Scottish River

Note And Photo From:- Kelowna Trout Angler.

A Scottish River.

I have always been fascinated by water. If you stand by a pond in the early morning mist there is a distinct aroma with which all anglers will equate. However rivers have an even greater pull upon the soul.

The river of higher ground is always in a hurry. It has purpose as the lowlands await the fresh supply of water in the hope of preventing  the inevitable build up of silt which creates our great estuaries.

This river attracted my attention in 1969. I found it whilst touring Scotland and my memory fades as to it’s whereabouts.

Scottish river

It’s not important as the picture conveys all. Those rain clouds bring the life giving nourishment to the mountains in the background. When the slopes have finished with the water it is released and lent to the brooks that feed into the river. Quickly the level rises and somewhere below this point there will be salmon and sea trout waitng for the change in "texture" of the water which signals "time to go" and hence the continuation of their jouney.

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Dartmouth Car Ferry

Note And Photo From:- Kelowna Trout Angler..

Darmouth Car Ferry.

I love ferries across rivers or channels. As a child it was great fun to be rowed across Shoreham Harbour. The oars would dip silently into the water as the ‘old man’ would pull us across the water in the old ‘clinker’ built boat.

The Dartmouth ferry in Devon crosses the River Dart and is in a different league, but it still has that ‘ancient’ feel. There is always the childhood fear that the chain might break.

Dartmouth Car ferry

Long may the clanking chains and bumpy ride continue.

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Anybody There

Note And Photo From:- Kelowna Trout Angler.

Anybody There.

There was a group of three deer hiding behind this log and eating the luxurious grass.

Anybody There

Although the deers seemed to be eating without a care, they were constantly checking the surroundings. A wise move. There were at least 8 grizzly bears close by. Luckily for the deer the bears seemed more interested in grass than catching deer.

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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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Kettle River

Note And Photo From:- Kelowna Trout Angler.

Kettle River.

The end of August and I made my first trip to the Kettle River, BC. For those of you who have never been and for those who have become " jaded " I found it an awe inspiring river. It flows alongside mountains and in many spots you stand in the water and look up at ragged rocks and crags. If you are lucky, as I was, an osprey or eagle may swoop down.

I tackled the water with a fly rod and Nos 4 line. Big buoyant flies were the order of the day and the fish were ready and eager to rise.

 In the picture the river can be seen turning right in the far distance. Here the water was squeezed and the pace quickened as the water tumbled over rocks into a deep pool. The day was warm and I dispensed with waders and stood in my shorts waist deep in water. Trout to about 1lb came to the fly. My grandson, who had been swimming, came down to tell me there were snakes in the water. Eels I thought, but on close inspection they were, indeed, snakes.

Kettle River

I tried several spots and my grandson tried spinning. Both of us were successful. We caught fish and picked wild blueberries from the bushes.

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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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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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A Flooded River Ouse

The winter weather was cold and wet. Somewhere down in the depths fish would be hiding from the great push of flood water.


Where to fish was not the only problem, safety and possibility were also factors to consider.

The banks were treacherous and the amount of weight needed to hold bottom made the Pool out of bounds.

Perhaps the water above the Sea Trout ladder would be more productive.

This was certainly the case as the speed of the current was less as the water backed up to the main weir I found a spot to the right of the ladder and legered with a small Drennan feeder and maggots. It took a few re-fills, with 10 maggots a time in the little feeder, but eventually the small Shimano quiver went slowly round. A roach of about 6 oz came to hand. It looked surprised and felt warmer than I expected. The water temperature was good despite the biting wind trying to freeze me. I hoped the thermal suit would do it’s stuff and I wouldn’t need a toilet break.

At one point the sun tried desperately in vain to break through the clouds, but my success continued as more small roach and several bream came to the net.

A Breamore Barbel.

A trip to Breamore on a fine September afternoon. The river ran with such enthusiasm and was full of promise.

The old Mk IV Avon was pressed into service with a Match Ariel. My standard set up was always a link leger consisting of Swan Shot and a hook of size 8 or 6. Why carry a lot of tackle? Bait on this occasion was corn packed on to the hook, with some hemp and corn in a bait dropper.

Once the bait had settled in the chosen swim then time could be spared for the surroundings. There was the view, the calling Buzzard and then the sight of that great bird. There was that bankside terror, The Little Grebe and all the other birds taht swam past in the parade.

Pride of place went to the tip of the old cane rod which gently nodded in time with the pull of water flowing past. The gentle nodding became a rattle and a slight pull downwards, with an answering lift of the rod. Now the battle had begun and attached to the line was the barbel which had been expected.