Monday, October 10, 2011

Thanksgiving Weekend

   It's a long weekend here in Canada, Thanksgiving, and Indian Summer is in full swing. The weather over the last three days has been more like early September than October and with nothing pressing on the agenda, I thought I'd take full advantage and spend as much time with my fly rod as possible.

  Friday was spent on the Rouge River, as told in the previous post. Having thoroughly covered several miles of river bed and found limited opportunities there, I decided Saturday would be spent closer to home and explore the upper stretches of Highland Creek, literally in my backyard. Two blocks from my house is a greenbelt with a tiny flow through a man made channel, but less than a mile down stream it joins up with another branch in a steep walled ravine.

  I was totally amazed to find a small school of spawning salmon, so close to home, in the pool at the confluence of these two tiny creeks in the heart of the city.
  It took longer to assemble my rod and get into my waders than it did to get the first fish of the day on line! The salmon immediately took me into my backing and proceded to do a half dozen jumps at the top of the pool and at one point it beached itself on the sandbar in it's frenzied attempt to escape. After several minutes of excitement it worked itself into some wood and managed to free itself from my fly. The next ten minutes were spent trying to illicit another bite, but the pool was spooked and so it was time to move on.


        Every few hundred yards downstream I found small pools holding large fish and occasionally one would make a mad dash through a riffle or shallow run to get up to the next holding area unnoticed. I'd hooked into a few more fish, ignoring the "sprinters" and working the pools, but didn't manage to bring any to hand.


   I knew I was approaching "civilization" when I saw a man trying to catch dinner by hand in the shallows. I'd only traveled a mile of the creek, but in that distance I had to cross from one side to the other four times with all my equipment and mountain bike or bushwhack an area with no trails. A couple hundred yards further down I came to a bridge and what would be my departure point from this little slice of inner city fishing nirvana. As I packed up my gear for the day, I marveled at the persistence and endurance of my quarry. Below the bridge was a concrete pad 200 feet long with water only two or three inches deep!  It's amazing that all the fish I'd seen had to run this tiny trickle of water while the day before, on a pristine uninhibited river, I'd seen next to no fish at all.
   Yesterday Tackle Shop dropped by the house and took me back to my old stomping grounds on the far side of the city and the Humber River. When we arrived at our favorite spot we found the Russian already flogging the water and (so he says with no pictorial proof) with 3 fish under his belt. A quick recon of the area showed numerous cadavers but there were few living fish in the river except for the one deep run that TS and the Russian were working.

   Down stream from the other two, in the rapids, I found a solitary fish holding in the pocket water. On the first cast it took the fly deep, made a short run up and then took me for a stumbling walk down to the next pool. It was a short live battle and after the obligatory snapshot I was about to release the spawned out male when a fellow angler asked if he could have it. Why not? It had served it's purpose and would be dead in less than a week...why not feed a family.

I've often had to be told the fish goes in the mouth and the rod goes in the hand.

   Not long after that Tackle Shop, pitching a dollar store knockoff of a Little Cleo, had a fish on. It put on a great aerial display before being subdued in the shallows.
   We only spent a few hours on the river. It had been in the low 80's all day and we were all hot and tired. It occurred to me that I'd hit three different rivers in three days, all within the city limits, and if I'd thought of it a few days earlier I could have fished the Don and the Credit as well!
   What a great Thanksgiving long weekend this has been!


  1. I can't get over how those fish turn into zombies after they spawn...

    great fish...looks like you guys had a lot of fun!

  2. Beautiful colors. Wonderful times to be fishing.
    The business end of that salmon is impressive.

  3. I noticed the big shark tooth that TS has around his neck. Interesting about a shark tooth is that you can run your fingers up and down the sides, but it will shave the hair off your arm. Nice salmon, but if you're going to put it in your mouth, cook it first (unless you are one of those raw fish people).


  4. John
    If I landed a fish like that I would $$@#%%$-------anyway glad you got in on an awesome catch. By the way take a look at this link becasue you can take some of those great pictures and have them placed on canvas. Thanks for sharing

  5. Those are some serious beasts you caught there, John! Good job!

  6. You are very fortunate to have such wonderful fishing opportunities where u are. Great fishing.....i wish i could come fish your part of the world for some salmon one day

  7. First off, They sell Little Cleo Knockoffs at your dollar stores?? No Fair :) Awesome looking fish for both of you guys. Way to share the wealth. I am sure that fella was speaking quite highly of you come dinner time with his family :) Awesome Pics and story. I gotta move to Canada!! Tight Lines.

  8. Nice to experience the salmon runs from other sections of the great lakes. Great post john.