June 16 marks opening day for the east slope streams which means more fishing opportunities for everyone. Opening day has arrived!.
In anticipation of the 16th, each day the past week we have focused on products that can come in useful as you explore the streams of Alberta and beyond.
Day 1 - Beverage holders It's time to get serious. Hydration is important - always take water with you for a day of fishing. We encourage folks to try to #kickplastic by using refillable water bottles and have a few fish-themed water bottles to help you with this pursuit. But the kind of beverage holders we're going to talk about today are to help you extend that fishy-vibe to the beginning and end of your days.
Deyoung drinkware - Derek Deyoung and his wife/partner Janell are innovators in fish art. Derek creates the artwork and together they reformat his original designs to help get them in the hands of more fish enthusiasts. We stock his art on coffee mugs, can koozies, rocks glasses, pilsner glasses, or the latest beer can pilsner glasses.
Looking for cups that will withstand a summer of camping. Our Fish Tales imprinted Sili-pints might be the answer. Available in a few color options these non-breakable cups are great for daily use.
Day 2 - Tippet Material Now's the time to take inventory of your leader and tippet material. Keep in mind that monofilament leaders and tippet will deteriorate over time (exposure to light and bug spray with DEET speeds up deterioration.) We suggest checking out your supply before heading to the mountains. If it's no longer translucent or easily breaks when knotted it's time to replace it.
A general rule of thumb for figuring out what tippet size to use is to multiply the number ahead of the "X" by four and match that number to the size of your fly (ie. 2x leader = size 8 fly, 3x leader/tippet for size 12, etc.) This 'rule' gets broken regularly but is a good place to start. Upsize your tippet (to stronger options) early in the season or when the fish are not spooky. A stronger connection to the fish will allow you to land (and then release) your fish faster which helps minimize stress.
Not all leader/tippet families are created equal. Since our primary leader/tippet material is Rio brand, we'll run through some of their lineup as an example.
- Rio Powerflex (best seller) is a good all around, general-purpose monofilament.
- Rio Powerflex PLUS is a new generation of monofilament that is 20% stronger and has slightly less stretch than standard Powerflex.
- Rio Suppleflex is dry fly specific monofilament. It's very soft and supple with extra stretch.
- Rio Fluoroflex is first generation fluorocarbon. It's slightly stiffer with very little stretch.
- Rio Fluroroflex Plus is second generation fluorocarbon that is more supple, has more stretch, and is stronger than Fluroroflex in equivalent diameter.
Day 3 - PACKS Whether you're heading out for an hour or a day there's a pack to match your needs. Sling packs have been popular choices the past few years and are now available from most of the major manufacturers. (That's not to say that backpacks, waist packs, chest packs and vests aren't also good options.)
Here are a few things to think about when considering a new carry system:
- Will your gear fit? (Or maybe) Do you need to take everything you have out on every excursion?
- Is there a hydration system in the bag OR water bottle storage capacity.
- How/where will your net go?
- Will your gear be easy to access?
- Does the system have features to store the necessities (like floatant, nippers, hemostats, tippet, fly boxes.)
- Does it impact my mobility/ability to cast?
When shopping for a new carry system don't be afraid to try a few different ones on and give some consideration to the above questions.
There are some cool systems on the market including:
- SIMMS Freestone ambidextrous sling pack from SIMMS (new for 2019)
- SIMMS' G4 Pro Shift fishing pack (new for 2019.)
- Patagonia's Sweet Pack Vest
- Patagonia's Vest front sling
- Fishpond's Switchback wading belt system
- Fishpond's Gore Range Tech Pack
Day 4 - RODS The variety of conditions and innate differences between the fish species you'll be targeting on your excursions to the Eastern Slopes may have you wanting to expand your rod selection. While 5 wt's or 6 wt's can cover most Bow river situations you'll have more fun and be better equipped to explore more fishing methods if you expand your quiver of rods.
You don't golf 18 holes with one golf club.....
If you're in pursuit of cutthroat - lovable, beautiful, dry-fly eating cutthroat - a 4wt outfit is a great choice. You may want to consider something slightly shorter than a 9' rod and you may opt for a different action than your go-to rod for the Bow. Keep in mind what you're going to be using this lighter rod for and try to test-cast a couple of options before you buy. (Yes - we will do that with you at the shop.)
If Alberta's Provincial fish - the Bull Trout - has piqued your interest you may want to upsize your equipment to a 7 or 8 wt rod outfit. These slightly heavier rods will allow you to more comfortably handle the bigger flies (and potentially sink tip heads) that are often needed to get the bigger boys.
We offer a large variety of these rod weights at different price points and from different manufacturers. Try before you buy to get the right tool for you.
Day 5 - FLIES It's time to replenish the boxes. Our fly bins are full of proven patterns and we have plenty of new ones too!
If you're gearing up for cutthroat on the east slope streams here are some key bugs to have in your box.
- Green Drakes
- Stoneflies including golden stones and little yellow sallies.
- Terrestrials - ants and beetles in particular.
- And no cutty box is complete without a selection of attractor patterns including H&L variants, stimulators, Royal Wulff, Purple Haze, micro Chubbies.
If you're looking to target Bull trout then the streamer bin is a good starting point. Galloup's Sex Dungeon, Clark's Rat, Dalai Lama, Clousers, Marcum's Butte Rat, are some good go to patterns.
Day 6 - ALTERNATIVE FOOTWEAR Waders and boots are good for the first couple weeks of the season on mountain streams, but by mid-July you may be looking for something cooler. There are several footwear options that are great for hot weather.
We carry a selection of SIMMS' wet-wading shoes. The SIMMS Riprap series of wading sandals or shoes are lightweight and available in felt or rubber soles, in men's and women's sizes.
We also stock the SIMMS intruder boot that includes an integrated neoprene sock to stop debris from getting inside.
If you want to continue using your regular wading boots but find them too big when you're not in your waders, you may want to invest in a set of Neoprene Socks. We carry options from Hodgman , Patagonia, and SIMMS. We typically sell a lot of these for wet wading.
Lastly, the Fishpond Chacos have a vibram sole and are comfortable to wear all day on (or off) the water.
Choosing to wade wet while fishing the warmer days of summer can be more comfortable and potentially extend the life of your waders.
Day 7 FLOATANTS - There are a lot of choices in floatants these days but they can all essentially be broken in to three categories.
- Paste or gel floatants such as Loon Aquel (best seller), Royal Gel, Payette Paste, Lochsa; Gehrke's Gink. Use these while on the water to treat your dries as you're fishing them. We like Payette Paste for our bigger foam flies (hoppers and stones). Aquel is a great all-purpose floatant that doesn't leave an oily slick on the water like others in this category. Lochsa is a better choice to use on flies with CDC feathers.
- Desiccant powders like Loon Dust, Blue Ribbon, Top Ride (best seller); Shimazaki Dry-Shake are a good option if your fly is wet and you want to continue using it. You can use this on a pre-treated (with paste, gel, or liquid treatment) to dry out a fly so you can continue fishing it.
- Liquid/Fast Evaporating treatments - Fly-Agra (best seller), Loon Hydrostop. These are best for pre-treatment of flies and can even be applied when you're at the tying bench.
There's nothing quite like catching fish on dry flies. These treatments can help you be more successful on the water.
Check your vest to make sure you have some kind of floatant before heading to your favorite cutty stream. And stop by the shop to replenish or get more information on any of these products.