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Nature’s Clues


It was a miserable day. Winds were 40 sustained, gusting 70 km/hr. The rain was spitting, it was overcast and cool. Some might even say cold. It was uncharacteristic weather for this early summer day. Still, this is the day my good friend Shona and I decided to go trout fishing, and we were heading to Muir Lake, just west of Edmonton, and we were heading out in spite of the weather.

We got to the lake and it looked about as nasty as we figured it would. We launched the boat and decided to troll, covering water, looking for active fish. Boat control was challenging, and our lures and flies were largely ignored for the first hour of effort. But when we trolled into the second basin, in a strip of exposed water, dozens of swallows were skimming the surface. There were all concentrated in a small area of the lake about 50 meters wide and a hundred meters long. They appeared to be picking things off the surface. "Chironomids," I muttered to myself, and kept a half eye on them while we continued to troll.

Crazy winds and spitting rain, still we went out.  And by following the swallows we got on the bite.

Crazy winds and spitting rain, still we went out. And by following the swallows we got on the bite.

Another half hour passed and I see the birds are still at it, and our trolling is having no effect. "I want to check something out," I said to Shona. We boated over to that wavy strip of water and I set the anchor off a long line. I watched the birds, and sure enough, there little heads would stretch down and pick things off the frothy surface. "I think they are on chironomids," I say to Shona, and ask her to pass me a rod carrying case that has exactly two rods prerigged with chironomid patterns under strike indicators. I pulled one out, cast it into the waves and before a count of ten that little bobber shot under. The hookset was good and a 15 inch rainbow rocketed skyward. Next cast, same result, but this time the strike happened before a count of five.

A bead head nymph fished near bottom got tons of trout to bite.

A bead head nymph fished near bottom got tons of trout to bite.

Shona grabbed the other rod and the action was non-stop. It was almost a bite a cast. In the crazy waves, huge wind, and spitting rain, we were inundated with biting trout. We easily have over a hundred bites in the two hours we fished and somewhere in all of that action Shona sets the hook and her rod just stays down. "That’s a good fish," I say to Shona as I watch the show. In time she gets it up and it’s a really good rainbow.

A personal best, and a wonderful reward for braving the conditions.

A personal best, and a wonderful reward for braving the conditions.

This one pushes 53 cm, and marks Shona’s PB. With that, we are satisfied, and we also come to the realization that we are both quite chilled. It’s hard to pull yourself away when you’re in the middle of a feeding frenzy. But thanks to the swallows, and to us for going to check it out, we found the bite, and turned a tough day into a tough day with lots of biting fish. It is always worthwhile to follow nature’s clues.

Previous Fishing Tips & Facts

(1) Choosing A Fly Rod Length

(2) The Cool, Cool, Cool of the Evening

(3) Tackle requirements for bonefish

(4) Turning a Water Wolf into a Pussy Cat

(5) The Electric Advantage

(6) Winter Reading

(7) Watch Your Back

(8) Tips and Tricks For Catching Catfish

(9) Unscheduled Pit Stops

(10) Double Dry Flies

(11) Trolling Speed, Depth and Pattern

(12) Nature’s Clues

(13) Keep Your Fly On The Water

(14) Staying in Touch

(15) Consider a Longer Tippet

(16) Run and Gun

(17) Casting

(18) Up a Muddy River

(19) The JawJacker Catches Fish

(20) Getting into Fly Tying

(21) Giving it Your Best Shot

(22) The Raven

(23) Taking out the little ones

(24) Down Stream Dry Fly Fishing

(25) Fishing Streamers

(26) Fishing Streamers

(27) Fishing Streamers

(28) Barbless Hook Blues

(29) Salt Water Fly Lines

(30) April: The Last Ice Hurrah for Ice

(31) What are your boating needs

(32) Keeping It All Together

(33) To Jig or not to Jig, that is the question

(34) The Strip Strike

(35) Sticks and Stones

(36) Fly tackle for new waters

(37) Fish imitating flies are prime for trout

(38) Float Fishing Hoppers

(39) Setting the Hook

(40) Backcountry Fishing

(41) Rigging Foams and Boxes

(42) Securing Shiners

(43) Precision Mending

(44) The JawJacker - A fish catching machine

(45) Optimal performance boundaries

(46) 90 Per Cent of the Fish

(47) Heavy Line for the Big Fish

(48) Go Small and go Natural

(49) Fishing the Foam Line

(50) Trip Planning Tips

(51) The Seven-Year Twitch

(52) What is that Shiny Silver Fish

(53) The Art of Mending

(54) A well-stocked Fly Box

(55) Weight Forward vs. Double Taper Fly Lines

(56) The Evening Walleye Shift

(57) On the Fly

(58) Memories Aren't Made of This

(59) Selecting the right fly

(60) Road Trips

(61) The Roll cast

(62) Fly-fishing for Pike

(63) Walleye Tip

(64) Mountain Lakers

(65) Hints For Dry Fly Success

(66) Survival Strategies For The Silly Season

(67) Local Advise

(68) It's A Pink Year

(69) Ice Fishin Safety

(70) Third World Travel

(71) Casting Angles

(72) The Rocky Mountain Whitefish Rig

(73) Using Sinking Leaders

(74) The Pike Fisherman's Vest

(75) Walleye Tips

(76) Trophies Are In The Eye Of The Beholder

(77) The Right Tool For The Job

(78) Respect The Weather - Expect The Weather

(79) Approach

(80) Gearing Up For Ice Perch

(81) Do It Yourself Excersions

(82) Shots

(83) Atlantic Salmon Fishing Techniques

(84) Fishing Etiquette In Crowded Conditions

(85) Swinging Caddis Flies

(86) Selecting a Fishing Rod

(87) Pike Angling Retrieves

(88) Detecting The Strike

(89) Unmatch The Hatch

(90) Off The Grid Air Travel

(91) Practise

(92) How Deep Are They Biting?

(93) Netting and Landing Your Fish

(94) Texas Travel Tips

(95) Quick Tips for Triggering Strikes

(96) Be the Last Man Standing

(97) Water Temperature & Trout

(98) Visiting Reindeer Lake

(99) Stillwater Stratagems

(100) Those Crazy Cohos!

(101) Leaders & Tippets

(102) Big Water Strategies

(103) Small Stream Stealth



(106) Travelling Angler Tips

(107) Choosing The Right Fly

(108) They come out at Night - Our Friends that is

(109) Fishing at Night

(110) Having Troubles Catching fish?

(111) Having Troubles Finding Fish?

(112) Stay Skinny To Catch Fish

(113) Tips For Fishing With Kids

(114) The Wonderful Woolly Bugger

(115) Wading Safely

(116) Double Your Fun

(117) More About The Red River

(118) Rookie Rod Buying Tips

(119) Hook Sharpening

(120) Going Light

(121) Hopper - Dropper Rigs

(122) Tips For Buying A Pontoon Boat

(123) Fishing Tips and Facts for Sturgeon

(124) Three Flies to Live by

(125) Reading Rise Forms

(126) Tips and Facts for Early Season Success

(127) A Fly for All Seasons

(128) Ice Shelters – Seeing is Believing

(129) Effective approaches to working small streams

(130) Unburdening the Travelling Angler

(131) 5 Flies for Anyones Fly Box

(132) Road Trips

(133) Dry Flies for High & Dirty Water

(134) Tips For Dealing With Biting Bass

(135) Summertime and the Fishin’ Ain’t Easy

(136) Depth and Light

(137) Rigging Large Dry Flies

(138) Best Rod for Spring Angling

(139) Stream Etiquette for Floaters

(140) Tackling Whites Through the Ice

(141) Angling Tips for Finding Books

(142) Winter Smart Open Water Angling

(143) Fall Primer for Pike

(144) Packing Tips

(145) Tips and Tackle for the High Country

(146) Hunt them Shallow

(147) Polarized Sunglasses
The smart anglers’ advantage.

(148) Fishing Tips for Early Season Flyrodding

(149) Know Your Knots

(150) Alternative Thoughts about Ice Fishing

(151) Tips for Mexican Bonefishing

(152) Techniques for Tantalizing Grayling

(153) Understanding Fly Leaders & Tippets

(154) Catfish on the Fly

(155) Get Your Backswimmer On

(156) Reading the Sonar

(157) Insect Identification Made Easy

(158) The Sinker and Floating Plug


(160) Fishing Drop Offs

(161) Stay On Fish

(162) Landing The Big One

(163) Fighting Fish on a Fly Rod

(164) North Saskatchewan River - Be River Aware

(165) Backswimmer Pothole Trout Frenzy

(166) Hunt for Suspended Fish

(167) Reading Your Waters Before You Cast

(168) Setting Up Your Bait Casting Reel

(169) Fishing Journals

(170) First Casts of the Season are at a River Near You

(171) The Crazy Whitefish Days of Last Ice

(172) The Bait of Choice

(173) Shallow Water Jumbo Perch

(174) Getting Started on the Ice

(175) Plan an Ice Fishing Getaway

(176) Brookie Season

(177) River Fishing is Heating Up

(178) Become a Better Angler

(179) The Forgotten Pike

(180) Get Out Your Plugs and Spoons

(181) Slip Bobber is King in Spring

(182) See You at the Show

(183) Red Hot Whitefish

(184) Staging Walleye

(185) The Lure of Lake Whitefish

(186) Great Rainbow Fishing At First Ice

(187) A Simple Approach to Ice Fishing

(188) Big Pike Combo Approaches

(189) Gearing up for Fall Whitefish

(190) River of Gold

(191) Bottom Bounce Your Way to Success

(192) Small Stream Fun

(193) Consider the Spawn and Water Temperature for Early Season Fish

(194) I Believe - The Glow in Glow Jigs

(195) Tricks to Improve Your Ice Fishing

(196) Trout Fishing is Red Hot

(197) Dealing With Fishing Pressure

(198) All I Want for Christmas: Fishing Gift Ideas

(199) Staying Warm on the Ice

(200) Hunting Big Browns in Lakes

(201) Where Did All Those Walleye Go?

(202) Keep an Eye on the Weather, Fury of a Storm

(203) Great and Affordable Fishing on the West Coast

(204) Lake Whites in the Summer? You Bet

(205) Prime Time for Lakers

(206) A Slip Bobber is so Much More

(207) Ice Fishing for Pike and Walleye

(208) Catching a Big Pike

(209) Purchasing a Rod

(210) Catching Rainbows through the Ice

(211) Gearing up for the Snow and Ice

(212) Gearing Up For Pike

(213) Getting the Most out of Your Fly Fishing Set Up

(214) The Bottom’s Up in Fishing

(215) Fish Where They’re Biting

(216) Three Standard Walleye Presentations

(217) Two Early Season Presentations for Pothole Trout

(218) Tackle Tips for Catch and Release Fishing

(219) Keeping Your Head Above Water


(221) Beginner Baitcasting Tips

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