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Topics - Chris Puchniak

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Analyze This... / Icy cold river
« on: January 19, 2020, 07:08:08 PM »

Medium Sized River.  Depth at this time of year in the area is 1.5 to 3'.  Clarity is very good.
Mid-January with sustained temperatures around 0 to -20C for the past 10 days.
River contains trout and whitefish, though the trout vacate this region over winter.
Any of the deeper, slower runs are iced over.
There are very minor black midge hatches, though perhaps too small to imitate.
It is the late afternoon, around 330pm, maybe 45 minutes before dusk.
There are small ice flows drifting downstream from the afternoon melt upriver.



Where I found fish:

It was very nice looking water, but I only had an hour or less to fish before dusk. The sizable ice chucks made it too hazardous for me to fish once light levels got too low because I just couldn't see the ice coming at me.  So I had to quit fairly soon. Knowing very few trout would be around, my focus was on the whitefish (though I'd be happy with any trout - duh).  This was not the type of water I'd think to find many whitefish in winter as they often prefer slower waters and larger pools at this time of year.  Occasionally though I do find whitefish moving into the faster water despite the cold, making it always worthwhile to explore waters you think might be faster than optimal for the conditions.  Regardless, with the recent cold-snap, all the typical 'good' water was covered with 6-12 inches of ice anyways, making anything but the faster riffles unfishable.

I caught 4 fish in a 25 minute span divided amongst the 3 locations circled below.  Although I was using nothing close to the ongoing midge hatch, and certainly much larger (size 14), I found the fish were sitting in the slicks behind the large ice clumps that were attached to the submerged boulders and creating much bigger breaks in the current than would normally be found here.  I can only suspect that the whitefish had moved up from some of the frozen-over waters to the swifter riffles where the smaller midges were hatching (suspecting that the midges weren't hatching under the ice downstream as they had no way to emerge through the ice and it was perhaps too dark there to stimulate a hatch), and of course taking advantage of the generous current breaks.

I considered this a very fortunate day where I rad the water right and got rewarded.

Stillwater Patterns / Possum Emerger
« on: January 09, 2020, 03:59:24 PM »

We often don't get access to Possum fur like they have in Tasmania/Australia in general (it is not like North American possums, and Australia is not able to sell it outside of their country - though sources in NZL have a similar product - maybe not as dense - and I believe can export it), but this material allows you to tie wonderful surface patterns, and as the name suggests, good emerger patterns. But the material works for any nymph or dry fly you want to have that floats amazingly well and is durable beyond belief.  In many ways, better than CDC (which sinks a little too easily for some applications) and deer hair (which is far more fragile than the fur).  It is similar to snowshoe hare and seal fur, but easier to work with.

This pattern is suggestive of a mayfly emerger and can be tied in sizes 8-16, depending on if you want it for lakes or rivers.  However, it can be suggestive of anything that struggles in the surface film, or is moving in the top 6 inches of the water.  This is one of those flies that can be pulled fairly fast, fished slowly, or almost fished static.  Similarly, buggy nymph and parachute post flies can be tied as well.

The Possum emerger can be tied a couple of ways, but the general pattern involves a possum fur tip tail, a possum fur dubbed body, a possum fur thorax, and a possum fur wing case/loop.  In most cases, you can make use of one clump of fur off the tail (between 1/8th and 1/4 inch thick) - use the tips as the tail; use the underbody as the body/thorax; and use what is left for the wing loop.  All you have to add is thread and maybe a rib of floss, spaniflex, or wire.  Patterns vary a little bit with respect to colours, but brown, black, and claret are very nice.  The general colour of possum is from light brown to black, and often one of those natural colours is best.  Claret fur is difficult to find (and subbing in seals fur can help there).

From the two patterns shown here, the variation sometimes comes from where you place the loop, whether it is over the front or the middle of the hook,  I have found that either position of the loop works, and only seems to make a difference in how the pattern sits in the water when not pulled.

The fly is so simple that I think is doesn't even need a materials list or instructions beyond what I have already rambled on about!

Analyze This... / How would you fish this section of river?
« on: January 09, 2020, 08:17:07 AM »

How would you fish the above section of river in Tasmania?  This wasn't a beat section, but was a practice area for us and others.

- the river is about 30-40' bank to bank, varying slightly
- you are facing downstream and it is not viable to start the beat any further down
- this is the bottom of a practice beat (maybe the bottom 10% that extends to just below the last overhanging tree) that you want to cover
- depth where you are standing is about 1.5' deep (probably the shallowest spot) and of slower flow (as you might see from the picture)
- depth is from just below the knees to nearly waist deep
- it is early summer

Ask any questions about the conditions you might want to know.

I will state later what worked for me and what I caught. 

Events and News / Advanced River Masterclass 2019 in BC - August 3rd
« on: June 22, 2019, 07:45:02 PM »
Advanced River Masterclass 2019
With John Nishi and Chris Puchniak

Saturday, August 3rd, 2019

Team Canada anglers John Nishi and Chris Puchniak shall be presenting a full day 'on the water' Instructional Class in the Fraser Valley covering Advanced Nymphing and Dry Fly tactics as part of a Fund Raising campaign for the Team's travel to Tasmania for the 2019 World Fly Fishing Championships

This is an opportunity to learn from two of Canada's most accomplished river anglers about equipment, tactics, and techniques that will help you to catch more fish in all scenarios as they share what they've learned through years of competing.

$150 CAD per person

We look forward to seeing you on the water!

Please contact for any information or for registration for this event!

Fly Fishing Product Reviews / Arcay nymphing line
« on: May 15, 2018, 07:12:12 AM »
I've recently had the chance to fish three lines from the new Arcay company.  This included Arcay's nymphing line, and two "traditional lake" lines - a slow intermediate and a Di7.  For my opinion of the lake lines, please check out my separate review for those items which will be coming out soon.

I have been fishing with the Arcay nymphing line for about four months now, using it and alternating with some of my other lines throughout an afternoon or so.  I've used it on big water and small waters nymphing for trout and whitefish, as well as the odd steelhead.  Here are my thoughts:

- the line is two coloured, with the main body being black and the tip (about 12' long - I haven't measured it precisely) being light blue.  I have been surprised how well the light blue tip shows up, as initially looking at it I would have thought it would be tough to see.  Quite the opposite though - I can see it quite well when fishing out far with an 18-20' leader, and I can't help but think that the light blue tip section is very subtle to the fish when the line is overhead of them.  Dead easy for me to see and possibly more subtle to the fish:  win-win scenario.

- the diameter of the line is very small, pretty much bang-on a precise 0.22 inch, which is the minimum diameter we comp anglers can use.  It leads to less sag and goes though the guides well, yet at the same time there is enough substance to the line to firmly grip it when fighting fish (one of the problems to the all-leader approach)

- the line is very supple and soft, which I suspect helps it shoot through the guides when you are counting on the weight of the fly to do most of the work (and you don't want the line slowing it down!).  When you hold the line in your fingers, you can feel how supple it is.

Long and short of it, for a nymphing line it casts very well (didn't try it with dries mind you!).  I paired it with a 2 weight 10 foot rod, and casting out to about 45' with a single tungsten bead nymph was fairly easy.  Really, like any fly line, you want it to help you cast, not get in the way, and help you fight a fish, and this line does all this very well. 

Often we go through nymphing lines on rivers fairly quickly, as the lines have only a thinly coated jacket, and on the rocks they take an incredible amount of abuse (sure do from me anyways!).  I am looking forward to seeing how this line stands up over time and will be certainly giving it the long term test this summer. 

Fly Fishing General Discussions / Flyfishing app games
« on: April 13, 2018, 12:47:13 PM »
Anyone ever try the game called FlyFishing Simulator HD by Phishtech LLC on their device?  It's actually a rather fun game to play, as far as fishing simulators go.  It even has a few spots I've fished in Colorado which makes it a little neat seeing a run you actually been to simulated.

Analyze This... / If this was your beat (#1)
« on: January 24, 2018, 03:42:59 PM »

We have not done this for awhile.

Bird's eye view perspective of a chunk of water.  This is your beat.

Time of year: Summer
Species: trout (small to large)
Session length: 90 minutes
River size details: the deeper sections are too deep to cross and too swift.  Most other areas are wadable.  Up to 6-7' in depth in the darker areas.  River width is approximately 100' plus.

The frame of the picture is your beat.

You can wade the river out to the half way point but crossing is not permitted due to private lands on the NORTH side.  You can only fish from the SOUTH side.

No visible signs of a hatch nor signs of a fish rising.  Based on your fishing of the region recently in practice, you know that some fish can be caught on dries and some on streamers, but nymphs do dominate.  But you have never fished this specific area and have no other intel.

How would you approach and fish this section of water?

Fly Fishing Competitions and Events / WFFC 2017 Slovakia
« on: September 07, 2017, 06:35:07 AM »
The sessions have begun this morning and looking to follow the results closely!

Some results will be found here:

Good luck to all!

Fly Fishing General Discussions / David Arcay visit to BC
« on: July 29, 2017, 05:13:25 PM »
We get to fish with some pretty good anglers around BC, but it's not often we get the chance to fish with such highly decorated competition anglers as David Arcay from Spain.  He's won the World title in 2012, finished in the top ten a couple of times more, won some serious medals at the Worlds level with Team Spain, and just come off winning the Team Gold at the Worlds in Colorado last year (where I happened to be at and watch him fish an absolutely poor beat and pull off a 4th place finish with it). I was very fortunate though of having David stay with me for a few days at my place while he was in between doing Masterclasses through parts of Canada (just wrapping up in Alberta as I type this).  And meeting up with good friends Brian and Bobby Danielkiewicz, Johnny Wilkinson (Johnnyneverstops), and Ken (Michael Phelps) Woodward, along with David's girlfriend Sylvia, we got to run around the Skagit and other rivers seeing how many fish we could fool!

Aside from the fact that I don't think I have had that much recreational fishing (i.e. outside of a comp) in ages and was stoked at this opportunity, the weather was excellent for all the days, with clear cool waters (only one of the rivers was maybe a bit low and not fishing it's best), and virtually no one else around.  Fishing was tough at times, and locating the waters the fish preferred sometimes took a fair bit of time, but the rewards at the end were just that much nicer when you had to bust your back to work for them.  It also allowed us to see how a top competition angler would deal with stubborn fish.

Rainbow trout dominated most of the catch, but we also ran into westslope cutthroat, brook trout, bull trout, and rocky mountain whitefish (to use their long name).  Streamer fishing was a little on the weak side as not many fish were willing to move much, but dries and nymphs did a better job.  We fished the Skagit a couple of times, but also got up to some sub-alpine lakes to do some bank fishing, which is something I hadn't done in a awhile.  For that matter, I explored more new spots on the Skagit than I have in a long time, and got reacquainted with some old spots I hadn't seen in some time.

I have to admit that I was thoroughly impressed with how well David can cast stealthily and present to fish.  It's not something we are used to in BC, but clearly in Spain fishing is much tougher and if you don't adapt to the situation, you're going to go fishless most of the time.  I think a lot of North American anglers learn this the hard way when they go to tough waters in parts of Europe, expecting to catch fish as readily as they do at home, and then find how they struggle to catch fish that are simply rising right in front of them.   But he could hit a loonie at 50' using a rig I couldn't hit a barn door with, and that was essential for catching the tough fish he was used to.

I can also see how this leads to someone like David being able to design products tailored to the purpose of catching fish. I think most of us know that us competition anglers work hard to not leave out any details, and take our fishing rather seriously.  But when you grow up fishing for tough fish all the time, everything has to be precise, and everything has a practical purpose or function.  And this translates into gear selection and design as well.  From hats to beads to rods to flies, nothing is just a run of the mill normal item.  I am going to encourage everyone to check out his online shop once he gets it going - when top anglers like David Downie, Lubos Roza, Sandros Soldarini. Devin Olsen and others turn their vast comp experience into developing and importing equipment, you have to stop and look at what they can offer - David Arcay is one of these guys.  I will be sure to keep everyone posted on this as he is developing an online store for his products.

But enough of that - here are some pics of the trip (we kept a fish or two out of the water a couple of times just a bit to try and give David and Sylvia some memorable pics - as if the beauty of the water wasn't enough - but we minimized pictures of the fish as much as possible due to the heat, though the waters were very cool).

Fly Fishing Competitions and Events / 2017 Cast and Blast results
« on: May 08, 2017, 11:37:35 AM »
As posted on the Eastern Canadian Competitive Fly Fishing League's Facebook page:

Results from the 2017 Cast & Blast
 Congratulations to all the first timers who came out this weekend, you guys did great!

Individual Results:
 1. Ionut Cotinghi 3 points 7 fish
 2. Jeremiah Hamilton 5 points 10 fish
 3. Colin Huff 5 points 8 fish
 4. Francois Dallaire 6 points 4 fish
 5. Enzo R. 6 points 4 fish
 6. Stephen Snyder 7 points 4 fish
 7. Alex Baumeister 9 points 6 fish
 8. Ken MacAulay 11 points 4 fish
 9. Ivo Balinov 11 points 3 fish
 10. Shane Bloomfield 12 points 3 fish
 11. Darian Savage 13 points 1 fish
 12. Almero Retief 14 points 2 fish
 13. Byron Shepherd 14 points 1 fish
 14. Jason White 15 points 2 fish
 15. Graham Murfitt 16 points 1 fish
 16. Oliver Chamberlin 16 points 0 fish

Team Results:
 1. Colin Huff & Stephen Snyder 12 points 12 fish
 2. Ivo Balinov & Jeremiah Hamilton 14 points 13 fish
 3. Ken MacAulay & Ionut Cotinghi 14 points 11 fish
 4. Alex Baumeister & Enzo R. 15 points 10 fish
 5. Francois Dallaire & Almero Retief 20 points 6 fish
 6. Shane Bloomfield & Oliver Chamberlin 28 points 3 fish
 7. Darian Savage & Jason White 28 points 3 fish
 8 Byron Shepherd & Graham Murfitt 30 points 2 fish

Fly Fishing Product Reviews / Sage 2100 (second generation model)
« on: May 01, 2017, 11:39:45 AM »

I have been fishing with a new generation 2100-4 Sage ESN for the past 2 months and wanted to give it a quick review now that I've had the chance to put it through the tests.

Keep in mind this is the new (late 2016-early 2017) ESN nymphing rod and not the previous model by the same name that was available prior to mid-2016 or so.  As the part # is essentially the same it might be a little confusing for some as the new 2100 is quite different from the previous 2100. 

As a frame of reference, I am comparing the new 2100 to the old 2100, which has been my go-to rod for nymphing over the past 3 years or so.  I will skip most of the cosmetic stuff and stick to the practical end of things.

The rods are quite different from each other despite the model number being the same.  Here are some quick differences:

1.  Reel Seat: On the new 2100, the reel seat tightens down to the butt, whereas on the older generation the reel seat tightens up to the grip.  This greatly increases overall balance with lighter reels and I think for many will help encourage the use of lighter reels... which will lead to an overall lighter set up.

2.  Weight: On the new 2100, the rod itself is 5/16th ounces lighter.  Doesn't sound like much at all, but believe me, you feel it.  It weighs in at 2 1/2 oz whereas the older model is 2 13/16th oz.

3.  Grip: The new 2100 has a full wells grip as opposed to the half wells of the older model.  The full wells is something I always wanted on the old model as I really do feel more comfortable with this grip.  For some they may feel it reduces sensitivity (for those who prefer to keep a finger pressed up against the blank itself), but that's not my feeling of the situation.  The comfort is certainly better on this rod, which sounds positive on those days of 8 hours of fishing...

4. Guides: Although the new and old rods both have the same number of guides, the newer model has changed two factors.  First, they have gone to lighter weight single foot guides as opposed to the older rod which had double foot snake guides.  Secondly, the two stripping guides (the 2 closest to the grip) have been moved lower down on the rod (closer to the grip).  This definitely leads to less line sag in the guides, which helps with casting and sensitivity.

5.  Hook keeper: The new rod does not have a hook keeper.  Now I know this is going to be welcomed by many anglers, but I always preferred having the hook keeper both for lining up the rod and holding a fly.  However, I know many do not like the hook keeper for reasons of both weight and because it may catch on the line when casting.  So I think this is a subjective change that some may like, but others may not.  But it is a small change either way.

6. Rod Action: this is one of the bigger changes in the rod.  Compared to the previous model, they have softened up the butt and mid-section, and maybe firmed up the tip a bit.  Overall, they have balanced out the action of the rod more throughout the length, making it less tip sensitive with a stiffer butt.  First impression when I grab the two rods side by side is that the older 2100 feels like a 2x4 board next to the new one, which is quite surprising for me.  It definitely helps with sensitivity and I believe casting accuracy.  As far as I can tell, casting distance is unaffected by the change and I can still throw a nymph (or pair of heavy nymphs) as well with the new model as the old.

Overall evaluation:
This is a much more comfortable rod, with better accuracy and sensitivity over the previous model.  So far on the water it has handled really well, but I haven't been able to test it on any really big fish yet (i.e. 20 inches or more - fishing has been too tough locally lately... lol).  It is clearly more fun to cast and work with, and the fish I have caught in the 20-45cm range (10-16 inches) have felt more lively on the rod (that is, I can feel the fish more) yet are easily handled in fast water. What I am waiting to see though is how it handles bigger fish that you may catch with less frequency.  I know with my older 2100, although many would wince at the thought of hooking a 20-inch plus fish on it, let alone steelhead, I myself have been very comfortable hooking larger fish in the 3-8 pound range with it in heavy current.  However, I don't think the new 2100 was designed to handle larger fish, and was designed to be a more sensitive lighter rod - closer to a traditional 2 weight that most people would expect (though it is still far away from any of the soft action 2 weights I own and use, it is closer to a this than the older 2100 is).  In particular, I think it is going to be a fantastic single fly or light nymph rod, and better than the old 2100 in both these aspects.

I think in general it is going to be a step up over my older 2100 on smaller river systems and handling smaller fish.  It hasn't yet fully replaced my older 2100, but with the tougher fishing lately in my area for fish that have in general been smaller on average, it has certainly been a top notch rod that I have preferred to my older 2100.

Now it has me curious about the new 3100...

Posted from the Eastern Canadian Competitive Fly Fishing League Facebook page - sounds like some tough fishing:

Due to a slight shortage of people we all competed as one group, this is why placing points will seem high. Thanks to everyone who came out today!
Ties were broken by fish # and then time of first fish.

Individual Results:
 1. Jeremiah Hamilton 4 points 6 fish
 2. Colin Huff 6 points 9 fish
 3. Alex Baumeister 6 points 5 fish
 4. Enzo R. 7 points 6 fish
 5. Ionut Cotinghi 13 points 2 fish
 6. Ciprian Rafan 15 points 2 fish
 7. Almero Retief 18 points 2 fish
 8. Pierre Dunant 20 points 2 fish
 9. Dominique Leblanc 22 points 2 fish
 10. Louis Levesque 21 points 1 fish
 11. Gerald Chervet 21 points 1 fish
 12. Shane O'Hara 22 points 1 fish
 13. Shane Bloomfield 28 points 0 fish
 14. Francois Dalaire 28 points 0 fish

Team Results:
 1. Colin Huff & Jeremiah Hamilton 10 points 15 fish
 2. Alex Baumeister & Enzo R. 13 points 11 fish
 3. Ciprian Rafan & Ionut Cotinghi 28 points 4 fish
 4. Almero Retief & Gerald Chervet 39 points 3 fish
 5. Dominique Leblanc & Shane O'Hara 44 points 2 fish
 6. Pierre Dunant & Shane Bloomfield 48 points 2 fish
 7. Louis Levesque & Francois Dallaire 49 points 1 fish

On a trip to Great Wolf Lodge with the family for a few days (which was great!) and I got to bring along the fly rods much like I did the last time in order to get out and explore some new waters.  Exploring new waters is one of the funnest things in fishing, but add to that I get to do so in waters where I can fish with multiple flies (breaking away from the oppressive single fly system in BC) and it makes it even better.  Last time down in Washington I fished the Skookumchuck River, but being that heavy rains had preceded our trip then, the rivers were in rough shape.  This time the weather forecast was somewhat better, and though scattered rain was expected, I had hoped the rivers might stay a little more fishable. Of course, it didn't turn out that way and the rivers were high and clouded...

After breakfast on the Thursday we happened to be eating at a restaurant (Country Cousins in Centralia - great breakfasts and we hit it every time we are in town) that was right next to Fort Borst Lake, a stocked lake in Centralia.  Aside from  giving me a craving for Ukranian soup, the small lake has lots of fishable shoreline making bank fishing quite attractive (unlike many lakes in BC where bank fishing isn't feasible), and considering I was only going to fish for an hour at most, bank fishing was all I would have time for - so this suited me well.  I believe it is just a converted gravel pit where a park has been made around it (celebrating a historical homestead area), but like Washington seems to be able to do, they often take an abandoned gravel pit and turn it into a decent pond for some light fishing for the general public.  They seem to be all over the state.

I didn't have much time with the family to fish, so I didn't have the option to explore the whole lake.  I had to find a decent spot right off and make the most of it. I had been to the park before, but never to fish, and had actually never been here during the open fishing season (starts the 4th Saturday of April) - so I had never seen fish rise, nor had been able to see other anglers on the water.  But fortunately there were a few gear anglers around and some families fishing this time, and each seemed to be having some success.  So I picked a spot away from the others where I figured the bank dropoff was sufficient enough to hold fish.

Being stockies, and noticing the presence of power bait around the shore (lol), I rigged up with a leech on the point and a blob on the top with a fast glass line. 

I got some fish right off, but all on the leech pattern (I was only fishing 2 flies) - nothing on the blobs.  So I changed up a bit and went with a booby on the point and a leech on the top dropper.  Again, all the action I had was on the leech, with not a touch on the boobies.   Hmmm.  Very discriminating hatchery fish.  Admittedly, a good amount of the fish in the lake had been stocked in January, so had a chance to climatize somewhat, but 'tis a rare day when stocked fish will say no to a blob or booby.

But not having a lot of time to experiment, I switched to a leech on the point and a tungsten bead damsel on the top to see if that attracted more attention than the other combos.  And it did pretty much instantly.  The fish sure didn't like the blobs and boobies this day.  After about an hour we left the water having got a number of nice rainbows in the 26-30cm range.  Nice way to start the day, and now it was time to return to the hotel to swim and play a little of Magicquest...

At around 4pm, I was able to head out to fish one of the nearby rivers before we were to have a late dinner (the Deschutes).  I had scouted it out before on google but had never visited it despite being within 30 minutes of it many times, but based on everything I'd read it was a small freestone stream with a population of cutthroat trout and migrating salmon.  I wasn't familiar with all the falls and chutes (where the name is derived from), but it was also a river that reportedly can go from a tiny stream to a torrent (dirties up fast, but also clears fast) such that from year to year it never looks the same, as the heavy spring and fall rains change the bottom contours and tear down trees from the bank.  But by April and May, it was supposed to get rather gentle.

Getting to the river I could see the truth in those reports.  The river didn't look like many of the online images, as clearly the rain we'd had a couple of days ago had the river much higher and dirtier.  I spoke to someone on the trail who was asking me how the fishing was going (but I hadn't started yet, so didn't have much of an answer!), and she explained that the river was far more nasty two days ago and was still settling down and would get much better by tomorrow.  But also that this past year had seen some very high water levels (she seemed to suggested a rise of 4 feet, which would be a lot for a river this small), completely changing the river.  I couldn't see a reason to argue that point considering the trail we were standing on had recently washed away, there was stream debris trapped in the trees on the bank some 150' away from the current river's edge (a river that was only 50-60' across), and there were newly fallen trees everywhere in the river with their rootballs attached.

Anyways, I settled onto the first gravel shoal  or beach that was wadable.  I definitely couldn't wade across the river in its current state, but I could see how in lower waters it would be far more crossable.  But now came the challenge of trying to figure out where fish would be holding in the high waters on a river I'd never fished before.  Usually the bigger fish continue to hold in the same general spots regardless of the water levels (what makes a prime lie in normal waters is still prime water in high water), however those spots under high water conditions are often hard to find and reach, as they are covered in a couple of extra feet of flow - in other words, what looks too high now to fish probably holds nice water underneath it (where the good fish are), and what looks GOOD in high water often only holds small fish as those holding spots are only temporary.  What I find one has to look for is that water which is prime water in normal conditions, yet also looks like prime "fishable"  water in unfavourable conditions as well (such as the high waters I was finding now) - these types of spots are consistently stable for the fish,  and are also fishable from the angler's standpoint.  If that doesn't work, then I try and search out the fishable water in the high conditions that may only be temporary, but are favourable enough to attract fish displaced from their normal lies (usually smaller fish).  But always start with the best, and that's what I was going to do since I only had about 90 minutes to fish (errr... half a 3-hour session as I look at it!).

Water visibility was only about 15 inches, which wasn't bad but also wasn't great.  It would mean sketchy 'cautious' wading as you can't see the bottom past your upper shins, and it was clear enough that some spots in this small river were well over 5' deep - I found that out while plopping the fly in a few spots of low current.

But I found a nice spot where standing on the inside of a bend I had fast shallow water running into a deep corner pool creating a bit of a shelf where the shallow water dropped into the pool - a fact you could only find by drifting your nymphs and feeling through the rod tip the actual depth.  I fished the deep part of the pool first, thinking maybe the slower water would let my flies be seen a little better (and having your flies being seen is the first step to catching), but tagged nothing there, not even any woody debris.  Then I worked up in the shallower water and let the flies drift over what I thought was the shelf.  The action was instant and I got several nice cutthroat in the 25-30cm range - nothing huge, but on the Sage 2100, still very rewarding.

I worked through the run, then walked along the trails to some other locations downstream, fishing the woody debris where I could find it, and looking for the inside seams where the larger fish might hold.  I didn't find any large trout per se, but I definitely found the bigger fish in the more permanent lies as opposed to the temporary locations.  The 90 minutes I had went by fast, and unfortunately I was heading back to the hotel before I knew it.  But all in all it was a great half session.  Any chance to explore new waters in tough conditions (while escaping the single-fly yoke of my home BC waters) is a great experience in my books!

So a great diversion on a fun family trip got me a couple of hours of fishing - a stillwater 1 hour bank session and a river 1.5 hour bank session!  Altogether not a full session, but close enough for me.

Fly Fishing Reports, Stories, and Adventures / Easter Sunday - Weaver
« on: April 17, 2017, 01:03:50 PM »
Headed up to the Weaver Lake area on Easter Sunday.  I hadn't been there for several years and was looking forward to hitting an area I've fished over the past 30 years.

Weather was gorgeous heading out at 10am - yes, no fishing trips start at dawn for me unfortunately when we go as a family!  A typical trip has a 9-10 am start time, 8 hours of driving, packing and working around camp, and if I am lucky, maybe 2 hours of fishing time (all outside of the best times to fish of course).  By far, I spend more time having to pack 'creature-comfort items', driving, and dealing with "Can we go home now" every 20 minutes than I do actually fishing - but hey, the limited amount of fishing time and numerous distractions with all the exhaustive non-fishing activities is highly representative of a typical competition, so it only functions as good training for me!  And I wouldn't trade it for another scenario.

We got up to the area around noon, and expected it to be busy on a nice Easter Sunday.  We weren't disappointed with that as there were ATVs everywhere (though every single one we met was being run the way you like to see it done - with courtesy and clear respect for the environment), people camped wherever they could, etc..  But we set up to have a fire, cook some hotdogs, and explore the shoreline (which included setting out a crayfish trap to see what we could find - though this proved fruitless, as either the water was still too cool, or this mountain system doesn't contain much in the way of crayfish).

By the time 2pm came up, we were on the water with two rods strung up.  I was going to row, and Sandy, Garett and Jason were going to manage the fly rods.  There was a stiff breeze blowing, making the sunny day rather cool still, but the nice thing about lakes with a wooded shoreline is that you can easily find shelter if you want to.  Which is what we did.

Fishing was slow initially.  Nothing was moving near the top.  The other two boats in the area were on the water before us, and neither had any success so far.  As we rowed around the shoreline, exploring the LWDs, the conversation in the boat went something like this:

At the 20 minute mark:
Garett:      Can we go home now?
Me:        We just got out here. No.  Aren't you having fun?
Garett:        No.
Me:        Don't worry, as soon as we find some fish, it will get better.
Garett:        No it won't. 
Me:         Well, we aren't leaving till we catch 8 trout.
Garett:        (groans)

At the 1 hour mark, both the other boats near us left the water, and we hadn't seen a fish move yet.  It was really inactive and I was thinking about fishing a little deeper, maybe with a Di5 line.  But the conversation continued (keep in mind there were 2 more "Can we go home now?" conversations prior to this):

Jason:        This is no fun.  There aren't any fish here.  Can we go now?
Me:        Don't worry, this is a good lake.  We just have to find where they are sitting on the lake and at what depth.  Sometimes it takes awhile on a new lake to find things, and we haven't fished here for awhile.  We always end up doing well here and I am sure we will (though thinking internally - "this sucks"... lol).  We still need to catch 8 trout.
Both boys:        What?!  Why?  That's impossible!
Me:        Well, we're still going to try.  We're not leaving till we catch them (though again, thinking inside "yeah right... as if I can really enforce that!"  Lol).

After exploring the shoreline, which is usually so reliable due to all the caddis on the LWDs, we started to move out to open water to cross over the lake a bit to try fresh water.  As my wife Sandy was paying more attention than the lads were to their fishing, I suggested to her to start stripping in the line a bit, then to feed it back out...

Me:        Sometimes the fish just need to see a  break from the routine.  They may be following your fly all day, completely.... (suddenly cut off)
Sandy:        (part way through stripping) Got one!
Me:        Oh nice!  (resuming my conversation)... ignoring it as it doesn't do anything different - then as soon as you reel in for the day, or strip in to look at your fly, you hit a fish instantly.  It's usually not a coincidence.  Good timing fish to illustrate that point!  (Note: Every now and then something happens to make me look smart)

Not a big fish, but still a nice 28-30cm darkly coloured (not spawning) rainbow so typical of these lakes.  We let it go and it swam quietly away.  In the clear water, the kids always have fun watching the fish swim away, usually first darting for the shelter of the boat, then slowly swimming off a little deeper after a brief time.  Actually, what am I saying the "kids" have fun watching the fish swim off?  I'm just as much into it! 

Now we started to have some success, and primarily due to location.  We noticed the odd size 14-16 dark green chironomid coming off.  There weren't many, but they were consistently hatching over the deep water (40-50' depth) as opposed to the shallows - and that's where we started getting consistent success with fish clearly travelling in schools, maybe in the top 5-10', as we'd often get two hookups within seconds of each other.  The action was pretty steady, and I consequently didn't get a chance to really fish (I only get to fish when it sucks - which is ok as I prefer hard conditions!).  My work was limited to rowing the boat.  My only involvement was when I grabbed one of the rods to give a quick reminder of how to set the 'properly' hook... where I immediately snapped the tip section of one of my rods in half while doing a false hookset.  Lol.  Great demo Chris... great.

Most of the fish were in the 28-30cm range (11-12 inches) but there were some nice rainbows in the 40-45 cm range (16-17 inches) that pulled hard.  Nice Blackwater strain fish that really remind one of fishing in the interior.   No complaints about catching fish of that size.  I'm happy catching those fish even when I drive 3+ hours from home to the interior (which I didn't have to do today).

After we hit the target of 8 fish, I agreed to head home!  We packed up camp, roasted some s'mores, and heading back down the trails towards home.

Anyone on the forum have a place they like to rent out in BC on occasion?  Looking to do something with my wife and sons this year! 

Feel free to PM me or post!


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