Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Winter Fishing

Its been nearly a year since my last blog post. This year I am going to keep it up to date! Here is a short post to start it off.

Winter fishing means many layers and battling the elements. There will be days where you have to work harder than others and you will need to be patient and persistent. Where there are challenges there will be rewards, but most importantly it means giving yourself the opportunity to enjoy the outdoors when others won't

Photo Taken By: Naoto Aoki of Naoto Aoki Photography /Bluetree Images /

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Steelhead On My Mind And Finishing Up 2013

As the weather starts to cool, the morning frost blankets the ground, and the sun starts to set earlier and earlier each passing day. By this time the dry fly fishing begins to wind down and the seasonal fishermen start to shy away from the river. It isn't long after this, that the snow starts to make its appearance, and the red glow of your cheeks along with the numbing of fingers is a reminder that winter is fast approaching. It’s this time of year that has my mind wandering out west to British Columbia.
Mid November rolled around and I boarded an early morning flight to Abbotsford, B.C. where I was greeted with a hug and the familiar warm smile of Adrienne Comeau, who surprisingly was wide awake considering she had to pick me up so early. We made our way back to the house, to take a nap before heading out on the road to make our way to the “T” for the week! We had made it to our destination by mid- afternoon, where we unpacked, and met up with the guys for a couple of drinks at the pub. The rest of the week was spent wading chest deep, taking careful steps down stream, tossing casts as far as we can, in hopes of a solid tug. Most nights were spent warming up in the Log Cabin Pub and playing pool before heading over to our friend’s house where everyone was staying.
Ade checking out the river
 After one late night I knew that I wasn't going to be able to wake up early to fish a first light run with Adrienne, so while I was tucked in bed, she hooked and landed into a beautiful 20lb buck. By noon I had recuperated and was ready to head back out to the river. Ade and I met up with Patrick to fish a few runs before dark. I started out front and made my way down the river, swinging my fly, cast after cast. Towards the bottom of the run, I felt a tug and the moment I lifted my rod, the fish rolled on the surface, and went for a run taking me all the way into my backing. I managed to slowly reel my line back in, only to have it taken away a few more times. She finally tired enough for me to tail her and get a few quick photos before returning her back to the river. Light was quickly fading and it wasn't too long after I had landed my beautiful doe that Pat had a good tug on his line, but with a few quick head shake, it became unbuttoned. With the sun finally setting, we made our way back to the truck marking an end to a perfect day!
Photo taken by: Adrienne Comeau
Photo Taken by Adrienne Comeau
Photo Taken by : Pat Bogdan

 The next afternoon while fishing behind Adrienne, I had made a few casts when suddenly my line tightened up at the bottom of my swing. Before I could lift my rod, my reel started screaming and the fish cartwheeled upstream. When I thought my line had finally caught up to this hot fish upstream, it started cartwheeling downstream. With my backing quickly dwindling, I finally got control of the fish just as it started jumping towards me. Running backwards, and reeling in as fast as I could wasn't enough and it became unhooked leaving me with my ass-kicked, head down, wondering what I had done wrong, and praising the fish for everything it had done right. After nearly a week of hard fishing , it was time for Ade and I to head back to Chilliwack for a much needed couple days of rest and recuperation.

One of my favourite views!

During the trip back I talked to James, who thought it would be a good idea to take the boat and head up the Harrison River to do a bit of chum fishing. This would be my first time out on this river. The following morning after James picked me up we headed off to pick up the boat and grab some lunch before setting out for a few hours of fishing.The Harrison River is absolutely stunning, with crystal blue waters, schools of salmon, and more eagles than I have ever seen before! James pulled up to the bank, we set up our rods, and headed out to swing some flies for chum. It wasn’t long before James had hooked into a few and was showing me how it’s supposed to be done. Not long after, he had me hooked into a few. After an hour and a half, we hopped back into the boat and headed up the river to check out some of the scenery.
James showing me how its done!
Hooked into a Chum

The Harrison River
 When I arrived back at the house, Lisa had arrived from Seattle to join us for a girl’s week, which would include Ade, April and myself. A lot can happen when you put a bunch of crazy girls together, but one thing is for sure, it will always end up being fun, especially when drinks are involved. After a few days of hanging out, April, Lisa and I packed up our fishing gear, loaded up the dogs and made our way to the river for a couple days of steelheading. Unfortunately we had left knowing that the uncertainty of the weather could dampen our plans of fishing. By the time we made it to the river, along the snow covered roads, there was only enough time to fish one run. So, knowing this, we suited up quickly and made our way down. The wind had picked up bringing in an expected cold front that immediately not only froze our rods, reels and lines, but ourselves as well. The three of us managed to stay out until the sun was nearly down, and we headed in as we would no longer tough out the frigid temperature any longer. There wasn't a rush to wake up early the next morning to get out fishing as the area was going to be experiencing even colder temperatures, so we went to the Packing House to eat dinner and make our way to the Log Cabin Pub to warm up and shoot some pool before heading to bed. With the weather still not co-operating, we went for breakfast and decided to fish a run mid-afternoon in hopes of to hit the warmest time of the day. We layered up and fished one run. With the temperature a cold -10C, it became a challenge keeping the ice off long enough to get a single cast, and our reels from becoming blocks of ice. Fortunately, we girls are tough and we fished out the run before calling it a day. The weather was becoming frustrating as there was no end in sight to these bitter temperatures, so we made the tough call and headed back to Chilliwack the next morning.
Love these girls!
Photo From: Lisa Schweitzer
Teaching the dogs new tricks
April and Colby
Lisa and I being emo
Photo From: Lisa Schweitzer
Photo From: Lisa Schweitzer
Photo From: Lisa Schweitzer

Photo From: Lisa Schweitzer
Photo From: Lisa Schweitzer
  Once I made it back, I headed further west to visit my family before flying back home. After discussing some Coho fishing, I decided to stay an extra day and do a little salmon fishing with my uncle Kevin. We left later in the morning for an hour and a half long drive towards Chilliwack to fish one of the local rivers. With only a few hours to fish, we made our way down to the water.Unfortunately there wasn't too much happening and it wasn't until the sun was starting to set, and we were about to leave, when I hooked into a Coho while stripping a small fly. With a fish landed we decided to call it a day and head back to Ladner.
Last light hookup

One of the things that I enjoy the most is spending time with my family, especially if there is an opportunity to take them out fishing. My dad and uncles were the ones who go me into the sport from a young age, they always allowed me to tag along with them when they went fishing. The next day I returned back to Calgary, wondering when I would be planning my next trip back to beautiful British Columbia!

By the time I had made it back to Calgary the weather had turned bitter cold with temperatures plummeting below -25 , leaving me to the tying bench patiently waiting for warmer weather. After a few weeks the weather finally warmed up enough for Justin and I to head out to the mountains for a day of fishing for bulls to finish up the season of 2013.

A Fat Bull to finish of the year

Justin gets his bull at last light

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

July Through October

Where has the summer gone?! The past few months have just flown by and now the leaves have turned and have fallen off the trees, Autumn  has most certainly arrived.

It was a few weeks after the flood that Zach and I decided to check out a couple of mountain streams. After taking a good look around, it was clear a lot had changed We decided to cast some dries, and had no trouble finding cutties that were willing to sip a hopper. After landing a few fish, we headed downstream to throw some streamers in search of bulls. It wasn't long until we had hooked into multiple fish! Zach hooked into a huge bully that had us crossing a tricky section of the river (we nearly fell in), and down through multiple pools to finally land this awesome bull.  Not too long after, I hooked and landed a nice fish myself to end a great day.

Zach with sweet Bull
Photo by : Zach Southgate

Photo By: Zach Southgate 

Most of the summer I spent walking the banks of the Bow, analysing and learning the new water and structures that fish are now holding in. Fishing the river had its on and off days for everyone, but during the good days the fish could be found by casting hoppers and other dries overhead.

Early September came fast, and I made a trip out to BC to visit family and friends. My mom (Myrna) and I packed up the SUV and headed west. We stopped for the night at my family's property that is located along the Thompson River. As soon as we parked, I jumped out, grabbed my rod and got  in a hour of fishing for some rainbows before dark. The next morning I woke up early to get in a few more hours of fishing before we continued our way West. While I was on the coast, a good friend of mine; James invited me out for a day of Sturgeon fishing on the Fraser River. I met up with James and Ryan, and we spent the day on the water. We had been on the edge of a big storm that was blowing in , but luckily for us it stayed away for most of the day.  As James, Ryan and I were chatting on the deck, one of the rods started to bend over and they both told me to grab it and set the hook. I looked over, and a second rod hooked into a sturgeon as well. Both Ryan and I were hooked up for a double header. A little while later I landed my first sturgeon. With a grin on my face from ear to ear we celebrated and threw around a few hi-fives. The next few days I spent on Vancouver Island visiting with  friends and family, and spending a bit of time on the beach. By the end of the week I was back on the mainland and met up with James again for a day of pink salmon fishing before making my way back to Calgary.

View from the property 

James Cunningham

My first Sturgeon!! 
Ryan Pohl
Pink Salmon

James casting to some Pinks

 The day I got back my good friend Nick (aka Flatlander) had come all the way from the flat province of Manitoba, and arrived in Calgary to visit some awesome people here in Alberta.  Nick, Adrienne and I headed out to the mountain streams to look for bulls, but didn't find much more than a few rainbows and brook trout that day. We spent most of the time laughing at one another and sharing good conversation before we headed home. After a great few days Nick sadly had to make his way back East .

Photo By: Nick Laferriere
Adrienne, Nick and me doing what we do best.. goofing around!

On a gorgeous mid September day Jordan and I decided to pump up the Watermaster and go for a nice float down the Bow in search of some trout. We were able to pull off into many different areas, and cast to a few sections of river that were holding fish. They day finished up with a few nice rainbows but even better laughs.

Photo Taken By: Jordan Besenski
Photo Taken By: Jordan Besenski

Near the end of September Adrienne and I decide to pack up the boats and head West to try some lake fishing for the day. After a minor detour which consisted of driving 30km+ past the lake and up the mountain into the snow, we finally made it there. The weather was not in our favour that day with  70km/hour winds making casting difficult, and our patience wear thin. We decided to pack up and try our luck at another lake in hopes that the wind would be a little more cooperative. The fishing wasn't overly successful, but we both enjoyed the adventure just as much.

Just a little bit Gusty.......
Photo Taken By: Adrienne Comeau 
Photo Taken By: Adrienne Comeau
Adrienne Casting to Grayling

September was coming close to an end which meant some of the streams and rivers would be closed for the rest of the season. Justin and I took advantage of the last few days to fish these streams, and went out to explore a few new areas that we had yet to fish. By late afternoon we were reminded that it was fall, and that the weather was changing as a bitter cold wind started to sweep in. I was thankful I had brought multiple layers to keep warm, but before long the layers that I had brought were no longer a match for that cold wind. As the sun set behind the mountains, we decided it was best to make our way back to the truck and head home.

October arrived and Justin and I headed South West to one of our favourite mountain rivers. The day started very early and I was packed up and ready to go by 5 in the morning. We had a hot breakfast over the fire before we started fishing. I started the morning off with a dry fly and with success as I landed a few cutties, but by mid afternoon the wind had become so intense, we had no choice but to brave it by chucking heavy streamers with extreme caution for a few more hours. The wind blew to over 100km/h and the parked truck was being pushed forward. At one point Justin got blown off a ledge and left skid marks from his shoes in the gravel, while I had to hold on to the truck to stay on my own two feet. It was at this point that we knew it was best to call it a day.
Early morning breakfast to start the day