Wednesday, June 12, 2013

A desperately needed getaway to Canada!

2012/2013 has been a tough fishing year! To recap … we moved across the country in July, had to find a new job before the bank account hit zero, bought a house in February and had a baby in April.

I’m pretty sure they say those are the top 4 “stressers” in life. On top of it, when I was able to sneak out and get a half or full day of fishing, it really seemed like the dice did not roll in my favor. Whether it was as simple as the fishing being “poor”, or the water being high, or the steelhead run not being strong, or the hatch was on “a different river” – some times you just feel like it’s not going your way.

This last weekend I rolled the dice … and they wen’t my way (or as they say on The Simpson’s “everything is coming up Milhouse”).

Me and my cousin Josh

Me and my cousin Josh

It was a guys weekend planned for our family cabin up in Canada. Mom was able to come up to MI to be with Michelle, Winston and little Henry, so that was the first piece of the puzzle that allowed me some time off for 3 glorious days of nothing but time and fishing!

There were six of us in all – Bill “Wild Willy” Allen, Matt, Josh A., Jay, another Josh (S.) and me. I arrived at camp late in the night on Friday after knocking off work a few hours early. I sailed through customs with a “Where are you going? Welcome to Canada” – the omens were good from the very start!

jeff2

As a guys trip we wasted no time and our internal clocks all told us it was time to get up at about 5:30 AM. Truth be told, a smart man would have taken the opportunity of 3 days away from a newborn crying throughout the night as a chance to catch up on sleep, but really, I needed fishing much more than sleep! After a classic big breakfast we were on the lake by about 8 AM.

This was another monumental trip in the sense that Jay, Josh S. and me were all on fly-rods a rare opportunity we don’t often get since we are usually on an aluminum boat with 4 other spin fisherman and it’s a little tough to convince them all to put their rods down and change their whole approach to fishing in order to accommodate one guy in the front of the boat with a fly-rod.

This guy came up once and actually refused a popper - the second time, he couldn't help himself.

This guy came up once and actually refused a popper – the second time, he couldn’t help himself.

From a technical standpoint we were all fishing for Pike – because the Bass season in Canada wasn’t open yet, but as catch-and-release only fisherman, none of us were to opposed to hooking up with some pre-spawning males – who are reckless in their protection of the beds they are fanning out!

Yes, it was two magical days of fishing, with some amazing topwater takes, rejections and violent slashes at streamers; followed by long evenings around the fire, telling stories and catching up on life. I think the photos sum up the fishing better than my words can – so I’ll let them do the talking.

Josh S. with a great fish.

Josh S. with a great fish.

The only noteworthy event, not photographed, was the pike-of-my-life! As you can tell by the picture, the pike we were catching on the fly weren’t exactly the kind of fish you write home about. And then it happened … a monster pike in the 15 lb.+ class followed me right up to the boat. He darted away once he saw us, so I made another cast at him as he was cruising back to his lair and sure enough … strip, strip, pause – he pounced on it! It was at this moment I realized I hadn’t bothered with the steel leader – two head shakes and the game was over :-(

The day was chocked full of small pike goodness.

The day was chocked full of small pike goodness.

Monday was a travel day, but I had some leisure time to get home. I rolled the dice again and decided to stop by the St. Mary’s River, below the International bridge. It’s an amazing stretch of riffles, part of the connection between Superior and Ontario. Given the large bodies of water it connects and the cold temps of those lakes it’s has some type of salmonoid in it at any given time of the year – even if they are just rogue feeding fish. I had hoped for steelhead and those hopes were met with joy!

Underwater steelhead #2.

Underwater steelhead #2.

Once I came across a pod of steelhead I tied on a single egg and a couple of small split shot below a small indicator. Five well placed casts … nothing. Ten … Twenty … I suspected my drift was getting crushed by the challenging flows, so I repositioned a bit and got a great drop cast into the sweet spot. The great thing about cold Lake Superior water is it’s crystal clear and the riverbed is oh so clean! I could watch my egg at about 3.5 feet deep and it was like dryfly fishing. I saw a male turn 2 feet and absolutely crush my fly! I never even bothered to look at the indicator.

Pristine steelhead!

Pristine steelhead!

After a tough battle, and an awkward photo shoot (I got 12 stitches in my index finger the week before), I walked back upstream and did it again.

This fish was also pristine and I love the light coloration.

This fish was also pristine and I love the light coloration.

I heard a sermon once where one of the points was a cleaver breakdown of the recreation into re-creation. I tell you, it was a good weekend and I was re-created into a new man!

Tight Lines,

-Jeff

Underwater steelhead #1.

Underwater steelhead #1.



via Allen Brothers http://www.theallenbrothers.com/site/2013/06/a-desperately-needed-getaway-to-canada/

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