sight-fishing

I was on the Crowsnest river this past weekend. Sunday was a rare nice day and warm. It felt like Spring! Some Midges were out in the afternoon, however, no fish were up on the section I was on. I even saw a couple of Blue Winged Olives at about 4pm. Just a few but promising. With no rises I started focusing on the river bottom instead of the surface. It’s a completely different type of looking. Through the river glare I eventually spotted a few dark shadows creeping along the bottom mid-pool. They would travel upstream six feet or so then drop back a bit, and then repeating the cycle. They were active. They were feeding. I managed one on a size 18 PT nymph with a cassette tape wing case and a small black beadhead. A dull fly; no shine to it. I landed a classic Crowsnest river rainbow. No hook marks. It was nice to be out sitting riverside in the sun. Nice to sight-fishing again. A new season.

small flies

It’s September and it’s still all about small flies on the tailwater rivers I’ve been fishing all summer long. The occasional trout will grab a big fly like a grasshopper or dragonfly but most of the surface feeding is on the small stuff: PMD’s mainly, some size 18 and 20’s. This hatch is waning.

It has been mostly blue skies lately. No complaints as warm weather is always welcomed. Fishing is better on days with a mixed sky. Trout feed more actively when clouds block the sun and then vanish when the full light returns. Lately I spend as much time watching the sky as I do the river. Here’s a few trout spotted in early September.

size 18 Pmd’s

picky feeders

I spotted several decent rising trout in the tail section of a big slow pool last week. They were feeding on pale duns. It was the end of a fishing day, I was tired and it was a long walk back to my car so I made a couple quick casts with no results and then moved on. One week later I returned. It was as calm as before. The trout were rising as before. It was the same weak PMD hatch as before.

In full sun and low clear water the trout inspected my flies carefully often rejecting my impressions last second. Fun stuff to watch. Many fly changes. Mostly the same result. Parachutes, hacklestackers, cdc duns, and a variety of emerger patterns were casted. All scrutinized. Just about all rejected. One trout ate a hacklestacker. I dug through my fly box and then hooked two fine trout on a fly tied several years ago with a swiss straw wing, one turn or so of dun hackle clipped on bottom, thread body, size 18 hook. I tied a few more this week…

a hot day

rainbow trout

some

SOMEone flipped the switch at the end of August. September has been real cold so far. SOME mornings snow at elevation. SOME mornings right around zero. SOME mornings even colder. On Saturday it was 3C pretty much all day and foggy. SOME good Baetis hatches. SOME good fish have been looking up. SOME selective. SOME very, very selective. SOME frustration getting them to commit. SOME failure. SOME success. SOME brown trout. SOME photos from past two weekends. All trout, not SOME, taken on size 18 BWO’s.

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flies

size 18 BWO’s

 

bwnet

 

brwnleg

taken on hacklestacker BWO, size 18

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focused river guide

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broad tailwater and wind

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low challenging clear water on crowsnest river, fish landed below

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classic crowsnest river rainbow

 

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same brown below

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brown trout on size 18 parachute BWO

 

The Sock

“Keep calm and wear odd socks”

-David Spires

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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.

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rainbow on a PMD dry fly

 

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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

 

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electric cuttbow on beetle

 

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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

 

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abby

 

hardday

long day

 

bobbrw

brown on beetle

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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.