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Tuesday, November 10, 2009
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Tuesday, October 27, 2009
I am not looking forward to winter. Once the snow flies it is a sign to air out your rods, clean reels, hang your fly line, and otherwise buckle down in your den and start tying flies. I can't do it. In a last ditch revolt against mother nature I loaded my truck with rod, reel, waders, boots and vest and went down to the Columbia.
It has been two months since I last fished the mighty Columbia which is sad as it's only 5 minutes away. I blame it on my increasingly busy schedule. I now have hockey and curling and an altered work schedule to attend to, and of course the weather has been tragic, and I am getting old and apparently more and more prone to making poor excuses.
In any case, I finally pulled on my neoprene waders and strung my fly rod. The cool weather has made hatches non-existent so I went with my bead head woolly bugger (a type of attractor pattern fly) and sinking line. A thick gauze of cloud covered the sky, as two eagles chased each other over the water, dipping and diving, then circling slowly overhead before alighting on the nearby branches of nearby trees. I cast into the clear cool flow, letting the line drift with the current before halting then executing a slow retrieve. I was busy watching the eagles and thoughtlessly twisting line between my fingers when the first trout struck. More often than not, I miss these hits when otherwise distracted, but for some reason this small trout hung on and I brought it to hand in no time. All in all, I landed 4 fish in two hours, released two and kept two smallish ones for my mom who is the best mother in the world and more than deserving of a couple fresh trout.
I forget sometimes how much I love fly fishing. Often, it takes a little time away to rediscover that passion and understanding of why I fish. To paraphrase Henry David Thoreau, " A man can fish all his life and not realize that it is not the fish he is after". I think most true fly fishers realize this but still a good fish can make a trip just as an appreciation of the natural world, its beauty and wonderful intricacies can make a fishless trip also worthwhile.
A week ago I also returned to the Lardeau for a quick day trip. I arrived an hour before sunrise, hiked up a winding trail into the alpine and scouted the banks and hillsides for sign of grizzly and/or elk. I found sign everywhere, fresh grizzly droppings on my way back down the trail, fresh elk prints, but unfortunately no sightings. Finally, as the sun rose into a lovely day, I enjoyed watching eagles, osprey, turkey vultures and mergansers feed on the last vestiges of spawning kokanee.
I tried out a new waterproof camera I bought for Natasha for her birthday (which she probably hasn't used yet) and took some photos of the spawning kokanee subsurface. I found it difficult to get the kokanee to pose but through trial and error and freezing hands, I eventually got a few shots.
If anyone has similar stories or experiences I'd like to hear them. I get tired of listening to myself all the time. Thanks sp for leaving a comment on my last blog and encourage anyone who reads this to do the same.
Have a Happy Hallowe'en One and All.
If you click on the pictures you get really big pictures.
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Wednesday, October 14, 2009
North of Kootenay Lake in southern British Columbia, tucked between the Purcell and Selkirk Mountains, lies a small community called Meadow Creek. 'Meadow Creek', that is the creek, is also a tributary of Kootenay Lake where a spawning channel has been created and maintained by the Freshwater Fishing Society of BC.
Every autumn the annual kokanee spawning run occurs, when millions of kokanee salmon fill numerous tributaries of Kootenay Lake to dance their last dance and sow their last and only seeds, before departing into the great watery hereafter.
The spawning and decaying salmon provide vital nutrients to both flora and fauna, from a myriad of bird species to grizzly bears and other mammals. I try to venture to the area at least once during the fall to seek out the elusive grizzly and try to get him to smile for a few photos. My intentions were to travel there early Monday morning after Thanksgiving on Sunday. Unfortunately the holiday was more festive than anticipated so I got a late start come Monday. Nevertheless, I made it to the channel in the early evening with what I thought would be enough light for my digital slr camera.
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Wednesday, September 30, 2009
It's been a pretty incredible September, beautiful weather, great fishing, a trip to San Diego with friends, and a recent hike into a pretty mountain lake which was invigorating - unfortunately the trip down was not so successful.
The fishing on local rivers was incredible at the beginning of the month. My christmas tree leech pattern worked its magic and I landed a number of rainbows and cuttbows on the PdO and Salmo.
The Columbia too was hot. One evening I hooked a half dozen fish on a klinkhamer caddis and tom thumb, was broken off twice, quick released two, and landed two.
My trip to San Diego forced me to lay down the fly rod for a week and brush up on my golf. Such are my personal woes. I met my good friends from Whitehorse, Randy, Andrew and Dan, for a week of golf, a few beers and a Chargers football game -pretty much in that order. Had a great time and will definately return. The photo to the right shows Andrew in a little trouble at Torrey Pines.
I returned refreshed and looking to get in a little fishing before the weather turns. This past weekend I decided to hike up to Kokanee Lake in Kokanee Glacier Park. It was a beautiful sunny day with a stiff breeze to cool you off from the hike. I packed my 4-wt and had fun catching small cutthroat on almost every cast. I hiked down from the lake with a smile on my face, looking forward to Monday night football and a cold beer. As I rumbled down the poor excuse for a logging road, I heard a 'thunk', my left wheel wavered, as I slammed on the brakes... Almost five years ago, to the day, the same thing happened while I was way up in Boundary Lake country. I hiked 24-km out that day, then sat on the side of the highway with my thumb out for 4 hours before someone picked me up.
It was the same unmistakeable sound of my tie rod exploding. This time I was in no mood for more hiking. I took a length of rope and bound the two ends of the tie-rod together and limped the last 10-km down to the highway. It wasn't pretty as I had to stop and physically straighten the wheel every kilometer or so. Neither was my wife too happy when I called her and explained my situation and the fact that she had to drive an hour to come fetch me. She also reminded me ever so shrilly that I had not left a note as to where I was going, and what happened if something serious happened and she had no idea where I was, and because I'm too stubborn to get a cell phone, what would I do then.... you get the idea.
Anyway I love her dearly and thanked her again for driving back to the truck the next day to drop the car keys off so it could be towed. I suppose something bad was bound to happen after such a great month. Here's hoping for better in October.
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Wednesday, August 19, 2009
With three days off and a yearning to get away and cast my fly in fly-fishing-only waters I packed up the truck and headed east - to the East Kootenays - home of classified waters and some of the best cutthroat and bull trout fishing in the world.
I went to the same stream I had visited a couple years ago with good friend Colin M. The stream was a small stream that fed into a small river. We discovered a spot on that stream that held large cutthroat - I mean really large. Only Colin and I know of "the spot". Unfortunately, Colin could not make this trip but very near the very same spot we landed the biggest damn cutthroat ever and a very respectable bull trout, I also landed a few of the nicest bull trout ever taken on a fly.
At this time of year the bulls are in full gallop up
I landed three more that day with a few misses and lost flies thrown in. It was a great day on the river.
While I used my 6-wt for bulls, I also landed many cutthroat on my 3/4-wt, healthy and broad shouldered as any cutthroat I've ever caught.
The streams I fished were 'Classified Waters', 'fly fishing only' streams and all catch and release. They had every restriction short of 'no fishing' as you can get. And I loved it.
I saw many vehicles but few people. Most fly fishers are loners, somewhat surly and uncommunicative even when in groups. One group of four, I stumbled on somewhat unexpectedly, as I turned a bend. They glanced at me, probably noticed my impeccable casting skills as I snagged another sweeper on the opposite shore, before sheepishly exiting the stream and driving away without so much as a wave. Which is fine, they relinquished the water without me having to pretend I was a passable caster or interested in them or their fishing day in any way.
Of course there are exceptions. Shortly after, another truck drove up. I was completely and obliviously up to my chest in water trying to free my fly from the sweeper when two men walked down the beach towards me. I hadn't noticed them until I was back across the water and lifting my rod to attach another fly. They were dressed in Cloudveil's best fishing attire - I was immediately envious and a little embarrassed as I had decided to plow through water in my shorts and a ratty tank top on such a hot day. Nevertheless, each grasped a cold can of Bud in their hands which made me think "okay, either they're American or Albertan" if they were local they'd probably have a Fernie Lager or a Kootenay True Ale in their mitts.
After some initial pleasantries, I discovered they were indeed from the U.S. And even more interesting, one turned out to be a fly-fishing writer while the other was an industry rep from Cloudveil Fly Fishing. Wow I thought. I even recognized the writer from a piece he had done in FR&R years before.
We chatted and exchanged info. I thanked them for the cold Bud they shared with me and wished them well. It never ceases to amaze me at the people I meet and the opportunities that have been afforded me all by a perverse desire to throw string and live life among the fishes.
Saturday, August 8, 2009
The fishing was good as usual but it's the presence of wild things in wild places that makes for an unforgettable trip. The last time I was here a cow moose crossed the river just ahead of us, not to mention the many deer, elk, bears, and variety of birds I've come across in the past. You just never know - so, like a good boyscout, I try to "be prepared".
I have forgotten my camera many times in the past and almost always regretted it. I try now to never leave without it, batteries fully charged, empty cards, and clean lenses but of course just last week I left it at home when Colin and I had a great day on the Salmo River - such is life.
Thanks for a good day Larry - I hope you and Dorothy enjoyed the fillets.
If you're interested remember to be a follower or at least check in once in a while and say Hi.
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
"Time is but a stream I go a fishing in." - Henry David Thoreau
the best thing to do is to wade into a refreshing kootenay stream and throw
flies at hungry trout.
Thursday, July 9, 2009
This past week my sister, Juli, and I hit one such local reservoir to fish for smallmouth bass. It didn't take long before Juli had a hit on a bright red woolly bugger. Minutes later she landed a nice smallmouth bass. I followed right behind her with another caught on my own bass fly creation. We exchanged fish for the next three hours and even had a few double headers.
Friday, June 26, 2009
Thursday, June 11, 2009
My name is Jim Bailey. I am an avid fly fisher and outdoor writer who lives in the Kootenay region of British Columbia Canada.
Formerly, with the help of friends and family we created a site dedicated to fly fishing known as www.fly-fishing-british-columbia.com. But after a few years another avid fly angler/fishing-lodge-owner desired the domain name more than I and had the persistence and means to wrestle it away.
And so with a view to streamlining and simplifying my former site, I have already started losing bulk with the less ponderous "fly-fish-bc", I have begun anew and the transformed site should be up and running soon.
But as before, the site will bring you information on fly fishing, fly tying, entomology and patterns as well as informative articles on where to fish in supernaturally beautiful British Columbia - particularly the Kootenay region.
So like a day of fishing, go slow, enjoy the peaceful rhythm of the cast as much as the excitement of the catch - check out my articles, the beginner fly fisher section, learn about bugs, or join me on my recent adventures on my blog as I go Fly Fish BC.