Sunday, April 14, 2013

Last year I bought a reasonably good tripod for my camera and began to lug it fishing with me on a regular basis. I had dreams of becoming the next great outdoor filmmaker dancing around in my head, I mean, how hard could it be? All you gotta do is just shoot some video of a few fish and a couple high fives and presto---Award winning documentary about the plight of the red finned stickleback in your local ditch/watershed. In reality, filming fishing all summer and fall, and then editing film all winter has given me a whole new respect for those that actually make decent video's and documentaries of outdoor pursuits. I did manage to get some reasonably good video though, and here is my first short from this summer. Hope you enjoy!

My New Friend from Rod Blonke on Vimeo.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Back in the saddle again!

The "Pike Box" is almost ready!!

Thank you Steven Tyler for the intro, and yes it is true. I am back!  When I started this blog last year I thought it would be rather easy maintain a regular posting schedule. I mean, due to the constant consumption of bran and other fibres, I tend to be VERY regular.  But, I digress, on to fishing.  Several months ago I was perusing my usual blogs of interest when I ran across a fly pattern that I knew was gonna be a killer.  A Scottish gentleman (and I use that term loosely) by the name of Dave, who has a piscatorial penchant for pike (and pickled peppers) had just posted pictures on his blog of some flies that he had tied.  Now if you fish for predatory fish, be it in fresh or salt water you need to check out his blog site   It has a wealth of information, great patterns, and some tying videos that will give you a great many good ideas when it comes to baitfish patterns.  Anyways, there was one fly there that I knew was gonna kick some butt over here in Alberta, Canada and boy, was I right.  I tied a few of these babies up before pike season last year and I don't think I took the fly off all year!  It definitely accounted for the vast majority of pike that I caught, so because Dave didn't give instructions or post a video of how to tie the fly, I thought I would.  Hope you enjoy!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Progress sucks!

Stripping the earth

I know that it is somewhat hypocritical of me, a construction worker, to complain about urban sprawl...but I can't help it in this case.  After work the other day I found myself back down by the river scouting out some prospective fishing spots to hit after this spate of high water subsides.  While I was poking around down there I noticed that there was machinery working on the other side of the river, bulldozing trees and clearing land to make way for a new housing development. 

This made me sad!  Do we really have to develop every single little piece of available land we have left?  This entire area would have made a lovely park, or even just left alone it would have been a wonderful tract of green space by the river where people could walk their dogs, take their kids, watch wildlife and enjoy nature.  Instead, the land gets flattened, wetlands filled in, and we get a bunch of ticky tacky little boxes all smushed together plastered along the river.  

I don't like to wish bad luck on anyone, but I'm gonna laugh my ass off when all this land floods and their insurance companies inform them that they are not covered because they built in the flood plain.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Sometimes out!

As I stated in my previous post, I have been spending considerably more time at work lately due in large part to added responsibilities.  I received the usual construction promotion; more responsibility, more hours, more stress, and same pay.  It does come with quite a few pats on the back and congratulations from your peers, which is nice, but it also comes with more than one "don't screw it up" from the elder superintendant's and construction managers.  There is, however, an added bonus with this new's 500m from the bow river, on private land with no public access points in the near vicinity, and I will be there all summer and fall if things go well.  I have already let the wife know that I will be "working" late most nights as we try to accelerate the already tight schedule on this project.  Evening fishing on the bow river can be exceptional in the summer time with caddis hatches most nights as well as numerous mayfly and stonefly hatches.  The only unfortunate thing is, I will have to wait several weeks before the river drops enough to become fishable.

 Runoff in full effect

These pictures were taken just behind the job site, and this is where I will be spending some "productive" hours "working" late.  It's not often that work helps me get more time on the water, but it sure is nice when it does.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Gettin the skunk off

Productive bank on the 'Bow'

 Well, it's been a while since I have posted anything on the blog, due to the fact that I've been down in the salt mines slaving away.  It's nice to have work, and one shouldn't complain when there are so many people who don't have a job these days, but man does it get in the way of fishing sometimes.  I did manage to sneak out two weekends ago to try and wash off the smell of skunk that had been permeating my house since my previous trip down to the river, and I was successful.  The river was in perfect shape, which is hard to hit this time of year.  The window to fish is quite small as the river rises and muddies with the first few warm days of spring, when the low lying snow melts.  Then there is always the rain that falls in early spring to further swell the rush of early snow melt.  But, if your lucky and you hit it right, there is a brief period of respite that comes as the rains abate and the snow at lower elevations has melted, and before the majority of the high elevation snowpack begins to thaw.  The river will drop (but not too much), and it will clear up just enough so that the fish can see your fly, but not you (about 2 feet of visibilty).  This is the best time of year to be on the river, as most people still assume that it's runoff and don't bother to fish, leaving the river to just yourself and the few other die-hards who know what's what.  Oh ya, and the fish are hungry and aggressive.  I caught several nice rainbows as the afternoon turned into evening, unfortunately I have no pictures of the fish.  I'm still trying to figure out how to preset the autofocus on my camera when using a remote to take a picture, I was by myself you see so no one to take the picture of me and my lovely fish.

 Guide and clients working the far bank

Wrong Turn

It was a beautiful day, and there were lots of geese and their goslings to keep me company as I worked my way upriver catching fish in all the likely places.  Hopefully the weather will cooperate for the next week or so and leave this window of fish catching heaven open before all hell breaks loose and the rivers all blow out until the end of june or so.  

Takin the kids for a stroll

Spring thunderhead

 Time to go home

Thursday, May 31, 2012


“This is my submission for the Trout UnlimitedSimms, the Yellowstone Park Foundation and the Outdoor Blogger Network – Blogger Tour 2012 contest.”

 Huge Yellowstone cutthroat trout

 Perhaps it is because I am a fisherman, that when someone says Yellowstone, cutthroat trout are the first thing that come to mind.  And when I think of cutthroat trout, it is the image of the Yellowstone species that forms in my brain.  They are under attack, and as usual we have only ourselves to blame for this.  Lake trout, which are actually a char and not native to Yellowstone are now thriving in Yellowstone Lake.  Why is this such a problem?  It's a problem because lake trout, even in their native waters, are an apex predator.  They feed voraciously on the abundant supply of forage fish like alewives, sardines, chub and ciscoes (to name a few), that are found in their home waters.  Now, when a fish eating machine like the lake trout is introduced into a lake like Yellowstone Lake, where there is not a large biomass of forage fish, they must turn their attention and appetites to what is there.  In this case, in large part, the Yellowstone cutts.  And the cutthroat are not used to their new status as food.  They are not accustomed to or designed to escape this type of predator and so they become an easy and tasty target for the lake trout.  On top of this, lake trout are much longer lived than cutthroat.  A lake trout, on average, can live to be 40 years old, while the cutthroat rarely live longer than 10 years.  A Yellowstone cutthroat could conceivably spawn 3 to 4 times in it's life, while the lake trout hit the conjugal spawning bed up to 20 times in their lives.  It doesn't take a rocket scientist, biologist, or even an average mathematician to see the conclusion where simple, basic math will take us...Bye Bye cutthroat!

Yellowstone Lake

Fortunately, the caretakers of Yellowstone National Park and it's fish see this, and are trying to do something about it.  There is no limit on lake trout in Yellowstone Lake, so fisherman can fill their bellies with lake trout (and they are tasty, trust me).  The park has also obtained a netting boat that they can use on the lake to net the places they know lake trout inhabit.  It's unlikely that these methods will ever eradicate the lake trout from Yellowstone Lake, but maybe they can keep the menace at bay.  Let's hope so.

Yellowstone River

I do not consider myself to be an environmentalist, nor am I a naturalist who would always champion the native species over the non-native.  Doing so would make me a hypocrite.  For you see, I live near and love fishing the Bow River for it's non-native rainbow and brown trout.  And were it not for the building of a dam or two, which mitigated spring flooding and stabilized both rate of flow and water temperature (yes good things can come from those damn dams), as well as the City of Calgary pumping it's secondary treated waste water directly into the river, flooding it with nutrients in the form of phosphates (basically steroids for plants), the Bow River would still be what it once was...just another barren, glacial, northern freestone river prone to spring flooding from snowmelt and home to a few stunted rocky mountain whitefish and spiney sticlebacks.  Yippee!  So why would I take up the banner to save native Yellowstone cutts you might ask?  Good question.  King Solomon wrote, three thousand years ago, "there is no new thing under the sun" and he was right.  For as long as man has roamed this earth, his hand has spread it's greedy fat fingers out and touched virtually all of the habitable places that exist, forever altering the landscape.  In a world of increasing urbanization, and with the extraction of raw materials to satisfy the appetite of this "urban lifestyle", there are increasingly fewer places that remain pristine.  The reality, on this continent, is it's just the national parks of North America and the far north that can even begin to call themselves pristine anymore.  Yellowstone is one of those places, and the cutthroat that are unique to this park and call it's rivers and lakes home, are inextricably intertwined with this park's pristine state.  Lose them, and Yellowstone begins to lose it's luster.      I believe we must continue to fight in order to preserve some remnant of our natural history.  Yellowstone is a visual spectacle of the past, let's keep it that way.  Save the cutthroat...Bonk a laker!