We have had a very wet fishing season this year. The local rivers have remained close to spring levels with the result that wading in typical seasonal spots has been difficult or impossible.
The fish seem to have moved around in response to higher water levels. One of the results for me has been the opportunity to catch walleye on the fly.
What better to think about in the middle of winter while one anticipates the arrival of the new fishing season – my favorite places. That was the prompt this week from the Outdoor Blogger Network. Sounds like a great idea and it got me thinking. Interestingly, searching for a photo or two brought me right back to home. Here are a few photos that struck a cord. Although all these shots were taken in the fall, they are of places close by where I manage to fish at least three seasons of the year. Autumn in eastern Ontario is a a spectacular time of year for photographs – maybe the landscape is more forgiving of me at that time of year because I seem to have more shots that I would show in public from this time of year. These images remind me that home is pretty special.
We got out with the float tubes on Tuesday to check out a couple lakes in the area. It was my first day in search of trout this year and it was a great to be out. On one hand, the weather was great – clear sky, little wind and warm temperatures. But I am not sure that was the greatest weather for fishing. At least that is my excuse. Other than a couple hits I was shut out on this trip.
Three of us headed up to a lake that has a history of tough fishing but also of large rainbow trout. We had the tubes on the water by mid morning which would be kind of late normally but the water temperature was still pretty low so we figured the fish would have been pretty sluggish earlier anyway. It was my first trip to this lake so I was really feeling my way around and looking for all the advice I could get.
It took a while but eventually a couple willing participants were located. This one was the first and largest. Not much energy just yet but looking in great shape.
After the brief flurry of activity things slowed down again and after stopping for lunch we decided to head to a second much smaller lake not too far away. This lake is a brook trout lake and can be fun particularly if there is any kind of hatch going on. The fish are generally small but they look great. On the water we found lots of shucks which looked promising but we tried everything and other than a couple hits, could not entice a fish to cooperate.
Not a lot of fish this time out but it was good to get out after too many months of winter.
Discovering a new good spot to fish is something special because it seems like all the good spots have been found out and are fished regularly.
This summer through a tip from another fly fisherman, we checked out a new spot pretty much in the middle of other spots we fish regularly. Its a spot on a well fished river, on the edge of a new subdivision that seems to be overlooked by most people interested in fishing. On the far bank there are several houses that seem to be in a world of their own.
Our first time there was earlier this month and in the three times I have been back, we haven’t encountered any other people fishing. I think Bob and Doug have been back on other occasions with the same results. Which is great for us.
Its a section of the river that has a steady but not overpowering current, is easy to wade and most of all – has lots of smallmouth bass. The fish aren’t huge but they are willing and on a light rod put up a respectable fight, taking full advantage of the current. We catch them subsurface but as the sun sets, the bass eagerly respond to dry flies which is a ton of fun.
The fish have been so willing that one quickly loses count of the fish caught and released. The first night out Doug had worked his way along the far bank close to one of the homes along the water. Apparently he had been watched and struck up a conversation with the gentlemen observing the fishing. He offered a couple suggestions of pools further downstream but only after he commented that he was pleased to see us releasing all the fish. It seems he recognizes the uniqueness of the spot and values it staying that way. Hopefully his wishes will prove to be reality.
The dilemma for us fisherman is always the same – how to balance enthusiasm for great fishing with respect for an environment whose balance can easily be upset.
July 10-12 was the second Ontario Family Fishing Weekend of 2009. During family fishing weekend, Canadian residents can fish in Ontario waters without a license. Several Canadian provinces and US states have one or two of these free fishing weekends each year with the goal to encourage non-fishers to try and hopefully adopt the sport.
From a family perspective the emphasis is usually on encouraging younger kids to get out fishing with the parents. This weekend I had the opportunity to take my kid fishing but he has actually moved into adulthood. I picked up fly fishing when he was just entering his teen years and at the time it wasn’t of much interest to him. This has changed recently and so the free fishing weekend provided an opportunity for him to pick up the fly rod for a bit.
We picked a local spot where I knew it was possible for us to wet wade in relative comfort so as to keep the equipment requirements to a minimum. The choice was a spot on the Rideau River pretty much in the centre of Ottawa where I had fished before and had success with some decent sized smallmouth bass.
While Matt has handled a fly rod a few times before, it had been a while since the last time. However he picked it up quickly and after a bit of searching we managed to locate some cooperative bass. They weren’t large but that really wasn’t the point. It was a lot of fun to be out with my adult son sharing something I enjoy with him and seeing him have a good time doing it. Perhaps it is time to graduate from the free weekends to a more regular partnership.