Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Thanksfishing Weekend Part 2

We awoke to more wind than anyone would desire to fish in and throughout the day it would blow a steady 40 - 70 kmh. These winds were to continue for the duration of our trip but we were determined to make the best of it. Most spots we tried were a bust in the Duck Mountains and it was down right miserable when fishing out in the open. Luckily the scenery is stellar this time of year and between it and some wildlife sightings it slightly made up for the poor fishing conditions.

We finished our day on the same lakes we started at the previous evening with mixed results. My first cast of a faithful spoon produced a rainbow trout over 20 inches in length and near it's adipose fin was a green tag covered in algae with number 087 on it. It was one of the "Markosky" rainbows stocked this spring! A different strain than the hatchery rainbows that grow faster and larger than their counterpart. A few browns and bows were landed with a spectacularly coloured male brown trout being a highlight of the trip.

Our last full day of fishing was again windy and cold. My wife and I tried a few different lakes in the morning both losing a tiger trout at Twin Lakes and missing a brown trout at another lake near by. She spent the afternoon at the motel, while I met up with a good fishing bud. He proceeded to put on a clinic landing a few browns and rainbows of reputable size, out-fishing me 5-2 with the fly rod. If it wasn't so windy, I had planned for a lesson or two and my first dabble in fly fishing. However the thought of a steady stream of doomed casting attempts in 50 kmh winds didn't appeal to me. I have tons of respect for Justin's skills, knowledge and ability when it comes to fly fishing and can't wait for the time and better conditions to get a lesson or two from him.

Monday, 16 October 2017

Thanksfishing Weekend Part 1

Another year and another trip to the Duck Mountains area of Manitoba has passed. My wife and I were two of the many Canadians on the road over a busy holiday weekend, although we weren't travelling to see family. The sun was shining and wind minimal as we drove the four plus hours northwest through the rolling hills and along side the last of the crops getting harvested. Autumn had arrived and with it come hungry trout....

We arrived at our accommodations for the weekend with a few hours to spare before dark and wasted little time unpacking so as to get to the waters edge as soon as possible. Rainbow and brown trout would be our target for the first session with the two closest lakes being known for cranking out trophies of both. This is due in part to the efforts of many parties, through stocking, aeration, regulation and promotion.

The weather warm and leaves falling all around us, we were greeted with a bit of a foul stench coming from the water which was slightly concerning. The aeration was running as well which I found weird as that is usually only activated in winter. Before we could rig our rods and cast out, we saw two reputable sized trout breach within casting distance. The water was smelly, but at least we knew there were fish around. My first hit came after roughly ten casts of a small Len Thompson spoon and fairly close to shore I might add. Breaching almost instantaneously in the shallow water, it thrashed and dug down only to breach again and shake the hook. It was a brown trout and looked over two feet in length and I was furious as I had it in my head that the fish I just lost was clearly not going to bite again.

My wife was able to bring the first fish of the trip to shore and I got it in our over-sized net with ease. This net makes an excellent "live well" for hook extraction and being able to keep the fish in the water before pictures. A rainbow trout measuring out over 20 inches in length sat in our net and we agreed against pictures as it seemed lethargic and tired from the battle. After a good bit of recuperation it swam off slowly, which is not how trout usually release this time of year.

Shortly after releasing the rainbow I hooked into a decent brown trout that put my gear and I through the gauntlet. It smacked my spoon close to shore like the previous one and peeled off towards the weeds only to rocket out of the water and change course. It was doing everything in it's power to shake the hook loose and I was maintaining tension as best I could. The battle continued with a few more heart stopping breaches and once it was near shore and got sight of the net, off it went again, charging to the depths. It looked a little smaller than the one I lost but still well over 20 inches and after another run, I had her in the net. She measured out at 23 inches and was clearly well fed.

With 2 hours of sunlight to go, we fished on, with many bites and takes missed and a few more trout landed. My wife caught some more feisty rainbow trout and I was able to bring another female brown trout to shore over 20 inches in length. She fought as furiously as the previous one and although light conditions were not ideal for photos, her colours were beautiful. Our first session was a success however the weather was about to change, surely leading to tougher fishing conditions. With two and a half more days to fish, we weren't deterred and formulated a plan to scout around some other lakes the next day.