Wednesday, December 12, 2012

With only a few weeks left to our season and the ever increasing amount of preparations to look after before the big fat guy comes down the chimney, a good friend and I made the last minute decision to take advantage of the opening in our schedules. I had just fished several days prior, coming home with fishy gloves. The river was a smidge higher and more coloured than what I consider as “prime”. I had also heard that it fished better the day after I was there. We could only guesstimate where they could be on the system and plan accordingly.
Brad offered to drive which turned out to be the better. On our way up, our speed was reduced to 60km/hour as the snow was coming down nicely and blanketing the road. My car would have been all over. We eventually got stuck behind a salt truck. Though we were not in a rush as I figured not too many would be out, the reduced paced with an obstructed view ahead did not necessarily agree with two anglers whom were having visions of steelhead dancing in their heads.
There was a calming that came over me when we got out of the car. Not another vehicle around and the river still had a good clip to her and the colour mixed quite nice. Taking our time, we discussed which run to hit first. For a moment, it seemed like we were engaged in some serious business dialogue. The calming had begun to developed into excitement.  At the end of the walk in, we decided to split up and hit different drifts in efforts to locate them.
Adjusting my float and adding some shot, I hear a crash that broke the zenquility. As I looked up and over, Brad was frantically trying to catch up to his line from one of those hero drifts. The fish came back up on him and then burst across the river. I think Brad was still gathering the slack line when it spit the hook. So like any good buddy would, as he re-tied, I slipped around to low-hole him…….. and banked the first fish of the day.
Payback is a bitch. On the next run, Brad took advantage of yet another re-tie I was blessed with.

Right in front of me his float would dip under however this time, he made no mistake and set the rod back hard.

It was a big buck that would tear up the run despite the reduced temperatures.

Eventually he could not break the heavy tippet. Brad slid him onto the grass for a quick pic and admiration before sending him back.
Squared up on the hijinks, we decided to hit as many runs before the mid-way point of the day and then work the same runs and pools back to the vehicle.
We were certain there would be more than one fish in them as we could only muster one at each stop along the way. Instincts proved accurate as we connected with a few more on the latter part of the outing.
One particular highlight was a very large fish that had Brad hopping across the river in pursuit. Never seen him go with so little caution. As I got down below him and the fish, I caught a glimpse and thought it was a late entry salmon. It was that big. We had to have been close to five minutes into the battle and a good 50 meters downstream. It was no surprise that the knot gave way and sent his rig directly back at him. He was fortunate that it all hit his chest otherwise he would be asking for his two front teeth this Christmas.
There may be one more trip out before the 25th. For now, it’s off to wrap the damn presents…..

Friday, December 7, 2012

Our rivers got the rain they needed. There was anticipation and hope for a well-timed trip. More hope than anything else as I have not been timing things to its potential. There always seem to be something that takes precedence and admittedly, I don’t want to miss any of my son’s practices or games these days.
I had given myself half a day on Thursday which would leave plenty of time to return home, clean up and organize his hockey gear. Maybe even sneak in a nap. How nice would that be? What I did not plan was that the alarm sounded off at 4:30am and I decided to give myself a 90 minute snooze button option! I almost rolled over to stay in bed, contemplating a day of begging and changing appointments in order to go the following day. I have learned from past experiences to stick to the original course if I knew what was good for me.
Arriving quite past first light, several cars had easily beaten me there. I was to fish second water. Lately, I have come to accept it and have had success none the less. Today was nothing different. I started low on one tributary thinking the conditions would keep them short after entering from the lake. Didn’t think for a moment I would be alone.

And though it was never meant intentionally, I found myself drifting a piece of a tailout where I thought the fish would hold given the amount of presentations and float popping that was going on. It was also being drifted by another so I essentially pinned him from across the other side. He had more room and drift than I however I don’t think he could see the two rocks that I could see. These two rocks made a nice chute just ahead of the fast water. On my first drift through, the Oregon Cheese yarn pattern got smacked. Easily to hand but right after the click of the camera, it took my fly.
I only stayed a couple of hours here. The action slowed down and though I knew there were still a few there, I decided to leave fish for more seclusion and unpressured fish. After a drive around, several access points were occupied. It was doubtful there would be a chance at any non-spooked fish. While there was a notion to call it a day only after fishing for a few hours, I decide to drop back to a different system and hope for the best, that few would be there.
Pulling up, there were three cars cold to the touch. Assuming it would be only three others and there was plenty of water up or down, my hopes were rejuvenated when I saw the greenie water.  Double stepping to one of my favorite high flow runs and wouldn’t you know, not another around!  I should have changed floats but time seemed to be pacing out very quickly. Instead, adjustments to the set up were made in order to support the “wrong” float for the application. Within minutes, a quick take and a two second zig zag left my set up hanging on some bank brush.

My Blackberry chimed off the 60 minute warning. “Fish Fast” was what I had noted in my alarm pop up. And indeed I did. I wanted to cover two other drifts. Falling over growth that had not been knocked down by the weather, I stumbled to another run. Again, first drift into it, a feisty hen not happy that the meal she wanted was just hard plastic.
I wish I could have been on the river again today. Water levels would have made for easier navigations to various runs. Looking forward to the next outing. Perhaps I can leave the orange toque at home.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Paying attention

.......... then there are times I become so engrossed in the drift, you could walk right up to me and I would be oblivious to your presence.
This was evident towards the end of the other day when Rob and I were out looking for silver.  We had been undecided on what water to drift at first light. Turned out, we (as usual) were still driving as the sky went from black to blue.  Again, the access was empty. The river had some decent flow and the colour, nice. Combined, there were runs set up to hold fish.  Well, except the fish must not have known about them. The river had beaten us early this morning. I paraded my entire selection of patterns, threw down some organics and all I was rewarded with were a few creek chubs. We have always said that the sign of creek chubs meant there is a void of steelhead. We hiked back to the truck.
Still early in the day, it was mid-morning. A few suggested alternatives were thrown around but we both realized that it would be too late to make a day of those spots. Instead, we took a chance for fresh fish and most likely, occupied second water.
Surprised but hopeful. When we arrived, the only two anglers before us were just finishing up. That was the surprise we did not expect. The hope would be at the expense of seeing several very fresh silver brood stocks tugging at the clasp that was holding them back from freedom. There are always another few around after most spots have been fished. As much as I understand those that like to keep a few for table fare, I would think that a more selective harvest would be the sensible thing. It would also be shallow and inconclusive to suggest that perhaps they come from a far distance and do not have the same care and passion I have for the fish that run the systems I grew up on. To my limited knowledge, only the biggest of the systems has a program in place that seems to be receiving incredible results. The rest are subject to natural reproduction, minimal private stocking efforts and straying.
The morning let down had me focusing intently on every seam, bend and change on the surface. I adjusted several times in order to get the set up as right as I could.

With only my good friend nearby, I concentrated deeper with each drift. They were a tad longer than the norm. Ironically the first hit would be closer in and not very far down the edge of the seam in front of me.
Just before me, Rob laid into a duker of a male. I could tell, he was not happy to have been stuck and pulled at.

Twice he came in and as soon as I got close to tail, he took back five to six yards. The cold water temps helped keep him from shredding things up and bolting back to the lake.

                Our fish did not see any clasps or ropes, only the deep safe comforts of the river again.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Thinking back now, we left the city way too early. The fresh brewed coffee was most welcomed. As always, a good talk on the way up, sharing and catching up on what has been going on in our lives. It had made time fly and before we knew it, we had missed a turn. As we got to the river, the popular access already had four vehicles in park and headlamps were bobbing in the dark. Good thing we were just passing by. I am not sure I could have handled such a crowd with at least 30 mins to any bit of light to rise up on the horizon. A few minutes later down a gravel road, I had a tingling feeling that the one vehicle ahead of us was one I knew. Sure enough, Tony was there patiently pacing waiting for his friend. We spent some minutes and a few warming shots of Irish Creme, talking of the day ahead of us. With a wish for luck and safe journey, Brent and I were off, weaving the field to the river.
Colour was nice, flow was decent. My excitement got the best of me. I could not sit long enough in any particular run. I spent some energy carefully tip-toeing along the bank when Brent hollered. Rod tip pointing downward and that classic arc in his rod as it was fully loaded. I was very happy to see him take not only the first fish of the day, but his first for the season.
In trying to pack the morning before leaving, I neglected to check the camera for the SD card. I left it in the laptop. Internal camera memory allowed two pictures at the high pixel rate I had it set to. One is not a proud one and thus will remain buried, possibly deleted. Fish and new reel shot but both are out of the water along the bank. Not how I feel fish should be portrayed.

My wading eventually got the best of me. The new reel went for an honest swim under the surface and for all of the fish hooked, a small bow. Not a smolt but by no means a slab. Hope Ron does not hold this capture against me. I will try to get better quality takes.

Friday, November 9, 2012


A hundred hours at the machine, at least

A handful of lunch meetings

A few drafts and cuts

A very talented artist that was able to transform my vision and wishes in to something that has a part of me in it

I was somewhat speechless when it was finally placed in my hand. I think I took "custom built" to the extreme

RSG Custom Reels

Saturday, October 27, 2012


For several years now, the chase for migratories starts with salmon, then lake-run brown trout before settling in on steelhead. Five weeks ago, I took the first trip for salmon and was rewarded with sore arms and a book of memories. Since then, I have been bounded by a demanding work/home schedule, left to  only cheer on my fellow fishing buddies to “represent ” as they capitalized on early pushes .  Although I did get out once a few weeks back, there was little to write about. I lost two magnificent chrome fish fresh in from Lake Huron. Add to that, I was asleep at the wheel for a few more.
Finally, yesterday, I cleared the e-pile at work to book the day off for some much needed time on the water. The usuals could not make the day which in hindsight, was not all that terrible.  For the most part, like my fellow bloggers Brian and Gene, I prefer not to fish in amongst crowds. The very sight of another on any of my favorite drifts sends my hair into a tingled frenzy.  However, the course is to chase lake-run browns. Unfortunately, it means going to places where there are can be a circus of anglers. Suspect methods of angling was quite present. The trade-off is that there is a ridiculous amount of fish and in a shallow, selfish moment, numbers seem to be the want and somewhat of importance.
It was a long drive. One that saw two stops for breaks and refueling with coffee and sweet baked goods. When I reached the access or in this case, the gravel parking area, I started to second guess my decision. There were a lot of others that beat me to first light. Oh well, here now! I geared up and into the battle I went. I stopped at the river's edge to scan the scattered presence of other eager anglers. Not wishing to mix and mingle, I chose a tailout that is rarely fished whenever I do come here. Turned out, the colours where fantastic there.  The day was exactly what I need in terms of catching up with myself and also to pad the numbers, making me feel worthy to the game. I am already looking forward to the next trip

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Anticipation Fulfilled

For what can seem like eternity, excitement builds when the leaves change color and begin to fall. The summer dry will soon be moved out by cold air and wet weather. It is the adult angler version of what I felt like during those days that led up to Christmas morning. I would check the tree every day before going to school. No presents. I would come home and run through the front door. No presents. School would be done for the year and that was the signal that the big day was near. Decorations around the house and prepping for the big feast meant the smell of baked goods would fill every room.

It’s the fourth quarter and we are up by 10. They have the ball on their 20. Several plays later the 2 min warning reveals a possible win is about to result. The coaches make changes and delay the play as much as they can, trying to slow the momentum down. A slippery bootleg and we find ourselves faced with an onside kick leading by only 3 with plenty of time to be humbled. I sat the bench for kick off. Fine with me. Less pressure to mess things up but at the same time, it was my graduating year. There would be no more post-secondary football. Still I sat with intensity waiting for the final whistle.

For myself and Brad, the anticipation was finally over. At the last moment, I booked the day off and dusted off the gear. Everything was pretty much how I left it this past spring. There is something to be said about being already rigged up that makes things so much easier. Chasing salmon as they enter the tributaries is not the most regal experience of the great outdoors one will have. With what is left these days, getting to the “wilderness” meant testing your patience as you fight through traffic and automotive gridlocks. Similarities the salmon face. Ironic somewhat.  Arriving to the river, we surveyed the best route and place to make the first drift. It took a bit of adjusting as I eventually hooked  up with an angry king. It had already crushed my present and was now determined to rip my hands and fingers apart burning up and down the pool. Every so often it would come out and flip me the fin. I would have respectfully exchanged greetings and released him had it not been for an oblivious bloke that drew his float and hook over mine and ripped my line so hard that my gear came back to my feet in a blink. Urban fishing 101.

The day was filled with joy and laughter. Exchanges of words, hooks, floats kept things from going stale. It was a circus of events. Guys coming and going. Towards the end, we had played till our hearts were content. Exhausted by the day and the lead up the night before, we dragged our soreness up the path. The excitement still lingered as we shared the day on the ride home. It’s the beginning. The beginning of what is hopefully, another stellar year chasing migratories.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012


Since the opener of bass season, it has become very humid. The main river running through our fair city struggles to maintain its flow. In some parts, one could walk across atop the sun-bleached rocks. I have been down to various parts of the Thames in search of some river smallmouth bass. In previous summers, one could easily tag onto several high flying bronze backs in notable sizes. So far this summer, there has been nothing over 3lbs.

( zonkered)

At times, getting a fish to hit was a brow sweating task. Hell, finding runs deeper than my knees meant longer walks from the usual access points.

( getting bent)

( high sticking)

Brent and I have been hitting the gravel around the dinner time slot. Streamers, buggers and poppers. I had all the flies I needed for the evening in one small flybox. An extra leader and a spool of tippet. Everything fitted in one little fanny pack. A far cry from steelheading.
If you are willing to take a hike, you will be rewarded with some healthy, albeit, smaller than usual fish. On our most recent outing, Jack Frank suited up to partake in some of the action. I don’t think he was none too impressed with the smothering heavy air either.
( WTF are you looking at? )
It is what it is. A low flowing river that has me wondering where the big bass are in the places I grew up spending my youthful summers, hiking, canoeing and learning to fish.    

( a good fish from Brent)

Tuesday, July 3, 2012


Here’s the irony. I can’t swim however if I know I am safe from drowning ( or that the odds are in my favor that I won’t), I am completely comfortable in over my head.
The opening of bass season was quite enjoyable. My good friend Jack joined me for some pond bass. I was able to get a second float tube from best bud (Brent) so both Jack and I could float about and get pulled around by the bucketmouths. It was unfortunate that Brent could not have joined us. He knew he would be nursing a hangover and wisely manned up bailing on this trip.

No early start. I was still rubbing my eyes open when Jack rolled up to the house at 6am sharp, to the minute. A quick pit stop for air (of all things) and we made our way to the launch. This would be Jack’s inaugural trip in a float tube. I was looking forward to seeing him get man-handled on the water.
He did well. In fact, too well. A quick study and he was on his way, flipping around me and re-positioning himself to face the weedline drop offs. Jack struck first with a small fish. He would go on to complete the morning with the best fish between us. One healthy largemouth.

Me, I took the time to de-stress and simply enjoyed the time carefree of all else. Not to be left off the board, I found some eager and aggressive fish here and there

Saturday, June 9, 2012


For the past several weeks, I (we) have been immersed in the world of competitve youth soccer and although this means less angling, so be it. I would never think twice nor regret watching the both of them grow and develop into a sport I grew up playing. They are by far playing several years ahead of what I was accomplishing at this age. The level of coaching alone they are receiving pales in comparison to the small mortgage payments we invested in them.

An ex-Team Canada Mens Team whom played pro in England is slowly grooming Brandon into a formidable threat on the pitch. He is already surpassing half of those in the age division he is currently playing in, which happens to be one year up.

With a coach about to receive his national coaching credentials ( and apparently there are only 3 in all of London, Ontario and the greater area ), Kayleigh has gone from a last minute recruit (playing on a regular competitive organization ) onto a regional team, to earning a starting position amongst the eleven that look to have a ton of potential this year to advance the team to a provincial level.

Hopefully they are not developing too fast physically leaving the mental aspect of the game lagging. I have seen many peak early and burn out only to never receive a look entering into university/college. By no means am I pushing for full scholarships and a course to professsional sports as a career. My mother brought me up to always focus deep and do the best I can at whatever I spend my efforts and time on..... and then add one extra effort cause you just never know.

All this has kept me away from some of my favorite hatches. The calendar for the rest of this month and July show very few holes for fishing. The rivers may just have to wait. I did sneak in an ill-timed trip to some local waters but that will be a new set of details to share.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Less is more

“A lazy person will never find fulfillment and/or satisfaction in life. “
……….. And it is this disinclination that almost resulted in a day wasted. Part of me had just wanted to sleep in and do nothing so when the alarm rang, it was snoozed for another five minutes. Not sure why there is an option for such a short time. In those minutes, I did not get any more sleep and really, spent that moment contemplating on whether or not, to go. Logic set in. I would not have gain anymore sleep and would most likely be lethargic all day having only a few hours of rest. I would have been useless at home.
The day began late but there was no rush. Unlike other mornings where there is a tendency to speed along under the cover of darkness, the car crept on while I enjoyed the morning drive.
 It was great to actually see the sun rise. The morning had lured the deer out from the thick and there were a few turkeys strutting about.

It was a surprise to see only two cars ahead of me. I flipped a coin as to which direction to venture or rather which direction the others went, up or down.  To have the first few spots to myself was great but I had to wonder if I was fishing second water. No takes on a few different patterns. On the next run, I decided to lean back on a fall down and watched before flogging it to death. Sure enough, the breeze ceased and a few risers showed their presence.

They did not seem like big fish but then again, I have hooked decent fish that barely broke the surface during a hatch. There was a big temptation to tye on a dry but a soft hackle seemed like a better choice.
I made my way down the twisting creek and up ahead, there was car one. Minding etiquette, I ducked into the bush and squirmed my way below him. Curiosity got the best of me. The creek seemed void of much action and I was thinking that if this was the case for him, I would not invest anymore time or energy in this stretch and book back out to another access. Fate must have been looking down. Car one was a friend whom I had not been in contact with for over 6 months. Andrew and I caught up on life and laughs. He too had sporadic action. We decided to continue down as far as time would permit.
We would flip flop taking turns for first casts as we made our way. The action got better and more consistent as the morning grew.  Still, the big fish did not show. Perhaps it was not a day for them. We were now a few kilometers from the vehicles. Working a few of the more productive runs our way back proved to be entertaining. I am glad I did not allow laziness to set in. Seeing a creek healthy full of trout and catching up with a friend is so much more than getting a few extra hours of sleep.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012


There are those that only pursue big fish.  Small fish are bait to them. Small trout is an opportunity for me to break out the fly rod and challenge my abilities to read water and tye patterns to fool mother nature. Let’s admit, trout like any other fish can be easy to hook when they are in the feeding mood. But how successful can you be when they are not hungry or have become spooky and wary?
The other day, I set out with a good friend Tony for a morning of fly fishing for resident trout. Checking the evening prior, the conditions for fishing would say that we could be in for a challenge. The conditions for us would be nice. It was to be sunny, warm and no wind. I pulled up to the access first. Taking a quick walk over the small bridge, the air was cool and crisp but you could tell it would warm by mid-morning. Tony showed up minutes later. Sleep deprived but raring to take it to the trout. With only the morning to fish, we agreed to hit only the most productive runs.
Tony was a true gentleman and gave me the first run while he went up 50 yards to fish a small chute. I slipped on a weighted beadhead caddis I had tyed up on a no.10 scud hook. Should be a big easy meal for the hungry. Sure enough, with a few passes between two submerged boulders, I had my first resident trout for the season.

A nice little brook trout.

It would not be long after, Tony would strike his first resident for 2012. We would alternate drifting specific runs, plucking trout. It was not till we reached a run ( I dubbed to myself the “ boxcar”) where we started to see some vicious surface action. A very narrow but fast riffle running along a bush line. I was still getting hits on the BHCaddis however very tempted to switch to a dry fly. I had watched a trout come head over tail out of the water for a fly that landed on the surface. Tony was smart and quickly slipped on a big elk hair caddis dry.
First drift through the feeding lane and the fly was molested. I have yet to tire watching dry flies take fish off the surface.

“ DO IT AGAIN TONY!”............ And he did!

We worked our way downstream as far as we have ever gone in this stretch. The low conditions made the next bend less appealing. We decided to turn back and fish our way back to the access. On the last section (dubbed the “Wisconsin Flats”), we hit a double header. Small they may be but the colours are simply brilliant.

Our next trip together will need to be a full day (and then some). A few hours felt like only minutes shared.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Hot or not ?

We pulled into a small town after a day of fishing to grab some grub. Stopped at the side of the street for some unknown reason. ( I think Brent wanted to check his phone messages). I looked out my window and this is what I saw.

Linder art with influences from Winkleman ?

No, it was not a tackle or bait shop. This was an actual house. Someone's residence. I wonder if my daughter would be proud as a peacock to bring friends home with this on our front door, or back door, or any door for that matter?