Monday, March 24, 2014

The long awaited 1000th cast

Today started as many mornings do, with the alarm going off early and me suiting up for another fishing trip. The vedder was my destination. With the dropping water levels, the threat of fair weather for the day and rain in the forcast for the rest of the week, I set off to search for steelhead.

After a quick stop for a healthy McDonald's breakfast I was on the freeway heading for Chilliwack. Now I am not sure how others get ready for a day of fishing, but I almost always suit up at home with my waders on so I am out the car and on the river as soon as I get there. My rod is tied and ready to go the night before and everything is strategically packed so I dont waste time in the morning. Today was no different in that respect. So back to the fishing trip. I was heading down the freeway, consuming some quality table fare from my favorite Scottish restaurant when I realized it was getting a little warm and toasty in the car. So naturally I turned down the heat. Or so I thought. I drove a little further and it was getting even warmer. So I turned the temperature control in my car all the way down. It still got hotter. My temperature control knob on my dash was not co-operating. "So this is how my day is going to be" is what I said to myself. Well, that and a few choice words. Needless to say I had to drive the freeway, in the wee hours of the morning with my window open so I wouldn't die of heat stroke. Why did I put my waders on at home?

When I arrived at the river I parked, hopped out of my sauna car and trekked to my first stop. It was a fishy looking run if I have ever seen one. The anticipation of the day ahead made the heater trouble disappear from my mind. I held my center pin at the ready and gracefully sent my float and jig out into the fishy looking run. Thats where problem number two reared its ugly head. I looked down to see a nice big birds nest on my reel and thought to myself "why didn't I stick with the spey rod". It took me what seemed like forever to untangle the mess.
I continued to fish that first run and saw no action. I waded across a side channel to the head of another run. Thats when the wind picked up.

The wind wasn't unbearable. It was coming in gusts, and was rather annoying. The wind and I were in perfect synchronization. Every time I went to cast the wind would pick up. When I was reeling in at the end of a drift, it would be calm. Sigh....

Despite the wind and other difficulties of the day, the trip was worth the effort. I fished a lot of good water and it was actually quite a nice day out there. As I worked my way down stream from run to run, fishing every piece of water that may hold fish I came across a nice side channel with a small slot of deeper water. The water was, at most, three feet deep in the middle so I thought I would drift a few times through it. Nothing. No evidence of fish. So I moved on to the main run that was just  the other side of the side channel. As I fished through the run I looked behind me to see another angler who had apparently also decided that side channel looked fishy. Too bad I had already flogged it to death just 2 minutes before. WRONG! About 5 casts in and his float takes a dive and a chrome steelhead burst out of the shallows. I watched in disbelief. I thought I had covered that water pretty well, after all it wasnt a very side channel. I guess the fish didn't like my jig. Unfortunately for the other guy the fish spat the hook. He tried for a bit to get it to bite again but it was to no avail. I finished through the run I was fishing, and through another. No action. On my way back to my car I decided to throw a few more casts in that side channel to see if the fish was still around. To my dismay, nothing I tried would get it to bite. I concluded it must have taken off.

Back at my car I decided to change things up a bit and switched over to a size two hook with a bait loop. I had  brought some procured chum roe and it was time to try it at my next destination.

Now if you are still reading this post, this is where it gets interesting. My next stop warranted a bit of a walk to the run I wanted to fish. On the walk I stopped to look at a small run between runs. It was a piece of water I, and I suspect many others, have walked past many times. For some reason today my fishy sense was tingling and I decided to give it a few casts. Well I literally only got a few casts in before fate took over. I sent out a perfect, smooth cast that cut through the air like a softly hovering frisbee thrown ever so gently to a loved one. The float landed softly on the water and sat upright at attention, poised for whatwas to come next. The float drifted down stream seamlessly until it vanished before my eyes. The take was aggressive and my reaction was quick. It was game on. As soon as I felt the head shakes I got a big shot of adrenaline. The fish took off, peeling line and showing off it's acrobatics on more than one occasion. The fish promptly took my line up stream in an attempt to throw the hook. Then... slack line. The fish had turned. For a half a second I was devestated, thinking I had lost the fish. Instantly I reeled like mad to try to catch up. Then... head shakes. I had managed to keep up and the fight was stil on. It was a good fight, but one of us had to win. The fish was eventually spent, and I had to hand. Luckily by this point I had amassed a few spectators, one of which offered to take a picture. Being that it was a wild fish, I didn't want to have it out of the water too long. I asked him to have my camera ready so I could quickly lift it up for a quick victory shot of my first steelhead landed before I sent it back on its way.

Today was a good day.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Long spey day

Today I fished the Vedder river again. Starting near Peach Road I fished a pink and purple intruder style fly through some pretty fishy looking water. The sun was out and it was a beautiful day. Although, my fishless streak with regards to steelhead continues as I didn't touch one all day. I fished up to Alison pools and back again, and the water conditions were excellent.
Early in the day I did land a bull trout in the Peach road area, so at least the day was not fishless. The bull was fooled by the pink and purple intruder style fly that was swung through the tail out of a side channel. Poor trout was having a rough time, displaying some talon marks on its back from a run in with a bird of prey. On a side note,  for those of you that pursue steelhead on the fly, if you are getting into bull trout don't be discouraged as you are fishing the right kind of water.
Another good day out, and a lot of good spey casting practice.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

After the rains

The second half of the weekend brought rains to the Vancouver area and the rivers bumped up in water level. I managed to get out fishing again yesterday on the Vedder River in Chilliwack. The rains had stopped and the river level had peaked and was beginning to descend.  I was hopeful for a dry fun day walking the river.
I arrived early in the morning, just after first light. To my delight, there were not many people on the river fishing. It could be due to it being a Monday morning and most people were heading to work. My first stop was on the lower river in a few runs I had seen a number of fish landed a couple days before. I had decided to take my center pin instead of my spey rod this time and I drifted roe through a few good runs with no results. The river was up quite a bit from my last outing and the visability was around 6 inches. These were my excuses for not touching any fish. I made the decision to move up river to see if I could find some clearer water.

After a quick drive up river I hiked I to a spot above the clay slide area. For any of you that frequent this river you know of the slides and the chocolate milk they spew into the river after a good rain fall. The question on my mind was will getting above the slides produce clearer water? The answer was at the end of a long hike and the answer was yes. The visibility was about 2 feet up above the slides. I fished through a few good runs, admired the beautiful surroundings, the fresh snow on the mountains and the lack of people on the river.
Unfortunately the day ended empty handed. However the weather, despite its best efforts of a few rain drops and snow flakes, held and I even saw a bit of the sun. Stay tuned as I am hoping to get another day this week to get out steelheading, and I hear sturgeon fishing is starting to heat up. I just got a new lever drag sturgeon reel and it needs to see some action soon!

Sunday, March 16, 2014


Yesterday I took part in a fishout on the Vedder River in Chilliwack. Over 20 of us met up at the river and dispursed in smaller groups to target steelhead. My group started in the lower river and the three of us were on spey rods. We worked a fair amount of water and saw a number of fish caught by near by gear guys. Unfortunately for us we didn't hook any fish. In fact none of the fly guys at the fishout hook any fish; there were five of us in total. Others in the fishout did catch fish on their gear rigs.
The weather held nicely for us and only a few drops of rain fell, the river was in beautiful shape.
I wish I had more to report but not catching fish isn't as interesting as catching them. Maybe tomorrow will yield better results.