Tuesday, October 30, 2012

"A Norland"

"A Norland" from Brian M on Vimeo.
It ain't easy being Norland.  He don't try to hide it.  He embraces it.  Heck he might even love it.  One thing for certain...He can't fight it.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

The calm before the storm...

Sleep or fish...sleep or fish...sleep or fish...Normally this would be a no brainer decision but I've been running on 4-5 hrs sleep a night for the past couple of weeks and throw in the fact that I'm working 6-11's and hitting the gym almost every night has me pretty much exhausted.  To be quite honest that's been my MO for quite some time.  I can kinda roll with it but any shift from the norm upsets the balance and takes a toll on my body.  I used to live for shutdowns but nowadays I despise them.  The money is always welcome but seriously...is it worth it in the grand scheme of things and anymore they seem to always fall at the most inopportune time for a Steelheader. 
It's probably noble of the company I work for to do these outages outside of the high vacation periods but it always stings when the rivers are full of fish and I have to work.    There are much worse problems to have and I should not be complaining.  So back to my dilemma...With one day off and the ominous threat of this "end of days" storm coming I figured I better take advantage of the opportunity and get my weary body out of bed and on the road to what makes me happy.  Once the Frankenstorm hits the rivers will be flowing high and muddy for some time.   
I have been very fortunate the past two outing to have had the opportunity to fish isolated water in peace.  Today's approach was to be no different.  Gang fishing serves no purpose for me.  I get that it can be a social event and the opportunity for big number days is ever so present but I sense there is a competitiveness about it...a need for others to be seen and seen doing better than their competition.  Then there is the one thing that I cannot tolerate... the ones that need to be heard.  I cannot be around that...I have turned into a social recluse I guess but my time on the water is to valuable to be ruined by my inability to ignore ignorance.  So... once again I found myself on the back roads of the county enroute to  an off the beaten path access.  Arriving to the river I was not overly surprised to have her to myself.  I suspected some company would arrive with the onset of the morning but for an hour or so I had her to myself.   I managed to turn a couple of chrome bullets for my efforts.  One came to hand and one bid farewell after a decent thrashing on the surface.  As anticipated a party of two cleared the trail head and announced their arrival. 
Both were friends from work and they set up at the top of the run.  We shared the morning drift for the next couple of hours and turned a few more fish.  The winds picked up and the temps seemed to plummet.  We were all ill prepared for the cold and excessive winds so wiith a mountain of unattended yard work looming at home I decided to pull the pin.   My fishing partners shared the same sentiments and we exited the floodplain.  It was 11:30 and I was adequately recharged.  I found my success and set my head straight. 

The drive home was outstanding.  There is so much to be said about the  back roads country side under  gloomy fall skies.  It certainly is a relaxing time of the year.
Race to Freedom from Brian M on Vimeo.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Plan B

The Fall season is well underway here in the Great Lakes Basin and as I type this a cold front has settled in and much needed rain is falling. There is an ominous storm brewing on the Eastern Seaboard and the media has already labelled it “Frankenstorm”. If Meteorologists have their way this will be the Storm of all storms…predicted to out muscle “the perfect storm” of 1991. Meteorological modeling has it headed for the Great Lakes once it makes landfall. I say bring it! The rivers and Tribs of Ontario have suffered severely this past summer and the lakes are nearing all time record lows. Perhaps this is Mother Nature fixing her problem or higher powers at work. All things aside this rain is a welcome blessing for both fishermen and finned creatures alike.

Being currently consumed at work with a giant fall outage and the inherent extended work hours that coincide I chose to take advantage of a lull in the action and Norland’s schedule to hit some local Huron Tribs. We were hoping a recent bump in the flow data would correlate to a fresh push of fish or at least a realignment of what was already in the rivers.
Plan A was to stick with our guns and find some isolated “off the radar” access that would afford us solitude and serenity.

Arriving pre-light to the banks of the river we were disappointed to learn the visibility was outside of our comfort zone for this particular flow. We toughed it out for a good hour after first light before discussing our options. The call was then made and we were on the road towards Plan B. We were already well into the morning and didn’t know what to expect as we rolled up to our access. There were the usual number of vehicles at the easy access venues but we were surprised to find our locale vacant. Soon we were making the two mile hike back towards the river.
We had previously stopped at a bridge further up river to check on the conditions while on route. We were pleased to witness a marginal flow on the fringe of green. This made the hike back a little more tolerable fueled by the anticipation. Arriving to the banks of the river we were quickly reminded of the numerous cliffs up stream as the visibility was now well off of green and quite resembling what we had left earlier that morning.

Having an intimate knowledge of this flow we shook it off and started to work a very productive piece of water. Our efforts failed to turn any players and this began to test our confidence. We cut our losses and hiked to a favorite run. Within 5 mins the first fish was taken from a narrow trough above a winter holding pool. With dwindling confidence restored and under unseasonably warm bluebird skies, we spent the remainder of the outing trading off fish for fish.
It was nice to be rewarded with fresh-in chromers and once again reminded of what early fall steelheading is all about. It was equally enjoyable to watch my partner fish and anticipate his strikes, laugh at his blundering and share in his successes. More importantly we enjoyed the serenity and solitude of a river devoid of other angling pressure. It was certainly another rejuvenating gift and hopefully a precursor of what is to come.  One cannot put a price at finding solitue on a river in this day and age. 
Although the river wasn’t in her prime she certainly was in a kind and giving mood.
This coupled with good company, a brilliant fall backdrop, and many shared laughs made for another memorable fall outing.
It had been some time since I have felt the genuine raw power of Hot October Steelhead. There is no comparison.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Norland's on Fire

We finally kicked off the 2012 fall Ontario Trib season today.  Work and a lack of rain had put a damper on both Gene and I's fishing ambitions.  We had been holding out in hopes that our little home river would come into her own but that was not becoming a reality.  With a tiring week of extended hours behind me I was in need of some healing time on the water.  With nothing more than a burning desire to fish and some Internet leg work we found ourselves heading North towards the Huron Tribs.

 Over the years fishing has evolved into so much more than catching for us.  A day on the river has so much more to offer than mere numbers of finned adversary.  The conversations and camaraderie coupled with the pure spectacle of a river in her prime are worth the price of admission alone.  Our like minded tendencies no longer allow for the mass populous gang fishing protocol of the easy access venues.  It has been this way for quite some time and this mindset doesn't come without a cost. There is always a hefty physical price to pay for the solitude and we know our days are numbered.

It is, however, a price we will gladly dole out any day for the reward.  With this in mind we set our sites on some "shot in the dark" "off the grid" locale.  I had longed to explore these waters but lacked the much needed kick in the pants.  Today was to be the day and under the cover of darkness we found ourselves on the back roads of the county.  Soon we were meandering down  leaf covered lane ways manipulating the tight quarters until we reached the river access. 

Going in completely blind we hastily geared up under our dimly lit sourroundings with soothing tones of water over rock in the backdrop.  The morning light was breaking the horizon as we hit the trail head and made our way towards the aluring sound.  Arriving to the river we were pleasantly greeted with a large set of rapids dumping into a long meandering deserted run.   More pleasing was the fact that we had pulled off the impossible once again.

We managed to be alone on a stellar run in Ontario during prime steelheading season. It didn't take long for the first float to disappear.  I soon found myself fighting the first fish of the 2012 season.  It was a reward unparalleled as it validated the effort and confirmed a hunch.  Soon Gene found his own validation and continued to do so for the remainder of the morning.  It was a gift to watch him dole his craft and actually smile.  These outings are an escape and can even be classified as therapy.  All said and done we both put a few fish on the bank heavily slanted in Noland's favour.  I was happy for him but suspect not as happy as he was judging from the evil grins.  It's game on now.  Between Ontario and Michigan there will be plenty of opportunity.  Let the rains come.  Let Mother Nature bring her fury.  We are ready, willing, and quite able...  It's steelheading season 2012.

Sunday, October 14, 2012


Mixing business with pleasure...


Saturday, October 13, 2012

That's Fishing

As in life, just when you think you have it all figured out, something unexpected happens that leaves you scratching your head.  Why would fishing be any different?

We launched the Hyde on the lower river yesterday morning with grand hopes of finding an early Steelhead to kick the season off.  Young Scott from work came up on this trip with aspirations of catching some fish.  I was eager to put us on some but honestly wasn't prepared for what was about to unfold.  Not more than 5 casts into the first stop of the drift Scott hesitantly proclaimed he had a fish. 

The fight wasn't conducive to a hot steelhead. There were  times we questioned weather or not he was snagged only to be redirected by some stern head shakes.  I was becoming certain it was a stale dying King or Coho when the beast broke the surface near the back of the boat.  I must say I was nervous netting this fish.  Big pike like this don't come along my way often and I didn't want to lose this fish for my now stoked fishing partner. 

Needless to say...We got the job done!!!...Man!!!! I hate netting fish!  LOL!
Fishing...go figure!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Colors of Fall

 A time of sensory overload...