Salmon And Sturgeon Fishing.

Note And Photo From:- Kelowna Trout Angler.

Salmon And Sturgeon Fishing.

In this post I’m going to indulge myself.

I have a passion for angling in all forms and last year I took the plunge to explore the Fraser Valley, BC, Canada, for sturgeon and salmon. It’s not an easy task as you stand on the shore of a river which must be flowing at about 4 mph.

The first problem seems to be access. How do you get to the water? Certainly you can see the river from the highway, but it’s down a steep ( 300ft ) bank or across the rugged valley floor. When you get to the shore the edges are covered in shingle and appear to be shallow. Yet wading would not be advisable for the unwary. The depth can drop suddenly to 35 ft. In other areas the banks are tree lined and the water drops to maybe 6ft. It’s a river of great contrasts. That said, there are people who beach fish in the English style ( except you might be using 20 ozs of lead ). If you spend some time talking with the beach anglers you quickly realise that skill levels are not perfect amongst most. However the enjoyment and camping pleasure seems high and why not?

I studied articles and went into the library, but I’m not sure I gained as much information as I would have expected. So the most sensible plan had to be – find a guide. Again this wasn’t easy when you have no experience of choosing a guide. Many suggestions and several phone calls were made. The level of service and help varied greatly, but most did not feel right for the approach of a dedicated English angler. I wanted to learn and catch good sized fish.

I came across Steve Kaye and I include his websites:-

http://www.salmonhunter.com

http://www.sturgeonhunter.com/

He was a mine of information and the styles he discussed were very reminiscent of legering or trotting on the Wye or Hampshire Avon in England. I booked a day and waited in anticipation. We managed to get a day at the beginning of September and an early start had been suggested ( well, early for me ). Steve said 6am. I thought he had to be joking, but everyone starts early in Canada. We met in the hotel foyer.

Those early mornings often see a mist rising from damp ground and this was indeed the sight which greeted us and followed us to the boat launch. Loaded and ready to go, we climbed aboard and were off into what seemed to be a cloud, which had dropped off the mountain. For those who have never been aboard a 21 ft jet boat, here’s a picture as we left the channel and headed into the main body of the Fraser river.

Jet Boat

The scenery was stunning, even if it appeared clouded in mist. There were spots of clear air as we raced along the river surface and saw the tops of mountains risng above the mist. Once  anchored and tackles etc were cast, we had time to settle and have a cup of tea. The mist began to rise and the surroundings became apparent.

This was the upstream view.

Upstream

And downstream.

Downstream

Waiting for a bite.

Waiting For A Bite

It took some time, but eventually the right hand rod tip slammed down to the water and the first Chinook salmon was on. A great fight ensued while Steve hurried to remove tackle we didn’t need and make ready for the netting.

Getting Ready

In fact, the intensity of the fight meant that Steve had to start the engine and follow the fish. Constant strain needs to be applied and no slack line must be given or the barbless hook will allow an escape. In the UK, when in the pub, you know what your right arm is for. With this fish all that right arm practice was certainly needed. I wound the reel handle as fast as possible just to keep pace with the high speed lunch on the end of the line. Bear in mind the fish will be swimming against a 4 mph current and all the strain the rod can apply. It can still win the battle.

Time and pressure eventually won and the fish was netted. A bright 19 lb Chinook. At first I had been reluctant to see the death of the fish, but English coarse angling sentiments gave way when you realise the number of fish that pass along the Fraser and that strict controls mean that one fish for the table becomes a legitimate reward.

Another fish came along, but it put on a tremendous spurt of power before the boat could accomodate the change and the loose line meant the fish could shake it’s head and it was gone.

As the sun rose above the mountains and the air temperature climbed the mist cleared and the late summer heat began to take it’s toll. Inactivity became the order of the day. Everything was still and the rod sat quietly in the rest with the tip bouncing gently to the rhythm of the water.

Lonely Rod

It was time to go after the sturgeon. We made  an upstream run which gave us a welcome breeze until we stopped at the junction of two arms of the Fraser as it separated around an island.

Away Again

Tackle for the sturgeon was considerably stronger. Slightly shorter rods with 130 lb braided mainline and big hooks. Bait was a recently deceased coarse fish of about 1/2 lb. Three  rods were used,and the bite came almost immediately om one of them. The tip vibrated as the fish picked up the bait and then it slammed to the water as the sturgeon took off for Vancouver. The fun had begun. Steve wound in the spare rods, stowed any loose gear and provided the rod belt. Arms were now starting to ache as you felt you might be attached to some primaeval monster over which you have no control. The fish was in charge. Now that everything had been made safe Steve started the engine, unhooked the anchor rope from the indicator buoy and we were off in pursuit.

The strain was incrediable as the fish made a series of very long runs. You gain line, the fish takes it back. Twenty minutes later and it seemed stalemate was going to be the deal. It’s hard to get serious when your energy levels are getting low and every time you pull up the fish it then has it’s turn and so takes back your gains plus a bit more.

After about 40 minutes the battle felt as if it was drawing to a close. The sturgeon started to rise, but it was pulling the back end of the boat round in the current. Surely this wasn’t sensible. “Ok”, says Steve, “I think you might be winning, hold it steady and I will try to get to the bank”. “Why? was my obvious question. “Simple” came the reply, “That fish is about 140 lbs, over 6 ft  and we can’t get it in the boat. So here’s the drill. Oh and by the way when we get the fish watch out for the tail”. The excitement was tremendous.

If you would like to see pictures I’ll direct you again to Steve’s web site where you can see a gallery of great fish.

I  suggest to anyone who wants to experience great salmon or sturgeon fishing, give Steve a call.

PS The sturgeon was carefully returned and lives to fight another day, as I am sure it will.

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The River Wye

Note And Photo From:- Kelowna Trout Angler.

The River Wye.

The river Wye in England rises in Wales and flows through Hereforshire. It is a river of contrasts, with shallows, rapid runs and deeps. Much loved by the salmon angler and the home of monster coarse fish.

I have trotted the float along margins and taken many barbel whilst I have watched the antics of drunken revellers coming out of pubs and climbing into canoes. A quick " swim " does wonders for  those that  are worse for wear.

Salmon were in decline, as they seem to be suffering everywhere. It’s probably netting at sea, but walkers, tourists and boaters must accept some blame as they stand in shallows where the salmon eggs may be. Likewise the dog owner who gets great joy from stick throwing and the dog runs back and forth across the redds.

 Ducks and little grebe are also a problem when salmon come to spawn. These feathered opportunists will often dive, disturb the gravel and grab the eggs. Nature is a hard master and life is meant to be a struggle.

A more optomistic note is being sung and commercial netsman of the lower reaches are gone ( or so I’m told ). The Salmon and Trout Association, along with local clubs and volounteers, have also added to the efforts of the many that have sought to restore the character of this beautiful stretch of water.

The River Wye

It was on a warm April evening that I sat for a meal at this riverside pub and watched the shadow creep from right to left of the river.

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1959 Shoreham Harbour

Note And Photos From:- Kelowna Trout Angler.

Shoreham Harbour.

Shoreham Harbour, East Sussex, England.

In 1959 life was very different to the present day. Pleasures seem to have been so much simpler. As kids we would go down to the harbour and walk by all the boats which had come in from far away places. Like Newcastle or Sunderland. If a boat came in from Norway or Russia then it came with all the romance that we youngsters could muster.

Were there any pirates? We hoped there would be.

1959 Shoreham Harbour 1

There was timber, coal and petrol in abundence brought in by little coasters.

1959 Shoreham Harbour 2

The quayside had a distinctive smell of tar, oil and the sea which crashed on the shingle at the southern side of the harbour.

1959 Shoreham Harbour 3

I’m sure it was dangerous to play around the industrial area, but we were never driven away. There was a road which ran along the southern side of the harbour canal and it was the evocative smells of the industrial units which drew us. The old gas works would have it’s great piles of coal and the power station worked generating electricity and warm water.  Warm water, which was pushed  along a pipe and out into the sea behind the power station. This warm water outflow gave us good fishing from the beach and again it must have had inherent dangers, which would give modern parents heart failure.

The timber yard and stacks gave a distinctive smell which one can still detect if you walk around any lumber yard.

In the harbour canal there were always crabs to be caught from the walls. We would lower a small piece of fish on the hook. As the bait went down the side of a wall the crabs rushed out and grabbed the offering. They were never of great size, but they added to the excitement of any day out.

There were huge mullet swimming along the sides of the harbour wall and close to the lock gates. These fish were elusive, but they managed to raise the heartbeat as they swam close to the bait. They never played fair. Somehow they knew that the offering was dangerous.

I remember there was an old man ( or so it seemed to us ) who used to row us accross the canal so that we could  run through the "alley" by the gas works and down to the sea. What a joy at the sight of the waves if the tide was in or the marvel of the sand at low tide when we could play football or cricket.

There was always some form of life that inspired the naturalists. There were butterflies, lizards, fish, birds and people.

Shoreham harbour was a great place for kids.

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St Leonards Seafront

Note And Photo from:- Kelowna Trout Angler.

St Leonards On Sea.

We arrived in April and went along the coast on a warm, sunny day. It seems hard to believe that the following weeks would see floods in some parts of the UK. Sitting at Pasta Pasta on the sea front we were able to watch the coming and going of busy people.

 For some reason East Sussex County Council were digging up the road. I’m sure this is really a national pastime which all sorts of groups enjoy  once the membership is paid to the club secretary.

If only the sun always shone and the sea was tranquil. There would be no point in taking a holiday anywhere other than at some UK coastal resort.

St Leonards Seafront

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At The Foot Of The Dam

Note And Photo From:- Kelowna Trout Angler.

At The Foot Of The Dam.

On a trip to Devon, England I came across what appeared to be a beautiful lake. I say appeared because the wind blew ferociously down the lake towards the dam and waves that would sink a small rowing boat gave the water a serious chop. Flyfishing was out of the question and site seeing was uncomfortable as the wind would try and lift your glasses.

Devon

I stood on the dam wall and looked down to see if any water was flowing out. There was a small flow and I’m glad sea trout don’t come up the steps or they would need a step ladder for the last stage.

At The Foot Of The Dam

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West Dart

Note And Photo From:- Kelowna Trout Angler.

West Dart.

Who can resist the temptation to put their feet into cool running water?. I always feel that the clear streams of Devon, England were designed for this subtle pleasure.

Where the streams cross the road they become a haven for human life seeking solace from the pressures of an urban existence. Young children will splash in the pools and elderly people with young dispositions will step warily from rock to rock and perhaps remember the games of youth. Paper boats can be made and it’s fun to cast them upon the water and watch them negotiate the rapids.

For the trout angler the Dart is a glory. The fish are wild and accessible for the price of a ticket.  A nos. 4 weight rod and 11/2 lb point  with small flies will work well. I would recommend that anyone seeking to pursue the fish should study that excellent book by Mike Weaver, " The Pursuit Of Wild Trout "

West Dart

As you head upstream from the  roadside, there are all manner of pools just waiting to be explored. Time is well spent beside the babbling brook and  more time will  be rewarded with fish of splendid colour. The sun may make the fish wary, but a careful approach and accurate cast will work. If you are lucky and anglers usually are, there may be a chance glimpse of wildlife that should set the pulse racing with excitement.

The stream is similar to some of my native rivers in BC, but the scenery is softer and very welcoming.

I wish you well and "tight lines and screaming reels" if you find yourself with rod in hand and walking along the banks.

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Petersfield Lake

Note And Photo From:- Kelowna Trout Angler.

Petersfield Lake.

A trip to England saw me walking around a lake, which had remained in my memory from when I had been in the area seeking a new job.

The day was sunny, but from the distant clouds there was the threat of thunder and heavy rain. We parked the car and walked along the path. There was only one other couple on the circuit. I guess there was some benefit in taking a break outside of normal holiday time. The boats were moored out on the lake and there was a slight breeze, which carried a chill warning of what may come.

Petersfield Lake

In the lower corner of the lake I stopped to watch fish cruising around near some weeds. I assumed that they were carp and they were safe from capture. I had left rods and gear at home. Now was the time for looking and enjoying.

After the first circuit of the lake the weather held and our friends wanted to do another lap. Who could resist?.

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Back to England….

Family matters have called your fearless editor back to the UK for a brief visit….

Rod is, as always, never far from hand and whilst the good lady of the partnership is having her teeth set, replaced and generally mended, you will find me somewhere on some river bank somewhere in Sussex.

Other than that, things have been quiet here at From The Waters Edge, as we prepare for various projects, from DVD’s to books, to magazines and other odds and sods.

We have various articles which should see the light of day shortly.

Pictures of the trip will be up here in a month, when I get back.

Tight lines!

Th Fisheman

Fishing the Wye Valley

 Note From:- T.J. from the UK

Fishing the Wye Valley

  
Having fished various waters in Wales for a number of years, I was introduced early in 2007 to the River Wye by my good friend, Fred.  Within a few hours I became intoxicated not only by the river, but by the magnificent scenery and abundance of wildlife from butterflies, Kingfishers, Buzzards and the Red Kite, to rabbits and deer.  It is all there for you to see. 
 
The area that Fred and I have explored and fished is from Hay-on-Wye upstream to Rhayader. Miles of river that changes its mood around every bend and along its straights, from fast water tumbling over huge slabs of bedrock to long glides over gravel. Pool after pool holding Salmon, Brown Trout and Grayling. To me, a flyfisher, it is a tremendous experience to which I intend to return at every opportunity.
 
Recently, much more of the river has opened its doors to the coarse angler. Barbel into double figures, huge Chub and shoals of Dace and Rudd are there to be caught.  I was lucky in taking a 6lb Chub on a # 12 Pheasent Tail nymph whilst fishing for trout.  Most of this area is open to day ticket anglers thanks to organised associations like the Wye and Usk Foundation.  A more helpful group of people I have yet to meet. Call into their office in Builth Wells – they will put you right.
 
A visit to the Elan Valley, the headwaters of the Wye, is a must.  A wonderful place and so are the Trout in the many feeder streams.  Fish to a 1 1/2lb are not uncommon.  A great day out for £3 to £5 to the elderly angler. Tickets are available from the confectionery shop in the Main street in Rhayader.
 
If you should have the chance to fish the Wye do so,  it is worth the journey. There are many pubs and eating houses along the Wye’s route, great places to relax and talk after an enjoyable days fishing and a chance to meet the local Welsh people.

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Redmire And Vanishing Big Fish

Note From:- Julian

This question is relevant to anywhere, not just Redmire and I believe some of you may know considerably more than I do about such matters.

A question often posed about Redmire and the huge uncaught carp, is that during the 1976 drought the pool shrunk to a much smaller size and the carp were frequently seen at the surface most of the time:- presumably due to trying to get more oxygen.

This proves the huge carp did not exist, as they would have to have been at the surface much of the time as well and would have been seen.

But would they necessarily have to spend a lot of time near the surface? I remember clearly, that time in 1976, on the pools I was fishing. There was definitely not a noticeable increase in fish near the surface and certainly not any increase in sightings of large fish at the surface. In fact the opposite appeared to occur. A lot of the time there seemed to be no signs of fish at all – and I fished frequently at the crack of dawn and in the evenings.

Is it possible that in drought conditions large fish, especially large carp, may actually tend to bed down in the mud as they would in wintertime – ie become very sluggish, torpid, and go into their almost semi-hibernation state?

My logic, though almost certainly flawed, would be that in this state the metabolism slows right down and therefore the demand for oxygen is much reduced.

Any answers please?