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Old 09-17-2019, 08:53 AM
aiceeslater aiceeslater is offline
 
Join Date: Aug 2018
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Default Sheep River and Bulls

Iíve got a few hours to drive so wondering if anyone could give me any info on whether the sheep river up stream of Turner Valley is productive this time of year. I was there last month and there were plenty of big bulls but they werenít interested in anything I threw at them. Got into lots of rainbows and cutts though. That alone is worth the trip back for me. I know the bulls are probably gone now but are those other fish in those waters all year? Might go back in the next week or so.

As far as the bulls go, does anyone have any advice on how they get them to bite when theyíre kinda switched off to swim up and spawn? I found 2 kinda of anglers up there. Guys fishing dries for rainbows and cutts saying you canít catch the bulls when they swim up stream and stop eating and guys throwing big streamers and caching big bulls. I tried both ways and only had luck on the dries.

Also, does anyone have any experience in the section above the falls up steam of the closed water? Any good?

Thanks
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Old 09-17-2019, 09:13 AM
matt1984 matt1984 is offline
 
Join Date: May 2007
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Originally Posted by aiceeslater View Post
As far as the bulls go, does anyone have any advice on how they get them to bite when theyíre kinda switched off to swim up and spawn? Thanks
That's typically an indicator that it's time to let them do their thing.
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Old 09-17-2019, 09:27 AM
aiceeslater aiceeslater is offline
 
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With all due respect, if I can make it to a river with these fish in it once maybe twice a year, and fish within the regs, Iím going to try and catch some fish. Spawning water is closed for a reason and from what Iíve experienced, people are very respectful and responsible about catching and releasing bulls in that area.

Weíre all just out there trying to follow the rules and catch some fish.

Edit: To be clear, Iím not talking about catching fish on beds. Iím no expert on bull trout migration but Iím trying to learn more and if theyíre up that way for maybe 2 months a year people go there to try and catch em. I was there for 3 days last trip and came to know the fish cop in the area in that time. Theyíre out there checking on us and making sure weíre playing nice.

Last edited by aiceeslater; 09-17-2019 at 09:44 AM.
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Old 09-18-2019, 12:36 PM
scel scel is offline
 
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Originally Posted by aiceeslater View Post
With all due respect, if I can make it to a river with these fish in it once maybe twice a year, and fish within the regs, Iím going to try and catch some fish. Spawning water is closed for a reason and from what Iíve experienced, people are very respectful and responsible about catching and releasing bulls in that area.

Weíre all just out there trying to follow the rules and catch some fish.

Edit: To be clear, Iím not talking about catching fish on beds. Iím no expert on bull trout migration but Iím trying to learn more and if theyíre up that way for maybe 2 months a year people go there to try and catch em. I was there for 3 days last trip and came to know the fish cop in the area in that time. Theyíre out there checking on us and making sure weíre playing nice.
But to answer your question, bull trout will start their migrations around mid-July. Some of these fish will travel a long way. They will eat during the migration, but they will stop mostly stop eating when they reach the spawning grounds. Ideal spawning territory is upstream of Turner Valley. The prime spawning territory is upstream of the biology research station (which is closed to angling year-round).

It seems the bull trout will be in spawning mode from the second week of August to mid-September. By the 8 August, Sheep River bulls were completely uninterested in eating. If you do get a strike it will mostly be out of protection aggression. By the end of September, they tend to be fairly easy to catch again. The best time to specifically target bull trout is right after run-off (i find it best when the water is still high and a bit dirty) and after fall equinox when they get their feedbag on after the spawn. I have a feeling they will stick around a bit until after the whitefish spawn in their shared habitat

With all due respect, just because something is legal, it does not mean it is good. I have targeted bull trout during their spawning period, so I am in no way pulling a 'holier-than-thou' on you. They are not interested in eating. If they do happen to eat, it runs a risk of not spawning, and it is unlikely try again for a couple of years. Bull trout take 3-5 years to mature, but they do not spawn every year. It is within your rights to fish for bull trout during spawning periods, but practically, it is almost a waste of time, and ethically, it is a grey area. So, it is probably just best to leave them alone from mid-August to the end of September.

But good luck though. They are an awesome fish to catch.
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  #5  
Old 09-18-2019, 03:17 PM
aiceeslater aiceeslater is offline
 
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Originally Posted by scel View Post
But to answer your question, bull trout will start their migrations around mid-July. Some of these fish will travel a long way. They will eat during the migration, but they will stop mostly stop eating when they reach the spawning grounds. Ideal spawning territory is upstream of Turner Valley. The prime spawning territory is upstream of the biology research station (which is closed to angling year-round).

It seems the bull trout will be in spawning mode from the second week of August to mid-September. By the 8 August, Sheep River bulls were completely uninterested in eating. If you do get a strike it will mostly be out of protection aggression. By the end of September, they tend to be fairly easy to catch again. The best time to specifically target bull trout is right after run-off (i find it best when the water is still high and a bit dirty) and after fall equinox when they get their feedbag on after the spawn. I have a feeling they will stick around a bit until after the whitefish spawn in their shared habitat

With all due respect, just because something is legal, it does not mean it is good. I have targeted bull trout during their spawning period, so I am in no way pulling a 'holier-than-thou' on you. They are not interested in eating. If they do happen to eat, it runs a risk of not spawning, and it is unlikely try again for a couple of years. Bull trout take 3-5 years to mature, but they do not spawn every year. It is within your rights to fish for bull trout during spawning periods, but practically, it is almost a waste of time, and ethically, it is a grey area. So, it is probably just best to leave them alone from mid-August to the end of September.

But good luck though. They are an awesome fish to catch.
I really appreciate the info. Where I usually fish much further north, the bulls seem to be willing to eat all summer. It wasnít until I began exploring the bow river tribs that I started collecting info on how the migration and eating schedule seems to play a big part. Learning about it is tricky since it isnít exactly written in any books Iíve picked up. I get little pieces of info from guys I know that have been doing it longer than myself. Thatís about it.

I never considered that triggering their territorial aggression with a streamer and having them eat that way would maybe turn them off from spawning all together. I figured it was more a case of ďmaybe youíll get lucky and one will eatĒ since there are so many up there and itís one of the only chances to sight fish them.

I definitely donít want to cause any harm. Once I wrote that reply to Matt I was worried it would come off ignorant. I absolutely see the point being made, just didnít consider myself someone doing any harm in going after them.

Ultimately Iíve heard 2 things. Theyíre still up into the closed waters for a bit longer or that theyíre all down towards Okotoks by now. I was mostly wondering if the rainbows and cutts stay put in those waters because Iíd go back just for that. Initially went up to chase bulls early August but got nothing, but had tons of luck with the rainbows on dries.

Anyway, thanks again. Good information.
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