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Jan 31

Open Water Fishing The Bow River At Last

bow-river-winter-fishing

Bustin loose straight to the Bow River

It has been way, way too long since I was able to cast a lure into the river. I think the last time was November of 2015. That is far too long for long for a complete fishing addict like me to be dry! Moreover, it has been a few years since I was able to hook up with my best friend Tom and fish the Bow. Tom and I grew up together since we were five, and have fished most every river and lake in Southern Alberta together. You know how that goes, life and children get in the way of fishing every week like the good old days when we were out there every week slamming trout, or Walleye, or Pike from a lake or river somewhere off the beaten path in Alberta. I am just both happy and grateful Tom and I could connect for those few hours and fish once again.

For me, coffee always precedes a day on the river, and that usually means we meet at a Tim Horton’s somewhere close to the river. Nothing says “I am Canadian” quite like a meet up at Timmy’s.  I had to rack my brain a little as to where we were going to start our day on the river. Generally I pick slow deep holes in the winter where I feel fish will have spawned or will stay to over winter. My gut told me to bypass these places and head for some water that had weed beds. Weed beds in the winter provide both food and cover for the fish, and is always a great place to target lazy winter trout. I decided on a nice long stretch of deep slow water at first, which is nice and close to the house. If there were no fish holding or feeding in this area, I had a second spot picked out further downstream. We rushed out of the truck and double timed it to the edge of the river. I let Tom fish a spot close to the bridge, fish always seem to hold either in front or behind the bridge pillars. Tom has not had a fish on his line in almost a year, so I gave him the best spot in the river to start out fishing. After all, that’s what friends are for right. Read the rest of this entry »

Dec 30

Itchin For Some Open Water Fishin

summer-trout-fishing-the-lower-bow-river

 

The cabin fever blues

As the snow falls downward, blanketing the once brown grass of just a few months ago, to now pale white, I look out the window and dream! Dream of the fish in the river that lie waiting, slowly swimming near the bottom or slowly rising near the edge of the banks to get a tiny morsel of larva. I miss the summer time! I miss the smell of the dew on the tall green grass. I miss the early sunrises and watching trout sip caddis flies off the seams of riffles. I miss watching the golden, and bald eagle’s souring in the wind, scanning the river for their next meal. But most of all, I miss the people I fish with in the summer time. The memories that we make out there, and the fish we catch and release are priceless to me. Memories that remain, not only in my mind, but in my heart forever!

Christmas has come and gone once again, and a Chinook is forecasted for the next few days here in Central Alberta. Dreams of massive rainbows and bull dogging browns will soon become reality. As I sit here and sip warm coffee from a new cup, a Christmas present from a friend, I can’t help but dream of those trout that lay just below the icy cold surface of the Bow River. Some people are into ice fishing, and are waiting for the water on the lakes to freeze enough to drill holes and jig lures. Not me, I am waiting for the Chinook to roll in so I can walk the banks of the river and power fish Rapala’s, or some Live Target Lures.

Thank goodness the Bow River does not completely freeze over in the winter time, due in part to the three water treatment plants that pump chemicals into the river all season long. Is this a good thing you ask? I am not sure about that but I know it keeps the river open in the winter time, and to me, that is a good thing! I hope you all got your ice fishing augers and ice shacks from Santa this winter and do well sitting in your huts, catching all those fish you missed this summer. Me, I am going to hit a nice deep pocket of water on the river and slowly, quietly crank a rattler deep down into that hole and hopefully pull out a piglet.

trout-fishing-the-bow-river-winter

Some techniques I like to employ in the winter are slow presentations of the lure or spinner. I love to tweaks the lure a few times after it sinks down several feet, followed by long pauses and more subtle tweaks. To do this, on a tight line, I lift the rod tip up slightly with just a wrist action, then let the current of the river carry the lure downstream, repeating the process until the lure comes back into my feet. Another technique I use is with a large spinner, say a number 15 Panther Martin. I cast the spinner way upstream and let it sink all the way to the bottom of the river. I bounce it a few times and then lift it off the bottom and slowly reel it up, repeating the process again until the lure is back at my feet. You must remember that the water is very cold and the fish do not react as fast as if you were fishing in the spring, or summer months! Keep the retrieve slow and put fish in your net when the water is cold.

Its way past time I made a cast into the river. Watching the snow fall and drinking coffee in my condo is getting old fast! I need to put on the waders and some warm clothes and get after it. The cabin fever blues has to end, and end soon. I absolutely cannot wait to walk the river bank again and fire away at will. I just hope the fish are willing to chow down on my offerings. They say “the tug is the drug” and boy do I ever need the tug. Who else is dying to go fishing? Where are you going, and what are you fishing for?

Please leave your comments for me. Happy fishing my friends!

Dec 07

Trout Fishing The Waters Of The Bow River

A Look Back On the 2015 Fishing Season

The 2015 fishing season started early for me this year. The mild winter we had in Calgary lead to anxious anglers wanting to wet a line before the rest of the crowd dashed towards the banks, eager to set the hook into a willing trout’s yapper. I was contacted by Ben in March to row his low-pro Hyde drift boat for himself, and his good friend Barkley in just the second week of the month. The banks were still lined with a five to six foot ice shelf, but who really cares when you have fish on the brain! The river was clean and clear, making the trip a big success that early in the season. Ben was casting lures and Barkley was using a San Juan worm set up on his fly rod. We had a stellar day for that time of the year, after all the boat should have still been in the garage.

The weather continued to be pleasant and warm into April, and I had another two successful trips that month, with some great fish being caught and released. I was blown away at the fact I was guiding clients that early in the year. Normally I don’t start guiding until the end of June, depending on how much run off we see coming out of the mountains. Typically the river is unfishable for two to three weeks as the water turns to chocolate milk coloration. This year the river went dirty for just over a week, and then turned fishable in early June. June started with Bill and Renee Mains. Renee bought a fishing trip for her husband Bill at Christmas time. She played a few tricks on Bill when he went to open his gift. It was like a puzzle until he reached the third box which contained the guided fishing gift certificate to come battle large trout on June 27th. What a trip it ended up becoming! Both Bill and Renee had a 5-10 fish day, respectable on any river at any time. We all had a blast and the weather was spectacular. Read the rest of this entry »

Oct 23

The Fish, A Dream And Recovery

watching-for-bow-river-rising-trout

 

It all started shortly after I got sober in 2004. I needed to find a hobby or a sport that would keep me busy, not to mention inexpensive. I never had much money and was not working at the time. Unfortunately, I was unemployable due to the damage I had done to my own reputation. I was looking for work, but no one would touch me with a ten foot fishing pole! I was like a tornado that ripped through people’s lives, including many employers.

Fishing was in my blood from early childhood. Some of my fondest memories were digging up worms with my grandfather in my back yard and putting them into glass jars, to be used later at the confluence where the Highwood River met the Bow River. I needed to find a safe outlet for my energy and something that would keep my mind busy and off the booze permanently. The solution was fishing and the Bow River was nice and close. Alas, the perfect plan was born!

I was lucky to get a vehicle with some money I had tucked away. I headed off to Wholesale Sports, low on gas but high on life. I walked through the threshold of the front door, eager to get a new rod and some tackle for my new adventures. I scooped up a 30.00 Abu Garcia rod combo, a fishing license and a couple lures. The rod was like fishing with a two by four! That’s all I could afford but it made me happy, very happy. I had a mission, and it wasn’t going to the bar to get loaded, it was off to the river instead. I pulled into a spot just off Deerfoot Trail and bounced out of my car like a deer running across a busy freeway. I quickly walked down the bank and arrived to fish rising everywhere around me. It was like the feeling I got when I walked into the bar to get my first drink, but better, WAY BETTER. Read the rest of this entry »

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