Posts Tagged ‘walleye fly fishing’
Not many fly anglers target walleye, and I’ve spoken with a few who don’t think it’s worth their time to do so. For some reason, many anglers also believe walleye to be a “warm water” fish – and I’m not sure how it ever got that designation.
Admittedly, I’ve not targeted Walleye myself very often, but on some occasions, have – and was successful. I don’t know all the fly patterns that would be effective on this species of fish and if you’re a regular walleye fly angler and have suggestions, I’d love to read about them. Feel free to leave a comment.
In the meantime, there’s this: Effective Fly Patterns For Walleye.
We can add to it as we learn more.
Today was a day of firsts. My first time fishing the Athabasca River. Kade MacKenzie’s first time fishing with a fly rod. I really wanted to get out fly fishing this afternoon, and asked Kade if he wanted to come along. I figured his local knowledge would be a huge help as I had no idea really where to even try fishing the Athabasca in this area.
Kade didn’t hesitate in answering in the affirmative about going fishing. So we headed up to the boat launch in Whitecourt, where the McLeod River meets the Athabasca.
When we arrived, the winds were gusting and I was not confident that we’d have any success with a fly rod after looking at the swift current of the Athabasca flowing by. I wasn’t even sure what species of fish to target. I knew there was Walleye in the area, but I’ve never fly fished for Walleye before. I’ve heard there are Grayling in the area, but where exactly I don’t know.
Where the McLeod meets the Athabasca, there is a deep looking pool about 50 feet from the bank, with some currents swirling around, and I figured that would be a good target area to try. I also thought I might as well try a large black rabbit strip leech pattern to try to get down as deep as possible.
The gusting wind made it difficult to cast to exactly where I wanted so finally, I decided to cast out into the Athabasca side, and just let about 100 feet of line drift down with the current, before stripping the leech back. Well, that worked perfectly as about fifteen minutes after I started fishing, I felt a vicious strike and was able to bring a pike (called in these parts, “Jack”) to the bank.
Both Kade and I were not just a bit surprised to have caught a pike – me because it was the first pike I’d caught on a fly rod, and Kade indicated that he had not seen to many pike caught here recently.
The fish was about 18″ and put up a darn good fight on my 5 wt. rod that I was using. I was thankful that it’s teeth hadn’t shredded the 6lb leader I was using.
After the photo, the pike was released and both Kade and I were pretty excited about continuing to fly fish the leech pattern. Not five minutes later, a monster of a pike bent the TCO 9′ rod right over and another fight was on. But this would not be as successful as the first one as this time, the sharp razor like teeth of the pike was no match for the leader.
The heaviest leader material I had with me was 10lb flourocarbon, and I decided I should use that if I wanted any chance of success with more pike. And now that we knew there were fish in the area, I set Kade up with my other 5 wt rod, gave him some quick fly casting lessons, (he did very well for his first time, especially considering the gusting winds), and we went back to work.
About ten minutes later, Kade was shaking his head with a grin on his face as he heard me whooping and hollering – another fish on!
“Ok, Ian, I guess I’ve been wasting my time here by not trying a fly rod before,” he said as I brought to the bank … this time, a Walleye, about 15″.
So for me, that was another first: My first Walleye on the fly rod. And we weren’t done yet. Over the course of the next half hour or so, another Walleye brought to hand and released, and two hooked and lost.
While Kade worked on his casting and continued to work the pool, I decided to walk upstream of the Athabasca where there was a nice looking back eddy away from the main flow of the river. The winds still made it difficult to cast, but roll casting was enough to get my fly where I wanted it. I worked the leech in the water, and several times had fish hit, but I couldn’t get a solid hook up. Finally, I had a good tug where I was able to solidly set the hook and after an excellent fight, brought another Walleye, the biggest yet, at about 20″ to hand.
I called Kade over to where I was fishing as I thought he’d probably have a much better chance here than the first pool we had been working. And I’m not sure who was more excited – Kade or me – when a very large walleye took the same leech pattern. Kade did a superb job of keeping the fish on over the seven minutes or so that it took to bring it to the bank. The fish probably weighed in about 4 lbs – and Kade is becoming a fly fishing convert:
So, it was a day of firsts:
1. My first time fishing the Athabasca River
2. My first Pike on the fly rod.
3. My first Walleye on the fly rod.
4. Kade’s first time fly fishing… and how can you beat… your first time fly fishing… and…
5. Your first fish – a 4 lb Walleye, on the fly rod?
A very fun afternoon/evening all round! Thanks Kade for coming out with me! I hope you had as much fun as I did!