It’s that time of the year. Potential Clients are setting up for the coming season. As with any well organized outing, I always get asked what the daily schedule looks like (if they don’t ask, I’ll certainly tell them).
My home waters are on the Ste-Marguerite River in Central Quebec. It is an Atlantic salmon river and I have been fishing almost exclusively there for well over a decade. The river is spring fed and can vary in flow rates quite dramatically in a 24 hour period. Normally, over the summer season, flows are low and clear. This means that very early mornings are part of the order of the day.
Flow rates on the North arm of the Ste-Marguerite. The top graph shows the year (red and blue) Green is the 9 year average; Grey and purple are historical highs and lows respectively.
Typically, I like to meet newcomers as early as possible. Early for me is before 5 o’clock. If they promise to have had a real breakfast, we can do this a tad later.
The theory is that the salmon who have seen all manner of fly over the past few days or weeks are less shy” in the early morning. On other rivers around Eastern North America I truly believe that anglers start so early because of fishing pressure and overcrowding. Up here, it’s a question of tactics. If the flows are high and the air temperatures cool, there is little reason to get out so early!
As we start out so early in the day, a mid day nap is in order, followed by an early supper. It is important to eat well at the end of the day because the evening fishing session will go right up until dark! In Quebec, Provincial regulations state the one can fish from 1 hour before dawn right up until 1 hour after sunset. When water conditions are low and clear, this last 45 minutes of fishing is often the very best opportunity to connect!
Hitting the evening session with friends on the #23
A few years ago, I had a couple of friends out with me. We fished the day and I showed them a few pointers. As I had to be back to town for a supper meeting, I left them on at their camp with instructions of where and how to fish the evening. The following week I called up to see how things had gone.
I asked if they had connected. No! I asked if the No-see-ums and mosquitoes were bad. No, when they came out for the evening feed, my Buddies had called it a day!
News flash! When the evening rise of biting critters come out, the pools may just start to activate too!!!
We move to dark coloured bigger flies. If you think like a salmon, dark flies are logical. They see our offering in contrast against the lighter sky. I like to use Black Bears and Muddlers.
Mario holding on to a nice salmon which took a forest green Muddler
Boris working hard a big buck which took to the biggest Black Bear I had ever seen attached to a leader!
We work the salmon hard and fast as they all go back to fight another day!!
The last light of the day is often a fine time to hook-up on my home waters. It is worth it to wait those final moments and fish right up ‘til dark. You may have to brave a few mosquitoes and nosee’ums though. Also, remember to bring a working flashlight. The trail back to the pickup can be a bit treacherous in the dark!!!
(Actually, I suppose that this text is the sequel to an earlier article “First Light” from December 10th 2010)