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No angler merely watches nature in a passive way. He enters into its very existence ... John Bailey

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2019

I guess it's pretty obvious by now that this fishing log is on its last legs. As Eric Clapton once said, "... just getting old, man, is hard,"
That is not to say we won't get a trip in here and there, just that there won't be enough to bother writing about.
For those of you who have followed this log for the past 21 years I thank you. I hope you have enjoyed it as much as I've enjoyed writing it.
For any newbies who are encountering it for the first time I have included my log from 2011 which was, without a doubt, the highlight year of times spent on beautiful rivers.
To my fishing friends and to the people I have met, and to the fish, I give my thanks.
And lastly, I know how lucky I am to live in this part of the world, I wouldn't want to be anywhere else.

Click here for the 2018 logbook.

2011 Log
Oct. 31. Air temp 3.
Another 33mm (1.3 inches) of rain fell yesterday.
Well, that's it then. Another year is over. And what a year!
The only Atlantic province we didn't fish was New Brunswick. We had success on all but one salmon river. Luck was with us on our travels. And we met so many good people.
Our thanks go out to the rivers and the fish for such wonderful days.
The one real object in fishing and angling is the pursuit and not the quarry.
Charles Bradford (1916)
Oct. 20. Rain.
We've just had a huge rain event. I have no idea how many millimetres has fallen so far (over 50?) but it has to be a lot. At times you couldn't see through it. When there wasn't any wind it was coming straight down, like a waterfall. This will blow the rivers out for a week or so. The last week of the salmon fishing season. I guess I'd better start thinking about sorting out our gear, and cleaning lines, and washing waders, and finding those little, leaky holes in them.
Oct. 21. Total rainfall 104mm (4 inches).
Webster, himself a profound Angler, must have been unconscious of his gentle bearing, for his definition of "angle" is simply: "to fish."
Charles Bradford (1916)
Oct. 12. 9-7. Sunny.
I'd say that this was almost a perfect day. It was six degrees when we left the house, sixteen by two-o-clock, and eleven by four-o-clock. The sun shone for most of the time with the odd cloud floating by.
Water was at a nice level which made for easy wading.
At every pool we fished we were met by fishermen who were only too willing to share their knowledge of where the fish might be. As it was, we only saw two fish, and Fishgirl had one big tug on her Cascade but never hooked up.
Sept 30. 5.30 - 7.30 Cloudy.
Last day of the trout season.
We went to say our goodbye to the river and were pleasantly surprised by the water level, we certainly didn't expect it to be as high as it was.
No hatch to speak of but a few little trout were only too willing to take a dash at a small blue-winged olive and Fishgirl's bumblebee.
Sept 17.
A beautiful day. Catch of the year! It took over twenty years but my sister and her beau finally got hooked up. To do it they travelled 3,000 miles where the wedding ceremony took place on the rocks at Indian Harbour.
Sept 5. Foggy
Local rivers low and warm.
That's a cranefly on our window. I remember one time, when I was showing a visitor how we fished for trout in Nova Scotia, that I tied a cranefly imitation on my line and promptly hooked a brookie. Surprised the hell out of me. Made a mess of the fly.
The photo to the right is a birthday gift.


Aug. 15 - 19. The Margaree, Cape Breton. Water temp 15.
This trip was a once in a lifetime experience.
A couple of inches of rain the previous week had the river slowly dropping making for ideal fishing conditions.
We only wore our waders one day and for the rest of the time we wet waded.
Over the five days of fishing we hooked five salmon and one grilse. Three came to hand and three threw the hook.
We only got the one picture due to the fact that we were too busy helping each other.
And we each hooked one on my birthday.
A beaver was working away while we fished. And the occasional eagle soared overhead.
Right place, right time.
It was magical.
For a video of this trip see Margaree


Aug 4. Cloudy, showers
Well, we'd planned on going to the Philip today but when I got up at 6.30, and saw the easterly wind and rain, I went back to bed. Then, later on in the morning I thought we'd take an afternoon trip to a local river but when we checked the brook it was t'undering so we went to the library.
The photo of the rainbow was taken about midway through a tremendous thunder and lightning storm which dumped mega amounts of rain the other night.
The photo to the right has to be one of my favourite signs ever. It is so Nova Scotian and I love it, it puts a smile on my face.
All I can do is play the angles, the curves, float along the stream of time, then, my friend, something will bite, even on an unbaited hook.
From The Girl Hunters by Mickey Spillane
Nova Scotia
July 28. Cloudy, showers
The skunk was in our backyard again last night. Digging for June bug larvae. It also destroyed a rotten stump that contained a honey bee nest. What can I do about him you might ask. Vern's great-grandmother shot three of them, with an old muzzleloader, all at the same time. Vern's great-grandfather spent weeks wheel-barrowing away the ground. I think it will be best to let Mr. Skunk go about his business.
The pulses fly again when the hooked salmon is felt, and the tightening line curves the rod from point to hand.
William Senior


Gaspe, Quebec
July 19 - 21. Water level kind of high.
Weather, day 1 hot, day 2 cold, day 3 wet
Day 1 on the Bonaventure. Fished from a canoe in the morning. Could see the bottom of the river where we observed three 15 pound salmon and a grilse that ignored our flies. Fished the Petite Black pool in the evening with no takers.
Day 2 fished the Grande Cascapedia on pools 78 and 80. Hooked in to a 20 pounder in pool 80 on a Black Nosed Dace. Great fight, never jumped once but took a 100 feet of line out. Then Fishgirl hooked a beautiful grilse on a Cascade. Moved to pool 78 where Fishgirl hooked another grilse on a reverse Black Bear Green Butt (green body, black butt).
Day 3 back to the Bonaventure on Ralph's pool and the Premiere pool. No fish seen at Ralph's but about 20 fish laying in the run at the Premiere pool. None of them would look at a fly. We intended to fish that evening but it poured and we stayed in the cabin and played crib.
We have to thank Gerard and Jacky of Robidoux Lakes Outfitters for taking such good care of us, they showed us some beautiful spots and gave great advice. Perfect.
For a video of this trip see Gaspe




Newfoundland
July 3 - 8. Water level high, showers most days.
You never know with salmon. One morning we left for the river at four but I predicted we wouldn't hook one until nine. I hooked the first, and only one that day, at five to nine. Over the four days that we salmon fished we hooked four, on four different pools, using four different flies, none of them showed themselves and none were hooked earlier than the first one.
The salmon were scarce. I'd say we never saw more than a dozen in total whereas other years we'd see a dozen in a morning. We considered ourselves very lucky to have had those few moments hooked up to the king of fish.
We also had a wonderful day on a tiny little brook that you could have stepped across. It was full of trout, none of them over six inches. They would jump their body length for a fly dangled above the water.
We had our traditional moose meat supper and had our first experience pigging out on toutons (Google it)
Our good friend, and great cook, and guide, Harold, with his bad knees, shared our laughs and excitement throughout the whole trip. I know he enjoyed it as much as we did.
For a video of this trip see Newfoundland



The Caribou ferry


Church at Indian Bridge


Golden Stonefly


Potato field


Salmon (far left)
Prince Edward Island via the ferry.
June 21. Air temp 9. Water temp 12. Cloudy.
We scouted the rivers the night before and the only one that appeared fishable was the Morell. All the others were covered with impenetrable alders. Today we did the Indian Bridge run.
The red bottom of the river is so unlike the rivers around our way. It appeared to be mud but when we stepped in we found a solid bottom. There were a few rocks showing. Trout and salmon parr were rising to something that we couldn't figure out. We tried everything from an orange bug to a number 16 black parachute and they would not take. Except for two fish. Fishgirl hooked and lost a nice size sea-run brookie. It did a lot of splashing before throwing the hook. We then swapped places and I thought I'd try something different in the way of a grey ghost zonker. I cast it upriver to give it time to sink. I could see it about two feet under and gave the rod a wiggle. I saw what appeared to be a large sea trout rise and take the hook. It dogged it along the bottom for a few seconds and then it jumped. I was stunned. It was a thirty-inch plus silver salmon, fresh from the sea. And here I was with a seven foot, four weight, rod with a three pound tippet on the end of my leader. That fish was a good twelve pounds! I didn't stand a chance. The water was not more than three feet deep which forced the salmon to make four more tremendous jumps before snapping the line. I was mad at myself for losing such a fish but knew that I was bound to lose him anyway. Then I saw the whole scene run before my eyes again and I realised how lucky I'd been. Every fisher we spoke to said it was the first salmon they'd heard of that year. What a day.
June 22. Air temp 9. Cloudy.
This day we did the Morell again only we went upriver to Grants Bridge Forks. We met a feller just going to the river and he showed us where to step in. He'd waited for us and wanted us to go ahead but we told him we'd follow as we didn't know where to wade. He described every little bit of the river for us, we couldn't have met a finer fisherman. The bottom here was the same red colour but what appeared to be slabs of slate and long, waving weeds covered the river. We gingerly followed our new-found friend, flicking flies as we walked along. We had a ball with some young, and not so young, brookies, with the occasional salmon parr mixed in. A loverly day.
June 23. Air temp 19. Sunny.
What a difference in temperature! But it didn't feel hot, and once we got in the river it felt like a perfect day for fishing. We started at Indian Bridge where the only fish showing was a small school of gaspereau. We then moved on to the Forks and by this time we felt really comfortable and relaxed. It was the same as yesterday, lots of action and real fun, just as fishing was meant to be.
Tomorrow it's on the ferry and back to the mainland.
For a video of this trip see PEI

Indian Bridge


Abandoned barn


Fox


Sea trout


Homeward bound
June 6. 9.30 - 12.30. Air temp 17. Cloudy.
I left my thermometer in my other jacket but I'm guessing the water temp was the same as the air temp.
It seems like the trout are on vacation because we never saw a one. We fished high, low, and in-between but ne'er a trout rose to our flies. I think we spent more time untwisting our leaders and freeing flies from the trees than we did fishing. That's fishing for you.
The wild lily of the valley and many other flowers are showing their blooms. A couple of little yellow sally's and the odd grey fox lifted off the water.
These papers do not boast of great sport. They are truthful, not like the tales some fishers tell.
The opening sentences from Angling Sketches (1895) by Andrew Lang
June 3. 1.30 - 4.30. Air temp 16. Water temp 16. Cloudy.
I'd say this was almost a perfect day for fishing. Nice air temp, perfect water temp, cloud cover, and the flies hardly bothered us at all. The only drawback was that the water is still kind of high and the little ones do not appear to have moved into the run that we fished today. However, at the lower end of the run, Fishgirl hooked into two chunky trout on a beadhead Prince nymph (a fly that she calls a bumblebee).
The trilliums were all over the place and tiny black caddis covered the rocks.
It's all about ...


May 26 & 27. Peskowesk Brook, Kejimkujik National Park.
In the company of Reg Baird, Roy and Ray, as part of a creel census.
Air temp on both days 22, water temp 14. First day sunny, second day overcast.
The mosquitos were out in force but the rising trout soon took our minds of the bloodsuckers. First trout was hooked on bamboo rod with a Parmachene Belle at the end of the line. One of the same flies used in The Tent Dwellers. As per usual for this little brook, the trout were picky, especially so on the second day. I think we contributed a fair number to the census but Reg showed his skill in hooking just as many as the two of us combined. The trout in Reg's hand was tagged as number X40, one of Fishgirl's memorable hookups.
The frog in the photo was in the same spot for both days and entertained us during the dry spells.
The sign is a warning to be on the lookout for the endangered Blanding's Turtle.
For a video of this trip see Keji


May 19. 10 - 3. Air temp 17. Water temp 14. Foggy then sunny.
What I want to know is how come two fly-fishers with the same fly on the end of their line can have such different results. It reminds me of the times I'd been handlining cod and the guy on one side of the boat is catching all kinds of fish while the guy on the other side of the boat is catching nothing. How can that be?
Fishgirl outfished me almost four to one. Enough said.
The bald eagle was waiting his turn. The blackfly are biting.
May 18. 12 - 3. Air temp 16. Water temp 13. Humid
Water level still very high. Not many places to choose from where fish might be holding.
We were forced to fish along the edges as there was no way we could get into the river. Fishgirl ventured out a little ways and it paid dividends. She was putting out a long line when we were both surprised by a couple of strong hookups. A lone duck was appreciative of her efforts.

Caddis



Ferns
May 13. 11 - 4. Air temp 13. Water temp 11. Cloudy
Our boots were dry so we had to go fishing. The question was where? After getting all that rain there was only one place that I could think of where we might stand a chance. So that's where we went.
As predicted, we were greeted at the head of the trail by a horde of blackflies, but they didn't seem to be in their mental biting phase. A lone, blue, Spring Azure butterfly led the way.
Water level extremely high. So high in fact that the last section of the trail was almost knee deep in water. We were driving minnows ahead of us over what was normally a dry trail.
Even before we got to the spot we could see the trout rising all over the place. Fishgirl almost ran to the river and had her rod assembled and two fish hooked before I could even sit down and film the action.
There were lots of tiny black stonefly plus a smattering of tiny black caddis with the odd black quill spinner drifting by.
Time passed quickly and the trout were rising for the entire time we were there. They seemed to be taking a mixture of nymphs and adults and now and again they'd latch on to the tiny black stonefly parachute that we threw at them.
I guess we were in the right place at the right time. Pure luck.
What a day. What a day.

Spinner



A dandy trout
Rain, rain, go away
Come again another day
Little Dryfly wants to play.
May 11. Air temp 8. Rain
Over the past two weeks we have received five inches of rain. For the past five days a weather system has stalled over us and we have gone to bed and woken up to the sound of rain. Not the kind of weather anyone wants to be fishing in.
The Black Quill mayfly hatch, what there was of it, will most probably be over by the time this rain ends. Next to hatch will be the black flies.
The picture to the right was taken from an advertisement for Newfoundland and Labrador in the Globe and Mail and shows two men in a boat with the caption "Stress won't find you here. The fish will."
May 6. 2 - 5. Air temp 10. Water temp 11. Sunny.
The sun was out in a clear blue sky, something we haven't seen for a very long time. Water level high.
A good hatch of tiny black stonefly had a few wee trout rising every now and again but, even though they took a shot at our flies, they wouldn't hook up.
The seven day forecast does not look good but today it was great to feel the sun on our faces.
Salmon and trout have the unique ability to grow between the catching and the telling.
May 4. 9 - 1. Air temp 10. Water temp 10. Thick wet fog.
At the begining of the trail we were greeted by a woodpecker hammering away on a tree. The fog seemed to amplify the sound. Spiders webs were covered in droplets of water.
A smattering of mayfly drifted by on the river but not enough to get the trout stirred up.
What trout we did hook into were full of life and put up a great fight.
I was using a rod which hadn't seen the light of day for about three years and I'd obviously not checked the leader knot because I lost leader, tippet and fly to a rock.
Gregory Peck, pointing to the river, "Trout?"
Jean Simmons, "No, catfish."
From the movie The Big Country
May 2. 9 - 11. Air temp 8. Water temp 10. Cloudy.
We planned on going to one spot today but when we got to the end of the road the sun peeked through and we turned in the opposite direction. Halfway there the sun disappeared and a strong noreast wind blew up so we turned back the way we came.
We made the right decision. The wind was blowing hard enough that any flies that hatched would be blown to Mexico. Water level was high and we only managed three raises and lost one that went under a log. We paid our dues. The Mayflowers are out.
April 25. 9 - 11. Air temp 8. Water temp 8. Cloudy.
Today was a perfect day for fly-fishing (although the trout didn't seem to think so). High, thin clouds with a hazy sun peeking though, nice air and water temperature, very little wind, and no blackflies.
I think Fishgirl spent more time taking pictures than she did fishing. Having said that, she was the only one to hook and lose a trout on a Jenny Lind.
Add one polarizing filter to the long list of lost items.
"This is investigations. Right. Let the garbagemen handle the garbage. We're professional anglers. We go after the big fish."
Denzel Washington to Ethan Hawke, from the movie Training Day.
April 22. 12 - 3. Air temp 8. Water temp 7. Sunny/cloudy.
After a week of miserable weather the sun finally broke through and we decided to go fishing. It was 1 degree when we woke up so we thought we'd wait for the afternoon to warm up. Looking back, I'm not sure that was a good decision.
The air was filled with a humungous hatch of tiny black stonefly but very few fish were rising. We threw everything we had at them, from dries to wets to nymphs, but they just wouldn't take. And, as Fishgirl said, "It's not like we can ask the little buggers."
See those trails on the surface? Eamon always used to cast his fly near one of them. He said the fish waited for flies to get caught in the foam.
From Remembrance Day by Henry Porter.
... there are two kinds of anglers, those who have fallen off Monster Rock and those who are about to.
From Luck by T Jefferson Parker
April 15. 9 - 11. Air temp 3. Water temp 6. Sunny/cloudy.
Air temperature down, water temperature down and, due to yesterdays rain, water level up. Not a day where we expected to see fish, and we didn't. They must be hunkered down on the bottom and not wasting energy chasing flies. Maybe we should go back to fishing in the afternoons.
A large maple has fallen into one of the pools, the trout must love it.
Great to see Inland Fisheries patrolling the area.
April 13. 9 - 11.30. Air temp 5. Water temp 7. Cloudy.
The lack of wind made a very big difference to our comfort zone.
We fished another stretch of water that does not normally hold fish until late April but Fishgirl hooked a colourful beauty which came out of nowhere. Surprised both of us.
Our boots are starting to feel comfortable after languishing in the basement over winter. We had a dandy day.
April 8. 9 - 11. Air temp 1. Water temp 5. Sunny.
Note the air temperature. It's no wonder we've been fishing the afternoons!
The water seems to be remaining at the same level even though we've not had rain for a while. No flies to speak of and only the occasional robin was in the air. The foam sure painted some pretty amazing patterns. One lonely trout rose to the fly.
April 7. 1 - 5. Air temp 6. Water temp 5. Sunny.
What's with this fishing in the afternoons? The only thing I can think of is the cold weather. Today a breezy norwester was blowing our flies all over the place.
Anyway, we had a grand afternoon. The odd fish would rise and keep our interest. There were some nice ones out there but we only managed to hook one on a number sixteen black stonefly nymph.
...where he could reach down into the water and, if he were gentle, feel the gills flutter on the three pound trout that lived there.
From Blue Heaven by C.J. Box
April 4. 2 - 4. Air temp 7. Water temp 5. Cloudy
The weather forecast for the next day or so doesn't look too good so we made a quick trip to a section of river that we know only too well doesn't hold fish at this time of year. As expected, we never saw a fish and I lost two flies. I don't know why I bother to let my flies run deep in this river, there's just too many rocks and submerged branches. And I've yet to get my river legs. It was a great day to be out.
April 1. 8 - 10. Air temp 3. Water temp 4.
Opening day madness is behind us. It was right some cold. A wild, in your face, easterly wind with the odd snowflake drifting by.
We bushwhacked to an old spot where we were hoping the fish would be hungry, and were they ever. Both of us could have been well into double figures but we were so cold that we couldn't wait to get out of the river and into some shelter. What trout we hooked were big, strong fighters still showing their spawning colours.
Being a detective was a bit like fishing. Endless casting, endless patience.
From Dead Tomorrow by Peter James
"I fly fished once on vacation," Valentine said. "I caught the hook in my earlobe."
From Deadman's Bluff by James Swain
Mar 30. Air temp 8.
It's the same thing every year, and I can't do anything about it. Two days until opening day, I can't sleep, there's a tightness in my chest, I get these odd headaches, and I feel worn out. I keep thinking if I feel like this I'll never make it to the river. But I will, and all those mysterious symptoms will suddenly disappear. Sometimes I wish there was no such thing as an opening day and I could fish all year.
The flickers are back.
Mar 19. Air temp -6.
A Supermoon - a night in which the full moon reaches its closest point to our planet. There's a story behind this photo which I will later include somewhere in this web site.
The robins are back. A sure sign that spring is on its way. Buds are appearing on the maples and the deer are having a heyday in our backyard (they are leaving plenty of fertilizer behind).
Feb 3. Air temp -5.
Our anniversary. We will most proably celebrate by going to Tim's and having chili and a donut.
We survived a couple of days of -30 weather only to be hit a week later by the biggest winter snowfall so far. Twelve inches (30cm) deep but light and fluffy, easy to shovel. I don't know where the plow has got to, but my guess is that he's beaten us to the chili and donut.
...and did nothing but play cards and catch trout in a river that was so cold the rainbows had a dark purple stripe along their sides.
From Swan Peak by James Lee Burke
I'm tempted to lie and say I like fly-fishing, but that will probably get me into trouble if he asks me if I tie my own flies, or what's the best trout stream in Northumberland.
From Broken Music by Sting
Jan 14. Air temp 2.
Well now, we had some snow and I put my back out shovelling the stuff. I did it on the first shovelfull when I was clearing the deck. It was the kind of snow that sticks to the shovel and when I had my feet firmly planted and went to throw it over the railing it didn't let go and spun my hips.
The Merlin was stitting in the top of a tree in our backyard. We had the top taken off the tree because it lifted its roots in one of our many December windstorms.
Jan 7. Air temp 2. No snow
Yesterday we acquired twenty pounds of snow crab and spent half the night cleaning and cooking them. Then we had a feast. Today we had snow crab sandwiches. How long before we grow claws?
A different lobster boat, to last years boat, appeared in the cove.
It's amazing that we don't have snow. I'm wondering if we're gonna pay for it with a huge storm later on.
Jan 1 2011. Air temp 3
Once again we took our traditional New Years day walk up the river.
Hardly any snow on the trail and just a scattering in the woods. Water level quite high and we had to take a detour in order to get to the trail alongside the river. No ice on the pond. We came across several icicle formations that were quite unusual. The one in the picture reminded me of a cows udder.
Last Night we watched The Newfoundland Sportsman dvd.


Dec 25 2010
My most favourite Christmas gift was given to me by my five year old granddaughter. It was a hand painted mug with the word Poppy on it and lots of red hearts.
My second was a gift to myself. The New Handbook for the Margaree by Mike Allen. It contains all of the pools in Grey's book plus many of the new pools. Included are updated River Notes and stories of the Margaree. A wonderful book which is available online at Lulu.com
Fishgirl's gift was a painting of her at Spensers Bridge Pool on the River Philip.
We lost six more trees in four different weather events over the past four weeks. Luckily we didn't lose power.