Monday, December 22, 2014

Down the fish hole

With the weather holding in the negative, but not too negative, I decided to get in some ice fishing before Christmas.
On Saturday I made it out to Cobb lake to find plenty of ice. With the wife and kids in tow we trekked out on to the ice and drilled a couple of holes. It wasn't long and we had a small brook trout to hand. A quick picture and it was back down the hole to its friends. We stayed for a couple of hours, the kids played on the ice and I watched a few more fish sniff my bait, but no takers. One even tried to eat my swivel just below the ice right in front of my face.

Today I went back to Cobb to try my luck again. I drilled a hole, near to where I was two days before. After about twenty minutes i could see a brookie swirling around my bait. I twitched it a couple times and watched the fish slurp it in. It doesnt matter how many times I have seen it, I love watching fish taking my offering. I set the hook and after a quick fight I had the first fish landed. I quickly dealt with the fish and had my hook back in the hole. Within minutes, and out of no where a good size brookie shot out from under the ice, smashed my offering and took off with my bait. Line was instantly peeling off my reel and my rod had a good healthy bend. This fish had energy and went on a few good runs.
The day ended with me enticing a few more fish but they decided they weren't hungry, just sniffed it.

Both fish I landed today were hooked just inches under the ice, in about 6 feet of water, and the bait of choice was procured shrimp. I did pump the stomach of the fish and found lots of mayfly nymphs, some shrimp and a water boatman. These fish were well fed.

Can't wait to get out again, and neither can my youngest daughter.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

First time fishing hard water.

Well the weather cooperated, the stars aligned, school reports are done so I went fishing. Ice fishing that is.
This was a new adventure and my first time ice fishing.
I had a late start and packed up all my gear to head to Cobb Lake. Through a snow filled back road and to the lake, I found two groups already on the ice. One guy was just landing a nice brookie and my hopes were high.
I carried all my gear out onto the ice and drilled my first hole. Easier than I thought it would be, I was expecting it to be harder. The ice was about 5-6" thick. I put on my bait, procured shrimp, and dropped it down the hole. With my bait in the water and the occasional lift to give it a bit of movement I took the opportunity to gaze around the lake. After all, there no need to watch into a hole in the ice all day. No sooner had i taken my eyes offthe hole, I felt a little tug, then another and then another. I set the hook and had a fish on. Now, I'd like to say it was a long hard battle but to be honest it was over pretty quick. My bait was probably only a foot under the ice and the little rainbow came in with ease. I pulled out my phone and quickly snapped a shot, but the fish must have been shy. It flipped out of my hand and back into the hole it went. It would have been nice to get a proper picture with my first ever ice fishing catch, but I was going to let it go anyway.

Unfortunately for me, I only had one other fish on all day which spat the hook before i realized it was on. In my books it was still a good day out, and I can't wait to try again soon.

On a side note, the thermometer read -15 degrees Celsius when I left this morning. Officially my coldest day of fishing.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Yes I am still around

It has been a long time since I have written on here. Probably the longest stretch since I started this blog. I felt I should let people know I am still here, just really busy.
I started a new job this fall and moved to a different part of the province. Unfortunately the job keeps me working long hours at the moment and I have not had the chance to get out fishing. Which is really tough for me. Hopefully soon I will embark on some new fishing adventures as the lakes freeze and ice fishing opportunities become available. I have never been ice fishing so it will be an interesting quest.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Fish Lake

Another day, another lake. With the leaves on the trees turning to bright yellows and reds as they begin their descent through gravity to the ground, fall is in full swing. Figuring I don't have many warm days left this season I took advantage of the sunshine and spent a couple hours fishing the appropriately named Fish Lake.

The lake is a quick 25-30 minute drive north of Vanderhoof towards Fort St James, so it took me no time at all to get there. The lake was quiet and a perfect size for a float tube or pontoon. I rigged up my fly rod with my go to fly for lakes I have never fished, a doc spratley. Seeing this lake had a bit of colour to it I opted for a red one. I barely made it 100 yards from where i launched my pontoon and I had a fish on. Apparently fish lake has a lot of fish in it. I lost count how many rainbow trout I caught. It didnt matter where I fished on the lake I was catching. The fish were not big, averaging 8-10 inches with my biggest on the day at 11", but there were plenty of them.

I didn't stay long as my wife and kids were waiting for me and exploring on shore. However, I did stay long enough to know that if you are in the area and are looking for a great little lake to take the kids where they will catch lots of fish then Fish Lake is a good choice.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Stellako River

I ventured the 40 minute drive today to a gem of a river, the Stellako River. It is a fly fish only river, a class two classified water and catch and release only. After fishing the river, I can see why.

Upon arriving at the river I took in the beauty as I rigged up my fly rod to the sound of sockeye splashing in the river.
The river itself was quite low and an almost limitless visability. The sockeye were chasing around the various runs and the rainbows were following looking for eggs and holding behing the many boulder within the soft current. Keeping an eye out for local bears (plenty of signs of them along the bank) and working my way down stream i fished a few beautiful runs. And the best part is the solitude. We had the river all to ourselves.

I was told the cinnamon caddis would be the best bet if the fish are rising, if not then a stonefly or egg pattern.
It didnt take long to get i to a fish. My first fish took a dry fly caddis pattern off the surface. It was a beautiful 10" wild rainbow which was soon followed by another about 12" long.

As the day progressed I managed to catch fish on the dry fly caddis pattern, a golden stonefly nymph, an olive stonefly nymph and an egg pattern. The fishing was great and the scenery was fantastic.

The last fish of the day was the biggest (about 16") and was sight fished. In fact it was less than a rod length from shore right in front of me. I literally dangled the stonefly 2 feet down from the rod tip and watched the fish come out from behind the rock and slurp in the fly. I set the hook and the fish took off jumping down stream. After putting up a valiant effort the fish came to hand and i removed the fly from its upper lip and sent it on its way.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Nechako River Sturgeon Hatchery

I visited the Nechako River sturgeon hatchery today and got to go on a tour of the facility.
The tour started with a little sterilizing. Everyone was asked to use hand sanitizer and to step into a shallow puddle to help sanitize their shoes or anything they may be tracking in. The person from the hatchery took us around the tanks and talked about the sturgeon in the river and the program they are running there.
They use river water in the hatchery (from the Nechako river) and are able to reuse the water at a rate of about 94%. Some is obviously lost to waste.
The sturgeon eggs and milt were collected from the river and some pitt tags were put in the mature fish they collected. The estimates of the population of sturgeon in the river are measured in the hundreds instead of the historic thousands. Apparently they are considered a distinct strain from the fraser river white sturgeon and are considered endangered. The reason for the low numbers is thought to be due to habitat loss because of lower water caused by a dam upstream. More silt in the water is also thought to be choking out the eggs. Apparently the river doesn't get a proper freshet due to the dam so it doesnt 'flush' out all the silt.
I did ask if the Nechako sturgeon ever venture down stream into the fraser and apparently they don't really do it which is part of the reason they are considered a seperate strain.

The hatchery collects and hatches the eggs. The young are reared and fed multiple times a day through an automatic feeder. The feed is a small pellet in which their nutrients are mixed in. They are grown to about a foot in length and then released into the river to do their thing.
In a seperate pool at the hatchery they have two female sturgeon. This two gals (Slimey an Khaleesi) were kept because their eggs were premature and not as formed as they were expected to be for their size (about 6' for Slimey and around 7' for Khaleesi). They will be holding onto them until May when they can hopefully harvest the eggs and release the two back into the river.

It was a very cool tour. I learned sturgeon have a spiral intestine and therefore when they defecate in the water it comes out in little coils. I also left my contact information for when they need volunteers for tagging and egg harvesting/fertilizing. Looking forward to going back again.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Region 7 : Cobb Lake

Well our house move is done and we are now living in Vanderhoof BC. There's a lack of salmon fishing in the immediate area but I am closer to the Skeena system now, which I will visit in the future for sure. For now, there's supposed to be excellent lake and river fishing for other species such as rainbows, brookies and dolly varden (to name a few).

I got out for my first fishing trip up here in region 7 today. It was a late start and i didnt get to the lake until about 11:30. I went out on the lake with my fly rod and a black doc sprately (my go to lake fly). After rowing around a bit (i need an electric on my pontoon) and tiring my arms I anchored up near some fallen trees and began casting. I was hoping there were a few fish hiding under the tree.  I saw a few rise and one even rose to the fly just after it hit the water but I didn't hook into anything. I rowed back down the lake trolling a fly and at the drop off had a rainbow smash my fly. It hit hard and peeled line right away. I landed that fish and circled back. That stretch of water gave up about a dozen bright rainbows of varying sizes. I circled back a few more times before calling it a day.

Not a bad day out for a first trip in the region. The lake was deadly quiet and there was only one other person fishing this so called "urban" lake.

Next week I may take a trip to the stellako river. A class 2 river with a lot of potential...

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Fraser Sockeye

Up early and out the door, with no one hearing me leave. It was a typical fishing day with me heading out early.
I drove out to the Fraser Valley looking for Sockeye which had just opened in the non-tidal portion of the Fraser River yesterday. First place I stopped was in Chilliwack at the infamous Peg Leg Bar. It was 6:30am when I got there and the bar was predictably packed with combat fisherman everywhere. I snapped a few pictures and watched the show for a bit before I moved on and explored the Chilliwack area.

Eventually I found a nice bar to fish from and walked to the far end of it to cast a line. The far end had a soft current and bottom bouncing for sockeye but did look good for bar fishing (note to self: return with bar rod). I did fish the end of the bar for a while before I moved back up stream. Upon heading back up stream I saw a sockeye break the surface. Here is a tip for all you sockeye fishermen out there. If you see fish rising, it is likely that they are rising in a traveling lane so that is the approximate distance you want to cast. It's not set i  stone but it is a good indicator. As I had now seen a fish rise i decided to cast out to what i figured was the traveling lane. It took about 5 casts and I had my first sockeye of the season on the end of my line.
Ten minutes later I had a second one and thus ended my sockeye harvest for the day as the limit is set at two sockeye per day.

After cleaning the fish and getting them on ice in the cooler out came my bar rod and a spin-n-glow. I went back down stream to some nice looking water on a gradually sloped bar and sent out my rig. While waiting for the bell to ring I walked the bar a bit cleaning up loose line and rusty hooks. Unfortunately even the good karma of cleaning up the bar couldn't entice a spring to hit my bar rig.

The day ended with me taking home two beauty doe sockeye. The drive home was long but it was worth it for a great day out.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

First day of Sockeye

Fishing for sockeye salmon in local waters recently opened so today marked the first outting to target them. We launched in Ladner at first light and went down the Fraser River and out to the salt. As we got to the mouth of the Fraser it became evident that the forcast was not as good as we had expected. The rollers were rolling in and things were not only difficult for trolling gear but also playing havoc on certain sensory inputs. In other words, after attempting to troll for a while my face began turning green and i was praying I would not be heaving over the side of the boat sharing a partially digested McDonalds breakfast with the Pacific Ocean. Thankfully I was able to retain the particularly nutritious meal and save myself the embarrassment of regurgitating over the side. Unfortunately for us, the waves were a bit much and the sockeye were not cooperating either. We retired to the sanctity of the Fraser mouth where the wind and waves were diminished. Again, the sockeye were not cooperating.  Maybe it was the coloured up brownish water of the Fraser, maybe it was the 30 or so Native driftnets dredging the river, or maybe we just lacked the tidal water fishing skills. Either way, it was time to switch to sturgeon.

We went back up stream towards the launch and stopped by some very polite and generous Native fishermen who kindly gave us some sockeye scraps as they cleaned their catch. The scraps included some nice roe skeins and the guts of the fish.

We tried a few spots but the wind and the heavy incoming tide were not cooperating and the boat would not sit still when anchored. Finally we found a nice sheltered spot with a 30 foot hole. We anchored up and cast out. At first we tried some spring salmon pieces we had that were the ticket last week. No luck today with that. We switched over to the fresh sockeye parts we had aquired and the bite was on. I hooked up a sockeye heart and a liver in a mesh sack and dropped out my line. It didn't take long and after a few good taps I set the hook into a nice 4'4" sturgeon. We tagged the fish and sent it on its way. Two more fish came to the boat after that one, a 4'1" and one about  3 foot. Funny thing was, all three sturgeon were caught on the same piece of bait. I didn't bother changing it after each fish. It just goes to show you that you don't always need a fresh piece of bait, the same one can work for longer than you may think.

On a side note here is the gear I used today...

For sockeye:
A 10'6" Trophy Titan 3106 rod, a green/blue/purple flasher an 18" leader and a barbless sparse pink hoochie on the end (made sparse by removing half the legs). The reel was an Abu 7001 spooled with 30 lb mono line. The leader was a little stiffer with 40 lb line so that the flasher imparted more action on the hoochie.

For sturgeon:
An 8 foot one piece Shimano technium rod with an Avet HX reel spoed with 150lb power pro line. We used 14oz wedge weights on a slider to sit the bait on the bottom and a 96lb nylon leader attached to a barbless 9/0 Gammagatzu hook.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Monster Sturgeon

Living in Vancouver, right near the mighty Fraser River has its perks. Lurking in the deep of the silty brown fraser river are some monster fish.
Yesterday's trip out was to target sturgeon. We launched in Fort Langley early in the morning and started up river. We set out the rods with a variety of baits (lamprey, pikeminnow, and chinook salmon pieces). It wasn't long before we had our first fish to the boat. Just a little guy but still a fun fight. It was an untagged fish and being on a boat that supports the fraser sturgeon tagging program, we inserted a tag and sent it on its way. After one more fish, this one on a piece of chinook we pulled anchor and tried another spot.

The next location was up near mission and produced the biggest fish of the day, hooked on a piece of chinook. The rod tip dipped a couple of times, I closed in on the rod ready to strike. The rod tip tapped again and I set the hook hard. At first I didnt think it was a big fish, but then it peeled some line and came up to say hello. The fish leapt out of the water for a nice tail stand and a big splash, twice, before we could get the gopro running and then again for a third time. This was a nice fish. I fought it hard for over 45 minutes. Pulling as hard as I could. My arms, legs and back were shaking. We pulled anchor and followed the fish around, getting it close to the beach before it took one last hard run and the worst feeling... snap... the fish broke the 150lb test line. I was devastated.  Upon further inspection the fish had frayed the line on it scutes (sharp bony protrusions) and there was about 5 ft of frayed line near where it broke. For those curious, this was the biggest fish I have ever had the pleasure of fighting. It was an estimated 8 feet long and a very healthy thick fish. Sigh.
Back to trying for another fish, but hoping for a bit of time before having to fight any other large ones. My arms, legs and back couldn't take another battle like that for a while.
Further up stream, in the Chilliwack area, I managed another big fish. Not as big as the 8 footer but still a big fish and a hard fight. This fish was also hooked on a piece of chinook salmon. Again i set the hook hard but there was not air time for this big boy. The other rods were pulled in and the anchor pulled. The fish decided to pull line and head down stream. Cut a long story short, after another long hard battle the fish gave up and we landed it at the beach. Unfortunately it wasn't as big as the one earlier but it did tie my personal best at 6 feet 4 inches. After checking for a tag (it was a recapture and already had one), measuring the fish and recording it all we sent it on its way.

The day ended with a total of seven fish landed and one big one lost. I got the pleasure of landing four of the seven fish ( 4'1" , 4'7" and 6'4"). Not to mention the 8 footer that snapped me off.  Needless to say, I woke up this morning feeling very sore.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Daddy Daughter Fishing Trip

I took my youngest daughter (six years old) fishing this morning. Our target species was pikeminnow and our location was the North arm of the Fraser river.
When we arrived it was a little chilly but it didn't take long before the sun and the heat came out to play. The trip was a quick one and our mission was to find some pikeminnow to use as bait for a sturgeon fishing trip tomorrow.

At first I tried to drift a light float along the shoreline in the soft current which yielded no results despite trying single salmon eggs and a special dough I had made. We tried a couple different locations along the bank before I decided to change the presentation and fish off the bottom. Lesson learned. Whe  it comes to fishing for pikeminnow keep it simple. Two split shot and a small size 14 barbless hook was all it took. The pikeminnow were strangely reluctant to take the salmon eggs  but they were more than eager to chew on the home made dough.
The bait would hit the water and within five seconds the rod tip would be twitching. It was quite frustrating as we couldn't make the hook stick. After a couple hook ups and long line releases we finally landed a small pikeminnow. The action was fast and furious but we only left with two for bait tomorrow.

In case you were wondering what the magic dough was that turned on the bite. It was simply flour, water, plain oatmeal, and peanut butter. Yes, you heard it... peanut butter. It works!

I love the fact that when she was asked if she wanted to go fishing my daughter's eyes lit up and a loud "yes" was heard throughout the house.

What a great day out.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Vedder Red springs

Today I made it out to the Vedder river. The sun was up early and so were we. The forecast was for hot weather so wet wading was on the menu. Unfortunately for me, I was on the menu too. As soon as I stepped out of the car I realized my mistake. I had forgot the bug spray and the mosquitoes were out in full force.
Beyond the bugs, the water was in good shape. It was a little higher than I like to fish but not unfishable on the spey rod. The visability on the water was good and allowed for our quarry, red chinook, to see our offering as we presented it to the depths with heavy fast sink leaders. They are known as red springs because of the colour of their flesh, pinkish red, as opposed to the white flesh fall springs. This early run does not produce as many fish and does not produce the larger sizes found in the big fall whites. In fact it can be closer to steelheading in that you have to seek out your quarry and find the few fish in the system.

We fished a few nice looking runs under the heat of the sun, thankful for the cold water we stood in. The day did not yield any springs, none were sighted and we heard of none caught throughout the river. However my fishing partner did pull a good size bull trout out of a run that gave up quite a nice fight so the day was not a bust fish wise.

On a side note. If anyone is thinking of fishing this river at this time of the year, there are sockeye moving through too. These sockeye are a part of an endangered run and should be avoided. If you happen to hook into one, and it does happen, please try play it out in a timely manner and release it quickly and gently without taking it out of the water.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Salvaging a Reel

Im going to preempt this post with the fact I am a rookie when it comes to wood working, metal work etc. Its not very often I take on such as this but I thought of it as an adventure as well as something to do while not working due to the teachers strike.

Anyway, I took my daughters crabbing at belcarra on a nice sunny day a few weeks back and had a blast catching bullhead, flounder and some decent size crab. There was an old abandoned sailboat there that the city was about to tow away for the scrap yard. Another gentleman was already working on salvaging the kicker motor off the back and I spotted an old wooden reel. I grabbed the reel off the doomed vessel (I was told it was ok as the lot was headed for greener pastures). It was in rough shape but I had time on my hands.

After many hours of sanding, polishing, drilling, disassembling and reassembling I turned out a half decent product. I have no intention of using this reel (although it is still a functional reel) but I thought it might look good on display. Everything in it is original except the handles, which were random wooden knobs I had to purchase and alter to fit.
Kind of a fun, cool project.

Local trip

This week I took my two girls camping.  Prior to our departure I hit the fraser for a quick few casts to see if I could conjure up some sturgeon. The fraser river is still a bit high to sturgeon fish from shore but I did manage a small two footer. Detecting the bite was difficult due to the rod movement in the heavier current. The bait for the day was eulechon.
Our camping trip was a local one to Rolley Lake. The weather was great, sunny and very warm. Since I had some time to kill, relaxing with the kids on the side of the lake, I decided to cast out my ultra light weight spinning rod and see if I could pull some fish up off the bottom. We walked and found a nice spot near a small cold creek that was dumping into the lake. I decided to fish off the bottom and having forgot to bring any bait (aside from artificial flies) I used what I had which was an old jar of power bait.
Well the old power bait did work and I managed two small cutthroat to hand which were gently released. The bites were fast and furious but not too many of them.
The kids had fun looking at the small rainbow fry in the creek as well as a rather large stickleback (see the picture) while they scoured the shore for neat looking rocks and enjoyed the outdoors.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Low and clear fly fishing at the Capilano

Four o'clock in the morning is so early!

After only getting about 4 hours of sleep the night before, I was up and ready to hit the Capilano river with my fly rod for some early season coho.
When we arrived at the river we were happy to see it was quite void of the usual crowds of fishermen.  This was probably due to the early hour and the fact it was a weekday. Not to mention we were in for some tough fishing due to the very low and clear water. In these conditions it is important to go with small size offerings. Today I was using size 10 and 12 flies.
We started off near the highway bridge, a popular run I had never visited before. I can see the attraction to that run, there was a decent pool and some nice water to fish with a few boulders u der the water to provide structure. However, with the low clear water there were no fish holding there. So after giving it a try and coming up empty handed we moved on and up stream to find some more water to drop a fly in.
At our next stop we found a nice deep pool that had some surface action with a variety of sizes of fish from little smolts to decent sized coho. The main pool with all the action proved to be full of tight lipped fish. I went for a bit of a walk down stream and managed a couple small fish (4 and 6 inches). Not wanting to bither the little guys I moved on and found some nice pocket water. The water was deep and slow enough and a slightly agitated surface so I could not see down into the clear water. Perfect... except it was quite the technical pocket to fish with varying currents, tight quarters and the challenge of etting the fly down deep without the rest of the line getting caught in the heavier current and sweeping the fly out. At first I tried it with a bead head fly (as seen in the picture) and a heavy sink tip, but it wasn't enough to keep the fly deep. I felt my fly was not in the zone fast enough or long enough. The pocket was no more than about 8-10 feet long and maybe 2-3 feet wide of slower water. Nothing was tempted to try my fly. My next step was to secure a tiny splitshot to the leader to help keep it in the zone. No sooner had I done this and i could see a coho follow my fly up on the retrieve ( which was more or a slow lift upstream than a strip) but trn away last second. This happened two times before it slammed the fly. The coho took to the air with a couple jumps, some vigorous headshakes and then snap.... my leader broke just above the fly. I was disappointed but excited at the same time.
Unfortunately, that was the only other fish we touched this morning and it was the only one we saw hooked. The water needs to come up a bit to bring in some fresh fish.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

West Coast day off

Well since my kids and I had the day off due to the current teachers strike, we decided to head to belcarra for a few hours. We took the crab traps and let them soak for a few hours and fished while we were waiting too.

There were a few other people fishing and crabbing too. One little boy caught a nice big flounder about 10 inches long, maybe more. Boy was he excited! Another couple of kids caught a bunch of herring just under the dock. As for us, we caught a couple small greenling and a small flounder. Enough to keep my kids occupied and happy. As for the crabs, my eldest daughter and I were having a little derby to see who caught the most. Usually she catches more but not this time. I brought in a grand total of 9 crabs (one of which was of legal size) and she brought in 6 crabs and a starfish. A couple of her crabs were within millimeters of being legal size.

A good day out, lots of beautiful sun and a tasty treat to take home in the end.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Capilano Hatchery

I was in North Vancouver this afternoon for my daughter's dance competition.  Since we were so close, we made a last minute decision to visit the Capilano hatchery after the dance performance.
We didn't stay for too long, but just long enough to check out the fish ladder, the hatchery displays and the fish holding behind the viewing glass.
If you haven't been to the hatchery I highly recommend it. It is a great place for the kids to learn a little about pacific salmon and steelhead and also get up close to see adult fish as well as juvenile.
There were a few nice coho behind the viewing glass that had made their way up from the Capilano river as well as one lonely steelhead. My kids enjoyed seeing the fish and exploring all the exhibits. It was a proud father moment when my youngest walked up to a display and promptly said "That's a sockeye daddy, it is red with a green head. And that's a chum, because it has purple stripes." Not bad for girl who just turned 5 two weeks ago.

After the hatchery we took a walk down to view the carnage at the Cable Pool. There were plenty of rods fishing the water and after speaking to a guy, there had been a couple of coho caught earlier that day.

The coho run in the Capilano consists of smallish coho typically and is an earlier run than the rivers of the surrounding area. The coho in the river are notoriously tight lipped and often shoot up the river quickly after the water level rises. When the water is low, they stage at the mouth of the river circling around in the ocean water waiting for the next heavy rain.

On a side note, in case you are planning on fishing the river, there is NO RETENTION OF STEELHEAD on the Capilano river and you would be wise to familiarize yourself with the proper identification of these fish.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Weekend Pictures

As promised here are a few pictures from this weekends excursions to Sawmill Lake (rainbows) and Vaseux Lake (smallmouth bass).

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Hot sun and wind on Vaseux Lake

Yesterday brought me some excellent trout fishing so today I tried something a little different. I went bass fishing on the fly.
I drove out to Vaseux lake in Oliver from where I was staying in Osoyoos. It only took about half an hour to get there and the drive was an easy one.
When I arrived i loaded up my pontoon and set out on to the calm lake. I went straight for an island at the south end of the lake hoping to find some structure.
Now let me begin with this, I am not a bass fisherman. I very rarely target them and I don't have a lot of experience fishing for them. Today I decided to try a nice big black wooly bugger with a bit of flash on the sides and a gold bead head. Upon arriving at the island and finding some over hanging trees I began casting. About five casts in and I had a bass slam my bugger. The bass put up a decent fight, I snapped a couple of quick pictures and it was on my way. I believe (and again I dont fish bass often) it was a smallmouth bass, and it was a solid 12" long. A personal best when it comes to smallmouth  bass.
I continued to work my way down the island and ended up hooking into and landing a few more and loosing a couple as well. Unfortunately the wind began to pick up and there were whitecaps forming on the lake. I fished my way back down the island towards the car, allowing the wind to drift me along. Fortunately the car was in the direction the wind was blowing or I would be too tired to be writing this blog post.

I also saw a few nice looking carp cruising the shallows. The looked to be easily in the double digits. Unfortunately they didnt want to play with me and my fly. Although probably for the best as it would have most likely broken my rod or at very least broken the leader and stolen my fly.

The day ended with a half dozen fish to hand and a few long line releases. Again, not a bad day to be out.
Pictures will be up when I get back to Coquitlam.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

May long at Sawmill

It's May long weekend and I am in Osoyoos. We drove up Friday after work and I couldn't leave my fly rod at home, it would have got lonely. Despite the long drive and lack of sleep last night I was up early to try out a new lake. With my pontoon strapped to the roof I was on my way to Sawmill lake. I heard there were some good size rainbows in the lake and that spring is a good time to fish it. The road up to the lake is a little rough and I wouldnt want to drive a car up it but i made it up with no problems in my SUV. Upon arriving I took a look around. There is a rustic campsite up there and some beautiful scenery. Standing on the shore looking out over the lake I see what I came here to find. A rotund, good size rainbow launched itself up out of the water  right out in front of me. I was getting even more excited and quickly returned to my vehicle to gear up and get on the water.
I had never fished Sawmill before so my first order of business was to tour the lake to look for fishy spot sporting structure and dropoffs. The lake is a small lake and quite shallow for the most part. I rowed around and trolled a black leech paying attention to what was under the water.
After about a half hour of putting around I found myself a nice shoal on the edge of deeper water where there was plenty of surface action. I anchored up and continued to cast my black leech pattern. No takers, knowing that there were fish feeding in the area I changed patterns to a green sparkle leech with a gold bead head. Two casts later I felt the familiar tug of a rainbow devouring my offering and I set the hook. By setting the hook I mean I simply lifted the rod as the fish had absolutely hammered the fly. A couple jumps and a great fight later I had my fist Sawmill rainbow to hand. Just a note, to anyone wanting to fish the lake it is currently artificial fly, barbless hooks and catch and release only (but don't take my word for it, check the regulations before you go).
As the day progressed the swallows began to show up. They must have known there was a hatch about to happen. Soon after they arrived mayflies began to hatch and the fish responded by sipping them off the surface. I was cursing myself for forgetting to bring mayfly dries. It would have been amazing to watch the trout rise in the clear water to a mayfly dry sitting on the surface. Fortunately, the trout continued to enjoy the tantalizing green sparkle leech I had on and I continued to catch many more rainbows, none of which were under 16" and many much larger ones.
Sawmill is now on my list of lakes to revist and fish again in the future. It was a successful day full of big rainbows and good times. On a side note, due to the warm climate in the area and the shallow lake, this lake is probably best fished in the spring and the fall  before and after the hot summer weather.

Pictures to come, when I get home.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Wind on the lake

A late start today, after my daughter's lacrosse game, saw me heading to Whonnock Lake in Maple Ridge. It took me a while to get everything loaded up as this was my first day out on my new pontoon boat. I was very excited and took my time setting it up and strapping it down to my roof rack.
When I arrived at the lake I filled my pontoon's carry bags with the various flies, tools and accessories I woukd need for my time on the water. It wasnt long and I was on my inaugural row out onto the lake. It had been many many years since I had rowed anything other than a kayak or a canoe so the two paddle thing was giving me a bit of grief. After a couple of minutes of zig zagging back and forth I began to ge lt the hang of it. Then probably one of the worst things a rookie rower would want to deal with happened... the wind picked up. It wasn't long before the wind was howling across the lake and my rowing skills, or lack there of, were inhibiting me from doing any effective fishing.
The wind was fairly continuous for the time I was out there, with brief respites here and there. I did manage to hook three fish while I was there but lost them part way in, likely due to fumbling around in the u familiar setting on the pontoon. Note to self, the "rod holder" that comes with the pontoon is not a good rod holder and needs to be replaced with an effective one.
Despite not landing any fish, I did manage to hook 3 and I did learn a little about the pontoon. I now have a better idea of what kinds of things I want to add and do to the pontoon.
Next time I will be paying more attention to fishing and I will land the fish. ;)

Sunday, April 20, 2014

On the river again

This weekend is a long weekend, which saw me getting out twice for fishing. Friday I started at the Stave River with my spey rod looking for some late season steelhead. The weather held and there was very little rain, although the wind did pick up a bit. Unfortunately I did not get any fish in the few hours I spent walking the river. From there I went to the Fraser River and dropped a li e for sturgeon. This was more sucessful and I managed to hook 3 fish. Two of the fish were around 3 feet in  length and the last one (which managed to spit the hook) felt a little larger. The fish were not big but it felt good to hook into some.

Today I got out on the Fraser again and fished around the Fort Langley area. We managed only one sturgeon to the boat which was caught on lamprey eel. It was hooked in our usual local spot, in about 12 feet of water. Again it was only a small one but better than none at all. We did have a few more solid hits but nothing would stick.
After we were done fishing for the day we ventured to the local store and I bought myself a pontoon. I can't wait to give it a try.. stay tuned for a possible lake report next weekend... fishing from my new pontoon...

Friday, April 11, 2014

Stave River Surprise

I had the day off work today, and my kids did not have any school, so we decided to go to the Stave River in search of cutthroat and maybe some whitefish on the fly. I decided to take my six weight fly rod, just in case we could find something of size or maybe even an elusive steelhead. The weather was sunny and warm and the kids were happy on the shore with their metal detector.
The first run I tried produced nothing, no sightings in the crystal clear water, no rises and no takes. There were plenty of salmon fry in the river and my fry immitation was looking pretty good swinging through the run.
As we moved down stream and fished spot number two I noticed a couple rises just a little further down stream. The rises were bigger than whitefish and seemed bigger (at a distance) than cutthroat.  I moved down to where I could cast to the rises and confirmed that they were indeed steelhead. This is where I began to get excited.
It only took a few stealthy casts into the relatively shallow run before my heart started racing. As I stripped in my fly I saw a wake and fin (cue the theme to Jaws) cruising up behind it. The fish followed the fly and my anticipation grew until finally.... a splash and.. nothing. The fish either missed the fly or shrply turned and left.
About ten minutes went by, a few risers showed theselves and the birds squabbled on the far bank. My attention wandered and smack! A fish hit my fly hard. A couple of head shakes and a jump and I see a nice chrome steelhead on the end of my line. One more splash at the surface and the hook pops out.
No matter how hard I tried I could not get any more fish to commit to my flies. I tried a few different patterns all to no avail. It was such a tease as for about an hour there were consistent rises and splashes from some good size fish I can only speculate were steelhead. Unfortunately, I had places to be and needed to head home. However, the excitement was enough to make me want to return another day.