Out On The Ice

Winter is ice fishing time on the east slopes. First light on the Ghost Dam, reveals determined anglers, ready to put in the time, trying to catch a prize from the dark water below.

It is usually by the end of December that you will see the ice fishers on the Ghost Lake, out on the ice in number. Believe me, I was once one of them, but not so much in recent years. The real keeners that spend a lot of time on the lake in the winter, may be after Gray trout, commonly known as lake trout. Others have their sights set on anything that will bit on the end of their lines. Nowadays this might be whitefish and brown trout. The whitefish are broken down into two varieties; Lake Whitefish and Mountain Whitefish.

This Loch-leven brown trout was hooked on a fly, while fly fishing the Ghost Lake. Brown trout of both the German and Scottish variety or strain, are available to the angler on the reservoir. Some of the brown trout can get fairly large.
This Lake Whitefish was hooked on a fly, on the Ghost Dam, in the summer time. Lake whitefish were once plentiful on the Ghost, but over fishing lead to a fast and sharp decline. I personally blame this on poor fisheries management on the lake.

The Ghost Dam once held some huge lake trout as well, but over fishing, because of poor management, resulted in diminished numbers in recent years. Lake trout live a very long life if they get the chance! The lakers of the Ghost grow very fast. On one otilith (ear bone) examination, a fourteen pound lake trout on the Ghost, was fourteen years of age. Another 20 lb. lake trout was aged at 14 as well, so some trout grow exceptionally fast.

Lake trout in the weeds. By Guy Woods

More Color Variations – Tying Nymphs

This double ribbed palomino nymph is a great representative of some mayfly nymphs and damsel fly nymphs. For one with brass color ribbing, look below.
This brass double rib works great as well.

You have to consider what the wet color is for a dry nymph. Most dubbing colors darken considerably, when wet. The legs, tail and wing case will not darken as much. This is important when you are trying to match the hatch. However, these generic nymphs will fish as attract-er flies when you are not quite sure of what to use. The unweighted patterns are excellent lake flies, but they have worked great on the Bow River.

New Article on the “Bow Valley Riparian Recovery and Enhancement Program

Just scroll to the top of the page and pick the title out of the menu. I will add to this piece when necessary. This write-up will give the reader a pretty good idea of what our program is all about. Now that some of the sites are developing into natural riparian buffer zones, it is nice to be able to witness the transformation.

This New Year’s ” BVRR&E Program” – In The Works

There will definitely be a 2020 Bow Valley Riparian Recovery and Enhancement Program. The seventh year of planting sounds great to me. I will let you know as things develop. Right now we should be good for 2,500 plants, but hopefully this will improve by March 2020 and we will have more partners involved. It is good to know that Bow Valley Habitat Development will be planting again this next year!

New Key Spawning Area Discovered On West Nose Creek

This December, I was inspecting a planting site that revealed new spawning redds made by brown trout this fall. The area has provided evidence of spawning in the past, with a few redds present, but this fall there were a total of 5 redds in an area of approximately 100 metres. This justifies the title of key spawning area. What was also really neat to find out, was that the spawning was taking place, right next to willows that we had planted in 2015.

You can see the cleaned gravel depression in the stream-bed. This is a brown trout redd that was excavated this fall (2019). The willows on the nearside of the channel were planted in 2015.

I will be keeping a close watch on this area in the future, because it has the spawning habitat to support lots of trout, in the general area. There was plenty of undisturbed gravel yet to be fully utilized. It was very interesting to see that the creek channel was still open in a number of riffle areas, it has been a weird fall this year.

The willow growth on this particular area of West Nose Creek is coming along very nicely in recent years. I am really excited that I will be able to show you some great before and after photos in the near future.

Snow And More Snow In December

You can see a hint of green in this photo of Bighill Creek in early winter. The nutrient rich waters hold more color than the Bow River, at the mouth of BH Creek. The high volume of flow has contributed to open water conditions on area streams, into early winter. The photo above shows Bighill Creek, just before Christmas day. Recent snowfalls are building a good store of snow in the timber and this should still be present in the spring thaw.

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