Another great day with the water cold enough for the trout and the air temperatures great for humans! Headed east again to see if I could better my numbers from last time. A bit windy but not too bad on this small body of water.
First fish, a small tiger trout on a mid lake weed hump, was caught using a damsel nymph on a sunk line.
The next fish I saw were a bit of a surprise.
I saw, what I thought was, tailing fish. I made perfect casts to it and got nothing. I also didn’t spook it. I thought is was concentrated around a log but the log turned out to be another fish. The water temps were perfect for a spawning dance as males competed. I saw this repeated all over the place. I assumed that catching browns was off the table. Here are some pictures of the action.
Not noticing an abundance of hits on the damsel and sinking line I went to floating and a variety of bead heads, settling on a GRHE to catch my second Tiger that was closer to 16″-18″.
Lost that fly in the bull rushes and switched to a slower sinking bead body soft hackle fly of my own design. This got me my next Tiger Trout (told you I wasn’t gonna get a brown).
Ran into a kayaking fly fisher who sat on a known hot spot but got nothing. He saw a few of the fish I had caught and asked what I was using. He told me he was using a leech pattern. In a teachable moment, I told him that fishing leeches this late was a bit of a gamble as they weren’t active and trout might not key in on them. He left and I cast to the hot spot and well….
I hate to be right…wait no I don’t
Caught one more near the launch around sunset.
One thing I have noticed in my last few outings here, is the lack of rainbows. I don’t know if they are still there (lots of bonk on the head types frequent here) were put off by the over active browns or are being out competed by the tigers.
Still good though!
The 15 is almost the halfway point in October. In most years this means only 16-32 days left in our fly fishing season. Our (very few and far between) trout streams close at midnight October 31st and the beginning of ice on the lakes is not far away. We have manage to get on a lake as late as November 18th, but that is a rarity.
Last time I was at Lyon’s, it was an epic skunking. Sure it was the height of summer but never have I been shut out on this lake.
Things are somewhat back to normal now.
9 Trout to hand mostly in the 12″ range the one that made it to the net but not photogenically, was a fair piece larger maybe 16″. All but the bigger one, was a jumper making amazing leaps out of the water, probably only because I didn’t film it
OF course the pictures Except for the perch they are clones of each other. I could have take the same fish and re-positioned it over and over and the effect would have been the same Please excuse the lower quality of the photo as I was trying a lower resolution to same time on editing later.
Facebook keeps giving you old posts from the past. This week it reminded me of a very successful outing on Anton’s Lake (just past Minnidosa) from a year ago.
Heck just this spring I had a good time as well
So, on Friday I headed out there to repeat the magic.
Well, as the saying goes, that is why they call it fishing.
For one thing it was windy. I usually time my trips to these aerated lakes based on the wind. Even a little wind can make these sheltered, featureless lakes surrounded by miles of featureless prairie, a challenge.
A challenge with staying on a spot, wind knots, casting accuracy, with flies presented, etc. It didn’t seem to matter what fly I put on I got the same reactions, light bites, hits some brief struggles, LDR’s and a couple lost at the boat.
The other fishers did about the same.
For me it was one fish to hand.
So my favorite and secret little brook is under siege. Not from bait fishers or pollution, but from rodent developers. When I was introduced to this stream, 3 years ago, there was miles of fish-able runs up and down from the access point. Now the fish in this section are confined to one pool.
3 years ago there where 2 major beaver dams. They were old and well established. So they held fish. On a good day you could walk the stream for hours catching fish in a variety of riffles, runs and pools. At the end there was a beaver pond with more (and sometimes bigger) fish. Now we have all those runs under water and they do not hold fish at this time. The property owners don’t fish and don’t care. Now, brook trout streams need the beaver ponds. They hold back water to even out flows over the year, they allow sediment to settle to keep the water clear, etc. but with so much of this water on private land and inaccessible, I fear my days of fishing for wild brook trout are numbered. Here are some pictures of the trout caught from one tiny pool between the two marshes. As you can see there are over 30 fish!
I am not including the hits and LDR’s.
Now, for someone else, catching 33 fish without moving is a good day but I would rather catch 3 fish out of 11 pools, runs and riffles. As well I cannot imagine this is good for the fishery, spawning and such. The lower section was good in the spring but come summer and fall, it died off a lot.
I am torn between getting fly fishers involved and keeping it a secret, but I am not sure there is anything we can do. Maybe if the beavers flood the road the DNR will trap them out.
Sure as heck, if it was walleye they’d be fixing this.
Most fishers and all fly fishers know that fall is a great time to get out there. The water temps are predictable based on night time lows and the fish are ‘putting on the feed bag’ as they say. While the fish are bulking up they may not be on those same spots they where early summer. As the weeds thin out and the water clears, so does the location and types of forage.
Another thing about fall is the weather, it can be a foul rainy day with a north wind or, like yesterday, a glorious combination of sun, light breeze, intermittent clouds and decent fishing.
I headed out to a stocked trout water east of the city. It is just over an hour away so I was in great shape to leave at a civilized time and get back for my son’s concert.
The day was literally the ‘good to get out’ type and the fish were a bonus. Decent fall colours abounded on the water and the drive.
5 fish to hand, 3 lost at the boat and about 5 hook ups and tussles including one big rainbow.
Here are the pictures.
I haven’t been out since the camping trip and not much since June. I tend to go away in the summer because it is so hot here and the fishing so poor that it is a waste of gas. So when the weather finally cooled off a bit I decided to hit my on again off again brook trout spot. It is quite a drive and quite a secret. The fish are small, quite a bit of tramping so not for everyone. But we keep it secret because all that won’t stop assholes from trying and therefore ruining it.
In the spring the whole area is great and stays good through most of the summer but, when the water levels drop they become harder to find. On top of the local beaver population is turning great runs in to silt pits.
I hit the lower section to only catch chubs.
As the chubs got bigger and the hits more frequent I thought I would get to ‘that run’ that always seems to have ‘real’ fish.
Looking up from my last chub I saw a large black bear walk out of the bush straight to that run. I reeled up and was going to make way back to the car. I waited to see if there were cubs and when I didn’t I took two steps down stream to see where it went, only to see it eye to eye. I booked it out of there making those ‘gruff and chuff’ sounds while I was I was also cursing myself for not making more noise, while out there alone, in fairly remote woods! I should have also notice how ripe the wild forage was!
Having made it back to the car in record time, I drove up stream to another access point.
The place is beautiful.
After wandering around the once nice runs that a beaver has turned into fish less silt pit, I finally found some fish.
After all that driving a bear, running and marsh hiking I didn’t have to budge an inch to catch my fill of these beauties!
Normally my summer vacation is based on going away during the hottest parts of our Manitoba summer. Since we are doing a reset on our vacations, to allow for a winter trip, we stayed close to home. That meant borrowing a friend’s trailer and a week on a spot at West Hawk Lake. One of the things I was looking forward to was fishing the last 2-3 hours of daylight without the 3-4 hour round trip.
Day One August 7th:
Decided a quick trip to the river was in order. armed with just a tenkara rod and a box of flies.
Nothing. Not a sniff. at first I chalked it up to me wearing a white shirt. Then I lost most of my leader and at the same time realized that I left my leader spools in the car. OK too much minimalism is a thing too.
Day Two August 8th:
Wanting a redo on the day before, I donned a neutral shirt and was very ready with leader spools. Nothing. Not a sniff. Not only that, I didn’t see any fish sign. No risers, no swirls, nothing. On top of that there were no hatches going on and very little mosquito action. The water was a good flow and its usual gin clear.
I have been fishing this river for 17 Years and I know the spots. My best flies on the best spots didn’t work. Hell I even tried the “pellet pool”
The month before it fished well. The only major difference was the bridge construction up stream. I mean, it looked good, but maybe there was a spill that wiped out the fish and insects or at least encouraged them to move downstream to the lake.
Day Three August 10th:
Ok, time for some lake fishing. So I hit Lyon’s Lake. I have fished this lake more than any body of water. To say I know this lake is an understatement. Nothing but a few perch! Not trout. I waited till the magic hour when even the summer skulkers come up. Nothing. For many years I have been able to get trout in the summer but the fish-ability and over all quality of this lake (and Hunt Lake as well) has declined. If you look at the numbers 13,000 rainbow trout since 2014 seems like a lot. I don’t know if the number (in 2001 they dropped 13,000 fish alone in there and that was followed by some years of great stockings and great fishing) or size of the fish needs to be increased to help them out compete the the perch or stay out of predators’ mouths, but the last few years have been real crappy.
Day Four August 11th:
This time Hunt Lake. This used to be a near perfect lake for brook trout. But it got lost in the shuffle by trying to things differently. So, a once idyllic brook trout lake was made into a splake hell hole (don’t worry you won’t find splake on the stocking list for this lake but I have caught these slinky lifeless hybrids). There have been only 6,000 Brookie stocking since 2014 (compare that to the 13000 fish they put in 2001) but over 100 brood browns. Maybe they were put in to control the perch but we know they also like brook trout fingerlings. Anyways the spring summer and fall fishing on this lake is pretty terrible right now and has been the last few years coinciding with the decline in stocking
Together with McHugh, I have been fishing these 3 lakes for 17 years and this is the worst they have been. Even in spring and fall.
The stocking is tax payer paid for and should create a fishery that works. It used to work year round and it can again if we can get back on track. Hunt for brookies, Lyons for Rainbows and McHugh for browns, all in proper numbers. In the years of the supposed ‘over stocking’ we never saw die offs due to starvation and the fishing was great for shore anglers and boat anglers alike. Of course I say this as stocking levels drop, ‘Parkland’ lakes seem to get the lions share of the fish and the hatchery is getting out of having their own brood stock.
As usual, there are some photo ops as well.
In baseball, hitting for the cycle is hitting a single, double , triple and a home run in the same game. For me it was getting one each of our major warm water fish. A bass, a pike a walleye and a perch. The perch didn’t stick around for a photo but there is film to come!
I was happy to get the ‘hat trick’ (which is 3 goals in a hockey game) at my first location but the 4 species is nice. It was strange that the pike was the elusive one as in Manitoba, the pike is everywhere. Most of the fish fell for a #6 Muddle variant with the last one falling for a deer hair slider
Hit my favourite stocked trout stream on the last day of June. This place has been my salve over the 17 years I have lived here. When I tire of lake fishing, trash fishing (places full of trash) warm water fishing, etc. coming here has been the cure. On this day the hatches where good the mosquitoes bad and the hits a plenty. There was even loads of Hex husks! (Who says it is pointless to fish during the hex hatch.
I was hoping for a trout hat trick but caught 4 of the hatchery’s products with a rock bass thrown in for good measure.
Nice to see them treating this stretch of river the way it was intended, as a C&R recreational fishery giving people a feeling of what it is like to fish (preferably fly fish) a typical trout stream. In years gone by we’ve had the water shut off at the behest of the cottage owners, zero stocking, weird stocking, etc.
I tell you, it is nice to fish a few stretches of water and get uncountable hits and landed fish.
I started with nymphs, switched to drys (for more flying fish and less hook ups) and back to nymphs. Nothing big just big fun.
On May 26th I took a Father Son duo fishing. They were both from Brasil. The elder was very experienced with the fly rod but spoke little English and the son spoke excellent English but knew little about fly fishing.
Worked out fine. Dad needed no monitoring, could cast and fish. Could read water and choose flies. This allowed me to help the son.
Over all they were looking to catch some fish and take in some wilderness scenery. The weather and the scenery cooperated, the fish, not so much.
First stop was a hydro dam along the Winnipeg river. Except for the dam, the scenery is great. This place is usually good for a few fish, but on this day, after a couple of hours, we got none.
Down the road to the next stop. Where we did get some action in the form of hits and a couple of fish.
One small rainbow trout and one medium tiger trout.
Off again to get some pike and maybe a walleye or bass.
First stop was a launching area where we got some hits and landed on small pike.
Next (and last) was a favorite area of mine. Rare for Manitoba, in that that is more than a few feet of wade-able river.
The elder got 6-7 pike. I even took off my guiding hat and caught a couple as well.
As we had been at it for 10 hours we headed home. On the way we saw a bear in the ditch.
Here is the (short ) film of our day.