man-eater brown trout

“Trashy novels always out sell the classics…tabloids out sell the Times”

bbrown

brown trout on size 16 dry fly

 

In the past three or four years I’ve written 100 plus posts on this blog. One post, above all, received significantly more attention (hits) than any other. It simply blew all the others away…10X more attention. Was the quality of the writing that much better?…”No”. Were the photographs super special or intriguing?…”No”. Were the trout huge?…”No”. Was I giving away cash?…”No”. It was simply the title. It contained the words, “French Assassins”. The post had nothing to do with espionage, mystery or murder. I was simply quoting a phrase/term used by an author in a slow-paced, gentle fly fishing book called, Chalkstream Chronicle, by Neil Patterson. It’s a great book. One of my all time favorites.

 

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faraway

rainbow on dry-fly, size 18 pmd

In one chapter Patterson describes how some French anglers in economically depressed war-time France, or just post war, survived by designing highly effective flies (killer patterns) for flat water creek fishing (difficult water) that allowed them to fool very discerning trout; I believe they were brown trout. If I remember the story correctly they either kept their families alive with the protein they caught from the streams or they sold the trout to restaurants in order to earn money when there was no employment opportunities in their ravaged homeland. Basically, they fished to survive and because of this they became very skilled and specialized at catching trout on their local water. Thus the term, “French Assassins”. The common feature of all of these flat water flies is that they were tied in a very sparse (airy/light) style.

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Abby, trout spotting from bluff

 

loopbwn

brown trout

best abby

 

I wonder how today’s tabloid title, “Man-eater Brown trout” will fare? More hits? I’ll see…

abbywind

scenery

handhead

rainbow, fly, size 18 pmd

Above and below are some brown and rainbow trout I caught and released over the last couple of weekends sight-fishing late July and early August. The angling was quite challenging. All trout were fooled on Pale Morning Duns (dry-fly/emerger patterns) size 18 and 16. I got lucky as some of the small fly hook-ups held. I also missed quite a few.

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rainbow

004 (3)

 

finger (2)

simple dangling patterns, size 18, black wing for grey glare

 

upclose

close in rainbow

Canyon Trout

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I went down into the canyon. It’s a fairly long walk. I haven’t been there in several years…beautiful place, eerie at times, especially when you’re alone. I took Abby with me.

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The angling was a bit slow. We are kind of between hatches: the Pmd’s are waning and the hoppers (not really a hatch) aren’t doing the “hop” yet. The canyon can be a good place for terrestrial fishing as bugs get blown off of the cliffs and fall into the river. The trout eventually clue in to this.

closeinf

They weren’t looking up on the weekend, however, I did manage to fool a few fish in the shallows that were willing to rise: rainbows. I was on the hunt for brown trout. Some fish took a good look at my fly but were skeptical and turned away. I saw several nice ones on nymphs but they wouldn’t budge from the bottom. The good thing is there were fish around and I spotted some.

abbyhigh

Abby on the cliff

Sight-fishing in the canyon can be challenging as the light-coloured cliffs reflect sunlight  casting an intense glare on the water.

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I’ll go back when the grasshoppers are more prevalent (hopefully soon) and the fish are on the lookout for them and showing themselves by rising. Then my terrestrial fly impressions will be more productive.

abbycliff

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shinyf

The Sock

“Keep calm and wear odd socks”

-David Spires

blurhead

rainbow caught on PMD by author

My fishing sock returned! I’ve missed it. We’ve been separated for 6 months. I accidentally left it in New Zealand in a rental car at Christchurch airport. My friend, Roman, found it when he thoroughly checked the hatchback of the rental before his return flight to Canada.

The sock travelled a great distance. It went from Crowsnest pass to South Island NZ, was worn daily on many great rivers, then travelled back to Canada with Roman to Ontario. There it stayed for several months, dry but very eager to wade and fish again.

The sock finally returned to its home, the Crowsnest Pass, when Roman came out for an angling trip, with his two boys, Christian and Daniel.

It’s a well-travelled neoprene Simms sock. Now ready for duty on my local streams. It has been reunited with the other one. A sort of balance has been resorted and all seems right with the world!

Here’s a photo of the international jet-setting sock looking happy to be home again…

sock

This past week I had the opportunity to fish with some friends: Joe, Roman, Rick, Christian, Daniel and our four-legged tag along, Abby. All good angling mates. Fishing at times was tough but at the end of the week we all caught some fish….and a few great ones I must say. All were taken on dries, mostly sight-fishing. The weather was good…summertime in SW Alberta.

Some memories from one week in July:

-Joe’s favorite line, “Hey Bobby, I’ve got another one on”. One of his browns and a rainbow were the prizes of the week.

bigbow

rainbow on a PMD dry fly

 

bigbr

brown on PMD dry

-The boys, Christian and Daniel, double hauling into the wind. Both great casters. They picked up some nice ones and ended their trip with a multiple fish day on a cutthroat stream. Their favorite lines: “Hey Bob can you pull my fly line through the rod tip” and “My fly is stuck in a bush, can you un-hook it for me”.  Some of their fish…

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brown on dry

 

danielbow

electric cuttbow on beetle

 

boyzcutt3

cutthroat on drake dry

Other memorable events: Rick casting from a seated position on the river; and the boys repeatedly asking their father, ” Can you untangle this”…

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river crossing

 

bull trout

Roman and Christian chasing a bull trout

 

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the group working a pool

 

abbywire

abby

 

hardday

long day

 

bobbrw

brown on beetle

bobbow

rainbow on dry fly

I hope to have the chance to fish with them again next summer…in the meantime I’m going to put on that happy sock and wade a local river.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Early July, fly fishing and golf

“I’m not feeling very well – I need a doctor immediately. Ring the nearest golf course”

-Groucho Marx

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It’s July. Primetime. Primetime but I haven’t seen a lot of fish up eating on the surface in spite of visiting several rivers. My favorite prairie river looks dead. Winter kill due to low water last summer, then a tough cold winter? I don’t know. I do know I covered 5 miles of it this past weekend in the heat and didn’t see fish where I usually see them. It looked empty. It was a ghost town. Music from a Sergio Leone movie started playing in my head while I walked, looked and saw nothing. Too bad. It’s the best sight fishing river around and the most challenging. It’s a place where you have to use your full skill set and fish almost perfectly in order to fool its large wary trout.

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My local tail-water river is kind of producing.  Early morning has been good but not at the other end of the day. No evening risers! What’s up? Not enough bugs…hatch not dense enough? I’ll try again one night this week. Maybe my last outing was simply an anomaly. It usually fishes well just before the sun goes down. It’s when big trout start munching in the shallows in locations where bugs collect.

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chic drift boat

 

My local river, the Crow, also didn’t have rising fish the other night. Some PMD’s were out but no significant response. No large sippers. Hum!!!

 

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The immediate and long range forecast is hot: 30 to 35C for next two weeks. I’ll have to fish early or late, or both, on my favorite rivers and fish the streams way up in the mountains mid-day. That’s the plan.

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Maybe golf would be easier!?

I once met and angler in upstate New York who when asked if he played Golf replied,  “Not while I have a pulse”.

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dog tired, end of day