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Archive for January, 2009

No love from snowy dolly

Published on Tuesday, January 27th, 2009

I woke up to a blanket of white fluffy powder this morning and thought it would be a fantastic photo opportunity on the beach, especially if there was a dolly to pose with. Yesterday there was a brief hook-up but she got away after a couple of rolls on the surface. They seemed to be striking so close to shore, taking me by surprise. At first I thought that I had snagged up on the bottom when she took the lure because it was in such shallow water, which may explain how easily she got off the hook.

Chris phoned around Noon as usual to file in a report from the Chilliwack River, which seems to be fishing very well right now due to the arrival of a batch of fresh steelhead. The call motivated me to get out in the cold. The incoming tide should have brought in some fish, but today was not meant to be. I could not trigger a bite from a snowy dolly, but I captured some photos of Estuary Fraser River in its winter glory.

The bays at Garry Point Park act as refuges for predators and preys. They should be in here, but none could be found today.

This was the third dead seagull that I’ve discovered since last Thursday! Could it be related to the recent bird flu outbreak in Langley?

Snowy land, light house and the sun in the far horizon.

The sun, dodging in and out of the clouds.

One last cast before the sun exits. You just never know when they might strike.

Favorites of 2008

Published on Tuesday, January 27th, 2009

2008 was a great year with many memorable fishing trips, which were documented by thousands of photographs. Out of the collection, I have picked the best photo for each month for 2008’s favorites. You can see each enlarged photograph on this page. Here are the brief background stories of each photograph.

January: Ten thousand casts later, big silver surrenders
At Copenhagen Harbour, persistence finally paid off when at this big sea trout surrendered itself. Sea trout has been the main target species during my visit in Denmark, but they are hard to come by in the winter months. Thousands of casts later often produce nothing, but it only takes one to pay off the effort. Read the full story…

February: Locals know best
Winter steelhead is a prized species in British Columbia. One early February morning on the Chilliwack River produced this fine specimen. The locals always find these fish more quickly than others. Read the full story…

March: Between rain clouds…
The weather in March 2008 was unpredictable as always, but gorgeous most of the time. Between patches of rain, we managed to get out for some kokanee fishing and had a fantastic time! Read the full story…

April: Good fishing at Lower Mainland lakes
April marks the beginning of spring but also a few months of good trout fishing in the Lower Mainland. Yes, they are stocked rainbow trout, but they can be just as fun to catch on light tackle. This rainbow trout was caught at Alice Lake in Squamish. Read the full story…

May: Long, fat and beautiful!
This gigantic cutthroat trout took a tiny brown fly while we fished at Alta Lake in Whistler. Lower Mainland lakes are commonly known to only produce small fish, but this is not entirely true. Both large cutthroat and rainbow trout are in fact available at some of the catch and release lakes. Read the full story…

June: First 2008 Interior BC trip
This lovely rainbow trout was just one of many that we caught and released during our first trip to a lake in Interior BC. In May and June, Interior BC lakes provide world class flyfishing for acrobatic rainbow trout. Sunshine, warmth, dozens of fish, what else can you ask for? Read the full story…

July: Summer evening on the pier
Pier fishing is fun, doesn’t matter how old you are. Watching the rod tip wiggle or the float dip in the water can be just as exciting. A July evening on a pier in the Tidal Fraser River produced this sculpin and several other coarse fish species. Read the full story…

August: Summer salmon, unexpected visitors, evening success
August is hot and there is no better way to spend it than dipping in the cold Thompson River and catching trout in the evening. This rainbow trout rose for a big dry fly. You can see how aggressive these fish are by looking at how deep it took down the fly. Read the full story…

September: Brief but fast fishing in the Tidal Fraser
September marks the beginning of the fall salmon season, but I enjoy fishing for alternative species from time to time before it gets too cold. At a last-minute trip to the Tidal Fraser River, we encountered numerous large northern pikeminnow such as this one. Read the full story…

October: Chumtastic on the Vedder
Chum salmon seems to get the bad rep from time to time. They shouldn’t, because fresh chum salmon are fantastic fighters and they taste great! Most chum salmon are often coloured by the time they reached the river, but this fish was as silver as it could get. Read the full story…

November: A very wet battle
A big bull trout swallows a spinner, a tug boat cruises by, a wet battle begins! This fish took me for a long ride while big waves pounded the beach. Eventually the best looking bull trout of the season was beached, after this fighting shot was taken. Read the full story…

December: Breath-taking surroundings, but connection short-lived
Catching a fish is only one component of a fishing trip. Travelling to new, exotic location is another. This is Stevns, Denmark, a beach known for big sea trout and chalky cliffs. Read the full story…

Back at home waters

Published on Friday, January 23rd, 2009

Since I touched down at YVR on Monday, thick fog just did not want to leave the Lower Fraser. It is the type of weather that makes you want to tuck away in your cozy room, but it does not take long for cabin fever to set in. Yesterday the fog dispersed slightly, so I sneaked out to one of my nearby fishing hangouts to see if a fish would tug my line. I was quite shocked when a chunky bull trout sped into the shallow water and attacked my spinner with no hesitation after a couple of casts. Unfortunately it did not stick on the hook. A cutthroat trout showed itself a few casts later, but it also set itself free.

With the sun burning away the cold moist air, I just had to go back and find those fish again. Once again a chunky bull trout did not hesitate to chase an artificial in 6 inches of water. It missed the spoon completely and left a puff of mud behind. I guess these fish are quite hungry in the winter because it only took a few more casts to coax it back into the shallows. It ran out of luck. It is good to be back at home waters.

A steelhead of a thousand cast

Published on Thursday, January 22nd, 2009

After taking the day off yesterday, I thought that I should get an early start this morning with the improved water conditions. I awoke around 6:30am and noticed that we had a few degrees of frost here in the Valley so the warm blankets won out over getting to the river at first light.

It actually was close to noon before I reached the river. Upon my arrival, the river was looking mighty fine as did a lot of other people as most of the runs had an angler or two hard at it. In talking to a couple of them they said one hatchery had been taken in the area. Good, I had not missed much.

I decided to head up river a tad, to the scene of the action I had 11 days ago. Since then I had fished 5 days, put in 13 hours and seen only one fish taken but of course I heard of some others. We all had been challenged by less than desirable condition, in the Lower anyway. Even the prospects of better up river conditions did not beckon me to go there. I do not really know why but I always like the Lower, maybe because it is closer to home and to Tim Hortons. Grin

When I reached the river, the first thing I saw was one of the brood capture boys bringing a tubed fish up river. I crossed a small stream and gave them a hand. I packed their rods so they could carry the water filled tube closer for hatchery staff to pick up. They said that they had been into a couple of others or had missed them, I have forgotten what they actually said. I was glad that they had got one for the brood program as I believe we are a bit behind so far this season.

Needless to say that got my spirit up some and maybe by staying in bed early this morning was not such a bad idea after all. Grin The lovely spring-like weather along with the improved water visibility had brought out more anglers as they dotted a good number of the runs in the area.

I started by fishing a small side stream but I wondered if steelhead would come up it. The entrance to the side stream, further down river, looks OK. I then moved to the main river and fished one very nice looking run but it was quite big, so many places for a fish to be. I tried to cover it the best I could before I moved to where I got the fish 11 days ago but no one was home today. I quickly fished the big run again; one angler was fishing part way down so I left it to him.

I headed once again to the side stream and work the spot where I had started as it looked so fishy but the Maple Leaf DNE stayed dry. Two anglers were fishing another run of the side stream about 150 feet below me but they did not fish it too long before heading over to the main part of the flow.

I decided to work my way down to it. I crossed a little bit of quick water, watching I did not trip on a rock, nice to be able see bottom with the clearing water conditions. As I reached the other side, onto a bit of an island I noticed a little slick below a drop off. Experience told me even though it was small it was plenty big enough to hold Iron. Many new comers to steelhead fishing will walk right by a spot like this. I am sure I did when I first started out but seeing “The Master” pulling a fish out behind me in the past were lessons well learned.

Anyway on the first cast into this spot the Maple Leaf DNE acted a bit strangely. I was not sure if it was actually a take or not but I sort of just tightened up a bit, not actually striking properly. As I applied the tension the tell tale headshake of a steelhead followed by a silver flash convinced me that it was indeed a fish. Roll Eyes

It took off right away heading to a run below, where the others had been fishing and I hastily had to cross another side stream to reach dry land. I am hoping it was a wild for the tube.

The fish was not big but what the heck, it was a steelhead and after 5 skunked days I was pleased to have one of any size on. As usual the steelhead was strong, their size never seems to matter. They put up a good tussle and it gives one pleasure feeling it on the end of your line. I do not think a true fisherman ever gets tired of that feeling.

As it got closer to shore, it started to twist and turn, trying to get rid of that hook. I had picked a nice spot to bring it onto shore if it was a hatchery, or to tube it if the adipose fin was intact.

Unfortunately I saw some blood coming from its mouth so now I hoped that it was a hatchery. I have over the years seldom had a bleeding steelhead. I searched now for that fin; good there was not one so ashore it came, a hen close to 8 pounds.

The two fellows that were fishing the run where I landed it come racing over and the questions followed. Grin Grin

I marked the fish on my license and I was glad that I had two pens as one would not write. It had been in my pack too long I guess.

I headed for a snack to reward myself as once again my wife will be pleased to serve fresh fish. I am not sure how many casts it took between my 2 steelhead for 2009 but maybe it was getting close to a thousand.

The count starts tomorrow again but I do not think that I will bother counting them as it does not really matter in the whole scheme of things. Just getting out on the beautiful Chilliwack Vedder River is enough of a reward, to me anyway.

A blank finish

Published on Thursday, January 15th, 2009

Four hook-ups in one winter outing could be called a successful beach sea trout day. Finally it seemed like some progress after last Friday’s outing. Hoping to sustain some of that luck, I decided to have a beach marathon this week. From Monday until today, I tackled several spots on the west coast of Sjælland from dawn to dusk. Some beautiful waters were covered, but unfortunately the catching part was back to square one. The only action that I witnessed was a school of chasers that swirled in front of me today, at the exact same spot where I caught some followers back in December. Unlike that outing, these fish never came back for a second glance of my fly.

Today’s trip ended this winter sea trout hunt. Statistically, the catching and landing numbers have not been overly impressive.

  • In total, just over 70 hours of beach fishing were done (these exclude the hours spent in the harbour and sloughs where five bigger post spawning fish were caught).
  • 10 different beaches were fished, each averaged around 2km long.
  • Out of 14 trips, fish were hooked in five of them.
  • 10 fish were hooked, only 2 were landed.
  • 7 fish were hooked on lures, 3 fish were hooked on flies.

Although extremely frustrating at times, these trips have been valuable lessons. Local knowledge plays a key factor in this unique fishery. The assistance of several friends and constant studying of maps, waters, wind directions yielded a few hook-ups, which are now good references for trips in the future.

Here are some photographic shots that were captured this week.

Sunrise from Klintebjerg, Northwestern Sjælland.

Up and down the misty beach. On a calm morning, the coast of Denmark is often blanked by thick marine fog. It is so thick at times that you would have trouble seeing where you are casting.

Getting ready for the cast.

Typical sea trout worthy coastline has a hilly background, with a mix of small pebbles, large boulders and algae bed.

Finishing the last trip with a breathtaking dusk setting.

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