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River Keeping!

May 10th, 2018 No comments

River keeping is something I’ve been thinking about lately. How many times have you fished a pool and though “if only that branch wasn’t there I’d be able to cast to that fish!” Well, I often though that. In recent years I’ve made some effort to remove offending branches and its paid off. I want to take it to the next level though. As of now I’m going to carry a saw instead of the little saw blade on my Victorinox knife. As a guide I’m always searching out new water. Occasionally I find something great that receives little or no attention so a little river keeping goes a long way here. There are a few small streams I know of which have become totally choked with willows over the years. Many beautiful pools have become totally unfishable but it doesn’t need to be that way. Lets say you fish that stream 3 times a season, and each time you fish it you bring your saw and spend half an hour making a pool or a run fly friendly, think how quickly it would become totally open again! Better again if some of your friends do the same! Or, you could just go nuts and round up a posse and spend a day clearing it! Fuck it, bring a chainsaw! Have a think about it. I’m sure a river or a pool on a river will spring to mind. Its something you could do over the off season, just take care that you’re not walking on redds. Time to buy an aggressive saw that will fit in your pack! A machete too, maybe..

With some semi-planned down time around mid March to mid April I got quite a lot of fishing in! Some of the family were over so dad and I fished every day we could (which was most!) This trip was a little different to other trips for dad. Mom and my sister were also here to meet our daughter, Adaline, so it was family time. All the fishing we did was in day trip distance from home. Every evening we relaxed, ate great food, drank some nice wine and just enjoyed being together. I can’t wait til we can do it all again! We fished all sorts of water. Big lakes, dams, tiny streams to big rivers. With regular, heavy rainfall it wasn’t easy to find clear rivers but with local experience and a little luck we were able to find rivers and streams clear enough to fish. Dad had always wanted some dry fly action on a tiny stream. We had one super day which was just that. It’s quite hard to find consistent dry fly water but this wee stream seems to be one. Great fishing!

Robbie and I also had a super couple of days chasing rainbows and browns in his neck of the woods. Better than expected with blistering bows and one very large brown! The worm fly was deadly – either because of the regular high water washing real worms down the river or because it just looks like too much food to pass up. Both are true. It did make me think though after I picked a 4″ dead earthworm out of the river. “These worm flies are way too small!!!” I think I’ll tie some huge worm flies! They have to work..

One of the most interesting things I’ve witnessed this season was on one of the local, high country reservoirs. Dad, Tom and myself went up for a day with no expectations because it rarely gives up its fish easily. The day began as per usual trying to figure out how to catch this elusive quarry. Dad and I saw a fish or two moving and I lost one not long after starting on a bugger. Tom was moving down the shore and we followed. Tom was seeing some and getting one or 2. When we got to the shallow end of the bay things changed. We could see good numbers of trout bow waving in glary, flat calm, shallow water. They were clearly chasing something. Tom was in the right place landed 4 more on a bugger. I landed one and lost a couple. By the time dad arrived it was all over. We kept a trout for dinner and it was stuffed with 1 inch, grey fry. The edges of the lake were alive with them. I never noticed them there before so maybe it has something to do with all the recent rain? I hoped it was going to be a regular, late season event. The lake is know for it’s cicada fishing but nothing else really so it would be really cool to lock in seasonal event and learn it. Dad and I went back up for his last fishing day of the trip. We were expecting great things but absolutely nothing happened. The fry were there, the wind was exactly the same, all conditions the same just no fish at all – only 4 days later!

Jeff, Kota and myself had a magic day exploring a couple of small mountain streams. With snow on the ground and high altitude views it was a magic day to be alive, fish or no fish!

May is when many fish start their migratory run up river to spawn. These running fish can provide some of the most exciting fishing of the season – for me anyway. I think it might be my favourite time of year! Locally, its very hit and miss but I’ve learned many hot spots over the last few years. Fluctuating flows means that the learning never stops but there are consistencies in pretty much all river flows. The larger fish tend to run first! I’ll be getting amongst it as often as possible.

Thats all for now. I have some good guiding stuff coming up from a couple of multi-day late season trips. One with Chuan – always eventful!

Plenty spaces available in May and over winter. There’s still lots of great fishing to be had even though the season is closed on most brown trout rivers! Contact me on ronan@sexyloops.com or visit my website http://www.ronansflyfishingmissions.com

Tight Lines,

Ronan..

ps, here’s my latest film on Vimeo. https://vimeo.com/267765023