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Thursday, June 23, 2011

June Trout Fishing In Ontario

I had the last week off, and headed up to Grey/Bruce for my annual pilgrimage to the area. Beautiful as always!

I left Guelph in the sweltering heat last Tuesday. It was just as hot when I arrived. Luckily I had cold beverages in the cooler waiting for me. B)

The river was surprisingly low when I arrived. There were countless smaller fish willing to come out and play, which is fine and dandy, but I like big fish! When the water is low and clear, the big guys hunker down and hide in some pretty tight spots making it a game of lucky casts into tight cover. When I heard the forecast for Saturday, I was pretty pumped!

Tha Riva

Tha Riva - Almost as misty as my mind on the first morning at dawn :unsure:

Lets start with the bugs....

There were at least 5 species of mayflies out and about. Hatches were pretty consistent throughout the days with sulphurs, grey foxes, green drakes and more coming off. Most evenings had decent spinnerfall events happen between dusk and about an hour after dark. A couple nights it just got too cold and the bugs, as well as the fish, disappeared.

Grey Fox Duns

Grey Fox Spinners - These made up the heavy spinnerfalls. Thousands of bugs in the air. I wasn't able to get any decent shots of the clouds of bugs unfortunately.

Then my favourites. Giant Green Drakes. These massive mayflies are a key indicator of a healthy stream. They've been on decline in many streams in southern Ontario for a long time now. Fortunately Grey/Bruce still has a very healthy population in most rivers making for some awesome surface action!

Green Drake Duns

Green Drake Spinners. When these flies molt into their spinner stage a couple of days after hatching, they look entirely different. The change they go through rivals any other mayfly species in my opinion.

I did manage a few shots of these guys flying around. They're hard to miss!

Aside from the mayflies, there were plenty of stones, caddis, cranes, dragon and damsel flies as well.

Mottled Stonefly


Cranes doin tha deed!

The fish were plentiful. As I mentioned, the conditions were hot, bright and tough to start, so we'll start small I suppose. :P

They might be small, but they were loving mouse flies when there were no bugs on the water

I'm not sure why, but the brookies were not as plentiful as other years. Pressure on the stream may be on the rise, not sure though. Its pretty secluded water, and I don't see many people in here. I blame the slightly warmer water temps this year.

Bigger flies were producing bigger fish. During the low light of dawn and dusk I was tossing some pretty big trout streamers. Zoo Cougars, Matuka Leeches and a couple of Sculpin patterns were what produced larger fish...

Once the storm hit on Saturday, the river rose a good 6 or 8 inches, and muddied up a bit. Always a good thing when you are near big browns.

Getting at the bigger fish requires a very loud, violent retrieve of the streamer alot of the time. I spent a couple of days filming and fishing with Ken Chandler a couple of weeks back. The knowledge I gained from those couple of days chasing brookies and huge browns paid off on this trip. I've been fishing streamers far too slowly and too deep the last few years. These fish all came up off bottom to hit the fly about 6-8 inches below the surface.

Oddly enough, this fish nailed a streamer in some fast, broken water at noon on one of the brightest days.

Its actually kind of a funny story. I had my cousin and his kids up for a night. The kids are all fly fishing maniacs. Thing is though, they're not quite at the point that they can cast big streamers yet. We keep them on dries, nymphs and buggers when they come out.

So when I pulled out a giant streamer, Shaylin looks at it and she says "what is this, some kind of joke?" Me and Justin had a good chuckle about that, but the first cast brought the big guy up to her amazement and she wanted to try it. We gave her a mouse to use though.

This one was a beast. Crappy shot as the fight wasn't very long and he was still full of energy and wanted to get back to where he came from. I was lucky to get this picture actually, he flopped and disappeared as I bent down to lift him up and move him back into the water.

I gotta stop there though....its painful being back in the city. I'll be back up soon though! Chasing big fat browns, and Musky within the next couple of weeks.


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