Call us toll-free at 1-800-661-6954

Welcome to The Fishin' Hole Canada's source for tackle and sport fishing equipment. Try us for all of your sportfishing needs...In store, on-line or toll free. You'll get hooked on the service!

Making a difference

 

I love fishing, and I love being outdoors, especially in the company of family and friends. It is exciting every time there is a bite and a fish is hooked. Be it big or little, there is immense satisfaction being able to fool that fish, get it to bite, and bring it to shore. I fish because many of the landscapes that fish call home are beautiful. I fish because fish are honest. A fish reacts to what is presented, regardless of who is doing the presenting, be it a 4-year-old girl out of dad’s tin boat or a seasoned angler in a Lund Pro V. The fish do not care, and there is something reassuring about that.

Fishing is fun for all ages.

Fishing is fun for all ages.

I still love to catch fish, and I suspect I always will, but something that gives me more satisfaction is having the honour of taking other people out fishing. I teach them what I know, I explain to them why we are fishing a certain spot, be it on the river, or in a lake. Sometimes the explanation is as simple as, "My friends caught fish here yesterday". It is a, "don’t ask questions," approach. Just get to the honey hole and be thankful for the good fishing that follows. Other times the explanation is much more involved, "We are fishing on the upper edge of this sandy drop off because trout like to push minnows into this shallow area and trap them here. So when a trout is doing this, they are active and ready to bite."

My friends caught them here yesterday!

My friends caught them here yesterday!

I explain why we lightly hook a worm, so that it wiggles a lot and is more appealing to an interested fish. I show how I hook a minnow, so that it hangs horizontally, and this makes the presentation to the fish more natural causing more fish to bite. I let them know that thin line catches more fish than thicker line, and this is especially true through the ice, when fishing for whitefish, perch, and trout. When it comes to pike, though, these fish do not seem to care about line thickness nearly as much.

How you hook your bait makes a difference.

How you hook your bait makes a difference.

I explain the seasonality of fishing; how we find many pike in the shallows in May and early June, but because they are cold blooded these same pike head to the deeper water during summer, returning to the shallows in late September, early October, when the lakes cool down again. Similarly, I show them the seasonality of fish in the rivers, like how goldeye populate the Edmonton area of the North Saskatchewan River throughout the summer, and when September rolls around, they leave. At the same time though, monster mega walleye begin populating this stretch of river come fall, so that is a pretty good trade.

Goldeye populate the river in summer.

Goldeye populate the river in summer.

I teach how to tie knots, and how a Trilene knot tied to a small fly or wireworm, with its double wrap on the hook eye, allows me to twist the knot so that the fly or wireworm hangs horizontally. This little trick has been responsible for too many fish to count, but I strongly believe that number is in the thousands. I explain how we can gauge the activity level of a fish and adjust our presentation accordingly. We start by using an active presentation, like running a spinning quickly through the likely water, and if the fish do not respond, we switch to flies, jigs, or baits, to slow things down, which often triggers a fish to bite.

This is the passing of knowledge from one to another. It is a reservoir of tips and tricks that may be taken for granted, but are yet to be learned by eager anglers of all abilities. The sharing of knowledge goes both ways. I have had 12 year olds show me a thing or three about how to catch a fish.

Of all the times of the year to take a person fishing, the ice fishing is my favourite. Very little specialized equipment is required, save for an auger to cut a hole in the ice, to go ice fishing. People can bring out their favourite fishing rods of the summer head out to the lake.

Ice fishing is fun, and requires little gear.

Ice fishing is fun, and requires little gear.

When we ice fish, there is almost always a community of us. Some of us are old hands, others are completely new. The people that know the score, the area we are fishing, and how to set up the hooks and such get to work immediately. Somebody is drilling holes, somebody is tying hooks and baiting them up and someone is cleaning holes. We explain why we chose the location we did and what we think the fish are doing and how we expect to fool them.

Ice fishing is community.

Ice fishing is community.

One of my favourite ‘go to’ spots on a nearby trout lake is literally three to five feet deep over lush weeds. It does not look like much, unless you’re a trout. In those weeds, trout find snails, dragonfly nymphs, caddis larva, and all sorts of small-bodied fish and of all things, diving beetles. It is a smorgasbord of food items, which is why the trout are on this particular weed bed year after year, and it is why you find my friends and I fishing it year after year.

People that are new to fishing often like to jig a rod, so we tie on a jig and let them at it. They do catch fish, but most often the lines that are left alone catch more. We bring a bunch of rods, because in Alberta, anglers can use two lines each when ice fishing. That gives us double the coverage, and double the chances of catching a fish.

Fish on.

Fish on.

Fish on.

Fish on.

At some point, a fishing rod will dive to the hole. A fish is on. Someone will race to the rod, grab it, and the fight will be on. We have the drag on the reel set so if it is a big fish, it can run. We encourage, cheer, and gather. There is excitement in the air. Fish and angler battle back and forth and the outcome is never certain. In time, the fish is close and we all catch glimpses. Someone kneels beside the hole to help with the landing. Soon a head appears, and the person gently slides a hand down to get a hold of the fish and lift. Celebrations and heartfelt laughter echo on the cool air. Everyone is happy, and the fisherman or fisherwoman that reeled in their catch, they are especially proud. They caught a fish and just as surely has that fish was hooked and landed, so too are they. Add one more friend, one more person who now shares a love of the outdoors, of our outdoor places and the bounty they can provide. And in my way of thinking, we are all the better for it.



Previous Fishing Articles
(1) Flies of Summer
(2) Selecting the Right Boat
(3) The Italian Job
(4) Making a difference
(5) Pass the Salt
(6) Hopper Time - Fly-fishing’s Second Season
(7) Pike on the Fly - Fishing New Waters
(8) Fall brings the big walleye out
(9) Hoppertunity Time
(10) Becoming a Better Dry Fly Angler
(11) Make Your Own Fishing Adventure
(12) Early Season Fly Fishing
(13) Walleye Logic
(14) Fly Fishing in the Desert
(15) Grammy’s Fish
(16) Top 10 Trout Lures
(17) All I Want for Christmas – Neil Waugh's Yule Tide Fishing Gifts Wish List
(18) Muskies - The Ultimate Predator
(19) What to expect when fishing the West Coast
(20) Tips & Tricks for Fall Fly Fishing
(21) There’s No Place Like Home
(22) A Golden Opportunity
(23) The Observational Trout Fisherman
(24) Un-matching the Hatch
(25) Alberta Super Bugs
(26) Glass is Back
(27) The Bull Trout of the Athabasca
(28) Speed Kills
(29) Entering the Twilight Zone
(30) Old Man River
(31) The Pink Salmon of the Squamish River
(32) Small stream BT fishing
(33) Fly fishing beyond Trout: getting started
(34) In The Walleye Zone
(35) Zoo Trout
(36) Fly Selection for Beginners
(37) Fly Fisher's Christmas
(38) New Waters
(39) Big Bad Burbot
(40) Looking Back
(41) Out of Africa
(42) Finding Success on Crowded Trout Streams
(43) Mountain Peaks, Fast Streams, Fall Colours And Rocky Mountain Whitefish
(44) The Browns of Autumn
(45) Fly-Fishing Pike Through The Seasons
(46) Walleye Town
(47) River Fun - One Bite At A Time
(48) Fly Fishing Larger Rivers
(49) Going With The Flow
(50) Becoming A Better Fly Fisherman
(51) Swinging The Fences
(52) A View From The Aerie
(53) Dixieland Delight
(54) Atlantic Salmon - The Fish of 1000 Casts
(55) Do It Yourself Pink Salmon
(56) Montana's Cool Missouri
(57) Pretty Is As Pretty Does
(58) Toothy Critters
(59) Hard Water Lakers at Cold Lake
(60) Top Ten Flies
(61) Northern Exposure
(62) Home Water Lessons
(63) Chicken Of The Sea
(64) Sealing the Deal – How to Ensure You Land More Fish
(65) Deep In The Heart Of Texas
(66) Keep It Up!
(67) River Fishing for Fall Walleye
(68) After the Flood - A look at Southern Alberta rivers and streams one year after the 2013 flood
(69) Reindeer Lake - A Diversity of Opportunity
(70) Hawg Holes
(71) Saltwater Salmon
(72) Early Season Dry Fly Fishing
(73) Down a Lazy River - A Fly-rodding Adventure on the Lower North Saskatchewan
(74) The Fly Fishing Season Ahead
(75) IN SEARCH OF SPECKLED FOOTBALLS
(76) FISHING CANADA'S PRAIRIE CITIES
(77) Bright Fish from the Land of Silver
(78) Canada's "Other" Salmon
(79) Fall Walleye
(80) Wet Flies
(81) Versatility the Key to Success
(82) Grayling of the Boreal
(83) Teaching Kids To Fly Fish
(84) Size Matters
(85) Fly Fishing Small Streams
(86) Chasing Winter Whites One Lake At A Time
(87) Manitoba's Fishing Jewel
(88) The Twelve Gifts Of Christmas
(89) The Point Of It All
(90) Fishing With Friends-Big Weather Seizing The Day
(91) Fall Fly Fishing
(92) Personal Pontoon Boats 101
(93) Big River, Big Fish
(94) Bottom Bonanza
(95) Fishing Small Flies
(96) So Many Choices, So Little Time
(97) Four Seasons of the Bow
(98) Favourite Lakes - Some Like it Hot
(99) GEARING UP FOR SMALL STREAM TROUT
(100) Trout Hunting New Zealand style
(101) Don’t Leave Home Without Them – 10 Lures That Should Be In Everyone’s Tackle Box
(102) Edge Walleye
(103) FLY FISHING STRATEGIES FOR HIGH WATER
(104) Smallmouth Bass – An Oft Overlooked Challenge
(105) Four Corners – Four Waters
(106) Chasing Pothole Trout
(107) Springtime Stoneflies
(108) The Torrents of Spring
(109) Drift Boat Fly Fishing
(110) Bust Them With Bait
(111) Cure the Winter Blues with a Good Book
(112) Hot Strategies for the Cold Months
(113) Cutthroat: The Angler's Trout
(114) Terrestrials
(115) Fly In For Fishing Fun
(116) Rocky Mountain High
(117) Reading the clues
(118) Where the Trout Are The art of locating feeding trout in rivers and streams.
(119) K.I.S.S. and Tell Fly-fishin
(120) Fly Fishing 101
(121) To Catch a Big Halibut, or Ling Cod
(122) The Bountiful Bones of Ascension Bay
(123) Grayling in the Eye of the Beholder
(124) Fly Fishing for South Fork Clearwater Steelhead
(125) Manitoba's Red River - North America's Catfish Capital
(126) Eliminating the Spook Factor
(127) Trust Your Electronics
(128) The Most Important Hatch of the Year
(129) Early Season Nymph Fishing for Trout
(130) Finding Success for Ice Trout
(131) Walleye can be Humbling
(132) The Secret to Landing the Big One Finally Revealed
(133) Winter Flyfishing
(134) North Saskatchewan River - An Underutilized Fishing Gem
(135) Hot Fall Pike Action
(136) Tips and Tricks to Save the Summer Slow Down
(137) Reading Trout Stream Waters
(138) Frequently Asked Questions
(139) Streamer Fishing for Larger Trout
(140) The Lure of Big Walleye at Last Ice
(141) Deep Water Perch
(142) Post Spawn Brookies
(143) A Fisher's Life
(144) The River's Last Stand
(145) The Big Ones Come out at Night
(146) Coho on the Coast
(147) Chasing and Catching Halibut
(148) Summer in the Mountains
(149) Peak Walleye Season
(150) Slow and Steady Wins the Race
(151) Last Ice Rainbows
(152) The Burbot Event
(153) Tackle Matching
(154) Ice Fishing Strategy #2 - Going Light
(155) Ice Fishing Strategy #1 - Location
(156) The Lure of Brook Trout
(157) The Shallow Water Hunt is On
(158) Hot Backswimmer Action Happening Right Now
(159) Fishing Among Giants-Pursuing Lake Sturgeon on the Prairies
(160) Adventure at Davin Lake Lodge, Northern Saskatchewan
(161) The Vesatile Plug
(162) Bead Head Flies, Plugs and Shot and other Spring Favorites for Pothole Trout
(163) Planning your Upcoming Angling Adventures
(164) Good Fishing at Last Ice
(165) Maximize the Odds - Use Multiple Presentations
(166) Daily Fish Migrations
(167) Fish Migrations - Following the Spawn
(168) Lake Whitefish - An Ice Fishing All Star
(169) Pick Your Favorite Brook Trout Lake...and Go Fishing
(170) A Look Ahead to Great Trout Fishing
(171) Wrestling White Sturgeon on the Fraser
(172) The Fun in Ultra Light
(173) Flyfishing and Leadcore Lines
(174) Embrace the Spirit of Adventure
(175) Never Stop Learning
(176) Ice Fishing is Getting Hot
(177) Jigging through the Ice
(178) An Ice Fishing Unsung Hero – The Setline
(179) Rainbows on Ice
(180) The Season of Ice Begins
(181) Red Hot Fall Pike Action
(182) Hitting it Right with Water Boatman
(183) Facts On Cats
(184) West Coast Adventure
(185) June Walleye Frenzy
(186) Aerated Lakes are Big Trout Factories
(187) First Fish of the Year Pothole Rainbows and Browns
(188) Northern Exposure
(189) Sometimes There is More to Fishing Than Catching Fish
(190) Early Season Pike On The Fly
(191) Man Overboard