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Fly Fishing in Canada


SKollmann
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Heading up to Eagle Lake in Ontario, Canada in early July and would appreciate any commentary in terms of flyfishing equipment and flies.

 

During the day, we'll be out with our spinning equipment in our guide's boat, jigging for walleyes as we have done with great success in prior years. However, during the early evening hours until one hour after sunset, we typically go after smallies and northerns. This year I plan to try my hand pursuing these prey with a fly rod which prompts the following questions . . .

 

1. Planning to take one fly rod + reel besides my regular spinning and bait casting equipment. Plan to take my 8-weight rod loaded with 9-weight line instead of my 6-weight rod. Comments?!?

 

2. The reason for taking my heavier rod + reel are obvious . . . big northern and muskie. What flies would you suggest? Thanks to Stuart and my fellow Bass Buggers, I hope to learn enough about tying my own flies before leaving.

 

3. I also plan to fish for smallmouth, but would only have my heavier rod and fly line. What flies do you suggest for pursuing smallies up north with heavier equipment? Bigger wooley buggers and clouser minnows? Or would my heavier rod + fly line be OK for casting the same size smallie flies that I use around here?

 

Thanks, in advance, for your comments . . . most appreciative!!!

 

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Guest rich mc

i think an 8wt is fine for smallies and smaller northerns, bigpike and muskies may be a problem. forflies northerns will go for the same flies as smallies, flashtail whistlers, double bunnies, large gurglersand sneaky petes. check with joseph on the murdick miinnow and a pike fly he uses in wisc. he also has doorknob clousers. rich

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Steve,

 

An eight weight will be fine for smallmouth or pike in Canada. I will be armed with an eight weight when I go to Canada this summer. An eight weight rod will not be overkill because the smallies up there will run bigger than most of the river smallmouth that we catch in Illinois. Hooking a really big pike or muskie could be interesting on an eight weight, but that is no different than hooking one of those monsters on a medium action spinning rod when you are fishing for walleye. It is lots of fun.

 

You might consider taking some type of sinking or sink tip line or using a sinking leader for fishing sub surface. Fishing sub surface with flies ought to work OK during the day for bass or pike or in the evening if the fish won't rise to surface flies. With that type of setup, you can get your fly down using less weight on the fly.

 

 

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Having been to Canada several times for pike and smallies I will first hand tell you that an eight weight is a very good "all round" rod for up there. But I will state that unless I was doing low light fishing (dawn/dusk/rain) you will be far better served with a type III or IV sinking line. Early to mid summer the smallies set up home on off shore reefs and could be anywhere from five to twenty-five feet down. Yes some will come up for a topwater but far more and bigger will be caught going down to them. The pike suspended off these same reefs especially if you find cabbage weed nearby (the big,dark green leafy stuff). You don't always have to get all the way down to them but the closer the better. As for flies my receding hare worm is the hands down favorite of both fish but then I didn't have a hairy fodder yet last time I was there. The big reason is it has incredible lifelike swimming action, plus the rabbit strip is nearly indestructible, unlike feathery creations which pike will shread. Bring knotable wire leader material and plenty of flies 'cause pike will steal them. The exception to the rule is rainbow smelt. If you locate a school of these with your depthfinder, you are on the motherlode. Both species follow these baitfish far offshore and hover nearby. Fish as deep as the bait, it could be near the surface to whatever. Also look for patches of sand grass with perch on it. If deep water is nearby this is a good shallow water tactic.

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Steve,

 

Just do what Craig says. Read his post over and over. It all fits with my experiences in the Quetico and Boundary Waters.

 

I will just add two things. First, besides the evening low light period, don't forget the one in the morning. Getting on the water before sunrise could really pay off. Second, unfortunately Craig is right about the fish moving out by that time of year. But moving water will hold some fish all year. Look for creeks, rivers, falls entering the lake.

 

As for flies, I would add a few Muddlers in sizes 2, 4, and 6 to fish dry in case you catch a Mayfly hatch. If there is a hatch in the evening, fish that and fish the surface the next AM also.

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I was in ontario mid july last year, just in the western part of the provence. I spent most of the time using an 8 weight to target pike and never really felt under gunned (routinely caught fish in the mid 30"s with a couple larger). Had a 9 with me as well and will fish both when I go back this year. Most of the pike that we found were in 9 feet of water or less so I used a removable segment of sinking line when needed, but mostly fished weighted flies on 7-8 foot leaders.

 

My most productive fly was something that I just cranked out of rabbit strips and bead chain eyes. A variant of any number of bunny flies. Anything that has a long strip of rabbit in the back and a palmered fur/marabou body should work. I used white alot, but chartruese, red and white, purple, and black all produced as well. You might try a Puglisi fly as well. And I targeted the smallies with a large foam popper (i'm too much of a sucker for the top water take).

 

Before you go if you have never practiced casting a large, heavy fly with a steel leader, I would recommend putting in a little yard time. It will make your life so much easier when you get there. It took me a while to figure out a new timing and feel. Don't forget to figure 8 at the boat. I didn't do that for a while and but then took several fish later in the trip and some of the best as well right next to the boat on the 8...

 

If you're a reader I would suggest Barry Reynold's "Pike on the Fly." Informative and it gives you several examples of flies as well.

 

good luck.

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