Thursday, August 24, 2006

Still Kickin'

Fortunately, the camera has spared me, and is now in working order. The dissection-and-fan technique appears to have worked well and I put it right back on duty last Sunday (August 20th) during the Tricorythodes spinner fall. The weather was as volatile as it gets - sun for 5 minutes, rain for 10 minutes; then sun, then rain; all the while windy. Although the fall was sporadic, my buddy, Jeff and I managed a good hand full within a half an hour period.

It was a crowded day on the river, as it was the first weekend that the Tricos have appeared in good numbers, but we were able to find a nice quiet piece of water that held some enthusiastic Brook Trout. Although it was another enjoyable day on the water, I couldn't help but wonder what my old friend Pat was up to these days.

I wonder if he/she likes the Trico hatch as much as I. Only one way to find out. . .

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

The Spectrum of Emotion

Today, at 3:30 pm, I sit here exhausted from the events of today. Not that it was a particularly grueling day, but when one goes through the spectrum of emotion over such a short period of time, it does take its toll, and it was nice to peel off the waders and enjoy the comforts of home (for now). These are today events:

As is usual the mornings I plan on fly fishing, I arise with thoughts of emergers riding the river's flow, clouds of mayflies hovering and swaying , and of fish rising to this beautiful occasion. I pack the car and head north to the place where these dreams just may come true wearing the usual silly grin - I arrive at the river uneventfully.

I arrive at the river to find that the BWO hatch is heavy again and the Brook Trout aren't passing it up. The pool appears to be boiling under a stove top at times with all the activity of its jeweled inhabitants - The silly grin grows ear to ear - I quickly tie on a BWO emerger and slowly, on my knees, work my way upstream. Just as I had hoped while tying this new pattern last night, the fish eagerly rise for the fly. Most fish are in 6-8 inch range, which is the average for the Upper Credit. At times I just hold the fly line and rod in my hands and sit there enjoying the boiling and popping of the river's surface film. What a perfect beginning to the day.

Their colours are nothing short of brilliant this time of year

Within an hour of my arrival to the river, a man and his son walk up to the pool I am fishing and immediately proceed to throw bass lures. The sound of these monstrosities hitting the water make me cringe. A number of choice words come to mind but I keep my cool. I immediately strip in my line with the intent of leaving when I see treble hooks attached to their "gear" (Note: regulations for the Upper Credit River are single-pointed barbless hooks). I inform the "gentleman" of his infraction; he thanks me and proceeds to leave. Satisfied that this man will show respect for these regulations in front of his son, I make my way down to the next pool. Upon my arrival, I look back to find that the man and his son have returned and continue to fish. At this point I am irate, and am about to call the authorities to report them. I decide not to as I figured they didn't have a chance in hell of catching a trout with what they were using anyway. On second thought I should have.

After managing to bring my blood from a boil, a tie into a nice female Brook Trout on my now trusty BWO emerger. I then land another on a Pheasant Tail Nymph. After a while of nothing at all, I decide to put on the lowly San Juan worm. Immediately, fish are striking it aggressively and I land 3 fish in 3 casts, the largest being 9 inches. I switch up again with no success. I decide to throw on the San Juan one more time before leaving, and bam, something attacks it! I immediately see the flash and for a second I think it's a brown from the thickness and brute strength (although browns are not known to be in this stretch of river), but this premonition fades quickly when I see its vibrant colours. After a bulldogging battle, he finally obliges to greet me streamside. I'm in awe of his colours and the girth of his shoulders - 11.25 inches long - a trophy to Upper Credit standards.

I pull out my camera, and the trophy squirms; with all my attention on making sure I don't lose him, my inattention to my camera finds it on the bottom of the river. Jubilation quickly leads to panic, as I pull the dripping metal conconction from its nemesis. The choice words once reserved for the "fisherman" upstream are uttered.

I ended up taking a pic with my phone, but of course the colours and quality are poor and if I don't get the camera working, I will redefine the meaning of "domestic strife".

The camera is now dissected and a fan is blowing on it at full force. If the camera is in disrepair, this may be my last blog. . . as I may be without fingers.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Minute Muse

I snuck away this morning to get my much needed dose of nature. Actually, the last time I was out was the night before, with Dave, but one can never get enough. The past few days have been quite mild and water temperatures were a cool 60 F. The cloudless sky made the crystal clear water seem nonexistent, until I would step into holes that I thought were only inches deep to find they were much deeper.

last night, the Brook Trout were rising readily, and once again I managed to lose the best fish, landing only the naive juveniles. Dave managed to land a few at dusk.

It was a slow day today, although Blue Winged Olives and Caenis were proliferous. Today, instead of words, I leave you with a few shots that do a good job of telling the story.

This was taken using a camera phone, hence the poor quality - I'll try to keep these to a minimum

Gin clear water meant very spooky fish but this fellow fell for a BWO emerger pattern

A new stretch of river that shows some promise

Sunday, August 06, 2006

The Better Half

Rice Lake was eerily quiet. The sun's rays penetrated the treeline and shone on the glassy surface, invertly reflecting the world around it. A Lake that is typically infested with boats and pontoons saw only 1 other boat upon arrival (August 5th). This had the potential to be a good day, I thought.

This day, I was to go fishing with my wife. Although my wife is a talented fisher, it is a rare occasion that she suggests that we go fishing; whenever this occurs, I drop everything, grab the gear and throw it in the car before she has time to change her mind. So far, she has been resistant to flinging feather and fur, but I believe that the day will come (hopefully soon) when I will be standing by her side waste deep in one of our favourite trout streams. But today, we were to pursue the Bucketmouth using top-water lures.

Although they say that compromise is the key to a successful marriage, I would hardly refer to this as one. Watching the aggressive attacks on the surface by these voracious predators can be exhilarating and nothing short of a lot of fun.

The bass seemed to still be tight to shore probably because of the cold front and rain that had come through a few days prior, so we stuck to a couple of my favourite spots on the Eastern and Western shorelines.

After about 4 hours of fishing, it wasn't a day of quantity, but it certainly was one of quality. 3 of the fish were in the 3-4 pound range and their classic leaping head-shakes were picture-perfect.

My wife was able to land a spunky one along with a multitude of Pumpkinseeds, Sunfish, Perch and Rockbass. I must report that it was just a perfect day to be out on the water; not because of the big cooperative fish willing to entertain us (although it doesn't hurt of course), but because I saw the joy, the fascination and the thrill of fishing that I feel each time I'm out there in the eyes of my wife. Now I just have to find a way to sneak a fly rod into her hands. . .

Friday, August 04, 2006

Jewels of the Stream

As intended, I headed for the upper most reaches of the Credit River this morning (August 4) in search of the Brook Trout.

The weather has continued to be unrelenting in its grip here in Southern Ontario. The smog, humidity and heat have made for a very sticky combination. It's days like these where I wouldn't mind being a fish swimming in some nice cool water.

For the past 2 days, the thick, wet air lead way to severe thunder storms that sparked tornados, downed power lines, and wreaked havoc on commuters. But it also produced a cool breeze, gave new life to the flora, and brought cooler stream temperatures.

I arrived at the river rather late this morning, but it welcomed my tardiness with the grasshoppers frantically popping at my feet as I approached the first deep run, and a healthy population of emergers floating downstream when I got there. Just as I had left them 3 months ago, the Brook Trout were bulging and swirling at the surface, capitalizing on this breakfast buffet. It was nice to see that even though I'm not always around to witness it, nature continues its course. The Hendrickson's in May, the Sulphers, Green and Brown Drakes, Isonychia and Light Cahills in June and July, and today the BWO emerger - the Brook Trout on the other hand are there to see it all.

Over the past few months, I've been spending my time in pursuit of the elusive Brown Trout, and much of it was spent nymphing and wet-fly fishing. My rusty lack-lustre skills as a dry-fly and/or emerger fisherman were very apparent today, by losing a number of very nice specimens due to poor hooksets or no hooksets at all. The Klinkhamer Special was the MVF (most valuable fly) today - if only it would signal me when mouthed. Of all missed strikes, I would have to say that the missed surface strike is the most painful. One juvenile Brooky, as if to see my frustration, hit my fly in slow motion, giving me a chance at success.

When the surface activity dwindled away, I gladly tied on a nymph and headed downstream.

The Credit River's wild brook trout don't possess the power and size of the wild Browns that it inhabits, but there is something magical about each encounter with creatures of such startling beauty. It represents nature in its purest form. Our Brook Trout are true gems and today I wondered why I had stayed away from them for so long.