Alberta Fishing Forecast
June 4 – 8, 2015
The province continues to not get rain in appreciable volumes. Add the heat and dry weather this weekend and the fire situation is extreme north of Hwy 16 and east of Hwy 2. That’s the majority of Alberta. Keep that in mind when off-roading or thinking of a camp fire. Adhere to the fire bans in your area.
Let’s start this off with a little perch action. We shot this video on Sunday. We suspect the fishing will continue like this for a while yet. If you have kids that want to catch fish, a perch lake is always good for action! Alberta Fishing Guide writer Chris Kindraka hosted us at a small perch lake and shared a few tips for perch fishing in the video below. We had a great outing – thanks Chris!
Walleye & Pike Forecast
Lake temperatures are on the rise. So too the fish activity.
Big pike will have moved deeper to the thermocline now. There is always a larger pike lingering the shallows and weeds early in the morning tho!
Walleye will be anywhere forage can be found. The majority of fish will be found 12 feet and shallower. They will slowly start to trickle out deeper as the basins warm up and they look to really strap on the feed bag to fatten up.
Water temps will be in the low 60 range. If this heat keeps up it will be nice swimming weather shortly for people and the fish!
Spinner rigs and crankbaits are my go to cover water. If I catch a few nice fish I will go double back on the trolling motor and jig if there are a lot of fish. If I only mark a few within a foot of bottom on sonar I’ll rig the flat, point, or hump.
Jigging with minnows and artificials will really start heating up. Bigger schools of fish move throughout the day: out to the first breaks during the day and then up top in the mornings and evening. If there are weeds nearby you have a prime spot to intercept fish looking for food. The fishing will only get better as the weeds grow taller and the baitfish have better places to hide.
This upcoming weekend will mark the start of an annual pilgrimage to Pinehurst Lake for the first leg of the Western Canada Walleye Trail. Walleye tournament fisherman will start filling up the campground in anticipation of hitting the throttle tournament morning. Once experienced, the thrill of netting a monster fish first thing in the morning or grinding out that last-minute limit slot five minutes before your flight is due gets into your blood. The amount of fishing information you can learn from these events is staggering. The competition is stiff but anyone can participate and compete. Husbands and wives, dads and daughters, brothers, and friends all compete and love fishing. Whoever wins was the best for those two days – and that’s what we all would like to be at the end of the day when all the boats are done weighing in. But Tournament fishing is way more than just weights and who’s leading at the end of the day. The camaraderie is incredible and the information that is shared about walleye fishing will help anyone become a better angler. It’s a “From A to Z and everything in between”, including trapping your own leeches, boats and boat control, motors, rods, reels, and electronics. The atmosphere on and off the water is great and the events help raise funds for local service groups. They make a big difference in the surrounding communities. Hats off to all volunteers and organizers that make these events a success. Everyone appreciates your hard work and dedication.
If you are hitting the water in preparation of a tournament or just for fun, please keep in mind to always hook up your kill switch while boating just in case something happens while operating and you need to quickly kill the engine. Its a small thing but clipping it up can save your life in situations you didn’t plan for. Tight lines and safe fishing!
East Slope Trout Rivers & Streams
Dave Jensen – www.afglive.com
Rain hit the Crowsnest Pass and the Crowsnest and Oldman Rivers are up considerably – their visibility is poor. The Bow is in runoff (but there’s some great opportunity – see the Bow R report!). The Red Deer R is at minimum flows below the dam. Central brown trout streams are in great shape. The Clearwater R is in great shape. The Mcleod R is in great shape. In fact, once you get north of the Oldman drainage, virtually everything not connected to the alpine snow pack is in terrific condition, if not quite low and clear, making for some tough fishing at times.
Hatch-A-Palooza this week: Green Drakes are about to begin on Stauffer; pmds on Stauffer; brown drakes have been out for a week or so on many streams; salmonflies will peak this week in the heat; yellow sallies; golden stones are coming on; caddis should be good in the sun; a few hoppers; skwala stoneflies continue; blue-winged olives; sulphurs (pale evening dun); a few march brown mayflies. And when you come upon a riser, take a moment to look at what rise form it has because there are many options for trout right now.
If you ever wondered what the size and color difference is between a skwala stonefly and a golden stonefly, the photo at right was from this afternoon (and yes, we caught fish). The skwala is smaller, slightly olive and yellow whereas the golden stone is much larger and this subspecies has considerable orange in the head. There is another subspecies of golden stones that hatch on the lower Bow and Red Deer Rivers that are lighter yellow and brown, and are a touch bigger than the orange subspecies.
After several days on the Red Deer R, it is as it has always been. One day you come across a pod of 3 or 4 fish popping and it’s the only place on the entire 10 hour float you find risers. What has been neat in our jon-jet is seeing just how inconsistent the river is. We’ve always known it to be hit & miss but this spring has really shown it. One bank can be alive with bugs and the one or two brown trout that live on it rise. In head hunting browns, once we catch the fish or two on a bank we zip to the next bank. It takes a minute. And every day the next bank is dead for bugs. And the next, and the next. Almost every day we’ve been out it’s 5 dead banks to one buggy bank. Back to the 20 years we guided the river off and on, it’s no wonder some days felt like 12 hrs in the library as we rowed long stretches of seemingly lifeless water. It’s simply situational, usually bad fishing, but happy hunting of rising trout when it happens. If you like that then it’s wonderful. For the other 98% of the world’s fly fishers that need more than the potential of 1 rising trout in 12 hrs many days, NetFlix is a great thing. The goldeye are rising happily throughout the Red Deer R system. With the low, clear water, you might find a run in the city near a high bank, or head east to any of the highway bridges and look for a high bank. The trough of deep water below the cliff will have rising goldeye. Sure, they aren’t trout but they sure love dries and there’s scores of ’em.
Thoughts for the weekend:
- Bull trout are still being caught in the mid to high country. Many waters that don’t have spring spawning rainbows or cutthroat are open to angling and many have big bulls. With low, clear water across Alberta, there are great opportunities to get into some good bulls. Thanks to Austin for sharing this shot of a nice bull trout caught this afternoon to our Facebook Page. 🙂
- Cutthroat trout rivers don’t open until mid June. They’re spawning. Leave ’em alone.
- Many waters are extremely low. Look for resting areas, shaded pockets, deeper water, undercuts, logs, etc and you’ll likely spot fish.
- With such diversity in hatches, trout may key on different hatches that occur at quite different times of the day, differing light, etc. Think through when the hatches occur and time your fishing to the ‘most likely’
- Streamer fishing is producing in eddies, shoreline seams, side channels, etc on rivers in run-off condition. Some of the best brown trout fishing of the year is happening right now. Just because your water only has 18″ of visibility shouldn’t preclude your fishing.
- If you live in Edmonton, the folks from Calgary are pounding the central brown trout waters. Look west to the Mcleod. There is some excellent fishing to be had right now.
- The whitefish in the Red Deer seem to be back in a big way. The typical riffled troughs are alive with rockies. Chest deep water nymphing is spectacular right now. We hit a run that easily had 100 whitefish rising yesterday. Naturally we focused on the 2 browns that came to hand, but the whitefish are there.
- Some brown trout will simply turn doggo during the day. Come evening shadows with caddis and brown drakes, the rises start. If things are slow in the hot sun this weekend, start your fishing at 7 pm and kiss the kids goodnight before you leave. You shouldn’t be home before midnight.
- Be sure to keep your fish in the water, facing upstream in a riffle or as much current as you can in the heat. The oxygen levels are considerably lower in flowing water away from solar-radiated, stagnant, shorelines.
- If a riser isn’t taking a dead drift fly, maybe tighten your line in your drift and induce a few 2 – 4 inch twitches and see if that keys the strike.
Have a great weekend!
Central Trout Lakes
By: Nick Sliwkanich
The Drag Free Drift
Lots of water, sunscreen, more water, and a few cold ones in the fridge ready to go for the end of the day. That’s what I’d have for this weekend, based on the forecast (and my birthday!).
Highs in the upper 20s, with a real chance at 30C; this weekend will be the first real scorcher of the fishing season. So what to do on the fishing front…
Well, I’d count on surface temps on several of our smaller trout lakes hitting the 70F level. That’s a no-brainer. But before we all get hysterical over bath-water-trout-lakes, remember that the thermocline (the layer of water with a drastic temperature change over a short depth of water) will be pretty close to the surface at this point. It isn’t until late July and August that we’re hitting thermoclines at 16-20+ft of water.
So, without hitting the panic button, what do we do? Think about how early you’d usually start, now make that much earlier. If it’s light enough to fish at 4:30am, be on the water, fishing, at 4:00. This will give the best feeding window for larger trout. Later on, once the sun has risen, larger trout will be pushed from the shallows, and we won’t see many of them again until dusk. The smaller fish will be pretty active throughout the day, but unless we see some heavy wave action, you’ll need to fish deep water during daytime hours if you want to see many, or any, big trout. Of course, this might not be the case in cover-heavy water, which has a lot of weed or woody structure.
Chironomids should be heavy still, and I’d start in a good weedy shoal or ledge in 9-16ft of water if fishing them. Damsels are coming off, and dragons have been key for a few weeks now. Caddis and mayflies are also hatching and will be important. The callibaetis seem to be a daytime hatch with a next-morning spinner fall. The caddis, like most sedges, hatch in the evening and at night, but I’ve always had more luck fishing soft-hackle wets, imitating the hatching pupa.
With the high sun, I’d bank my time on rainbow lakes, leaving the oft light-sensitive browns and brookies for another time. That is, unless you head out at daybreak and then siesta again until dusk, or really you have the juju on a specific waterbody.
The vast majority of trout lakes have been stocked, so expect some smaller fish in the mix from here on out. The complete stocking report can be found HERE
Keys for the weekend:
5. Concentrate on some of the productive rainbow lakes (Swan, Millers, Muir, Dolberg, Beaver, Ironside), as they will still fish well, for decent fish, in bright conditions.
4. Find a chironomid hatch in water deeper than about 9ft for some good sport starting in mid-morning.
3. Chironomids work well, but you can change it up by fishing baitfish, leeches, damsels, dragons, mayfly nymphs, and caddis pupa on sinking lines for some exciting takes.
2. Fish will cruise around in comfortable water temperatures, so don’t move too often. 15-20 minutes without success is about right.
1. Fish early, fish late. The low light conditions will encourage larger trout to feed in accessible, shallow water.
Have some fun out there, and good Fishing,
The Bow River
Fish Tales Fly Shop
We have finally arrived at that time of year, run off. To some this means temporarily hanging up the waders, for some its time for those last-minute flies. For a few this means the river to yourself (mostly).
Fishing the Bow during this time of year means lots of patience. Fish it slow and thoroughly. Just because you can’t see much doesn’t mean the fish can’t. They will still be hungry and feeding when they can. Your best bet is fishing close to bank or back waters or really any place a trout can get a rest from the heavier flows and silted water. For the most part the fish are put off by the rising and falling of the water level due to daily run-off fluctuation, but when levels stabilize they will be back on the hunt for food.
Streamers that push a lot water and cast a big silhouette such as Galloup’s sex dungeon or a big ol’ Bow River Bugger seem to work best. For those that are looking to nymph your favorite run on the bow, big fat stone flies and peacock leeches will be your best bet. Don’t forget your dry flies either, mayflies love hatching in this dirty water and the odd fish can still be caught up top under the right conditions. Look for snouts in the softer edge waters at the very recesses of tailouts. Some big browns are waiting right there. 🙂
Even though our snow pack was below average this year, we will still another week or so of high dirty water (one man’s opinion) before it starts to subside to the more comfortable “streamer green” colour. And with the afternoon thunderstorms being the norm this time of year the fishing could be unsettled as flows move up and down. Be ready to hit the river when conditions are right and remember the banks are always so be safe out there!
Jeff – Fish tales Fly Shop
Thanks for stopping in to read the Fishing Forecast. We sign-off this week with a shout out to Bren Dacey who has been enjoying some good fishing this spring. He’s put together a fun short video of some time on a bull trout water quite recently.
As always – don’t forget to Follow the ALBERTA FISHING GUIDE MAGAZINE on FACEBOOK!