Now with the holiday’s hustle and bustle over, time to back to normal schedule whatever that is! It is great time to reflect on the season past and the great times and of course the fishing. Also, I like this time of year to plan the upcoming seasons, yes season not the year, as a fishing fanatic, my year is broken down in seasons, when the opening days happen. Maybe, I have a problem, not sure it’s just how it has always been.
Now, as I said a time of reflection, what a season that was, steelhead, carp, some walleye and bam!! My accident still didn’t forget about that, I have daily reminder on my arm, which is sometimes covered, but a fly tying session is a quick reminder of what was. Between this, during and before I helped write the book “American Carp Culture”, my chapeter is called “Chasing Tailers” truly honoured to be part of this project. I finally got my copy in the mail after some mix up with the post office, which is par for the course this time of year. I must say I love this book, (I maybe bias) it is truly an awesome book, I read it twice every chapter from all the authors especially the fly guys, some people who I look up to in the industry or inspired my flies. I am truly in amazing company and am humbled to even get a chance to contribute, a small town guy from Ontario, no less.
The steelhead season was amazing last year, a few days were epic as I remember “Fishing the Urban Forrest part 1 and 2” on YouTube, myself and two friends stumbled upon this small tributary, even by my standards. It was untouched, fish were everywhere in all sections of it. We got so many fish, I made in into two parts, even though it was shot on the same day. Truly epic footage and a great day with great friends all captured on film, awesome. It was a great season, we fished up to May.
The carp fishing was tough in the beginning, as we had higher than normal water for the second year in a row, the fish were late arriving in the usual spots. It started to heat up and the fishing was getting good, but the water kept rising, so much in fact it was almost as high or even to the flood of 2017. The carp were in the flooded forest of the lakes and tributaries. It just missed the prime time spent it in the hospital and rehab.
The bass fishing in July normally epic with catches of over 100 fish per day all on fly not uncommon, this year with the high water the fish were not there as least in numbers, but on one of trips with 5 anglers we got a stud of a fish, 20.5 inches of Kawartha smallmouth! It was my first big trip after recovery, I’m not sure, if I’m going remember the fish or the day with friends, new and old more. Who am I kidding its definably the fish, it was a monster, especially on the switch rod, swinging flies to boot.
The fall was just as epic as the rest of the year had gone, salmon, (both Coho and Chinook) brown trout and steelhead. So many fish and trips with great friends captured the days of migratory fish on the fly or the always happening fly vs pin debate.
Normally this time of year, I’m planning trips, connecting with other anglers, plan days to shoot, tying flies or just going to fly shops to reminisce of the seasons past.
However, it feels like spring has sprung in January. It has hit double digits here more than once. The tributaries were all locked (I could walk on them in spots) up just before Christmas and a day after boxing day, bam all open again. I did manage to sneak out a few times, so far the water went from 33 degrees F to now an astonishing 39.5 F the last time I was out. So warm in-fact I actually saw two redds (spawning beds) on the same creek. This time of year is harder fish with less people around you, as the year round open season for migratory fish in confined to the lower sections of the tribs, so if the rumours get out there is even a chance of a fish, it gets full fast. As, a fly angler it is hard to fish a pool, or I refuse to fish a pool that has more that 4 people in it. Our pools are small and short, it can hold 4 people, if they fish it all in unison, (it is actually cool to see everyone in sync). Most fisherman don’t give much room for other anglers; I just avoid it all together and move on.
So, to everyone Happy New Year and may your season be awesome, have fun, enjoy the friends you have and make new ones, some of my best friend were made on the water. As I try to tie flies between school, writing, filming or taking pictures, helping the kids and fishing while I can, before it freezes again, which I want, but don’t want at the same time.
Looking forward to 2020, feels weird typing and saying that, but it flows, just as the tributaries are, so get out there now while you can.