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Hot Backswimmer Action Happening Right Now

 

"It's happening right now," said Al Hunter of Miller Lake just west of Edson after I made a pit stop in Edson to check on the local fishing. He added, "For whatever reason the backswimmers are coming in and they're two weeks early. The best time to be fishing them is between 1:00 to 4:00 PM and after that the action drops off dramatically." I was excited. "What about the browns that were recently introduced into the lake?" I asked, knowing that this could be a big bonus for what was already a quality fishery. "The guys are catching them, but working in extremely shallow water to find them." That was a situation I'd experienced myself, having hunted browns this way in East Dollar and Figure Eight Lakes.

Miller and most every other pothole trout lake is likely fishing red hot, and to take advantage of this situation every angler should be equipped with a supply of backswimmer patterns. If you're a fly guy, try a floating line and a bead head backswimmer or, a sinking line with a floating backswimmer or, if you're really lucky, a floating line with a floating backswimmer. That was the case for Al. He fished a floating backswimmer right on the surface and had trout smash it all afternoon providing some of the best fly-fishing of the year. I'm envious and can't wait to get out and get in on the action myself.

Not all of us are fly guys or gals and that's fine. I fish the spinning rod with incredible success using the same backswimmers and attaching a splitshot a few feet up the line to provide weight for casting. If I want to keep the fly along the surface, I'll put on a small bobber and suspend the fly below.

Backswimmers are migrating at this time of year flying from smaller puddles and ponds to the lakes to overwinter. When they spot a lake they literally dive bomb into it making a splat as they hit the water. After impact, the backswimmer begins kicking using its two large legs to get it to the bottom as fast as possible. Somehow they seem to instinctively know that if they don't they will end up as trout food. What we have to do is imitate the splat, then reel or strip line while imparting fast twitches on the fly to imitate this kicking motion. Once we've got that down the trout will do the rest.



The strike, however, is something you must prepare you for, as it may be so hard that it breaks the line right at the set. The reason for this is that backswimmer is moving fast to get away from the trout and the trout is moving even faster to catch it. When the fly hits the water with a splat, like a backswimmer, often times the trout will bolt at the fly and literally smash it. That combined with a hard hookset will break lines. I usually break the first fish or two off (even if they're 16 inchers) until I tone down the hookset and then I'm off to the races.

Last September I was at Millers enjoying this very event and having the time of my life. I had caught probably 40 or more trout in the afternoon and had kept a couple for dinner. I observed several fish rising, or I should say slashing at backswimmers near a big weed bed. I figured I'd risk some tackle and cast right up tight to see if I could get one to take a poke. The first fish I cast to ate it. Before I even had a chance to tighten the line, it accelerated through the first clump of weeds, exploded into the air where I got to see all seven to eight pounds of him. He then crashed back down, snapping my line in the process. An awe-inspiring process that took all of about two to three seconds from start to finish.

This is the backswimmer event that all flyfishermen and women look forward to each fall. It's responsible for getting the biggest of the trout to the surface and the action is fast and furious. The strikes are hard and the numbers add up in a hurry. The great thing about this event is that when you're on backswimmers and the fish are biting, you will feel like a fly fishing guru and, for a spell you will be. So if you get the opportunity, try it, it's a whole lot of fun.


Previous Fishing Articles

(1) Fly Selection for Beginners

(2) Fly Fisher's Christmas

(3) New Waters

(4) Big Bad Burbot

(5) Looking Back

(6) Out of Africa

(7) Finding Success on Crowded Trout Streams

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

(9) The Browns of Autumn

(10) Fly-Fishing Pike Through The Seasons

(11) Walleye Town

(12) River Fun - One Bite At A Time

(13) Fly Fishing Larger Rivers

(14) Going With The Flow

(15) Becoming A Better Fly Fisherman

(16) Swinging The Fences

(17) A View From The Aerie

(18) Dixieland Delight

(19) Atlantic Salmon - The Fish of 1000 Casts

(20) Do It Yourself Pink Salmon

(21) Montana's Cool Missouri

(22) Pretty Is As Pretty Does

(23) Toothy Critters

(24) Hard Water Lakers at Cold Lake

(25) Top Ten Flies

(26) Northern Exposure

(27) Home Water Lessons

(28) Chicken Of The Sea

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

(30) Deep In The Heart Of Texas

(31) Keep It Up!

(32) River Fishing for Fall Walleye

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

(34) Reindeer Lake - A Diversity of Opportunity

(35) Hawg Holes

(36) Saltwater Salmon

(37) Early Season Dry Fly Fishing

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

(39) The Fly Fishing Season Ahead

(40) IN SEARCH OF SPECKLED FOOTBALLS

(41) FISHING CANADA'S PRAIRIE CITIES

(42) Bright Fish from the Land of Silver

(43) Canada's "Other" Salmon

(44) Fall Walleye

(45) Wet Flies

(46) Versatility the Key to Success

(47) Grayling of the Boreal

(48) Teaching Kids To Fly Fish

(49) Size Matters

(50) Fly Fishing Small Streams

(51) Chasing Winter Whites One Lake At A Time

(52) Manitoba's Fishing Jewel

(53) The Twelve Gifts Of Christmas

(54) The Point Of It All

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

(56) Fall Fly Fishing

(57) Personal Pontoon Boats 101

(58) Big River, Big Fish

(59) Bottom Bonanza

(60) Fishing Small Flies

(61) So Many Choices, So Little Time

(62) Four Seasons of the Bow

(63) Favourite Lakes - Some Like it Hot

(64) GEARING UP FOR SMALL STREAM TROUT

(65) Trout Hunting - New Zealand-style

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

(67) Edge Walleye

(68) FLY FISHING STRATEGIES FOR HIGH WATER

(69) Smallmouth Bass – An Oft Overlooked Challenge

(70) Four Corners – Four Waters

(71) Chasing Pothole Trout

(72) Springtime Stoneflies

(73) The Torrents of Spring

(74) Drift Boat Fly Fishing

(75) Bust Them With Bait

(76) Cure the Winter Blues with a Good Book

(77) Hot Strategies for the Cold Months

(78) Cutthroat: The Angler's Trout

(79) Terrestrials

(80) Fly In For Fishing Fun

(81) Rocky Mountain High

(82) Reading the clues

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

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

(85) Fly Fishing 101

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

(87) The Bountiful Bones of Ascension Bay

(88) Grayling in the Eye of the Beholder

(89) Fly Fishing for South Fork Clearwater Steelhead

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

(91) Eliminating the Spook Factor

(92) Trust Your Electronics

(93) The Most Important Hatch of the Year

(94) Early Season Nymph Fishing for Trout

(95) Finding Success for Ice Trout

(96) Walleye can be Humbling

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

(98) Winter Flyfishing

(99) North Saskatchewan River - An Underutilized Gem

(100) Hot Fall Pike Action

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

(102) Reading Trout Stream Waters

(103) Frequently Asked Questions

(104) Streamer Fishing for Larger Trout

(105) The Lure of Big Walleye at Last Ice

(106) Deep Water Perch

(107) Post Spawn Brookies

(108) A Fisher's Life

(109) The River's Last Stand

(110) The Big Ones Come out at Night

(111) Coho on the Coast

(112) Chasing and Catching Halibut

(113) Summer in the Mountains

(114) Peak Walleye Season

(115) Slow and Steady Wins the Race

(116) Last Ice Rainbows

(117) The Burbot Event

(118) Tackle Matching

(119) Ice Fishing Strategy #2 - Going Light

(120) Ice Fishing Strategy #1 - Location

(121) The Lure of Brook Trout

(122) The Shallow Water Hunt is On

(123) Hot Backswimmer Action Happening Right Now

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

(125) Adventure at Davin Lake Lodge, Northern Saskatchewan

(126) The Vesatile Plug

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

(128) Planning your Upcoming Angling Adventures

(129) Good Fishing at Last Ice

(130) Maximize the Odds - Use Multiple Presentations

(131) Daily Fish Migrations

(132) Fish Migrations - Following the Spawn

(133) Lake Whitefish - An Ice Fishing All Star

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

(135) A Look Ahead to Great Trout Fishing

(136) Wrestling White Sturgeon on the Fraser

(137) The Fun in Ultra Light

(138) Flyfishing and Leadcore Lines

(139) Embrace the Spirit of Adventure

(140) Never Stop Learning

(141) Ice Fishing is Getting Hot

(142) Jigging through the Ice

(143) An Ice Fishing Unsung Hero – The Setline

(144) Rainbows on Ice

(145) The Season of Ice Begins

(146) Red Hot Fall Pike Action

(147) Hitting it Right with Water Boatman

(148) Facts On Cats

(149) West Coast Adventure

(150) June Walleye Frenzy

(151) Aerated Lakes are Big Trout Factories

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

(153) "Northern Exposure"

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

(155) Early Season Pike On The Fly

(156) Man Overboard