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

Monday, July 27, 2015

I'm Praying for the Rain

Cutthroats are often thought of as fair weather fish due to their propensity to rise to dry flies on bright sunny days. While this may be true, like most trout, when the feed is really on, so are they. This past weekend was a perfect example of this. Green drakes (among a few other mayflies) were popping - and with the cooler and often drizzly weather slowing the act of eclosion, and keeping the duns on the water a little longer, the cutties were feeding with reckless abandon. Fly anglers who were prepared for the weather and didn't mind being out under adverse conditions were the ones having all the fun.

The contrast from two weeks ago was an interesting lesson in fly selection - green drakes were the dominant hatch on both occasions, but the fish were targeting slightly different stages of emergence. Two weeks ago was mostly hot and sunny, and water temperatures were higher. Emergence of individual bugs was a relatively quick event so the fish were targeting the duns as they waited for their wings to dry and were attempting to flutter away. Here, the paradrake out fished the emerger 10:1. This past weekend being cooler both in terms of water and air temperature, coupled with the damp conditions meant that the act of emergence was a little slower. The fish were more focused on nymphs just starting to emerge in the surface film. My green drake emerger out fished the paradrake 10:1. All of this highlights the importance of not just knowing what insect is emerging, but having a few flies to match more than one stage of the hatch. 

If you are interested in tying my Green Drake Emerger it is quite simple. Just tie an unweighted Hare'e Ear nymph in dark olive with an antron tail, rib with brown 2/0 nylon thread, and tie in a post style tuft of natural deer hair. When fishing this fly apply some floatant to the deer hair only, and then saturate the body and tail with saliva. The fly should hang in the surface film and look just like the nymph as the cuticle splits and the adult is just starting to work its way out. 

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Fishing With Wood

A little headwaters cutthroat action on the wood fly rod this past weekend. There were several bugs hatching and it seemed the trout were feeding on something different at every hole. Alternating between a few different fly patterns did the trick on most risers but it was the Green Paradrake that took most of the fish.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Chasing Bull Trout

It's been a while since I posted here (yeah, life gets in the way sometimes). 

Even longer since I last targeted big bull trout. But this past week saw us taking the time to hike into some potential hot spots. It paid off with many nice bulls hooked - but it was my wife, Debbie, who stole the show with her biggest fish to date. I don't take many "glory shots" but couldn't resist on this one.

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.