Urban Fishing

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.

Fishing on the Rideau River

Wednesday Night Fishing

I finally managed to join the OFS weeknight fishing group. Tonight we met at Hog’s Back Falls along the Rideau River – my first time fishing this spot. There are several pools and riffles below the falls.

It was warm and humid and I was sweating by the time I got down to the river. I guess my slip and subsequent filling of the waders was a way to cool off but it didn’t help much.

This was my first real test of the Korker rubber soles on rocks. The rocks were a bit slippery but not seriously so. However it was more than the rubber soles could handle. I will have to switch to the studded soles and see how that works.

As far as fishing was concerned, I caught a number of smaller bass and several fall fish. Todd did pretty well pulling in a couple good sized bass and four walleye.

Nice night out.

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.

Rideau River Drift

You see all sorts of watercraft along the Rideau River so nothing should seem strange however drifting down the river in a fly fishing float tube is a bit unusual.  It is not a speedy process but it can be a great way to access less frequented fishing spots along the river.  Last Saturday some of us drifted a section – probably about 3 kilometres in length with the intent of locating small mouth bass.  This was a continuation of a trip started last year cut short due to darkness.  Drifting this section of the Rideau in a float tube is not a speedy process – three kilometres in three hours is leisurely by my definition.  But it can be a great way to fish.

Last Saturday’s float began at a put in near St. Paul University and ended at Strathcona Park – both accessible urban Ottawa locations.

Upstream Rideau River

We started out in mid afternoon with high hopes for some great fishing.  However in keeping with the casual float, the fish were pretty casual about biting too.  After one and a half hours – four fishermen (and who knows how many fly changes) – zero fish.  This was not turning out as planned.  But about the time it seemed like this was going to be a kick down the river and nothing else, we moved out of a slow moving, weedy section of the river to a set of riffles with good bottom structure and the fun began.  The bass were suddenly much more cooperative hitting first on deep drifting clousers and weighted streamers but eventual experimentation led to hook ups with near surface flies as well.

The fish varied in size, some probably close to two pounds but regardless of size, they were adept at using the current to great substantial resistance and when they were able to locate some of the long weeds things became even more interesting.

Rideau River Smallmouth Bass

Eventually the river dynamics changed as we moved out of the riffle section but the weeds were not as heavy as we first encountered and there was still lots of structure so the fishing continued to be interesting.

As we started to think about the possibility of sunset, our take out spot presented itself around a bend in the river.  Three hours passed quickly considering we didn’t go far.  Fish during the last half of the trip definitely helped.

This map shows the put in and take out spots for the drift.  There are other sections along the Rideau that are also quite suitable for float tube drifting.

MapSherpa Rideau River Float

More Rideau Fishing

The two fly rods I planned to use this afternoon had been left in the vehicle my wife took so what did I decide to do – move firewood in preparation for this winter’s load. It seems to be wrong to be moving firewood in the middle of summer but that’s what happens when you don’t keep your fishing gear together.

I did manage to get out later in the day, hitting one of my favourite close by spots on the Rideau River around 6 pm. It was still warm but for some reason I decided against wet wading and donned the chest waders. Breathable maybe – but not enough. The warm air temperature and higher than expected water levels meant for warm work in search of suitable fish habitat.

Because of the high water, my planned route downstream was not possible so I elected to go upstream instead (not that there were any other choices).  This typically meant smaller fish but they would be mostly smallmouth bass.  Sure enough, once I managed to wade across to the far shore, the bass started hitting small streamers.  And true to form, they were the smaller sized bass.

After a while playing with willing small fry, I decided to work my what up towards the small dam a few hundred metres upstream.  The pool below the dam holds a variety of fish.  I had never caught much of size (other than a snagged carp) but thought it was worth the effort working my way upstream.  Remember the chest waders and warm temperatures?  The effort to move upstream through the moving water was greater than expected and by the time I made it to the pool, I was dripping in sweat.  Should have gone with wet wading since I was wet anyways.

Almost immediately there were fish willing to take my fly.  It was particularly effective to cast into the foam line that moved across the pool.  It seemed almost every cast into the foam line produced a hit or a fish.  Many were blue gills and suprisingly, a crappie which was not expected in this location at this time of year.

Although I hadn’t caught many bass here in the past, this evening was different.  Most were small but one decent sized bass decided to check out the larger streamer I put on in an effort to get deeper into the pool.

By 8 it was time to pack it in.  A short time out but not bad considering the spot is 10 minutes from home.

Wet Wading Relief

The posts have been few and far between recently – reflecting my lack of fishing. It has been a busy spring and early summer and fishing has been decidedly absent from the agenda.

But Matt and I did manage to get out for a couple hours the other night. It was urban fishing in search of smallmouth bass. And it was wet wading, a major attraction given the heat wave we have been experiencing. With 34C air temperatures, the water was starting to feel like a bath tub.

We weren’t the only ones enjoying the water. There was lots of swimming and general splashing about.

I am sure it had some impact on the fish but they didn’t seem too put off as we managed to hook into a few in the short time we were there. Nothing huge but still entertaining. It was good to get out again, catch a few fish and cool off.

Sunday Afternoon Fishing

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. Bridge at Andrewsville 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.Smallmouth Bass

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.

Rock 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.

Osprey Keeping Watch

Ontario Family Fishing Weekend

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.DSC_5943-1

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.

Andrewsville Evening Fishing

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 wasAndrewsville Bridge 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.Rideau River

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.