Salmon fishing & fly tying on the Miramichi...

Sunday, 30 June 2013

Last trip of June!

With dirty weather on the way and the inevitable crowds of a long weekend we decided to head fishing on Wednesday evening instead of Thursday or Friday as we normally do. Dad, Joe and I hit the road shortly after supper and we were to meet Brad at the camp. Bill was to head up on Thursday evening. 

We saw a pair of black bears on the 123 at the powerline. There must have been some good eats there as the smaller bear that was closest to the road would hardly lift his head as I whistled/yelled to him. He had a very nice and prominent white V on his chest but I was unable to get a picture of it.


We arrived at the camp got settled in, and started discussing our strategy for the morning ... we reviewed the river gauges over and over and finally settled on a trib, one that had a big raise but appeared to be close to cresting... well at least until the rains began the next morning *rolls eyes*. I like to swing big flies so big water  is where I prefer to be! 

The alarm went off at 6:00 and we were on the road by 7:00 and on the river by 8:00. Before driving into our fishing destination we stopped off at Debbie's to get some intel. "Spring high", she said and more rain was in the forecast.. she also mentioned that we might run into Brett. We chatted for a few minutes before deciding it was great weather to be a fish! It was nice seeing you, Deb - i'll see you folks again soon. 

Into the wilderness we headed... about a half hour later we arrived and decided to split up with Dad & Joe fishing the lower, upper pool and Brad and I to the upper, upper pool - does that make sense? Oh and did I mention that the water was high? Somewhere during our first pass Brett arrived with several sports who he put on the middle pool. I walked down and chatted with him for a few minutes before heading back up to finish my pass.... Thursday was perfect for the old 'dark day, dark fly' thing so I had my trusty long-hackled shady lady on with the magic white tail.... in fact, it stayed on all day until Brad and I fished the MSW later that afternoon. As I was nearing the tail out of the pool I tightened up on a very pissed off, raging 16-18lbs of silver - this fish instantly took off jumping and thrashing it's way out of the pool and into the rapids... It took me to my backing with the the hardy screaming all the while before another big jump and a thrash right in the rapids and then my line went slack.... What a rush! Brett yelled up "I'm going to tell Paul you lost that fish!" and I'm sure he did :)

Brett and his group left and we figured it was time for lunch. We had a quick break and I decided I was going to fish all the way down the lower pools as quickly as I could. The other lads decided to stick with the upper pools and I can't say as I blame them. I got all the way down around the corner and was hooking trout and parr pretty much on every cast... At least with the parr all I had to do was give them a bit of slack and they would remove themselves. 

So on down I fished towards the lower end of the last pool where even in the high water it was quite well defined: (and people say there isn't enough water for spey rods here, the fools! heh, heh!)

Right about here I felt what I thought was a trout for a split second, and then a bit more weight - a grilse! And then airborne silver! Woohoo! I was by myself and determined to at least get a picture so I found a great little spot with a soft grassy bottom and landed it. 


This is where I have to get a little preachy... this fish along with all other salmon/grilse I'm fortunate to hook and land was released unharmed... the day and age of killing and tagging fish by recreational anglers is over... people need to wake up and get a clue that these fish are far too valuable to be killing and their very existence could depend on the releasing of yes, EVEN GRILSE! I'm seeing pictures of young people with tagged fish online and think to myself who is bringing these kids up? Young catch and release anglers are the future of Atlantic Salmon fishing in North America and if you're teaching your kids to kill a fish it's time for YOU to wake up!

Here's a recent press release by the NBSC asking for anglers to voluntarily release their grilse this year after the horrible 2012 returns and the recent actions by Greenland who may up their catch to 75 metric tonnes in 2013... our salmon are in trouble folks.. 

There, now that that's off my chest I can get on with the rest of the report....

I released the grilse, which took off like he was shot from a gun and headed back up river where I found Brad swinging a muddler over the middle pool. I arrived just in time to get a pic of this nice little brookie he landed and released. We do on occasion keep a few trout for the pan but today wasn't the day:

Shortly after this we were all pretty much ready to hit the road for the camp to get dried off and warmed up. Brad and I were going to hit the MSW at his uncle's pool later that day. 

To be continued.... 

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Mr. Stephen Nye...

I recently became acquainted with a Saint John river salmon fisherman (well, he used to fish there) and fly tyer named Stephen Nye. He found me through after signing up in the last few months. I have to tell you, he ties a hell of a fly and a few of his classic ties can be found over on the fly tying section here:

Stephen believes in paying forward some of the good things that happened to him in his tying and fishing career and he recently chose me as the recipient ... to say I am blown away and humbled by this would be a huge understatement! Stephen chose to tie me 2 dozen featherwing salmon fishing flies, most of the patterns were originated by Blackville fly tyer, Ira Gruber . He placed these flies in a beautiful little flybox once owned by tyer and shop owner, Ralph Miller. Rest assured, this box will be accompanying me on my next trip to the river before being permanently displayed at the Den in high honor. Stephen also sent me 3 of the nicest bombers I've had the opportunity to lay eyes on -- these WILL get fished, and soon!

Here are a few pictures:

In the next week or 2 i'll be sending Stephen a deer hair care package with hopes some of the flies I love to fish bring him some of the same luck on the water that i've been lucky enough to experience.

Stephen, saying thanks just isn't enough - I will be sure to pay this forward as well. Thank you, my friend!


Wednesday, 12 June 2013

A trip around the horseshoe...

Dad, Brad, Freddie & I set out last week for a canoe trip around the horseshoe. This was my first real outing for bright fish this year and we were going to do it in style - by canoe. The water level was just about perfect (0.96 metres), clear and dropping so spirits were high even though the alarm clock went off at 4:45 AM - otherwise known as the crack of crow piss..

Sunset at the Den the night before...

We met Freddie up river and we were ahead of schedule - a great way to start a canoe run!

So we headed up river to our starting point - about a 10 minute drive. Pretty crazy to think that a 10 minute drive will take most of the day to canoe!

So off we go down the river to our first stop which is just a short paddle down.

There wasn't much happening here so we headed on down to our next few stops... Freddie hooked his first fish of I think at least 4 that day shortly after he stepped up on that rock in front of him ---- he sure had a great day!

So on down the river we paddled, I have to add - we were ALL having a great day on the water - the weather was perfect, the water was a great level and we were all doing what we love - chasing salar!

One of our next stops was one of my favorite places, Freddie even let me raise a fish here!

In this pool, Freddie hooked one, raised a few and even landed a grilse!

Dad managed to get in on the action by catching and releasing a beautiful trout. I am very proud of him for releasing it - there was a time when He or I wouldn't have hesitated to bonk it for the pan but this fella swam free to grow a bit bigger and hopefully add some more small trout to the river. Good stuff!

So it was finally time to head down stream to what would be a date with a beautiful bright fish...

We all fished down through with Freddie fishing last -- being the good fellow that he is he allowed the unlucky (Brad, Dad and I) have first crack at the pool... which didn't matter! I stepped out for a break and to head back to the top of the pool to chat with Freddie - I also had a few flies for him:

He tied on that orange one with green tail and made about 8 casts before coming tight on what he described as his 'biggest early bright fish ever!'


Chasing a fish down river!

The epic battle!

The money shot!


It was a hell of a canoe trip and I can't wait to do it again! When can we go, Freddie?

Here's a few pics from some work we managed to get done on the camp during the rain on Saturday:

With any luck, i'll be heading back up this weekend - I can't wait!

Sunday, 2 June 2013

A video of spring fishing at the Den..

It's been a while since Bill recorded this video, actually it was back on April 16th. He did a great job of catching most of the action of this feisty spring salmon - I think it jumped 7 times or so? Anyways, this represents my first attempt at video editing... I learned a lot, especially about copyright issues! I ended up using 2 songs, one by Pennywise and the other by Radiohead. There was a copyright dispute registered against this video and I wanted that to settle before making the video widely available. As a result, it may not be view-able from everywhere or the audio might be muted or there might be some advertising to put up with   . This was filmed in front of the camp, about 3 minutes walk up river - we're pretty lucky to have a place to be able to fish for spring salmon from shore instead of the norm which is from a boat while trolling. 13 - 15 foot spey rods, skagit lines and sink tips absolutely rock for this kind of fishing, in fact single handers have no place here unless you're out in a boat!

Anyways, here it is, hope you like it and if you care to, please fire me off some feedback!

Oh yeah, it might be better to click "watch on youtube" and then choose 1080p