Our Man In Canada
March 29th, 1999


By Kevin Fancy

In eastern Ontario there are very few trout waters where one can ply the craft of fly fishing the old fashioned way. That is to say, chest deep in water so cold your nether parts develop a noticeable type of hypothermia that slowly, after a few hours, creeps up to the brain. Come to think of it, maybe it's a blessing that we are so short of cold rushing trout rivers and our families are considerably bigger.

If you do like to wade, eastern Ontario can offer many opportunities in the department of more heavily scaled fish varieties. Warmer rivers, mostly fed by surface water supplied lakes, abound with crappie, bass (of both kinds), pike and muskie as well as all the other species of pan and course fish. They don't look or taste like trout but when it comes to fight, I'll put a bass or a big pike against a trout for fun any day.

Georgian Bay

That is not to say that we don't have trout waters in eastern Ontario. The majority of trout found here however are the lake dwelling varieties. I have been chasing Ontario's "lake living" trout for more than fifteen years. I have come to know the best ways to catch them. In doing so have been shunned by a large portion of the fly fishing community. When fishing a body of water miles across, miles long and sometimes hundreds of feet deep, convention goes out the window for practicality. I have therefore, for many successful years, resorted to the art of fly trolling.

Kevin and results

I know, pitch a length of hemp over the yardarm. That's not real fly-fishing you say. I've heard it all and it's as legitimate a method of fly fishing as dabbling your top dropper or nibbling your dog nobbler, whatever. Fly trolling is merely an alternate method to traditional water whipping. In Scotland trolling it is called Loc style fishing and is quite common. There however, they take advantage of the ever present winds and a drogue or drift sock, as we know it. It's a very uncontrolled drift, but a method of trolling nonetheless. I simply take it one step further and add an electric motor or a pair of oars. My trolling patterns tend to follow shorelines or structure but little else is different from the Scottish method.

Muddler Minnow When trolling, your fly is always on the move with bursts of power as you tease the rod forward. This action makes Wooly Buggers flare and Marabou Muddlers appear to pause. It is at these points of pause where most strikes occur. That, and when you are on the side of the boat enjoying an outside turn and your fly rises and speeds up at the same time.

Marabou Muddler

Hits that occur while trolling are swift and violent. A small Brown of three pounds will wake you up and almost snap your wrist. A rainbow of five pounds can stop a boat dead in the water or send it for a sharp turn. Fun stuff at five a.m.while you are pouring the first hot coffee of the day. The best baits I have found for trolling are attractors. I surmise this is due to the speed. Fish don't have a chance to study the bait and hit something visable out of instinct. No matter where you fish colours like orange, yellow and purple seem to be the best producers. The only exception to the rule is the Muddler Minnow. It seems to produce any time anywhere. A good speed to troll at is about three miles an hour (or about a slow walking speed). On active days SLOW down your troll and on slow days SPEED up. Use a good sinking line or sinking tip and pay out all your line to the backing, to tempt the wary fish that avoid your boat noise.

Well that's it. Trolling in the basic form. I may come back and talk about this later and maybe even pass along some of my favourite patterns at a later date. That is unless I am bumped off the site or hung for the sport of crows for mentioning such a thing as trolling with flies. Till next time, Happy Hooking! ~ Kevin Fancy

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