May-June, 2021: Never Too Late to Start to Fly Fishing (90 Photos)
May 12, 2021: After literally years of persuasion from some good buddies I finally bit the bullet and decided to pick up fly fishing. Fly fishing is touted to be a lot of fun for catching trout but it's also the only legal way to fish Salmon here in NL.
For equipment I started slow and found great deal on a used high quality fly rod from my buddy Terry, a Scott A2 9.0', 4 piece, 8wt fast action unit. I paired it with a fairly inexpensive Okuma SLV large arbor all metal reel, matching RIO line and backing.
After speaking to my buddies I learned all about leader length and a few important knots including the Perfection knot for making a loop to loop connection of leader to floating line, and the Turle knot which (although every single fisherman has their own wildly varying theories on the best knot) is one of the best knots for fly presentation and strength.
I watched some Mad River Outfitter YouTube video tutorials to figure out the basics, then headed to the backyard to practice casting. I tied on an old fly but cut off the hook using the fly just for weight and feel. Bassan stopped over which was great as I would be learning from someone with a heck of a lot of experience. He watched what I was doing and helped greatly in getting my timing down pat for the cast.
I've included dates in this article, honestly it's more for my future recollection! My first adventure on the water was on May 22nd at a pond on the side of highway with Bassan. It had a decent size river flowing in so after trouting the pond near the run-in I began my lessons in fly fishing the river which is a totally different game then fishing still water of the pond. Learning where fish lay in flowing water and how current affects floating line and presentation of the fly was an awesome and interesting educational experience.
In addition to my fly rod I started picking up more necessary and some comfort fishing gear starting with a Patagonia Vest Front Sling pack (from Outdoor Pros). This would hold my gear including fly boxes, license, nippers, floatant, forceps, fly dope, snacks and more. It has worked out great. It's more comfortable than a vest, lighter than a backpack, can be worn with a t-shirt, sweater, jacket and still be comfortable. Most commonly used items are kept in the front pockets, (including fly box & cell phone) and a sling pack does not have to be taken off to access the rear larger pouch. #notasponsor
I also invested in a high quality Loop Gielas rain shell. It's made of their version of Gortex material which is waterproof but light weight and breathable. This has also worked out great as a windbreaker and rain coat. It is often rolled up and stored on the outer straps of my Sling Pack so it's at the ready when your down river and it starts to rain (which happed quite a few times). The jacket is very comfortable and stylish which makes is multiuse for more than just fishing. #notasponsor
On this first fly fishing trip I even managed to catch my first keeper trout, a dandy mud trout.
On May 29th, Bassan and I headed down the southern shore to try for sea trout in Mobile near the salt water.
We had a bawl catching and releasing Salmon Parr. We never struck into anything keeper size or species, which is OK because I am primarily interested in logging casting hours!
On May 30th I headed out the highway and hit up a few fishing spots on the new transmission line with my fly rod.
Some places were new to me and many of these ponds were rock strewn. I figured the fly rod would be a great way to avoid snags, and my assumption was correct! A lack of trees in this area also helped this new fly fisherman avoid snags on my back cast!
Once again I even managed to snag a few trout for the pan!
Learning to fly fish is all about practice, the more time spent casting the better. What better place to do so than on a beautiful pond, on a beautiful sunny day in a nice open area and no wind.
With Salmon fishing set to open on June 1st I picked up the last few necessary items I would need. I purchased a pair of relatively inexpensive stocking foot chest waders, and I chose to get a pair of great quality wading boots. Salmon fishing will find you spending a lot of time on your feet so I wanted really good boots. The Korker Darkhorse came highly recommended from Bassan (as reviewed here on the Product Reviews page). They feature a one handed no laces BOA M2 fitment system, swappable soles from felts to rubber (great if you have a long distance to walk) and are very comfortable. #notasponsor
Next we hit up Bassan's fly guy who set me up with an assortment of dry (pictured) and wet flies. I chose a couple of Shor cases which are silicone inside so they will quickly dry out and not go funky over time.
I also picked up some Fly Agra which is a pre-treatment for dry flies to keep them floating better and longer without the need for additional floatant being applied in the field. #notasponsor
On June 5th Bassan, his father Peter and I headed to Aquaforte to pour and finish a concrete slab for our buddy Troy's new garage. We took our fishing gear with us and planned to fish on our way back to town.
We headed over to the Spout river and hiked a section of the East Cost Trail that follows the river from the Southern Shore Highway almost all the way to the salt water.
Troy's son Duncan tagged along and we had an awesome afternoon on the river.
Peter who will be celebrating his 80th birthday this year has been fly fishing for decades still hitting the rivers as often as he can. It was and honour and privilege to pick up some pointers from him today!
On June 6th Mark French and I headed to the NE Placentia River for the evening to see if any salmon were on the move yet.
This was my first time on a licensed Salmon River, so with license in hand and now having all the necessary gear I was pretty excited!
We only had a couple hours of daylight so we started by the falls and fished our way down river just below the bridge. We haven't had much rain in the last 6 weeks and water levels are apparently much lower than they should be.
Although we found no Salmon in the river yet, I had a great time logging more casting hours and managing for the most part to keep my fly out of the trees!
June 8th brought a drizzly, foggy start for our early morning adventure to the Colinet River. Today Jeff Thomas, Bassan and I made the 40 minute trek across country and through thick woods to Mile Pool.
We weren't on the river long before Jeff hooked a dandy 2-3lb (estimated) sea trout, unfortunately it tossed the fly and escaped to be caught another day.
Thankfully by mid morning the fog burned off and the sun came out!
Years ago River Wardens would be stationed at riverside camps all across the island ready to help fishermen and to keep an eye our for poaching.
With low water levels and still being early for this river we saw no sign of Salmon today but had a ball catching and releasing small trout and Salmon Parr.
June 11th Roger Butler and I got up early and headed once again to the NE Placentia river.
Today I had pretty good success catching a few keeper brook trout and releasing lots of small trout and Parr.
We fished the river all the way to the salt water then back again to the bridge by early afternoon.
On June 17th Bassan, Roger and I were back on the NE Placentia, this time with even better success. Bassan hooked and released a Salmon near the falls and I managed to land a half dozen dandy trout!.
Water levels are still really low. Many rivers on this part of the island are on the verge of closing to all day fishing.
Having successfully graduating the first levels of Bassan's "fly fishing academy" I was invited to join him, his father Peter and Roger Butler on their annual Salmon fishing adventure to the Lomond River which is located on the west coast of our province. Not pictured here is Johnny Tucker because he didn't go this year. LoL You can check out the full story and lots of pics from that trip here in Salmon Fishing Part 2.
Near the end of our week long adventure to the west coast I managed to break the tip off my Scott A2 fly rod. It can be fixed but has to be shipped to the states which will take awhile.
In the meantime I decided to invest in a decent quality 2nd rod and picked up a Loop Q series combo set from Atlantic River Outfitters. This a really nice, reasonably priced, quality set that comes complete with 4 piece rod, a beautiful reel, matching line and a case.
I chose this Loop kit for a couple of reasons, first it's great value for the price, I'm not at a skill level requiring a super fancy rod. I chose Loop because you can attain replacement parts right over the counter here at the dealer in St. John's which is a game changer to me. Replacement parts are warranted free for one year, but rod sections can be replaced for $60 each if you break one, again right over the counter. #notasponsor
Having returned from our west coast adventures and wanting to try out my new set up, on June 29th Bassan and I headed out and first fished the NE Placentia then headed over to the SE Placentia near Beaver Falls.
With high water temps and low water levels these rivers were restricted to morning fishing only meaning you can fish from daybreak to 10am. The signs were deceiving, but we confirmed with a fisheries warden that the river was not in fact fully closed but restricted to morning fishing only as indicated on the In Season River Status webpage at DFO. They haven't had new signs made yet to post accurate information on the rivers.
Top of Beaver Falls
With rivers closed we ended that adventure stopping at the flats of Salmonier River watching to see if any fish were on the move.
Fish in my house rarely go in the freezer. I truly enjoy frying them which to me is the whole point of catching them!
This story is already pic heavy so I will break up my fishing adventures into a few articles.
Copyright © 2011 Michael Smith