Cold February – Lots of Snow and Ice

Late Spring This Year

It has been a few years since I last recall such a freezing cold February, and possibly the same in early March. Plugging in the truck is a must if your off to work these days. The good news is that spring is not far off, and even the thought of this brings a bit of cheer to ones hopes for warmer days. Personally, with all of the ice on the creeks and more snow on the way, I look forward to a good run-off in the streams this year. This is always good for the trout populations.

Ice fishing is a good alternative to indoor activities, during cold snaps.

A good flush of high flows in the creeks, cleans them out and creates good fish habitat for the following seasons. Much of the silt that has accumulated can be cleared from the streambed and new gravels can enhance both food production and spawning habitat.

Still Tying Dry Flies

Since I showed you my flying ant pattern, I have been on a dry fly tying spree. Usually, I like to mix things up a bit, with streamers and wet fly nymphs in my tying program but the dry fly patterns seem to take a precedence over everything else these days. The restocking of some master fly boxes, with dry flies, is actually a good thing these days. Dry flies usually don’t get the attention that they deserve, on local creeks and lakes these days. Most anglers stick to either streamers or nymphs in their fly fishing program.

Besides the bullet head ant and hopper fly patterns, I like the Trude wing style that requires deer hair in the recipe. The buoyancy of deer hair, along with a good thick hackle, is a great choice for local trout waters. They are easy to see from a distance, and the trout love them. The deer hair tent wing can imitate a stone fly or hopper on the surface, which means larger hook sizes can be used.

A thick hackle dry fly is a great choice, when the fly is being fished on a fast flowing trout stream, with choppy riffles. This dry fly was tied on a curved size 10 dry fly hook.

The bullet head hopper dry fly is always a real special meal for a hungry trout. This pattern can be tied on a size 12 or 10 dry fly hook. It is a simple fly to tie and it is also very bouyant. I like to use an olive/yellow color for the dubbing.

Spawning Numbers are Up – On The Lower West Nose Creek

This past fall, Elliot Lindsay from TU Canada, sent me the results of his spawning survey on the lower reach of West Nose Creek. Fortunately, the brown trout spawning redd count was up substantially from previous years. This means that we should see an increase in the brown trout numbers in future years, on the West Nose Creek. The spawning survey was conducted with the help of the “Friends of Nose Creek” group that also help do some willow and tree planting with Bow Valley Habitat Development this past year, on West Nose Creek.

I am looking forward to seeing a migration of trout further up the system in the next few years. So far, the brown trout have managed to occupy the creek approximately 11 kilometers upstream of the mouth, on Nose Creek. This population of trout on the upper reach is small, but over time it will grow and new generations of juvenile brown trout will continue to move further up the system. I have been using a fly rod to monitor the brown trout populations in West Nose Creek over the past few years, and this will continue to happen, in the future. I will keep you informed of the results.

There are moderately good spawning habitats, further up the West Nose Creek, which have yet to be utilized. Once brown trout start to spawn in these habitats, over time, the trout populations will increase substantially. Water quality and quantity are major factors in this happening some day. Our native willow and tree planting program will be of major benefit to habitat for spawning and annual trout holding habitat.

Brown trout will be the dominant trout in West Nose Creek, when the fisheries recovery program is complete. The brown trout is a true survivor and it is best suited for a stream where the water quality is less than optimal and there is a good population of forage fish for the brown trout to feed on. The spawning habitat and water quality are very important for brown trout reproduction, and West Nose Creek has a long way to go, before it can be considered a healthy trout stream.