Sunday, September 25, 2011

Flies, Rouge River and Gobies

   Earlier this week I broke out my fly tying kit to replenish my stock of salmon flies. They're really quite simple in construction... consisting of a #6 or #8 nymph hook, a cone or bead for weight, and some cactus or polar chenille wrapped along the hook shank. The entire process takes only a minute at the most and a good selection can be made in no time at all.

   So... with a new pair of waders and a starter set of flies, all I needed was a change in river conditions to kick start the fall migration. On my last visit to the river several weeks ago I found crystal clear, shallow waters that were in desperate need of rain and the occasional sprinklings we've had since then would have had little effect upon the flow...until Thursday. In a 24hr period the skies opened up in Biblical fashion, dropping close to 2" of rain.

   I awoke early Saturday morning in anticipation of chasing hook jawed river monsters up and down the small stream that literally runs through my backyard. After a short bike ride I found myself looking out over a muddy torrent that put a damper on my expectations for the day.

    Weeks before I'd scouted this location and found a natural rock wall crossing the river with a large gravel deposit on the far bank and it was my thought now that if there were any travelers in the river they would be visible while crossing this obstruction. I sat patiently for half an hour, scanning the water for any signs of movement, and finally admitted defeat once again.
   The valley had undergone drastic changes since my last visit. The river had once again asserted itself as the dominant force, not to be ignored like the quiet, babbling backdrop from weeks ago. The lush green surroundings had faded with the change of season, not yet boasting the vibrant colors of autumn but offering just a hint of what's to come. The cooler weather had driven to ground the busy insects. I no longer heard the constant chirping of crickets and buzz of cicadas ...only the distant squawk of a jay and chipmunks.

   I returned home just before 11am just in time to receive a call from Tackle Shop. He was coming over to drop off something and was itching to get out within the hour I found myself northbound on the highway to Barrie. This weekend is the Barrie Perch festival with several tagged fish worth thousands in prizes, so ...needles to say the waterfront was a circus that I had little inclination to join. After sitting in the van for over a half hour people watching, I found I couldn't contain myself any longer and joined in on the fun. The only problem was that for every one small perch, I caught three round gobies!

   So...once again I find myself waiting for the fall run to happen. With the water levels as they are I imagine there'll be fish in my neck of the woods as I write this. Maybe a mid week excursion after work is in order. I dunno...I'll have to play it by ear and keep watching the skies.


  1. You take some awesome photos.

  2. Thats a great write up John, And the water looks like its flying through, I would love to have some GOBIES in our waters, Mind you they look like our gudgion, The one you have hold of would be a record fish haha
    Great work mate,

  3. Hey John, I have a feeling your fish are coming. Great set of photos to set the scene and what the day had to offer. Happy hook ups!

  4. I remember, as a kid in Florida, when we had big rains, there was something that looked like the Gobie that swam across the streets. When it rained, it rained.


  5. The gobbie is one invasive that has turned into a great food source down here by lake Michigan. Once those flows come back down, it should be prime salmon time. They just moved up the rivers in Wisconsin after the last few days of rain.

  6. John
    It was a shame you had to encounter high water, because that stream looks like a winner. Those pics are some of your best, a few questions--what setting do you have your camera set on, when you are taking those shots and are you really close to the subject?