Fly Rodn’ Olympics
August 25, 2012
Although a slow week for bookings, I spent every day on the water trying to find & refine areas holding fish. I had a special request and & I wanted to ensure that it was a successful one. Keith was in search of walleye & he was determined to get one on a fly. Fortunately for him, I had found such a spot and we headed out for his “Holy Grail”. A better day he couldn’t have picked as we had literally no wind the entire time we were on the water. Although it was a pain to fish through the floaters, we managed to get it done with little frustration. Based on the heat of the morning air, I knew we would be in an oven by afternoon and wanted to hook him up early. We had the lines in before 8 o’clock and slowly moved along in anticipation of the first fish. He casted a clouser pattern fly on a heavy weighted sinking line and stripped out just enough to stay in the strike zone. I placed another rod with the same set up in a holder and slowly moved through the area trying to up our chances. A couple of passes were made without any takes but I was marking plenty of fish close to the bottom and knew it was just a matter of time. I pulled the fly rod from my side and replaced it with a conventional rig just to see if the fish would eat. Well, 30 seconds in and the reel went off with a small bass and Keith swapped rods with me. He soon swapped back though, as a bigger bass crushed the fly while I was reeling it in and we had doubles. He had only limited encounters with the smallies before & was in awe of the shear power this one had. I quickly released the smaller one and soon netted his bass that went in the 3 pound range. A quick pick and we were resetting the lines in anticipation of more. The first walleye was next but it was tiny and fell victim to the lure instead of the fly. It was so small that the reel never even fired! A few more decent bass later on the fly rod, Keith finally had a tremendous hit while stripping his fly. Even I heard the line rip out of his hands & the drag scream from the reel. It had some weight and I was sure it was what we were looking for. The fight wasn’t great but this fish was staying down ensuring its species was a walleye. When we finally caught a glimpse, I saw confirmation and mass. This was a big eye! It measured right around 24 inches and the boga confirmed it was just over 5 pounds. The best part of all of this was that it was taken on a fly and Keith had another species to cross off his list. After a few nice pics he released his prize back to grow even more. We had accomplished what we had come out to do and he was ready for more. More bass that is, because the fight was so much better! After a few more fish in this area on both set ups, we moved to another area where he would be targeting strictly smallies. This time however he would be casting a 5 weight over flats looking for roaming bass pods. It’s a little like hunting bonefish down south and he was all for it as we began our search. A few smaller bass were moving but not the ones I was looking for and then it happened. Big blackie and it ate the clouser hard! Unfortunately when it ran, the leader broke way up the line. I retied another one and back in he went. The next fish was of equal size but it too was lost when the fly just pulled out. This was getting frustrating but I knew he would have plenty more chances and just kept searching for roamers. Soon after, he had one eat and it was game on! With little to no water below these fish, the only place to go was up. The leaps and aerials were spectacular and all on a fly. This was turning out to be an awesome first time experience for Keith and it was happening right in a big city. For the remainder of the afternoon, he played with several more bass on a variety of flies but one shined the best. It was an egg sucking leech that I generally use on steelhead in some of the tributaries off Lake Ontario. We just kept moving, intercepting pods and singles and hoping for takes. No one spot produced better than another but groups definitely had better hookups. I think the competitive nature of more than one fish had them eating a little better. As it was getting late in the day, I thought we would hit the previous area that he had caught the walleye from to see if he might hook into another. First pass and he gets slammed but a nice smallie was his prize. As if he hadn’t fought enough of them today, he now had another! What’s not to enjoy about a smallmouth fight! Once released, the hardware goes off and another big eye becomes his prize once again. After that, another smallie or two and a big one follows a giant fly I had changed to. It just kept charging the thing and eventually disappeared below. In the last 15 minutes he landed 4 more fish and missed a couple of strikes as well. What a way to end an already spectacular day on the lake. Keith couldn’t have asked for a better initiation to what Montreal has to offer. Our fishing is second to none and this is the tough time of the year. He’s thinking of returning this fall and if he does, he’ll know what I mean. I hope he makes it back as the smallies will eat him alive! Overall, the finest fly fishing day ever!!