Welcome to Trout Fodder; your guide to Alberta hatches, aquatic entomology, and fly fishing.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

New Fly Fishing Show on WFN

I just finished watching the second episode of Fly Fusion on the World Fishing Network (the premier episode was last week) - this one is definitely worth tuning in to. In addition to some spectacular scenery and fly fishing footage, they do a great job of capturing the spirit of adventure, the excitement of exploring, and the fun of fly fishing with friends; it's not just about the fish.

Oh, and the fish - massive bull trout in southern BC. I would love to explore that part of the country but I know that it takes time to tease out the secrets of new and remote water - time that I just don't have these days. It's been a while since I went after big bulls here in Alberta but this show got me thinking. Some backpacking to the more remote reaches of my favorite rivers, rivers that I had good success on many years back, may be in order this summer.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Changing of the Guard

At this time of year cool mornings and warm afternoons can make for a pleasant day on the water. Winter stonefly hatches are starting to wind down while the first early spring mayfly hatches build momentum. Where there are mayflies emerging, rising trout are sure to follow. No complaints on a day like this.

Warming rays of sun cutting through the early morning chill.

Clear skies and clear water make for an idyllic scene
but are not the best conditions for pursuing wary brown trout.
If you're after early season brown trout keep an eye on the forecast. But avoid bright sunny days if you can - dull and overcast will see more fish feeding during the afternoon hatches of spring.

A late winter stonefly (Zapada cinctipes) clamoring for attention
while two mayfly duns (Baetis sp.) take a rest just after emerging.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Resolute: A Mountain Bike and Fly Fishing Adventure

My latest film production is finally up on YouTube. This one was filmed two summers ago - if the penultimate scene looks familiar, it ties into a previous blog post.

This one really needs to be watched from start to finish to get the point. And don't be afraid to go 720/1080 full screen to get the full effect.

If you like it please share the link with your fly fishing friends.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

I'll Have the Usual

I like it when things come together as expected. The weekend weather was as perfect as it can get, the bugs were hatching, and there were even a few fish rising. The usual winter stones were out and about – but it was the midge hatch that was drawing fish to the surface consistently.

An idyllic early season scene on a spring creek.

One of the pods of rising browns - this one had at least a dozen fish that were rising quite regularly.
A freshly emerged (teneral) female winter stonefly (Utacapnia trava) waiting for its wings to unfurl and harden.
Once everything has hardened (sclerotized) the adult will be all black.

I have to admit that I didn't bring my midge box with me on this trip and the few mayfly emergers and dries that I tried to modify were laughed at by the pods of feeding browns. None-the-less, I did manage to hook a few (non-rising) fish on small black winter stonefly nymphs.

Monday, January 12, 2015

The Boys of Summer

For me, Dragonflies really define the summer season on our local trout lakes. Many adults emerge in late spring to early summer and can survive for up to two months by feeding on all of the other bugs (both aquatic and terrestrial) that emerge throughout the summer. The adults are acrobatic fliers and are fun to watch as the patrol their shoreline territory for prey, potential suitors, or intruders. As long as adult Dragonflies are around you know it's summer.

Here are a few shots from this past summer:

Spiny Baskettail (Epitheca spinigera)

American Emerald (Cordulia shurtleffii)

Variable Darner (Aeshna interrupta) laying eggs in a rotten log

Epitheca spinigera soaking up some summer rays

Shortly after emerging several adults are resting on lakeside foliage.
They will eventually disperse; some flying several kilometers from their birthplace.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

El Dorado - Alberta Style

I know this is old hat for many Alberta fly anglers but I finally made the pilgrimage this summer to catch what is likely the most beautiful trout in the province - Golden Trout. This was something I had thought about doing many times over the years, and after considering that if I didn't go now, I might never go, I was motivated enough to take on the challenge - and I am glad I did.

Rainy Ridge Lake (the calm after the storm)
I always thought that Michelle Lake near Nordegg would be my most likely destination, but the thought of taking the time to backpack into a remote lake only to have other anglers fly in by helicopter did not appeal to my sense of adventure, so I opted for Rainy Ridge Lake in southern Alberta. Little did I know that I would be solo backpacking into the worst weather we would see all summer - mid-July temperatures plunged to just above freezing in the mountains, with sustained winds at 60 kph and gusting to over 90 (the rain and sleet were literally coming in sideways) - nearly impossible to build a fire.  I did enjoy the challenge, but at times I was in near survival mode wearing every stitch of clothing I brought in. Good thing I brought a toque!

A Rainy Ridge Lake Golden Trout
I did manage to catch a few fish between wind gusts at the more sheltered end of the lake, but once the weather cleared (on the last day) everything fell into place. A caddis hatch set things up for some exceptional dry fly action. Overall it was a great 5 day backpacking trip with several dozen gorgeous trout landed - for me, the highlight of 2014.

All the Best to everyone in 2015!

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Crafting Cane: Bamboo Fly Rod Builder - Don Andersen

It's been over a year since I attended an introductory course on documentary film making. Part of the homework for this class involved planning a documentary film from concept to the initial shooting phase. At that time, while looking for a suitable subject for my first film, I was lucky enough to connect with local bamboo fly rod builder Don Andersen. Despite the fact that this was my first ever short film production, and not knowing exactly what the final product would look like, Don was gracious enough to allow me to film at will, and granted me full latitude in editing the final production. I can tell you that this took a tremendous amount of trust on Don's part. I owe him many thanks for allowing me into his shop to film, and for his patience as I struggled with the seemingly endless creative process of editing the film.

Here is the final product of many hours of shooting and editing. It is available in 1080p HD through YouTube. I hope this will be the first of many fly fishing based film productions.