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scel last won the day on May 2 2020

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Cutthroat Trout

Cutthroat Trout (6/10)



  1. This is my experience as well---even their darn gills have teeth. Over a day of good pike fishing, I find it almost impossible to entirely avoid getting a few tooth nicks, but even little nicks really should be like big cuts because pike mouths are nasty. I have required antibiotics twice.
  2. For pike in a pontoon, I would simply get accustomed to controlling via the 'gill grip'. A cradle is great in a boat with a partner where you have a lot of lateral space to work with, but the 1m of real-estate between my legs is already filled with many things I wish to protect. Nets are just horrible because pike almost always seem to thrash once removed from the water. I have landed many 35+" fish with my pontoon boat.
  3. The goal is to give people incentive to stay at home by eliminating the freedom that allows us to travel. As well, the problem was a huge uptick in outdoor activities. Parks require maintenance and upkeep. More people in the parks means more people to maintain the parks. Unfortunately, people do not seem to understand how to take care of their own garbage. Closing parking lots drastically reduces upkeep and reinforces social distancing. Cigarette butts, pop/beer cans, fast food wrappers...these are all things that go up to an individuals mouth, and then someone has to clean it up. It frustrates me because I am not one of the people who abuses these resources, but I am the kind of guy who will put my empty coffee cup into a garbage can. If I notice I have an extra empty cup in the car, I will also put it into the garbage can. Despite my good intentions and relative innocence, I have just become part of the problem.
  4. scel


    What is your budget? A good fly line costs $80-$100. What do you have left for a rod and reel? Are you looking for advice for both lightweight and 8wt setups? For an 8wt for salmon/steelhead, you definitely do not want to cheap out on the reel. For handling sink tips and longer casts, there are advantages to faster action rods. I am going to give a slightly contrarian opinion---I think the 5wt is a good overall rod and a good complement to an 8wt, if it is the last rod that you plan to purchase. A 5wt does not cast dry flies nearly as nicely as my 4wt. A 5wt does not deal with sink tips and streamers nearly as well as a 6wt. Casting triple nymph rigs and hoppers on a windy day, I definitely prefer a 6wt. For a calm day on mountain streams, a 3wt is nice, but our regular Alberta winds necessitate a 4wt. If it is too windy to cast a 4wt, then it is definitely time for a 6wt. I almost never use my 5wt rods anymore, and when I do, despite being high-quality rods, I always feel that I could have chosen a better rod.
  5. I suggest that you think about it this way... If you were to seriously get hurt and require emergency care, would you go to the same hospital if you suffered a similar injury at your home? If the answer is 'no', then do not go. This disease can very quickly over-run a medical system. If we stick to this path, I am cautiously optimistic that we could see a relaxation in the mitigation strategies in the next few weeks especially if local health care networks are not unnecessarily stressed.
  6. 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?
  7. 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.
  8. Wire bite tippet after a morning of topwater pike fishing: https://photos.app.goo.gl/wb9N8Dy5yodYS8uu5
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. Thanks for all the input everyone. I have a feeling that Simms Freestone boots are likely the a top contender.
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