With the new regs in place, giving us year round fishing (except for the Holy Walleye), the need to scream 2½ hours north to the only fly rod friendly water in the province, before seasons end, is gone.
It was a great run. 20 years of getting some fishing in before the 6 week closure.
We had good years, brutal years and everything in between. The thought of going another 6 weeks after a long winter propelled us northward willing to brave brutal winds bone chilling temps a icy waters and frozen line guides.
Now, if you want to scratch that itch, we can go any mild day of the year.
In some ways I’ll miss it.
It really was thing to look forward to.
It really attracted new comers to the sport
It highlighted the hardcore fly rodders.
But 20 years is a good run for a tradition that helped build fly fishing in the province.
I had been fishing since I got back from my trip to Newfoundland (where I fished a lot!). One because I was quite busy with gigs (playing music) two, we had some brutally hot weather and three, I was giving my music school a bit of a make-over.
But this date was booked way back and I was kinda needing to get back out there.
Because it was the Sunday of the last long weekend of the summer I could not take him to all my spots. Luckily I have a few spots that are less known.
We caught trout, pike and perch and missed out on bass which are pretty likely and walleye that are almost impossible this time of year for wading fishers.
The client was from Italy and marveled at all our wild spaces and so much open areas. Italy has almost twice the population of Canada but could fit comfortably inside our province.
Ironically, we happen to be planning a family vacation to Italy next year and my client this day has offered not only tourist advice, but to set up some fishing opportunities!
Funny how things work out.
Every spring, on the last day of the general season, we head up to the only open water in the province. Fairford river is 2 hours north of Winnipeg. Because of the drop it never freezes along a short distance from the dam on highway 6 on its way to Lake St. Martin. The species caught can vary widely but this year is was just Lake Cisco (locally know and tulibee) This is the first year I did not attend for non weather reasons. Any kind of weather can happen at this time of year. While some years have been beautiful this year was more like its normal self with a daytime high of -7
Right in Winnipeg here there are numerous creeks that feed the Red and Assiniboine Rivers. Sturgeon Creek is one I frequent.
It has mostly small pike and med carp. On this day I took my 5wt cane rod for a little in town action.
Our annual event. Cold weather not bad fish caught tradition upheld!
Manitoba is covered by 6 months of winter most years. Spring is this ethereal thing that looks and feels more like well more winter. Nonetheless afew of us hardy souls head out to the only open water in the province…the Fairford River!
The water is clear, clean and wade-able. So why don’t I fish it more ofte? Because it is 2-3 hours of the most boring and somewhat dangerous driving in the province.
We hit it the last Sunday in March which coincides with the end of the regular fishing season, Spring Break and the warmest part of the late winter.
Now leading up to this day we had temps in the high 20’s but any other year fishing at the end of March and having a day time high of -1 with no wind would be considered a blessing.
So the Fairford River Freeze Off was on even if only 2 participants from Fly Fishing Manitoba were there.
It was -5 on the wake up in the ‘Peg and 5 degrees cooler at our destination.
At Ashern there was icicles on the trees and signs.