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Old 09-03-2018, 06:11 AM
warrdogg warrdogg is offline
 
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Default Advice Please

Hi y'all. Thank you in advance.

I am looking for some advice. I have been fly fishing for 2.5 years and I have not been doing very well. In that time I have caught 6 trout in total. At first I enjoyed the whole process of going out even when I would come up empty. It was new and was putting in time to learn a new skill.

I have to admit that I am getting a bit (a lot) frustrated with most of my trips are a bust. Not even a bite. Yesterday spent 6 hours on the Little Red Deer and all I caught was a full bag of trash I picked up along the banks.

When I first started I took a course to learn the basics after a friend introduced me to flyfishing. I watch videos and read books. I really don't know what I can do. I practice casting and believe I am decent now.

I have tried Elk Creek, Little Red Deer, Three Isle, Red Deer, Dogpound, Highwood, Oldman. Only had success at Three Isle and Little Red Deer. Most of these places I have visited multiple times and the day usually ends with me coming up empty.

I am beginning to question the saying "A bad day fishing is better than a good day at work."

Any advice is appreciated. Thank you.
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Old 09-03-2018, 08:01 AM
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chinchaga07 chinchaga07 is offline
 
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Default Advice

The best piece of advice I could give you is stick with it. I have been fly fishing for over 30 years and still have days you describe. Some of the water you named are/can be finicky creeks at the best of times.

The best piece of advice I ever received was watch before you fish. Study the water, the bugs coming off at certain times of the year, time and date you are out etc...and keep track of this info. All of this will honestly help unlock each creeks little secret. Once you can figure it out, the fishless days become few and far between (but will still happen).

Other things that can assist you is search articles, videos, local advice on the watersheds you fish..not necessarily where but how in terms of hatches, best times.

When I first started out I also enlisted the services of a guide for a day. I learned more in that day then I would have on my own in a month of fishing the water I was guided on. Since then I have been able to take what I have learned on that particular river, tweak it and be successful on other watersheds.

And yes A Horrible Day Fishing still beats a good day at Work.

Good luck to you.
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Old 09-03-2018, 08:17 AM
Flymph Flymph is offline
 
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Just a few thoughts: (1) Most of the time, fish are interested in subsurface nymphs. This is true even when you might see a few fish rising. The vast majority of my time fishing is with two nymphs on a short line. Turn over a bunch of rocks and try to duplicate size and color of the dominant nymph. Or, talk to the local fly shop about the best nymph options.

(2) I prefer "Jello" water! Water that is at least 2-3 ft deep or more and has a slow to medium riffle. I often take water temps and will not fish if the surface temp is 65f or greater!!!

(3) Try (not easy) to find water that has not been fished hard. That is, good holding water that hasn't been fished for at least a day or two. Keep in mind that a lot of folks tie on a Stimulator dry fly that they fish almost exclusively. Not a bad idea to politely wait for these people to fish through a good pool, rest the pool for 20 minutes and slowly and methodically work a couple of nymphs through the pool. "Take your time".

(4) Try to find windows of opportunity when conditions are favorable. Overcast, humid, days come first on my list! Early mornings and after sundown on bright, sunny days help your chances.

I only get to fish Alberta for about a week a year and believe me that week, no matter how slow the fishing, is far better than the best day at work!
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Old 09-03-2018, 01:47 PM
robson3954 robson3954 is offline
 
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Diversify your techniques. Most new ppl exclusively throw dries.
Also try to get out with an experienced person and make sure youíre fishing/reading the water correctly.
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  #5  
Old 09-03-2018, 08:14 PM
warrdogg warrdogg is offline
 
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Thank you for the replies. I really appreciate the advice you have given me. I admit that reading waters and nymphing are 2 areas I need more practice.
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Old 09-03-2018, 10:27 PM
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chain2 chain2 is offline
 
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Great advice already given Only thing i can offer is stealth and patience on approach prior to wetting your line. Can learn alot by observing where bubbles flow or even a rise. I feel itís more like hunting some days. Best of luck. Chain
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Old 09-04-2018, 07:37 AM
Mr Flyguy Mr Flyguy is offline
 
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If you have a boat, canoe, pontoon, or whatever, or can get out with somebody who does, why not try lakes for a while. The boatman/backswimmer action will start any time now, and covering rises during a fall afternoon or evening with a simple backswimmer pattern and floating line doesn't get much more exciting.
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Old 09-04-2018, 07:45 AM
C.wright1 C.wright1 is offline
 
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Reading water is very important. I spent my first season of fly fishing on the same 200m stretch of the bow River using the same nymphing method each time. Probably had close to 50 outings that first season, and learned so much about where fish tend to hangout and how things change throughout a season. Each river is different, but I suggest trying to focus on one system for now and really learning it. Then take what you've learned and apply it to other rivers, but prepare to adjust. For example, I spent 2 years fishing the Bow and Highwood before ever fishing the central Alberta streams. My first day on a central creek was with a friend who is quite experienced. In 6 hours out we only caught 1 fish. We had some fish flow streamers but only 1 on the hook all day. However, we covered alot of ground, found some fishy looking spots, and also spooked lots of fish out from their spots. The fish were very spooky, unlike anything I had seen before. I took mental notes of where the good bends were and where we saw fish. The next week I went back alone, walked and waded much more carefully and slow, casted to the spots that I knew held fish, and had tons of action in just a few hours. Sometimes a day of not many fish and lots of walking can set you up for a very successful outing the next time. I like to cover lots of ground, it usually rewards me with some great spots to catch fish
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Old 09-04-2018, 10:29 AM
trigger7mm trigger7mm is offline
 
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Default Advice please

X2 on hiring a guide for a day. They can teach you a ton in the time you spend with them. Where are you located, maybe I can help you out some more if I know what streams are closest to you. Keep at it.
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  #10  
Old 09-10-2018, 06:45 PM
warrdogg warrdogg is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr Flyguy View Post
If you have a boat, canoe, pontoon, or whatever, or can get out with somebody who does, why not try lakes for a while. The boatman/backswimmer action will start any time now, and covering rises during a fall afternoon or evening with a simple backswimmer pattern and floating line doesn't get much more exciting.
I purchased some backswimmers and went out today and got skunked again. I am need of a slump-buster.

Any lakes you can suggest? I only ever fished Three Isle Lake.
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  #11  
Old 09-10-2018, 08:45 PM
wildbill wildbill is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by warrdogg View Post
Thank you for the replies. I really appreciate the advice you have given me. I admit that reading waters and nymphing are 2 areas I need more practice.
As well polarized glasses are a must as far Iím concerned, theyíll help you see where the fish are, Iíve spent countless hours just watching trout, behind my moms house in pincher creek there are a couple flat areas with riprap on one side bank on the other, seeing them and how they act, is invaluable.
Something else to consider is spooking fish, Iíve actually crawled to some holes to avoid spooking fish and it has paid dividends.
When your walking around keep in mind fish sense vibration in their lateral lines, so if youíre stomping or sloshing around theyíll be long gone before you even realize they were even there.
Avoid really bright or dark clothing try and blend in with your surroundings, you have greater chance of alerting the fish to your presence.
Those are some pretty big name places you bin goin, try some smaller creeks, remember, stealth, in between, off the beaten path stuff and, donít be afraid to walk, walking pays dividends, seems lots of folk ainít into walkin these here days.
By this time of the year, lots of fish have become educated, and have seen countless flies and lures, so think bigger (minnow) smaller (trico), donít be afraid to think outside the box.
Read, and, reread, Barry Mitchellís fishing guide and the Alberta map book are essential.
People say to me Iím lucky when I go fishing, luck ainít got nothin to do with it, you need the odds stacked in your favour.
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  #12  
Old 09-11-2018, 01:28 PM
xrem597x1977 xrem597x1977 is offline
 
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Location: CALGARY
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wildbill View Post
As well polarized glasses are a must as far Iím concerned, theyíll help you see where the fish are, Iíve spent countless hours just watching trout, behind my moms house in pincher creek there are a couple flat areas with riprap on one side bank on the other, seeing them and how they act, is invaluable.
Something else to consider is spooking fish, Iíve actually crawled to some holes to avoid spooking fish and it has paid dividends.
When your walking around keep in mind fish sense vibration in their lateral lines, so if youíre stomping or sloshing around theyíll be long gone before you even realize they were even there.
Avoid really bright or dark clothing try and blend in with your surroundings, you have greater chance of alerting the fish to your presence.
Those are some pretty big name places you bin goin, try some smaller creeks, remember, stealth, in between, off the beaten path stuff and, donít be afraid to walk, walking pays dividends, seems lots of folk ainít into walkin these here days.
By this time of the year, lots of fish have become educated, and have seen countless flies and lures, so think bigger (minnow) smaller (trico), donít be afraid to think outside the box.
Read, and, reread, Barry Mitchellís fishing guide and the Alberta map book are essential.
People say to me Iím lucky when I go fishing, luck ainít got nothin to do with it, you need the odds stacked in your favour.
x2
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  #13  
Old 09-12-2018, 07:43 AM
wildbill wildbill is offline
 
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Location: Gods Country
Posts: 1,610
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wildbill View Post
As well polarized glasses are a must as far Iím concerned, theyíll help you see where the fish are, Iíve spent countless hours just watching trout, behind my moms house in pincher creek there are a couple flat areas with riprap on one side bank on the other, seeing them and how they act, is invaluable.
Something else to consider is spooking fish, Iíve actually crawled to some holes to avoid spooking fish and it has paid dividends.
When your walking around keep in mind fish sense vibration in their lateral lines, so if youíre stomping or sloshing around theyíll be long gone before you even realize they were even there.
Avoid really bright or dark clothing try and blend in with your surroundings, you have greater chance of alerting the fish to your presence.b
Those are some pretty big name places you bin goin, try some smaller creeks, remember, stealth, in between, off the beaten path stuff and, donít be afraid to walk, walking pays dividends, seems lots of folk ainít into walkin these here days.
By this time of the year, lots of fish have become educated, and have seen countless flies and lures, so think bigger (minnow) smaller (trico), donít be afraid to think outside the box.
Read, and, reread, Barry Mitchellís fishing guide and the Alberta map book are essential.
People say to me Iím lucky when I go fishing, luck ainít got nothin to do with it, you need the odds stacked in your favour.
I should have clarified, the alberta back road map book.
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  #14  
Old 09-12-2018, 08:06 AM
oizo oizo is offline
 
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Most the streams youíre hitting the main target species are Browns. Which can be a lot harder for a newer fly fisher to dial everything in to catch one. Not saying to quit targeting, but if your looking for a confidence boost, they are not what I would be targeting. Try Cutty rivers like ram and tribs, or better yet head north for grayling. Grayling fishing is at its best this time of year.
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  #15  
Old 09-16-2018, 01:14 PM
professori professori is offline
 
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Location: Coquitlam, BC
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Fish with a friend, preferably one who is better than you! Seriously, solo fishing is a very poor way for a novice to learn. You can't see what you are doing, you don't cover as much water as two people do and watching another angler have success tells you almost as much as having success yourself.
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  #16  
Old 09-16-2018, 03:07 PM
scel scel is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by warrdogg View Post
Hi y'all. Thank you in advance.

I am looking for some advice. I have been fly fishing for 2.5 years and I have not been doing very well. In that time I have caught 6 trout in total. At first I enjoyed the whole process of going out even when I would come up empty. It was new and was putting in time to learn a new skill.

I have to admit that I am getting a bit (a lot) frustrated with most of my trips are a bust. Not even a bite. Yesterday spent 6 hours on the Little Red Deer and all I caught was a full bag of trash I picked up along the banks.

When I first started I took a course to learn the basics after a friend introduced me to flyfishing. I watch videos and read books. I really don't know what I can do. I practice casting and believe I am decent now.

I have tried Elk Creek, Little Red Deer, Three Isle, Red Deer, Dogpound, Highwood, Oldman. Only had success at Three Isle and Little Red Deer. Most of these places I have visited multiple times and the day usually ends with me coming up empty.

I am beginning to question the saying "A bad day fishing is better than a good day at work."
First of all, I really appreciate someone picking up trash. Seriously mate, thanks.

There are a few cardinal mistakes people make when they are learning. Trust me, it is not an insult to say that you are learning. I am constantly learning and adapting. I dropped conventional angling about 15 years ago. I would say that I am ĎOKí at fly fishing now.

Realize that you are fishing some notoriously difficult waters. You are fishing brown trout living in spring-fed creeks (Elk Creek, Dogpound, and Little RDR are spring fed). Spring creeks are far more stable in temperature and food availability, which makes them difficult to fish because the fish can afford to be picky. Couple that with the fact brown trout are easily the pickiest and most skittish of all the Alberta trout. I am very familiar with Dogpound. While there are nice fish, you have to move like a ninja---one errant mistep or slip in the creek will scatter the fish for 30m. Here is a common summer PMD evening hatch on the Dogpound. I can guarantee the 7 different PMD patterns that I was carrying were not good enough for the actively rising fish. After I confirmed the rising fish were indeed eating PMDs, I finally caught a couple after I found the rhythm to which the fish were rising when I could drop a fly in its feeding lane, after extending my leader from 9í to 12í and downsizing both my fly and tippet.

The RDR has big beautiful brown trout, but your window to catch them is tight (crepuscular hours) and holding water is sparse. I have talked about it in other posts, but the RDR browns have to be wary to just stay alive.

The Highwood and sections of the Oldman are highly pressured waters. You have to be on your A-game if you want catch fish. If you want success catching fish in these systems, I find fishing during the week to be your best bet.

There are a few cardinal mistakes people tend to make.

Wading in water you should be fishing
This is painfully common. Fish have lateral lines that detect disturbance. Wading into a babbling creek will certainly be detected by the fish. The amount of times I see people wading where they should be fishing is crazy. Experienced people make this mistake too, mostly because they know where they have caught fish last time, so they move to access the same spot. In general, if you can make the cast without getting into the water, try that first. If you feel you need to get into the water for a better drift or angle, then do it. Put your skills to the test first, then use brute force.

Not moving
Fish in a river system are more or less stationary. They move around as the water levels change or when it is safe to do so (like the evenings), but are stationary compared to stillwater fish. As well, about 90% of the river will be devoid of fish. In order to find fish, it is usually important to move. In an afternoon (4 hours) of fishing on a productive river (like the Bow River), I will probably cover close to 2.5km of river. On an unproductive river, I would probably cover up to 5km. Sure, the fish move around the river somewhat, but not in many of the rivers you are fishing. The kind of water they will hold in is fairly seasonal.

Fishing dry flies
We all love the picturesque situation of a trout gently sipping a dry fly off the surface. It is likely that people will give some flack for this, but it is true. Over 90% of a trout's food is subsurface. In my experience, the only species of trout that will haphazardly take a dry fly is a cutthroat, even then, they can still be rather specific with their choices. But if you are fishing brown trout water, unless there are actively rising fish, it is like winning the lottery if a brown trout takes a dry. There are exceptions like stonefly or grasshopper season (each about 3 weeks in length at the beginning and end of summer). In particularly good years, trout will not easily pass on a big meal like a hopper or stonefly, but these moments are still relatively uncommon. In probably 1500 days of fishing brown and rainbow trout water, I have experienced 2 days when rainbow or brown trout were taking topwater flies without actively rising. It took me a couple years to figure out when a dry is OK. A rule of thumb is when you see a fish rise in the same spot more than 3 times.

Not Paying Attention
When you round a bend or see a new pool, the absolute best thing you can do is take a moment to break down the water. Take a moment to stop and look. On the spring creeks, taking 10 minutes to sit quietly has, more often than not, revealed the activity of the stream. The beautiful undercut banks provide protection and they also seem to amplify the sound of anything travelling the banks. Regardless, when you approach a fresh section of river, sitting down (or leaning against a tree, or whatever) gives you a chance to examine the water for any active fish. It takes about 10 minutes for a mildly spooked brown (like from mild bank vibrations) trout to resume normal activity. This gives you a chance to check your hooks and tippet, adjust your indicator/dropper depth, get a drink of water, etc. I understand, as a newbie, you often do not know what to look for, but just taking 30 seconds to a minute to break down how to approach the section of water will have benefits.

How do you fix these problems?
Like c.wright said above, learn a section of water. I also learned to fly fish on the Bow River, which is a notoriously fickle river with massive seasonal changes. While the river changes and so does seasonal fish behaviour, there are some constants. Pick a 1km section of river. Spend a couple hours on it every week. The rivers you have fished definitely have reasonable amounts of fish in them.

I would also entertain some Ďtrainingí fish. I did not know it at the time, but I cut my teeth bottom bouncing maggot tipped flies on the Red Deer river. When I picked up a nymph rig, I already knew what I was doing. Most of the river systems you mentioned have good whitefish populations. If you can start catching whities, the trout will be close by. Rocky mountain whitefish are under-appreciated as a sport fish. Their numbers make them a great training fish. In Red Deer and downstream, the goldeye can provide some good summer fun. They will take streamers and dries.

When I hit a central AB creek, the first thing that I do is some wet-fly prospecting. It is not a very popular method of fishing in western Canada, but it is arguably the simplest way to fly fish. It combines nymph fishing and streamer fishing. It is not as effective as say straight nymphing or euro nymphing for numbers or move big feeding fish like a streamer, but it is a good compromise between both. It allows you to give the fish what they are expecting (a small buggy food source). It is the best way to cover lots of water. Because of the simple reason of covering water, you begin to learn where fish are holding and/or to where they will move to take a fly.

Set up is easy. Take a weighted fly, like a wooly bugger, spring creek bugger, or leech. These patterns will be size 10 or 12, so not big. I prefer to tie a second fly to the eye of the first fly with about 40cm of 4x tippet. For the second fly, I would use a classic sz14-18 fly, like a hares ear, pheasant tail or copper john. Cast upstream at 45degrees, watch the tip of your fly line, mending as necessary. You want to keep a close contact with the flies, but you want them to sink, just like you would an indicator nymph rig. As the flies start moving downstream, allow the line to go tight, and swing the flies just like you would a streamer. For the upstream section of the cast, if the tip of your fly line twitches, pauses or sinks, set the hook. For the downstream/swing portion, with a tight line, you will feel the bite, which is almost never subtle.

Watch the first 5 or so minutes of this video. Notice how Tom is fishing 2 nymphs, casting upstream, tossing in a mend or 2 then, swinging out the fly.
https://youtu.be/kwmM9xaRLho

If you really want to improve your technique with this method. I am wary of this technique. I find using tags off tippet rings to be more trouble than they are worth, but a sinking leader is a great way to really get the best out of the swing portion of your cast.
https://youtu.be/NjD84YfmKLs?t=3m48s

Here is an article that dicusses Ďproductive vs unproductiveí streams: https://midcurrent.com/techniques/ri...trout-streams/ . The waters you are fishing are at least moderately productive (except the RDR, which is productive, but still not a great trout river) to very productive. The Ďtrainingí waters that people have mentioned, like the Ram Rivers in the central west, or the Livingstone/Upper Oldman in the southwest are relatively unproductive for bug life, but makes for some pretty gullible fish.

Trout Streams of Alberta is 100% worth your time to read.

Good Luck, mate. Fly fishing is not hard, per se, but there are many different elements that must come together for it to work.
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