Monday, April 30, 2012

Bluebird Skies

It's been a rather long time since Steelheading has only been about the fish for me.
There are rare moments when the skies take on a surreal beauty and come alive.  Usually in cleaner air Northern climates away from the sins of urban development.  They are special reminders of how lucky we are to be alive and just how much of a gift a day on the river truly is. 

Sunday, April 29, 2012

A Fly Fisher is born...Really?

It's inevitable...every year the changing of the guard.  The transition from Steelheading back to the reality and responsibility of work, home, family and such.  It's not like those influences aren't there during the steelheading season. But life just seems a little easier with the constant anticipation of time spent on a  river on the immediate horizon.  Don't get me wrong...the end of steelheading season is the beginning of another wonderful time of the year but its the transition that weighs hard on ones soul.  It's metaphorically like saying goodbye to a really good friend that you know you will run into again in a few months time but for some reason that reality provides no remorse from the sadness.  I have been racking my brain trying to figure out how I am going to piscatoraly fill this void.  I have always considered taking up the fly and actually purchased a couple of rigs in 2011 with grand illusions of steelheading with them.  Aside from a short impromptu attempt the rods have sat idle.  Idle that is until today.
Norland has been yapping about chasing blue gills on a 1wt or something ridiculous for some time and today with a small window of opportunity from the backyard construction zone I cracked out the Scott 7wt for a brief bug slinging session on the pond behind the house.  It had been a while since I had cast a fly rod and after a couple of false casts my timing was adequate enough to punch one gnarly bug out into what I believe was the fish zone.  After a few strips came a flash and then another followed by a strike.  I pulled the line from the water and pumped one out a couple yards further and repeated the strip until it was fish on!  It was a chunky bluegill that was apparently hungry as he hammered the large fly.  Thinking this was kinda fun I fired a few more casts out into the pond until a dark shadow appeared below the surface heading towards my lines retreat.  A few more strips and the shadow increased its speed until I lifted and the rod loaded up hard followed by a large spash.  I had hooked my first carp on the fly and it was a decent one.  Nothing epic by carp standards but it had to go 3-4 lbs.  The chase down was exciting and reminiscent of those saltwater fly episodes I have watched on WFN.  Now I was starting to think I may be on to something with this fly fishing thing...LOL!  It's kinda fun and an afternoon filled with a mixture of Gills, Bass, friends, and beer just might be a great way to fill the void between the usual summer non-fishing related activities.  Who knows...This might be the kick in the pants I needed to chase some of those MI trout.  Stay tuned my friends...with any luck we might have some Fly fishing adventures to document.  Norland and Maxfield...Get your A-games sharpened...It's on biatches!

**sorry for the iphone pics...I really didn't expect to catch anything ;0)**

Friday, April 20, 2012


I turned Forty-two today.  I spent the day on the river with my Father.  A gift in itself... 
Although Mother Nature threw her challenges our way the river was kind enough to grant me a gift.

Monday, April 09, 2012

Late Season Float

Back in early January I had slipped into Ray Schmidt's Guide shop for some jig tying supplies.  As fate would have it the shop owners were on holiday down south and one of their guides Gary Melzer was keeping house.  Gary helped me find my tying materials and through the course of poking around the store we got to talking about Centrepinning for steelhead.  Gary was eager to talk shop on this topic as he informed me he had recently taking it up and was very fond of the method.  I was as equally pleased to meet a fly guide interested in the floatfishing scene.  Over the next 15 mins or so we discussed technique and eventually landed on a future outing together on the river. 
Well as life often does we both got busy and somehow managed to keep missing each others windows of opportunity. With the spring Guide business picking up our options were limited until finally this weekend the stars aligned and we found an open window for both of us to finally meet up and share a drift.  I offered to float the Hyde and give Gary a much needed break from guiding.  I figured he had spent a month or more showing clients around the river and might enjoy the break and opportunity to relax and fish. 
We landed on a late morning start and met up at my place for 8am.  We decided to float from Bear Creek down to Rainbow as Gary reported a decent number of dropbacks dumping out of  the Bear.  The plan made perfect sense to me and any day on the mid to lower river in my Hyde is day well spent regardless of fish numbers.  To be honest I hadn't put too much expectation on any sort of numbers.  The run is at its tail end and with the full sun and traffic as of late I just assumed it would be a struggle.  On the way to Rainbow to spot Gary's truck we passed a deserted Bear Creek launch site.  I was amazed to see the lower river was virtually free of traffic.  We dropped the truck off at Rainbow and drove back up to launch the Hyde. 
The morning air was crisp and a mild wind started to roll over the tree tops.  The birds were exploding with song from the woods and it wasn't long before our lines were wet.  We were under some time constraints and decided not to over stay our welcome at any one spot.  The secret to fishing this river is to cover water.  Gary knows this river well and suggested we hit a long heavily wooded straight away slightly down river. 
We motored down and dropped anchor.   Gary wasted no time and was into a long and lean dropback on one of his rag egg yarn patterns.  Ya gotta love the acrobatics of dropback steelhead and this fish didn't disappoint.  After a fair battle the fish made the net and smiles donned both of our faces.  It was kinda cool to see the excitement in Gary's  demeanor as well...For a guy that fishes as means of employment its cool to see that the "Steelhead Fever" is still there.
We continued to work our way towards the end of the run and a large bend in the river.  Gary was quick to point out a deep trough down the center of the entry to the bend so I positioned the boat at the top of it.  This time it proved to be my turn as part way into my first drift my float rocketed below the surface and I set up on a hot one.  It was one of those violent takes that leave no question in your mind.  This fish shot under the boat multiple times and managed to stay deep for the majority of the fight.  After an awesome battle Gary made the scoop and fish number two was in the boat.  She was an unspawned hen and still tight.  It was nice to see some fish were still working their way up the system to do their business.
We snapped a few pics and bid her farewell.  As far as I was concerned we had a million dollar day on our hands...we each had a fish, the weather was favourable, and the river was free of traffic.  It was nice sharing fishing stories with Gary and learning about his Guiding experiences as we picked away at productive haunts.  A few bends later deep in conversation Gary's float dropped far into a drift and it was fish-on again.  This fish was big and full of energy.  We ended up pulling anchor and giving chase.  After a worthy battle and pursuit I made a deep scoop and number three was to hand.
This fish was a big spring chromer and fell for another one of Gary's Rag-egg ties.  Man...Gary wasn't kidding when he said those Rag egg ties had been fishing well for him...  We carried on down the river and poked around some more spots.  We both missed a few more opportunities before having to motor to the launch to meet our deadlines.  It was an awesome Sunday morning on the river and time well spent.  It had been a while since I floated the river in the Hyde and sure was nice to get her back out there.  It was as equally nice to spend the morning with someone of similar passion and respect for the fishery and centrepinning methodology.  I look forward to floating the river with Gary again in the future.  It certainly was alot of fun.

Monday, April 02, 2012

Spring Etiquette

Poor Etiquette in the spring is to be expected.  Almost a given and for that reason I tend to leave my usual haunts to the few and the proud that venture out for their one or two days of yearly fishing in pursuit of a big'in for the smoker or the infamous "steelhead sandwich".  I have come to expect the worst in people and honestly they can and should have their day as well.
Today I had a tussle on the river.  My first ever actually.  Aside from an evil death stare or glance I tend to keep my thoughts to myself and carry on my way versus an altercation but today there was no capacity for such after experiencing the blatant disrespect for everyone else on the river.
 I had managed to put myself way down river and out to the middle to be completely isolated from any and all of the madness around me. With my hood pulled over my head and the mild river and wind noise I somehow managed to find peace with myself in the war zone.  Then it happened.  Two Simms catalogue models draped in freshly pressed top of the line fishing attire with $1500 spey rod set-ups decided to venture out to my locale.  At first I was fine with it until they proceeded  to pass me and venture out to the line I was fishing.  They literally left me no place to fish what so ever. 
Much to their surprise they got called on their antics.  I guess my face spoke to my conviction as they made a quick retreat.  But not without running their mouths...  My favourite line was "I wish you the worst of luck today sir!"  Followed by my response..."Your wish just come true..I ran into you two a$$holes.  I had to laugh as I peered up at the bank to see Arn surveying the situation ready to have my back.  LOL!  Spring...
The next dozen drifts produced two fish... :0)