Sunday, October 04, 2009

Moving Day

I'm amalgamating my blogs into a single blog called 27th Street. Don't worry, I've packed my fly rods. I hope you join me over there. This will be the last post on The Southern Ontario Fly Fisher. Thanks for visiting.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

My knee

I've been more or less ignoring a bad knee for some time now, but over the past few weeks, it has become increasingly painful and troublesome. Now, when I should be out throwing white-gloved howdy's in the shallows, I'm thinking about just how much it would hurt to slip on a rock wading the stream.

This season has seen me on the river less than any season in the past dozen years, and now I'm feeling the best thing is to stay off the stream until I get my knee fixed up, so I can fish without worry and pain next season. I saw a doctor finally the other day. Tuesday I go for X-rays and an ultrasound, and we'll see if I've done any nasty damage.

Meanwhile, I'm going to stick to wandering the woods picking mushrooms. Maybe I'll try a day or two at the Grand, where the wading is easy, before the end of the season. If I don't check back in here before the season is over, thanks to the few gentle souls who have dropped by this place, for your patience.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Holy Waters

I has been a pretty slow season for me as far as fly fishing goes, both because I haven't caught nearly as many trout as I usually to but also because I haven't been out nearly as much. Having a puppy at home was a big contributor to this. I'm hoping to make up for this a little bit with a trip to the "Holy Waters" of the Au Sable River near Grayling Michigan. I'm planning to meet up with a buddy there in mid-September for close to a week of fly fishing.

In fly fishing circles, few trout streams in the world are any more renowned than Michigan's Au Sable River. A state-designated Natural River as well as a Department of Natural Resources-dubbed "Blue Ribbon Trout Stream," the Au Sable is not only one of the eastern United States' most legendary streams, but it also is the birth place of Trout Unlimited, a national conservation group that soon will celebrate its 50th anniversary.

Yet within the Au Sable River system, which encompasses several branches and numerous stretches of varying character, there is one portion of the river that stands out from the rest -- a stretch known as "The Holy Water." An 8.7-mile reach on the mainstream that begins just east of the city of Grayling in Crawford County, the Holy Water meanders from Burton's Landing to Wakeley Bridge and is known for its wadable water, dependable insect hatches and quality trout fishing.

The name Holy Waters was coined in the early 1970s by the late Cal Gates, owner of Gates' Au Sable Lodge, a fly fishing mecca located on the south bank of the famed stream.

I fished there once before, a few years ago. It was June and it was blistering heat and no self-respecting trout would rise to a fly. I checked out the various branches and a couple other nearby streams as well, but no trout. I also experienced the famed "canoe hatch", when some 500 often drunken canoeists float down the river each day. As one local fellow told me, the way to fish the stream is to fish the bottom end in the early morning before the canoes get there, then go find a nice spot for an afternoon nap. In the late afternoon, head for the upper sections, since all the canoes have already launched for the day and are below these areas. I'm hoping that by September the canoe hatch will have subsided some.

I don't expect to get on many rivers during the heat of July and part of August, but I'll be out looking for isonychias later in August and into September.

Friday, June 12, 2009

A half day off work not an opportunity to be squandered to I trundled off to the river. It was a comfortable sunny day with some cloud cover later on. The water was a little bit high and a little bit coloured. There was a spattering of bug activity, including a few March Browns that somebody forgot to tell the hatch was over. There wasn't a lot of action except for some little ones until I caught a lovely 15 inch brown in a fast deepish run below a big rock where the river flows behind a group of houses. This brown came up for a March Brown dun pattern. I caught it in a beautiful run which I never fail to spend some time at when I fish this stretch of water - even though this was the first trout I've caught there in a couple seasons. Beautiful day to be on a trout stream.

Thursday, June 04, 2009


I fished the Grand River today, below Fergus. There were a lot of guys out at the more popular spots. At the place I planned to park, there were seven cars, so I went to a another spot that gets less play. There were a lot of caddis around, various sizes, including little wee black ones and big brown ones. At about 6:00 pm foxes started coming off sporadically but if the trout were on them I couldn't see them. I caught a couple small ones mid-afternoon on nymphs and another small one later on an adult caddis. I only saw one big trout. It came up twice at the base of a cliff. I cast over it for an hour but nada.

I was surprised to see so few trout working given the amount of bugs around. Still it was a lovely day to be standing in a river and a few small trout is better than no trout at all.

Monday, June 01, 2009


It seems recently that everytime I think about going fishing, it's always something. Most recently it's been weather. Thunderstorms. Cold weather. Excessive gusty winds. This morning, June first, felt like November. I'd like some spring please.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Excuses excuses

I spent the afternoon on the river. There were olives then olives and hendricksons coming off the water. It was overcast, with thunderstorms on the way. The water was higher than I like it, but pretty clear. There were a several cars worth of fishermen about, but as usual, mostly at the downstream bridges. I'm not a very social fisherman, and prefer to find spots where I can have a pretty good stretch of water to myself.

The trout were not working the surface at all. I tried a little grey ghost streamer and turned three good trout. One was on for maybe ten seconds and clearly a very nice trout. After a while I switched to a soft-hackle and quickly hooked another good trout, which I lost after my tippet knot failed. I had tied a poor blood knot, seen that it was poor, and left it anyway. I guess I deserve what I get.

The trout may have won today, but it was great to get out on a trout stream, and I'll be back for more as soon as I can.