Devonian Gardens Calgary.

Note And Photos From :- Kelowna Trout Angler.

Devonian Gardens, Calgary,Alberta.

On a trip to Calgary I was beset with a certain amount of unease. Imagine a large  shopping complex and, as you walk along the street, you look up at the huge buildings which enclose the area you are traversing on the ground. However, there is something odd. Above the second and third floors there seems to be a surprisng amount of glass roofing. You are forgiven for thinking how hot it must be on those areas under that glass and for the waste of energy that must be needed to keep the area cool.

Shopping was never my thing and in the UK there is always a well placed pub for the members of the ‘escape shopping committee’. Here there seemed to be something different as the shopping precinct seemed to be strangely welcoming. Something like this should always be treated with a slight amount of concern when you have been asked to go shopping with your wife and you ‘want’ to climb the stairs and go through a shopping mall.

All would be revealed as we climbed the stairs and entered through a large glass door to the sound of birdsong on the air. It had to be ‘piped’ bird music. But the shock of seeing a garden centre above a shopping mall required a double take. I was gripped with the desire to go back out of the glass door and come in again. Where were the racks of clothes or the endless displays of items to purchase and why were those flying things real ? They were birds. This was impossible.

It seems the people of Calgary have been blessed with a planner with forsight. The huge shopping complex has a garden area above, which boasts all the quiet sights and sounds you might expect from any suburban garden.

The sight which greets you as the door opens.

The Gardens

Just one of the many arches.

Arches

You walk along the paths and pass little scenic areas which beckon you to stay a while and relax. It’s so appealing you actually want to stay. You get left and your wife road tests the credit card while you drift away with a coffee and light lunch, purchased on a lower floor. The ambience of the place is lifted by the waterfalls, little streams, the fish and the wildlife.

Waterfall with stream and fish.

Devonian Gardens Calgary

Large fish are in all the pools.

Big Fish

You can stroll at leisure through the displays and throw some of your sandwich to the giant carp that you would love to catch at any other venue. Along each side of the level there is a series of walk ways, which go down the out side of the building and give that strange feeling that you had at ground level. The walk ways have more trees and plants with areas for seating. The birds fly past and you realise thay are nesting in the trees. Rising up a stairway and into another area you come across a pool with turtles resting in the sun.

Turtles resting.

Turtles

All a surreal experience – it’s like Kew Gardens in the air.

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Bewl Water.

Note And Photo From :- Kelowna Trout Angler.

Bewl Water.

Bewl Water has the distinction of being in "two" places. If you listen to the news from BBC  Kent, the newsreaders  claim Bewl belongs to them. I suppose the confusion arises because it has a post code which is for Lamberhurst, Kent. However, the reservoir is physically in East Sussex.

Bewl Water

It’s a great place to fish for trout, either from a boat or from the bank. I always hoped that one day they might allow fishing for roach. Perhaps a record might be caught there. Once I had the opportunity to see the huge roach which lie under the trout tanks found out on the water. As the feed was thrown in for the trout, huge shapes would appear from out of the gloom – big roach. They were ‘monsters’. I offered to buy a ticket there and then, but my guide around the water way appologised and told me the ticket was only valid for trout. What a shame. I stood looking at a potential record holder only a short distance away. They might just as well have been miles and an eternity away, they would never be mine. Oh how I wish I had worked for Southern Water in Fisheries, still one can always dream.

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A Lake In West Sussex

Note And Photo From :- Kelowna Trout Angler.

A Lake In West Sussex.

Whilst in England in April, I was invited to fish a small, day-ticket water in West Sussex. It was a pleasent experience to drive through the lanes of my youth and I was surprised at the lack of traffic. Perhaps it was to early or maybe the threat of a shower had made everyone stay indoors.

I had to stop off at a tackle shop in Pulborough as I didn’t have any floats. Somewhat strange considering the amount of tackle purchased over the years. However it was a simple matter to choose a few bodied wagglers and a small tube to protect the purchase. I even bought some maggots, haven’t done that for years. It was to be a relaxing day with an old friend ( not age wise in case he reads this ). We had planned to fish elsewhere, but the day had taken another direction and for two committed game anglers this was to be different.

There was a breeze which had an uncomfortable side in that the air was damp, but it made a change from 3 months  of temperatures down to -30C so there were no complaints. It is always strange to arrive at a new lake or complex and not know where to start. Worse for me as I’m not used to pay as you go fisheries. In British Columbia & Alberta there are probably over 100,000 lakes of over 10 ha and they are all free. Never mind, a fishing trip is always to be enjoyed.

We chose the pool to fish and settled down. T fished in the next swim to me, pitched at the corner of the lake. I’m sure we made the choice through some deep angling knowledge gained from years of experience, but older bones suggest we may have opted for comfort. T lit his customary cigarette and I tackled up the old John Wilson rod.( that dates me ).

Using a 4lb line and one of the new wagglers, the depth was checked. It was like going back years and memories flooded back of early mornings, tackle assembly, grounbait smells and all those essentials that are hard for the non angler to understand. When all was ready I put on the bait, maggot to start with, and cast out to await the action. For some time nothing grabbed the bait so I changed to corn. A few grains were put out for feed, but still no interest. I  must be losing my touch was an obvious remark from T. You must be getting soft with all that fishing on your door step. Two fingers seemed an appropriate gesture.  T came back with the suggestion that I might have more luck if I embraced the past and changed the JW rod for an old cane Kennet Perfection from B James of Ealing. From his bag he pulled an old rod sock which contained just such a rod.

Now, all cane users will understand that this was a definite improvement and the fish would now come dashing to my bait Couldn’t fail. Not quite that easy. I had to get used to slower action and the weight of the rod, but T needed humouring and he was catching fish. In fact the result was strangely positive. The float sailed gracefully out and settled purposefully onto the water, the bait was corn and a few grains were thrown in as encouragement. Disbelief, the float shot under and I had my first fish a Crucian carp. Haven’t seen one of those for years. Throughout the day I continued to catch fish, crucians, bream, roach and even a carp of about 4lb. It seemed like magic, especially when I tried to use my old JW rod and the fish just shunned the bait.

The Kennet Perfection

Kennet Perfection

And here’s the little crucian carp.

Crucian Carp

By lunch time I had amassed a good tally of fish. They were all released as I don’t own a keep net. I travel as light as possible.

Whilst we chatted over tea and sandwiches an angler on the other side of the lake suffered a slight loss. Actually it was possibly expensive. The chap had been fishing with two rods, one leger rod, but the other was a pole. Now all went well for a while, but he hooked a fish on the leger gear and when he went to net the fish he had a bite on the pole tackle. Unfortuneately the pole was sitting loose on the top of his tackle box and balanced on what looked like a large paint roller. We heard the slithering noise as the fish towed a few quids worth of gear into the lake. I expect the fish took it down to show other members of the shoal saying " look what I found lads "

I’m always amazed when this happens and often wonder why we bother to fish with more than one rod. Many old and talented UK anglers have raised such concerns down the years. Some have suggested that we fish better if all concentration and effort are bestowed on one set of gear.  Over the years I tend to lean toward this reasoning.

Well, we fished on into the early afternoon, but the weather became damper and the day started to lose some of it’s urgency so we decided enough was enough, time to head off. As we drove  away we reflected upon the day and compared the experience with days spent on other waters.

I do miss the English countryside and the rivers and lakes of my youth. Anglers understand that there is a distinctive smell and character which greets you as you pass through a gate to get to your fishery and there is an expectation which often fails to be fulfilled but never wains.  Perhaps it dies at the end of the day, but it will resurrect itself tommorrow for the next trip somewhere.

I hope to have a few more trips with T and others in the UK and perhaps I can show them the sturgeon and our fishing over here.

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Tired Wings

Note And Photo From :- Kelowna Trout Angler.

 Tired Wings.

Not strictly at the watersedge, because this character landed in the garden. It stayed for some time and then some inner sense must have kicked in and it realised it had landed on concrete. It took off and headed  for a pond somewhere or, perhaps, the main lake about 2 miles away.

Lost Dragonfly

I always find the Dragonfly an ugly but spectacular creature. When it’s in the water it’s a fearsome predator. The dragonfly nymph will have a go at all small bugs and fish. It has a voracious appetite. Then comes the day of departure when the nymph changes to the flying creature we see beside ponds.

Just look at the face –  those eyes and the body colours. The most astonsihing thing for me are the wings. They seem to be of gossamer thickness, yet when they beat they do so at such speed that they produce a humming sound and flight. What must the muscles be like that have to move the wings for lift off and for changes of angle so that the creature has manouverabilty.

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Bar Fishing For Chinook

Note And Photo From :- Kelowna Trout Angler.

Bar Fishing For Chinook.

The mighty Fraser river in British Columbia is an extraordinary place to follow a style of fishing which the UK angler would see as beach fishing.

You use a boat to get to most of the marks and those shingle bars, as a result of deposits from the river and the level dropping for the summer, are usually out in mid stream. Obviously there are spots that can be reached from the road, but there is something special about a boat trip to your own little fishing island. The tackle I have seen being used tends to be long rods 11′ to 12′ with level wind reels holding 50 lb braid. The paternoster style lead attachment holds leads which go from 8 oz to 20 oz plus. It’s like throwing a brick out into the water. The leader may be 25 lb fluorocarbon with a large "spin-glow" lure attached.

Bar Fishing For Chinook

Once you have cast out and the splash subsides, you can watch the ripples drift on the current and the rod is placed in the beach rod rest. Now you can sit back and watch the world hurry about it’s business, snooze, have a cup of tea, but always keep an eye on the rod top or listen for the little bell.

There will be the constant passage of guide boats up or down the river, helicopters and small planes. Across the river from this spot there is a log launch with a little boat keeping order, a sight to see. All these  things are part of BC life and a must see experience. However, we all fish for as much as we can get out of the day, so we must not forget the rich wildlfe. There will be ospreys, bald eagles, sometimes a bear or even an inquisitive seal that always seems to surface near your lure.

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Spawning Kokanee

Note And Photo From :- Kelowna Trout Angler.

Kokanee Spawning.

Many of us are familiar with the spawning salmon. We’ve seen, on TV, those spectacular leaps made by the salmon as they run up the river to spawn and die. The Atlantic salmon in Scotland are always shown, along with glimpses of spectacular scenery and enchanting music. We wish we could be there.

In Canada it is the Pacific salmon and David Attenborough gives us a dialogue exploring the drama as the salmon run the rivers and sometimes leap into the mouths of waiting grizzlies. It is all very atmospheric and creates the picture of the epic struggle for these fish. They may travel hundreds of miles from the sea to spawn. Once the job is done they die. They are, however, dying as soon as they hit fresh water. Do they know this ?. Perhaps that’s why they are so driven.

There are the stars such as the big Atlantic salmon and the Pacific Chinook salmon. There are also the fish we know of in cans, the Sockeye. From the Pacific there is also the aggresssive Chum salmon which seem to make shorter runs up river, the numerous Pinks and the beautiful Coho.

Now spare a thought for the little guys, the Kokanee. A land locked salmon, related to the Sockeye. Kokanee are small, about 1lb on average, and their struggle is every bit as great as the "lords" of the sea. Some Kokanee are driven by the urge to climb rivers and small streams which enter a large lake, while others will spawn along the lake shore.

The picture shows Kokanee waiting for the moment when they will "jump" the little weir. Migratory salmon in miniature.

Kokanee Spawning

It’s a wonderful spectacle to watch and is every bit as dramatic as the performance of larger salmon. The Kokanee wait and slip up into the next section to find a spot to lay eggs, but the end result is always the same. Death comes to these little fish as their bodies change from the beautiful silver of lake life to a bright orange and then the decay after breeding.

[flickr video=4053699188]

The cycle is inevitable as much of the stream life needs the nutrients that the fish provide. " Dust to dust "  that is really seen in action here. The ducks dig up the redds and get the eggs, the bears sit in the pools and eat the fish, while out in the lake, ospreys, bald eagles, sea gulls, otters and any other fish eating creatures wait their turn.

Some fish may grow bigger. I have seen a kokanee of 4lb and the record I think is about 9 lb. I have never seen fish of that size in the stream, perhaps they come from the lake shore variety and perhaps they have an easier life than their stream relatives.

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An Ambitious Duck

Note And Photo From :- Kelowna Trout Angler.

An Ambitious Duck.

It was a reasonably early start and the weather was slightly overcast with a promise of rain. I’d set up the trolling gear and was calmly motoring along at about 2 mph. From out of nowhere a duck dropped onto the water. She was intent on following us. I thought at one point she was going to leap on to the side, but she seemed happier to swim along just below the rod holder. Every so often she would drop back 50m and then fly back to her postion beside the boat. As she paddled closer I thought she might be in danger from the prop, but no, she had measured the distance accurately and stayed safe.

Ambitious Duck

The duck stayed with me for about 30mins before she spotted something out on the lake and left.

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Kamloops Rainbows

Note And Photo From :- Kelowna Trout Angler

Kamloops Rainbows.

I had been contemplating a fishing trip to Kamloops for some time. Throughout the season, visiting the Fraser for Sturgeon and Kokanee in the Okanagan, flyfishing had been neglected. With this in mind I spoke with a friend, who lives in Kamloops, and arranged to meet him on a lake after he left work on the Friday. He starts and finishes work early so we can always get a short trip in.

The drive from home was about 2 hours and there had been a warning of snow on route. This meant I had to get the winter tyres fitted before I left. When I set out at around 9 am the weather looked good, but mountain travel should always be taken with caution. At about 6,000′ there was fog with some snow in the air. It was not a pleasent journey, although the radio said there was sun at Kamloops. As I drove the last 50 km and dropped down to about 2,000′ there was the sun and the scenery looked great. I had made the right choice in coming this way.

Arriving at the lake there wasn’t  a cloud over head, but the distant mountains showed what could be possible if the wind blew my way. Undaunted I set up the Sage SP 5 wt and paddled out in the V-Boat. The water was about 11C and I was glad I had warm clothing under my waders.

I always use a floating line and a range of nymphs that the great Frank Sawyer would recognise. Pretty old fashioned, but the approach has worked around the world so why change?

Out from the boat launch I paddled and after about 10 casts had my first fish. A beautiful, hard fighting rainbow of some 15”. ( I should work in metric, but somehow for fishing, the old system sounds better ). The colours on the fish impressed me greatly , particularly the green on the back.

Kamlopps Rainbow In The Net

The fish was gently returned after another picture.

Kamloops Rainbow

On starting out my flippers had ‘kicked up’ a number of geen shrimps.  The first fish came to a green shrimp pattern.

A furter 3 fish followed, up to 17". By now the weather was starting to change and a breeze was beginning to blow. Up above, the clouds were moving towards the lake and snow seemed a possibilty. Perhaps 2 hours of fishing time remained, if I didn’t want to fish in the snow.

I put away the V-Boat and searched the shore for a good spot to cast. The rewards justified the decision and I caught 2 more trout, with one of 18" and the second at 23". Time to stop and and think of the journey home.

Crossing the mountain was slow and, in places, perilous. There was some snow in the air, but the damp ground was very slippery as 2 trucks, which passed me, were to discover.  After approximately 10K we passed them, in the ditch !

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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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