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scel last won the day on July 31 2019

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About scel

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    Cutthroat Trout

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  1. So, I am fishing the Bow at dark last night. It is not uncommon to encounter beavers. They ruin the fishing, so when the beaver starts getting slap happy, it is time to move on. This beaver continues to follow me down the river ruining every run. So, I walk down a couple runs, then sit for 15 minutes. I start swinging my streamer. Sure enough, beaver shows up and starts slapping, so I angrily start stripping in my line to pack up and leave, then I hook up. I thought this was a monstrous fish, but it turns out that it was the beaver. I am using 20# fluoro, so breaking the line will not be an easy task, so I start reeling it in. The line eventually just snaps in the tippet section. The beaver then swims to shore about 4m away from me, looks around, takes a breather, then leaves. I admit that I dislike beavers. But not the beaver specifically, I just dislike that they ruin the fishing. My first instinct was 'you deserved it', but that is just being an a$$hole. The beaver is just doing beaver things. I am certain there is no part of the beaver manual that includes 'how to treat fly anglers'. I do not think the beaver linked me with what happened or it would not have swum to shore so close to me, so there was no lesson learned either. I feel badly because this beaver has an articulated streamer impaled into it, and really, it did not deserve it. Or it is tangled in line, which I think is actually scenario It is debarbed, so it could be removed by simply pulling it out, if the beaver has the wherewithal to do it. A beaver is more than capable of cutting fluorocarbon line if it is tangled. Is there anything I could do or is this simply one of those 'mother nature is kind of cruel' moments?
  2. These are technically non-dominant traits---they are recessive traits. Furthermore, the slash is ironically a non-definitive for cutthroat trout. The orange slash can pop up in rainbow trout populations with no contact with cutthroat trout (the gene would have to be present in rainbow trout in order for them to produce viable offspring), but it does serve as a good indicator if coupled with any of the primary characteristics. The primary physical taxonomic features that define a cutthroat trout are basibranchial teeth (little teeth-like protrusions on the tongue) and jaw that extends past the eye orbital. The most reliable secondary characteristic is the spotting pattern---higher density near the tail. Although, this characteristic can be easily washed out of cutthroat population (like those in the Oldman drainage). In this case, the jaw clearly extends beyond the eye. The secondary characteristic of increased spotting near the tail is also present. And, of course, the orange slashes are present. Spotting pattern extends to the head, but not a reliable marker. If there were basibranchial teeth, you might have close to a pure cutthroat. Almost all Alberta populations of cutthroat have been hybridized to some degree with rainbow trout, so technically almost every cutthroat is a cuttbow. I think the only 'pure' populations are in a couple lakes in the Banff park. source: wife is trained taxonomist and practicing biologist. EDIT: It has been pointed out to me, and I was scolded by my wife, that there are several statistically genetically pure pockets of cutthroats. Still it is estimated that approximately 70% of the known populations have been interbred with rainbow trout.
  3. scel

    Pike on the fly

    Wire bite tippet after a morning of topwater pike fishing: https://photos.app.goo.gl/wb9N8Dy5yodYS8uu5
  4. Holy thread necromancy! I love the comment is more valid today than it was 11 years ago, when people were just starting to carry cameras around with them full time.
  5. scel

    Pike on the fly

    Consider yourself lucky. I have landed many pike on 6# test while jigging for walleye. I do not even know how many I have lost though---a number that is realistically in the range of dozens of jigs lost to pike teeth. Jig heads and softbodies are cheap though. Unless someone has full pockets of cash and/or lots of time to tie flies, some form of bite tippet is necessary. Any size of nick to tippet compromises its strength. When bass fishing out east, we use 13# fluoro. We had to stop tying and fishing red/white and orange/white clousers to simply stop attracting pike. I think our 1-day record for lost flies to pike is 13. When a pike is chasing something, it will preferentially t-bone it then almost immediately do a u-turn. Pike can rip through 13# test like butter. It is possible to get away with 20# test, but it is important to re-tie the fly after every single fish. Losing the fish is not what really hurts---it is losing the $8 fly in a situation that was 100% preventable.
  6. scel

    Pike on the fly

    Pike fishing is on fire right now. I would recommend an 8wt rod. I personally opt for an intermediate sink line for most pike fishing---even in water less than 1m deep. Until mid-June, you can get away with a floating line. Most of the pike will still be sitting in less than 3m of water. When the water hits around 12-14C there is the potential for topwater pike action too. On all stillwater, weighted flies are not really necessary because the angler just has to wait for the fly to sink. If you feel you need it, a small sink tip will often help, but you still probably will not need more than 3IPS for next month or so. I would rather use a weightless (or close to) fly and a sink tip over a weighted fly and a floating line. I use a 3-piece leader system. 5' 40# fluoro leader -> 3' 25# fluoro leader -> (clasp) -> 1.5-2' NiTi wire bite tippet. The clasp has a 20# break point, making it the weak point of the system. You can buy a pike leader---just put a clasp on it so you do not eat through the bite tippet. For flies---just use something 2/0 or bigger. The humble red-n-white pike bunny is a killer pattern. Deceivers and clousers also work. You can use your big articulated trout flies, but be aware that a pike's teeth are designed to hold on to natural/fleshy materials (the exception being bucktail, which seems to survive longer than most materials). So, those nice marabou flies will not see more than 10 or so pike before being completely stripped of all the nice wispy marabou. Deer hair poppers and sliders are all great. Big poppers work too. Like most fly fishing, it is more how you present the fly than the actual fly itself. So, last weekend, it was the hand-over-hand (rolly-polly) constant velocity retrieve that triggered strikes. Do yourself a solid and debarb your hooks---you will pick a lot of flies out of their gills. Jaw spreaders and a good set of long-handled pliers are important. I prefer not to use jaw spreaders, but sometimes they will not open their mouths. And remember, strip set. A trout set does absolutely nothing to set the hook. It is literally better to do nothing and just hang on than to lift your rod on a strike. When you get the fish in, I actually prefer not use a net at any time. Once in a net a pike thrashes like mad. Grip smaller pike firmly behind the head but over the gill plates (even their gills have teeth, so watch out for that). If you are in your pontoon, getting the gill-plate grip is important to handling the pike efficiently. Last piece, cuts and scrapes are a natural part of pike fishing. I highly recommend keeping a bottle of rubbing alcohol to clean any cuts when you get back to the car. This might seem a bit paranoid, but after 2 occasions of requiring antibiotics from relatively small pike scrapes, I am a little paranoid. Within 2 hours, there are probably dozens of places to catch pike. Dalemead, Eagle, and Chestmere are three that are within an hour of Calgary. Within 2 hours, there are too many options to list. Good luck.
  7. I would revolt on this concept. I love Cow Lake. It may have been more popular as a trout fishery, but it is a fantastic pike fishery, especially through May and June. In mid June, the topwater pike fishing can be absolutely amazing. While there may not be historically pike or perch in Cow Lake, they are naturally occurring in many lakes in the area. Even if it were converted back to a trout fishery, there is nothing preventing the same thing from happening again.
  8. Thanks for help everyone. I tried all the boots suggested. I went with the Patagonia River Tractors. I did not try the Patagonia Danner River Tractors. I could not absorb the price tag to afford to be an early adopter. Literally everything on this boot can be fixed or repaired, but the price tag for a vibram resole starts at $150. The Danner boots are meant to replace the existing River Tractors, so the 'old' models were on a fairly steep discount. The River Tractors are as supportive as the G3s and ended up being a little cheaper than the Freestones. I will keep my old pair of garbage boots for the few days that I get to spend in a boat.
  9. My wife is a biologist. She will not permit me to get felt soles. To be honest though, getting to the river is far more dangerous than falling into the river itself. Falling into the river can ruin the day, but the only times that I have fallen and hurt myself have been getting down to the river. In both cases, my felt soles slipped on the muddy trails or on wet grass. Vibram soles and cleats have been my go-to for 8+ years now. The Simms Ultralights were de-facto top contenders on my list. I will be shopping this week. I will let you know if I see them.
  10. Thanks for all the input everyone. I have a feeling that Simms Freestone boots are likely the a top contender.
  11. I was intrigued by Patagonia's boots, but $685!!! Do not get me wrong---I want a pair. It might be worth it if they are legitimately the last boots that I would need to buy. Have you looked into what re-soling costs?
  12. I have worn a couple pairs of Freestones. They were pretty good. They lasted the the same amount of time as the G3 Guide boots but I found the Freestones to be much more comfortable. I know some people swear by the G3. I had never heard of Chota. They seem to have a similar construction to the Vaportreads. I will look into them. Thanks.
  13. Hivemind: I am in the market for new wading boots. I have been buying Simms boots for the last few years. I get 18-24 months out of a pair of boots before they completely fall apart. I put in a lot of footwork every season. From May until the end of September, I think guessing 20km per week walking the banks would be a completely fair assumption. I have worn G3s. I found them to be heavy and cumbersome. My favourite boots ever were the Simms Vaportrail (or Vaportread or something like that), but they have been discontinued. These boots were light and comfortable---I was leery of the synthetic materials, but they drain and dry much faster than leather. The only downsides to the synthetics is during colder conditions. I have my eye on the Orvis ultralight, but I do not know anyone who has tried them. Does anyone have any experience with them? In fact, the whole Orvis line of boots looks great, but it seems Simms dominates the market here. I have owned a couple pairs of Korkers, but I have not found the comfortable, and the first pair barely made it 3months before the upper started falling part. I like the flexibility, but comfort is paramount. What boots do you wear? How do they hold up to walking?
  14. It really is this simple. I would probably fish a black-n-white clouser minnow with a backswimmer dropper.
  15. It was only a couple years ago that I was finally convinced to go 100% barbless. It is not that sz20 does notable damage to the fish, but sz20 are already hard enough to locate (which causes stress to the fish) and remove without ruining the fly. If I am up for the challenge of casting a sz20, I can probably accept the additional challenge of barbless.
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