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The River's Last Stand

 

The fall has been exceptionally warm and affords us a rare opportunity. With November mere days away, many, if not all the lakes and rivers are still open. There have been ice fishing seasons where I’ve been on the lakes and drilling holes by November first. It seems last year’s wild and crazy start to the winter that seemed to just go on and on has been offset with a glorious fall this time round.

Given that, I’ve abandoned my lake fishing and searched out moving water near and far. I expect we’ll be able to cast a line into the streams and rivers (so long as the reg’s say these places are open) deep into November. The North Saskatchewan flows minutes from my doorstep and I was down there with my daughter a couple nights ago. We enjoyed a couple good hours fishing and caught a pike, had a walleye on and the guys that were just upstream from us did equally as well landing a few walleye in the short time we were there. Walleye are still thick through the city and there are some big ones still being tagged. Where they went for active presentations during the glory days a month or so ago, things have to be much slower now to tempt a bite.

Drag a full sized dew worm or minnow along the bottom and you’ll find them. A crankbait will still catch some, but try to keep the retrieve on the slow side. Anything with pace seems to be passed up except just as the river gets dark. For about an hour there’s a flurry of activity and good fishing, but that too, I expect will shorten and subside as the days progress.

For those near the mountains, the Rockies are going hard right now as they have schooled up in monstrous numbers to spawn. Anyone who has the opportunity should get into incredible fishing for whites and expect to tag the occasional big trout, be it a bullie or a brown at this time of year.. Like I was mentioning in the Fishin’ Hole tips column a couple months ago, I wanted to hit the Red Deer River and chase some of their Rockies, which are known to be quite big. A few weeks ago I did just that.

Not knowing a lot of the Red, I went to the Dickson Dam and figured I’d start my learning curve right there. Melanie came with me. I set up for Rockies and Browns but the dam it turned out, was much more of a walleye haunt. There were dozens of walleye anglers pitching jigs, crankbaits and the like. I asked if anyone was fishing for whitefish or knew where to catch them. Everyone said that all they really fished for was ‘pickeral’. So with that I was left to my own devices. We walked down a fair distance from the dam and found some fast water with several pools and back eddies. It looked like decent whitefish water so we gave it a try.

While we never tagged a fish, or so much as a sniff, there were a few good signs. Every once in a while there was a great big bathtub-sized swirl to get the heart pumping. These were big browns. They wanted nothing to do with Melanie’s or my fly and nymph rigs, nor with our small plugs, but it was really good to see them come up. We then bumped into a gentleman named Vance along with his small dog. He was pitching a standard quarter ounce jig with a yellow curly tail. He’d cast it straight across current and slowly drag it in along bottom. It’s about as walleye as you can get and we watched him catch two walleye. In talking with him we found out that the whitefish like to hang out quite a distance downstream below the dam in the faster sections, but the browns are definitely around the dam area. We thanked him, wished for a yellow jig of our own and pitched plugs and flies to no response. Still, it was a good day and we definitely learned something.

We got back to town and a friend of mine learned of my whitefish woes and gave me the name of his buddy who loves fishing the Red for whites. I’ll be talking with him in the near future. Given the great weather and the lengthened open water season, perhaps I can still make a trip back and find those famous whites. Until then Melanie and I marched off to the Fishin’ Hole on our return and promptly bought our own supply of quarter ounce jigs and yellow curly tails – just in case.


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