rideau River this year. Earlier in the morning on my way to pick up a few groceries I took the long way so I could check out the water levels. The water is down so that wading looks possible in one of my favourite spots – the bridge at Andrewsville. Last year the water was high most of the summer so I hardly fished this spot at all. Conditions confirmed it was on to the store for supplies – dinner was to be jumbo grilled shrimp with Tabasco butter ala Chi Wulff. You learn all sorts of things reading peoples fishing blogs.
After a day of odd jobs around the house it was time to go fishing. Andrewsville is less than 10 minutes from home so it is a perfect destination for a short evening of fishing. I arrived, rigged up my 5wt (3wt is in the shop getting repairs for a broken tip) and was on the water just before 6pm. The starting spot was a little deeper than I had hoped but by hugging the shoreline for a bit, I was able to find a spot where I could wade to the centre of the river.
There were loads of small sedges fluttering over the water surface and the occasional fish rising. It didn’t look like they were taking on the surface so I started with a nymph. It didn’t take long before a strike came. Wouldn’t you know it; it was a feisty 8 inch smallmouth bass – out of season. He was quickly released and attention was focused on a deep pool where I knew the bluegills and rock bass were plentiful.
Sure enough, the action was fast and furious. Almost every cast brought a strike. They were often very light so it was easy to miss the hook up but more than enough were brought to hand. The most popular fly seemed to be a nymph pattern called a Misfit – basically a green marabou tail, green floss body, big brown hackle collar and a copper bead head.
An hour into fishing the surface activity picked up considerably so I switched to a small dark caddis fly. The fished liked it both on the surface and skated just below. Some fairly large bluegills took it as dinner. I packed it in around 8 and headed home for our own dinner – those grilled shrimp.