Stream Tender Magazine

December 2016 Issue

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“The BVRRE Program Showing Results”

    This is the third year of the “Bow Valley Riparian Recovery and Enhancement Program”. All three streams in the riparian planting program are starting to show some very positive results.

    Over the past three years, a total of 41,500 native willow and tree plants have been planted along approximately 20 kilometres of stream bank. This makes the program one of the largest riparian recovery projects in the country (Canada).

    The plantings will also create a huge amount of fish habitat over time, so we can also say with confidence that this program is one of the largest fish habitat enhancement projects as well.

    In the first year of the program, I predicted that it would take approximately 5 or 6 years to be able to recognize the full impact of  restoring riparian growth along the streams in the program, so it will be a few more years before I can produce the before and after photographs that I am looking forward to publishing.

    For the time being, I will share some smaller close-ups of native willows and trees as they grow along the streams. Over the next few years, plants from the 2014 planting will start to sore above the shoreline grasses and stand out in the landscape.

    It is great to witness the transformation along the stream banks.

Above: These willows were planted along the stream banks of Bighill Creek in 2014. Over the next few years they will start to grow above the grass.

Above: These willows that were planted in 2015, along the stream banks of West Nose Creek, in the City of Calgary, are already growing over the stream channel on the creek.

Below: One of this year’s plants that had been planted two months earlier on WN Creek and it is showing very good growth for this season.

Above: This is a photo of a Stage Two native willow plant before it was planted along the stream banks of West Nose Creek. A large number of Stage Two plants were planted this season, along with the Stage One.

Nymph Fishing The Bow River For Fall Trout

    If there are no active hatches on the Bow River, during the fall day that I am on the water, there are two options open for catching trout. Either Streamer fishing or Nymph fishing can produce results for the keen fly fisher.

    Many fly fisher’s opt for stripping a streamer pattern which can be a great idea, but for consistent results, a nymph set up will catch fish. Both trout and mountain whitefish. The mountain whitefish are a welcome reward on some days when the trout are not as responsive.

    I have fished nymph patterns while stripping in a dry fly line or a sinking fly line

on some outings, but for the major part of my time on the water, I prefer a dead drift presentation.

    There are two options open for drifting a nymph set up, with or without a strike indicator. For longer casts, the strike indicator is a handy tool. For close in nymph fishing, casting without an indicator is an option.

    Since fluorocarbon leader material was introduced, I use it for both streamer and nymph fishing. It is more dense than nylon tippet or mono leaders, so it sinks faster. It is also less visible to trout, when submerged. This makes it a perfect choice for

fly fishing below the surface.

    On the Bow River, a fluorocarbon is used and on smaller cutthroat waters that run crystal clear, a 4 lb. test is a good choice for nymph patterns that are under a size 12 hook choice.

    My strike indicators are all home made from high density foam and they are either fugia or chartreuse in color. A tooth pick is used to jam the indicator on the leader.

    The chartreuse are good on overcast days and the fugia and chartreuse will both stand out good on sunny days, depending on the light and reflection on the surface of the river or stream.

Above: The strike indicator shown is home made of high density foam and I call it chartreuse, but it is more accurately described as fluorescent yellow. A wooden tooth pick is used to jam the indicator on the leader. The depth of the nymphs on the leader can be adjusted to suit the depth of the water.

Setting Up a Nymph Fishing Line

    When you set up a nymph fishing rig on a dry fly line, you can go with either a single nymph set up or a double tandem set up. The single nymph rig is far easier to cast with and there is less problems with tangles, especially on a windy day.

    For me, I prefer a tandem set up, with two nymphs. If you are fishing bead head patterns, this two nymph presentation will get your nymphs down deeper, faster. Smooth casts are required to reduce tangling and wind knots.

    The choice of leader can be a 7.5 foot or 9 foot standard tapered leader. On the leader, you can add a fluorocarbon tippet of 6 .lb test for the Bow River and lighter for smaller streams.

    I usually tip a 7.5 foot 1X leader with both 8 .lb and then 6 .lb fluorocarbon to insure that my nymphs sink faster and that the low visibility of fluorocarbon improves my chances of hook ups. This combination is used for nymph fishing on the Bow River. Sometimes a 9 foot leader is the best choice.

    When I tie on the 6 .lb fluorocarbon, I use a blood knot and leave a long tag for tying on a nymph. The spacing can vary, but it is usually approximately two feet up from the bottom nymph. This will allow you to effectively fish in a variety of depths without changing the position of your strike indicator.

    It will take constant adjustments of the position of the strike indicator to find the right depth, especially when you are fishing over a distance of the river channel. This method works good for me.

“This fall, I fished the Bow River with a Stream Tender fly reel, backing and dry fly line. All of my leaders and tippet were also Stream Tender product. My fly patterns are all tied with Stream Tender fly hooks.” - Guy Woods