I always start by making sure my favorite flies are well stocked in the boxes. If the flies from the past season are tattered, then they get dumped but some of them only need to be repaired.
The PT Nymph was again one of the best producers esp of brook trout. This one got a new tail, some added PT to the body, another round of herl and new shell back with legs.
This year I am adding a translucent back which should reflect some light. It is made from "UV Knot Sense"
I'm also stacking them loosely in a fly box I inherited from my long departed dad who is fully responsible for my addiction. It is a Cortland box and must be 60 years old or more. I find the tails get easily damaged any other way.
Of course Mayfly nymphs only have three tails but you are better off to start with five. There will be three soon enough!
I was able to fish several lakes at Pourvoirie Baroux. One of their lakes is pretty small, Verrat but I had barely got off the launch when I had this rainbow on. I was using a combo of a Coney Leech and a Yellow Hammill's Killer. The Leech got the fish.
There were also some sizeable Brook Trout there as well. They also liked the black Coney Leech but the Vampire Leech has many shades of colour along with the chartreuse bead. The Brookies liked that particularly. Water was still cool at 57F so they were not too far down.
Baroux is an interesting place but doesn't hold a candle to Kenauk or Chevreuil Blanc in our area. Not sure if we will go back.
I had organized a trip for nine to go to Chevreuil Blanc for three days but another member of the OFS had organized a trip for two nights to Bing Retreat for six at the same time. Bing is located near Westport, Ontario.
I was only able to go for one night at Bing. When I arrived a very good fisher had been skunked for a whole day of fishing! Imagine paying to fish and getting skunked. Well, I can well imagine because it happened to me at CB last year and that was for 2 1/2 days!
Earlier at CB there was a party of 6 fishers and they had only landed 6 fish over three days. This recent group did much better. One fellow had caught a six pounder and a four pound Rainbow.
This is a hint that the fishing in our area, even on private water which we know has adequate numbers, has something negative going on. The last three years we had drought and this year we had too much rainfall. This is not Climate Change but Climate Variety which may be the same thing and maybe responsible for making the trout grumpy.
At Bing the trout (mainly Rainbows with some Brookies) are mostly in the center of the lake. This is fairly common in lakes with pan fish hogging the shoreline. It may be that the pan fish and smaller minnows are eating all the shore food so the pickings are scarce. Obviously, the larger trout will hunt for minnows and pan fish along the shoreline but they may be doing that more at night than when we are fishing.
Normally in monoculture lakes (one species), casting to shore and retrieving is a staple method of flyfishing. Some of the fellows were doing this and catching. Of course, you would end up catching a lot of bluegill which is most annoying.
This girl above was caught casting a Grey Adams with my 3wt to the center of the lake over 80 ft of water! There must be something of interest coming up from the bottom to have them there.
All in all, I landed nine fish, lost two in 1 1/2 days of fishing, half on the dry fly, the very best way to fly fish. The Black Coney Leech was my best wet fly. Most of the other people were catching on black leech patterns. Leeches are a desirable and easy food in the fall as trout bulk up for the winter.
BTW, the Minky below did not catch a fish. Back to the drawing board for that one!
I spent over 3 hours with my #4 sink line thinking that I was getting deep enough. But the other guys were hooking trout with their #6 sink. I like my #4 because I can easily bring the fish in by hand without the tangle you get with thinner lines. With only an hour and half left of fishing and after not getting anything but small bass, I switched. In 45 minutes I had three fish. The top picture measured 21" (about two inches wider than my net). I don't like taking the fish out of the water if I can help it. I lost the next one within 20 feet of the tube. The bottom two pictures of my last fish measured at around 24" and very fat. He would not settle for a pic. You can see that he far exceeds the width of my net. All three RBs were caught in 30-32 FOW and with the #6 line I was right at the bottom and often catching weeds. Wade caught his two fish in the same depth. So what this means is that around 28ft of water has the ideal conditions, perhaps oxygen, food, safety, whatever. Phil Rowley says that fish are opportunistic feeders but selective on depth. I didn't get to see the second fish but he made a few runs and was very heavy. He could have been even bigger or at least that is what my imagination tells me. BTW, I had a single fly and it was very small, a size 12 yellow Hammill's Killer on a 10 ft leader. The thick line on my scope told me that the thermocline was at 40 FOW. This is low for this time of year. It goes to show that our waters are warming.
I've been in conversation with a fellow member of the FMZ 18 Council who is a post doctoral fellow at Carleton. It appears the "Science" is NOT settled on fatal temperatures for trout. Most of my concern has been on our local stocked Rainbows. I admit it, I'm a trout bum. I love to catch Rainbow Trout. Pound for pound, they give the best fight, jump the highest, pull the hardest. A close second is SM Bass. I've been concerned about the dangers of warm temperatures on trout. The biologist's textbook bible, "Freshwater Fish of Canada", states that the "fatal" temperature of Rainbows is 24C or 75F. And that is why for the last few years, I have switched over to SM Bass fishing come July and continue through to September when I go trout hunting again until hard water. It appears that the "science" contained in the textbook is a bit out of date and research is continuing, interestingly enough, right here at Carleton U. under Steven Cooke (also a member of the FMZ 18 Council). The Council is meeting with various stakeholders to determine new policy and regulations and give recommendations to the Ministry. I fish for trout mainly in FMZ 15 but they are not having a Council. I suspect that whatever we decide will impact their area as well as the Ministry is keen on simplifying regulations.
I have a few biology contacts across the country and I am awaiting responses. Since the textbook appears to be unreliable and the internet even more so, I'm assuming that researcher's comments are closer to the mark. One researcher I'm keen to hear from out west is on how long we can keep fish out of water. My memory of our conversation is that more than 30 seconds causes permanent gill damage but don't quote me at this point. That email is in one of my many dead computers. Some of the more famous trout fishers (other than myself) like Brian Chan and Phil Rowley have given me figures like 7 or 15 seconds out of water as a max.
Rather than paraphrasing Nick's comments, I'll paste them directly. In the first one I expressed interest in stress as a factor.
"I agree that stress can be a killer across the animal kingdom. At the same time, catch and release has proved to be effective across a range of species and conditions (when fishes are handled properly). In terms of fish being caught several times in a season, that could have effects on growth rate, but this type of stress has short-term effects. Unless the fish was severely injured, the effects of that stress would only last a few hours to days at most. Being caught multiple times wouldn't likely lead to cumulative stress, though it could perhaps slow growth a tad."
In this exchange, I was concerned about Catch and Release (C&R) for Lake Trout in warm temperatures from depth for slot determination but also in terms of other trout. Baratrauma, is the stress of unequal pressure between the inside and outside of the fish, ie, "bends". Many people believe that trout, especially Lakers, can easily equalize pressure through their air bladder. That apparently is not true, and especially in the case of Rainbows which rocket from depth when caught.
"I don't think anyone has a good handle on how deleterious catch and release angling can be. It all depends on the situation- sometimes survival can approach 100%, other times mortality rates can be very high. Changes in temperature can be stressful to the fish, as can the energy spent fighting. Add to that handling (which carries the potential for a wide variety of stressors and injuries), and in some cases barotrauma. Overall, these factors tend to be cumulative- (but) for example, exposing a fish to warmer temperatures might not have a major effect if it is not handled much and released quickly."
Here was my first inquiry on temperatures. BTW, FCC costs around $120 which is why I don't have one.
"FFC is a fantastic textbook - the authors give a lot more information than just basic biology, including etymology (the history of where fishes' names came from) and a section for each fish on relation to man, which generally involves how they taste. Fatal temperatures aren't quite as cut and dry as that. Rainbow trout can certainly survive more than a few seconds (probably hours, even days) at 25C, but prolonged exposure will lead to stress and eventually death. Higher temperatures will lead to this occurring faster- at 35C, rainbow trout would probably be dead in less than half an hour. Even at 23C though, rainbow trout would experience stress and lower growth rates because their metabolism isn't as efficient outside their optimum temperature range. As for other trout, they range considerably. I don't know exact numbers off the top of my head but lake trout would be in the 12-15 C range, whereas brown trout might be in the 25-30C range. "
There are many factors to consider when practicing C&R for trout. When surface temperatures are ideal around 11C (52F) then one doesn't need to be too concerned. However, when the water warms, one should get that trout in as fast as possible, keep it in the water, and get it on its way ASAP. If you are going to fish for trout in the summer, make sure to bring along your canvas creel. You might have something unintended for the bar-b-que. Another concern is slime removal. Even a small skin area of slime removed through over-handling and rough nets will cause fungus growth and eventual death. Use soft rubber nets and keep it in the water. Don't fish deeper than 10 meters at any time just to be safe. The research on baratrauma is ongoing.