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Never Stop Learning

 

My dad came over from Prince George for a visit, and weekend time meant a day out fishing for pike. While the conditions were windy and the fishing was somewhat slow, we ended up having an excellent day bringing six sizeable pike home to be turned into tasty fillets. It was in cleaning them that we saw what these northerns were up to. Five of the six had full-grown whitefish in them. I figure the smallest white had to be 13 inches and the largest one was at least 17 inches. Now who drops a 17-inch fish off a tip-up? Not many, but those that do often get the big bites.

Playing on that strategy I went to the Fishin' Hole and raided their supply of the largest herring available. The next weekend Trevor McLeod, Ivan Isop and myself did a trip to Lac St Anne, chasing the burbot. The burbot season is a wonderful time of year. When the burbot are in, they provide excellent fishing. As do the whites, which like to eat burbot spawn, and the pike, which like to eat the whites and burbot. We set tip-ups a 100 or so feet away using the largest of herrings as bait. What surprised us was how eagerly the tip-ups got smacked. They must have accounted for a dozen or more bites over the course of the afternoon. Far better than the three of us were doing jigging. We caught three burbot, a small pike and a decent walleye, but the encouraging fact was that the largest of our herring were routinely hit. It just goes to show that presenting bait in a natural manner, no matter how large it may seem, will get bites.

Keeping in tune with the learning theme, about a half dozen years ago I did something I don't often do when trout fishing. I got up before the sun and headed out in my boat. What a stroke of genius that was. While paddling away from shore I noticed subtle disturbances here and there tight to shore and quite shallow. Slowly and quietly I drifted in I found those disturbances were the tell tale signs of large feeding trout. It was amazing, but there in front of me were numbers of two to seven pound trout routing around, looking for food.

Nobody else was on the lake, the water was perfectly still, save for a few rummaging trout and there I was in the right place at the right time. As quietly as possible, I worked my way close and cast the plug a few feet to the side of a disturbance. A few twitches sent a big bow wake straight at my floating plug where a sizeable trout lifted its nose and sucked it in. That was the start of a truly memorable morning, where I caught big trout hand over fist until the sun snuck over the horizon. I've done this early morning hunting routine many times since and most every trip has been a winner.

My first ever trip to the North Ram River was both exciting and rewarding. The talk at the campsite was that those willing to walk a little further off the beaten path could catch big cutthroats. Our plan was to do just that and when we emerged from a 20 minute slog through the bush we found two corner pools close to each other with the upstream pool about as beautiful as they come. It was cool, clear and full of cutts. That was obvious because at the head of the pool a half dozen or more sizeable fish were steadily rising to some mayfly. I floated my best mayfly imitations at them and didn't get a sniff for my repeated efforts.

Not to be deterred I waded to the lower end of the pool and flipped over some rocks. There I found some small mayfly and larger stonefly nymphs. That was all the clues I needed. I switched to a stonefly nymph and fished it along bottom. On my first drift a massive 20-inch cutt picked it off. It remains my largest North Ram cutt to date. I've seen two that were bigger, but I've never caught them. The nymph was the ticket that day and because I switched to the subsurface game, I caught lots of cutts.

No matter where we fish there are always clues to help us along. Some of the best fishermen and fisherwomen are the ones that spend the time to look around and see what's going on first. Using that information will help plan an approach and ultimately, catch more fish.


Previous Fishing Articles

(1) In The Walleye Zone

(2) Zoo Trout

(3) Fly Selection for Beginners

(4) Fly Fisher's Christmas

(5) New Waters

(6) Big Bad Burbot

(7) Looking Back

(8) Out of Africa

(9) Finding Success on Crowded Trout Streams

(10) Mountain Peaks, Fast Streams, Fall Colours And Rocky Mountain Whitefish

(11) The Browns of Autumn

(12) Fly-Fishing Pike Through The Seasons

(13) Walleye Town

(14) River Fun - One Bite At A Time

(15) Fly Fishing Larger Rivers

(16) Going With The Flow

(17) Becoming A Better Fly Fisherman

(18) Swinging The Fences

(19) A View From The Aerie

(20) Dixieland Delight

(21) Atlantic Salmon - The Fish of 1000 Casts

(22) Do It Yourself Pink Salmon

(23) Montana's Cool Missouri

(24) Pretty Is As Pretty Does

(25) Toothy Critters

(26) Hard Water Lakers at Cold Lake

(27) Top Ten Flies

(28) Northern Exposure

(29) Home Water Lessons

(30) Chicken Of The Sea

(31) Sealing the Deal – How to Ensure You Land More Fish

(32) Deep In The Heart Of Texas

(33) Keep It Up!

(34) River Fishing for Fall Walleye

(35) After the Flood - A look at Southern Alberta rivers and streams one year after the flood

(36) Reindeer Lake - A Diversity of Opportunity

(37) Hawg Holes

(38) Saltwater Salmon

(39) Early Season Dry Fly Fishing

(40) Down a Lazy River –
A Fly-rodding Adventure on the Lower North Saskatchewan

(41) The Fly Fishing Season Ahead

(42) IN SEARCH OF SPECKLED FOOTBALLS

(43) FISHING CANADA'S PRAIRIE CITIES

(44) Bright Fish from the Land of Silver

(45) Canada's "Other" Salmon

(46) Fall Walleye

(47) Wet Flies

(48) Versatility the Key to Success

(49) Grayling of the Boreal

(50) Teaching Kids To Fly Fish

(51) Size Matters

(52) Fly Fishing Small Streams

(53) Chasing Winter Whites One Lake At A Time

(54) Manitoba's Fishing Jewel

(55) The Twelve Gifts Of Christmas

(56) The Point Of It All

(57) Fishing With Friends-Big Weather Seizing The Day

(58) Fall Fly Fishing

(59) Personal Pontoon Boats 101

(60) Big River, Big Fish

(61) Bottom Bonanza

(62) Fishing Small Flies

(63) So Many Choices, So Little Time

(64) Four Seasons of the Bow

(65) Favourite Lakes - Some Like it Hot

(66) GEARING UP FOR SMALL STREAM TROUT

(67) Trout Hunting - New Zealand-style

(68) Don’t Leave Home Without Them –
10 Lures That Should Be In Everyone’s Tackle Box

(69) Edge Walleye

(70) FLY FISHING STRATEGIES FOR HIGH WATER

(71) Smallmouth Bass – An Oft Overlooked Challenge

(72) Four Corners – Four Waters

(73) Chasing Pothole Trout

(74) Springtime Stoneflies

(75) The Torrents of Spring

(76) Drift Boat Fly Fishing

(77) Bust Them With Bait

(78) Cure the Winter Blues with a Good Book

(79) Hot Strategies for the Cold Months

(80) Cutthroat: The Angler's Trout

(81) Terrestrials

(82) Fly In For Fishing Fun

(83) Rocky Mountain High

(84) Reading the clues

(85) Where the Trout Are
The art of locating feeding trout
in rivers and streams.

(86) K.I.S.S. and Tell Fly-fishin

(87) Fly Fishing 101

(88) To Catch a Big Halibut, or Ling Cod

(89) The Bountiful Bones of Ascension Bay

(90) Grayling in the Eye of the Beholder

(91) Fly Fishing for South Fork Clearwater Steelhead

(92) Manitoba's Red River - North America's Catfish Capital

(93) Eliminating the Spook Factor

(94) Trust Your Electronics

(95) The Most Important Hatch of the Year

(96) Early Season Nymph Fishing for Trout

(97) Finding Success for Ice Trout

(98) Walleye can be Humbling

(99) The Secret to Landing the Big One Finally Revealed

(100) Winter Flyfishing

(101) North Saskatchewan River - An Underutilized Gem

(102) Hot Fall Pike Action

(103) Tips and Tricks to Save the Summer Slow Down

(104) Reading Trout Stream Waters

(105) Frequently Asked Questions

(106) Streamer Fishing for Larger Trout

(107) The Lure of Big Walleye at Last Ice

(108) Deep Water Perch

(109) Post Spawn Brookies

(110) A Fisher's Life

(111) The River's Last Stand

(112) The Big Ones Come out at Night

(113) Coho on the Coast

(114) Chasing and Catching Halibut

(115) Summer in the Mountains

(116) Peak Walleye Season

(117) Slow and Steady Wins the Race

(118) Last Ice Rainbows

(119) The Burbot Event

(120) Tackle Matching

(121) Ice Fishing Strategy #2 - Going Light

(122) Ice Fishing Strategy #1 - Location

(123) The Lure of Brook Trout

(124) The Shallow Water Hunt is On

(125) Hot Backswimmer Action Happening Right Now

(126) Fishing Among Giants-Pursuing Lake Sturgeon on the Prairies

(127) Adventure at Davin Lake Lodge, Northern Saskatchewan

(128) The Vesatile Plug

(129) Bead Head Flies, Plugs and Shot and other Spring Favorites for Pothole Trout

(130) Planning your Upcoming Angling Adventures

(131) Good Fishing at Last Ice

(132) Maximize the Odds - Use Multiple Presentations

(133) Daily Fish Migrations

(134) Fish Migrations - Following the Spawn

(135) Lake Whitefish - An Ice Fishing All Star

(136) Pick Your Favorite Brook Trout Lake...and Go Fishing

(137) A Look Ahead to Great Trout Fishing

(138) Wrestling White Sturgeon on the Fraser

(139) The Fun in Ultra Light

(140) Flyfishing and Leadcore Lines

(141) Embrace the Spirit of Adventure

(142) Never Stop Learning

(143) Ice Fishing is Getting Hot

(144) Jigging through the Ice

(145) An Ice Fishing Unsung Hero – The Setline

(146) Rainbows on Ice

(147) The Season of Ice Begins

(148) Red Hot Fall Pike Action

(149) Hitting it Right with Water Boatman

(150) Facts On Cats

(151) West Coast Adventure

(152) June Walleye Frenzy

(153) Aerated Lakes are Big Trout Factories

(154) "First Fish of the Year - Pothole Rainbows and Browns"

(155) "Northern Exposure"

(156) Sometimes There is More to Fishing Than Catching Fish

(157) Early Season Pike On The Fly

(158) Man Overboard