wordsfromanneli

Thoughts, ideas, photos, and stories.


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Fish Foolery

No, we don’t eat bananas with our trout, but it’s there to show the relative size of the fish.

You’d think it’s easy to be smarter than a fish, but have you ever tried to catch one that didn’t want to be caught? You might be surprised how wary they are, and if you try to lure them to bite a hook, you’ll learn that they are choosy too.

Fish basically eat insects, and each other’s babies. Nasty little critters, aren’t they? And yet, when I’m lucky enough to get one onto my dinner plate, they don’t taste nasty at all. The trick is to get them there.

So I’ll defer to the Captain, who has been trying for a lifetime to outsmart a fish. He loves the art of tying “flies” (lures made with fur and feathers and other components), to suit the mood and appetite of the fish at any particular time. Appetites change with the season, the temperature, the weather, and a few other factors.

Assuming you have a fishing rod and a boat to get out onto the lake to try fishing, here are some things the trout might look for. What we are trying to do is to create a lure (a fly) that simulates something the trout might be attracted to. We need to be a little bit mean, and hide a sharp hook in this “fly” to catch our dinner.

When flying ants are hatching, the trout love to make a meal of them near the edge of the lake where the swarms of newly hatched ants are crawling on the overhanging branches and often drop into the water. The simulated ant below has wings made of window screen mesh.

Another favourite food of the trout is the nymph dragonfly. The eggs are laid near aquatic plants in the quiet waters near shore. Sometimes in as few as five days, the eggs hatch into the nymph stage of the dragonfly. This is when they are often picked off by trout. The nymphs who survive, split their skin up to twelve times on their way to adulthood (rather than sitting in a cocoon to wait for development to be completed), and this series of molting can take up to four years. Once adulthood is reached, the dragonflies mate and the female lays eggs. Both male and female dragonflies only live about four or five months after mating.

Below is a dragonfly lure simulating the nymph stage. The nickel is placed in the photos to show the relative size.

 

Below is a shrimp “fly.”

And of course there are leeches in many of the lakes. Not nice for swimmers, but lovely for a trout’s meal.

And this nasty little critter, below, is a bloodworm, the larval stage of the midge fly. It lives in the shallow lake bottoms and can give people or animals a venomous bite that hurts like a bee sting.

When the bloodworm changes to the pupa stage of the midge fly (Chironomidae) it floats up to the surface of the water, and then in the next stage it turns into a small fly.

In the above flies, the one on the left has a white bubble that floats the pupa to the surface where it rests for a while until its wings dry and it can fly away (if a trout doesn’t snap it up first).

 

Trout have no scruples when it comes to eating other fish’s babies.  Here are some of the lures made to look like minnows used to entice them to bite.

But now comes the lure that I find the most fun. It is made from a small piece of rabbit fur. Yes, rabbit fur!  Made to look like sculpins and bullheads, fish that stay near the bottom, these lures have an amazing action that simulates that of these bottomfish.

 

Here is a short video showing the action of one of these lures.


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Not so rough, “roughing it”

If you like being out in the quiet of nature and don’t mind having very few people around, a fishing and camping trip on northern Vancouver Island might be just the thing for you.

Bringing along a trailer or a camper is not exactly roughing it, but who says you have to suffer to enjoy the outdoors. The Captain and a couple of friends are exploring new territory.

After a long drive on paved roads, get ready for a fairly long drive on dusty gravel roads. Everything in and on your vehicle will be covered in a fine layer of flour-like dust. But what’s a little dust when you end up on a serene lake like this one?

In the morning, you set out early before the sun burns off the fog over the lake and the wind blows away the last wisps of mist. Maybe it’s easier to sneak up on the trout if they can’t see you coming through the cloud.

Time for a nap after all that fresh air. It’s good to be refreshed in time for an early evening bite, when the trout are looking for their supper.

Next morning the lake is a mirror of beauty.

It’s mostly catch and release, but on the last day it’s nice to bring home a meal in time for a Mother’s Day dinner.

The trout were delicious.


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A Winner!

This card is copyrighted to Andy McKay and sold at Trader Joe’s. I’ve printed his caption under the picture. I could SO relate to this scenario.

After vacuuming the living room, he waited for his medal.

But just so I don’t come across as too mean and snarky, I must add that the Captain provided his family with the fixings for a fine dinner tonight, even cooking the halibut, trout, and salmon himself while I made up the rest of the dinner.

So maybe he really does deserve a medal.