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Member Since 13 Sep 2017
Offline Last Active Sep 14 2017 01:49 PM

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Looking for thoughts on adjusting to changing river conditions

13 September 2017 - 03:21 PM

Hi everyone,


So in my attempts at getting to know an Ontario river this season, I have fished multiple sections of it over multiple outings with varying degrees of success. It is hard to find time to go fishing, but when I do, I pack a lunch and stay for most of the day. Slowly exploring various runs, pockets, and currents.


Last year, a couple of "nice looking" sections seemed too warm and had very little activity on the fly, though perhaps time of day was a factor as I was there more around mid-day till the later afternoon, though as the sun set, the action didn't really improve. This year, with the cooler weather and higher levels, these sections held a few fish, and at one time I experienced a nice hatch... of mostly 6-8" trout. I tried exploring farther upstream (~20 min drive), where the river is cooler and crystal clear as well, and in one specific location I fished a couple of weeks ago, there were plenty of willing rainbows at each bend, on one bend I must have hooked into a dozen rainbows. I returned this past weekend to find the river a bit cooler, faster flowing, and with almost no fish in sight (but man was it clear). There was a hatch in the evening, but no rising fish, i tried various dry fly patterns, as well as multiple nymphs, and only managed to hook into 3 bows (one tiny) and 2 maybe 9" on a nymph I made up. It was difficult keeping a dry fly floating naturally in the fast water, and even wet flies didn't get much time to float naturally, usually skimming the surface for most of the swing... yet getting no action. I'm not sure why the nymphs didn't get hit when drifted down a current going over some nice holes... this typically works for me.


But where did all of the fish go? Why was there no surface action with the decent hatch? Why were the nymphs getting so few hits? Do the fish migrate many km in a river depending on water temperature? Were they just hiding from the higher than normal currents/flows? Does a few degree cooler river turn the fish off even on a sunny 18C day? (the fish I managed to get were quite close to branches on the sides of decent currents). Do two weeks make the fish go from "I'm stupid and eat anything" to "I will not look at anything you float by me"? Perhaps like some videos/posts say, I need to drop down in size, though I haven't had much success doing so the few times I did...and my fly collection isn't that complete yet to cover all popular patters in every size. Typically I prefer to reference the rules of those fishermen that say "a trout will not shy away from an easy meal" or "its less about the fly and more about the presentation" or even "if you had a choice between a small meal and a bigger one, would you turn down the big one?"... again, plenty of conflicting advice online. Plenty of factors to analyze, and never enough time!


I have lots to learn and am excited to hear some of your thoughts on how to adjust to these conditions. 



Youtube taught fly fisher here to expand his knowledge

13 September 2017 - 02:54 PM

Hello all, 


I've been reading posts here from time to time and finally decided to sign up and take it to the next level!


Growing up, Dad would take us fishing from time to time mostly using worms, and occasionally minnows, perhaps at times we would try some lures. Being immigrants from Eastern Europe, owning boats and lake fishing was not really on the radar.

Once I was old enough to fish on my own, it was mostly spin fishing for bass and whatever else I could find locally at ponds or the lower grand river within cycling range. It kept us kids out of trouble for the most part. This was sufficient while growing up, though we didn't go on any fancy fishing trips for huge fish, it always kept me interested. 

After university, getting married and starting a family, it was harder to find time to fish, but occasionally I could squeeze it in.

What makes it harder now, is that time is at a premium, I've fallen in love with fly fishing over the last 4 years, and my kids are too young to join me on my excursions.


I hope you guys can help me out, as it is quite frustrating to self teach myself fly fishing using the many (sometimes conflicting, sometimes opinionated) YouTube videos. The frustration is compounded further because I get the feeling that I'm forced to do my own bushwacking southern ontario to find decent locations, while trying to determine if I can legally fish the locations I uncover (and honestly, it is difficult to pre-plan a trip while figuring out the legal aspect when I'm just discovering places while driving around), and prove to my family that I'm not crazy spending my free time "catching and releasing minnows". I tell them that for many it is a form of therapy, and I'm just being one with nature :P


In the end, I'd love to be able to catch larger trout, since so far I've caught plenty of 6-8" and an occasional 10" rainbow, some little browns in between, and the odd brook trout. The fly collection is growing, though I often stick with popular patterns (elk hair, light cahill, bwo, pheasant tail, etc), and mostly in the 12-14 sizes. I've gotten a hang of drag free dry fly presentations in various conditions, tried my luck with nymphing in the occasional pool or dead drifting longer range, and want to try more streamers. I even tried tying some simple nymphs using found-at-home materials, but no matter what I try, I keep wondering if the locations I'm exploring are holding only smaller fish that seldom test my 4 weight, barely register on my 6 weight, and will not be suitable for the latest addition, a 7/8 switch (for steelhead). Perhaps a big part of it is timing, I most often fish in the summer, and have a hard time getting out the door before 7am...


Watching videos of Graham, The New Fly Fisher, Tom Rosenbauer etc., just makes me wonder what I'm doing wrong, or if there is a huge difference between publicly available land and places that only a few can get access to, to really find those hidden gems.


Cheers, and tight lines. (and sorry for the novel)