Thursday, February 23, 2012

Fly fishing in Labrador

It's been quite a while since I updated my blog. I have some photos of a trip I made in 2005 to Labrador. We stayed at Kepimets Camps, owned by Matt Libby.

This is an aerial view of the island on Kepimets Lake where the camp is located.

Getting our gear aboard in Labrador City for our trip to camp. We had to bring everything in with us, gear, food, booze, fuel, even a 12 gauge shotgun due to reports of a bear on the island.

This is a view of our camp from the dock.

These are the guest cabins.

These are the two boats we used to travel to the rivers everyday.

Myself and my buddy Richard headed out, our guide Gerard is on the tiller, not a smile on any of our faces. We look like we're going on a hit, you can tell this is serious business!

Labrador is famous for big Brook Trout, most of the fish we caught were in this size range. We fished all kinds of flies, big streamers, nymphs and dry fly's. Everything worked, the fish were not selective. Our most productive dry fly was a Goddard caddis, size 10, but they would hit Wulff's stimulators, and hoppers.

Mostly we waded but sometimes stopped and fished likely spots from the boat. This is Seth with a fine brookie!

We did get some big fish, this was the fish of the week, a 10 pound plus Landlocked salmon caught by Roy on a 5wt rod and 5X or 6X tippet! There were some scary moments there but Roy landed this beauty.

Even I got some nice fish, This fish kept following my fly but wouldn't take, so I put on a size 12 woolly bugger I had found in the mouth of another brookie earlier that day, this one liked it too!

The river was big and brawling, big boulders that were very slippery, but the wading was generally good and it was possible to get to spots mid-river, you just had to be careful. Of course the guides walked all over the river as if were a putting green.

We had a nice shore lunch every day, as you can see, these guides knew what they were doing.

You just can't beat a nap after lunch!

Dinner after a long day on the river. This was a pike fish fry that was delicious! We caught a bunch of pike out on the lake for dinner, that was a lot of fun. Some of those pike are scary!!

After dinner, a few cocktails around the campfire, we even saw the northern lights!

De plane, boss, de plane!!
All good things come to an end, after a great week with great friends we are headed home.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The West Branch of the Penobscot River

Just mention the words "West Branch" to a Maine fly fisherman and he knows you are talking about the West Branch of the Penobscot. One of Maine's premier land locked salmon fisheries, the west branch of the Penobscot is also one of Maine's most beautiful and rugged rivers. Mount Kathadin, Maine's largest mountain , stands like a sentinel overlooking the river. Driving along the Golden Road and catching your first glimpse of Kathadin will quicken your heart beat, you are in God's country.

Moose, Black Bear and Deer are abundant, it is not unusual to see a half dozen Moose in a single day. On a recent trip along a five mile stretch of the Golden Road we saw two Moose, two Bucks and three Black Bear. Moose photo safaries bring as many people here as Salmon fishing

The West Branch is a big, brawling river in a hurry to get downstream. The river is peppered with class IV and class V rapids, the cribworks below the Telos Bridge are something to behold. All this fast water and rapids bring rafters. Whitewater rafting is big business on the west branch, somehow rafters and fishermen peacefully co-exist here. The spectacle of a raft full of teenagers crashing down the river can provide an entertaining break in an afternoon's fishing.

This is McKay Power Station, below the Gorge, this pool can give up some very nice Salmon. It can be fished from either shore, Where these anglers are fishing requires a bit of a hike and a climb down a fairly steep drop. Smelts can be swept through the turbines and dumped, dazed, into the out flow where large salmon await their arrival. I used to fish here a lot when I was a younger man, nowadays I leave it for the younger guys. A word of caution, flows from the power station can raise the water level very quickly here, if you hear the sirens you'd better get out of there pretty quick.

This is my friend Jeff Bellmore, a Master Maine Guide, netting a salmon for a client on a downstream section of the river

This is Little Eddy, I caught my first west branch salmon here about 17 years ago. this is a wonderful pool but difficult to fish from shore. The opposite shore is easier to fish and is accessible by a trail. The best way to fish this pool is from a canoe but it can be very dangerous. If you venture out here you better know what you are doing. The current is fast and strong and the section below is a boneyard of rocks. That being said, an evening on Little Eddy with rising Salmon is other worldly. Not for the inexperienced or weak of heart. (I haven't fished it in years)

As I mentioned, the west branch attracts not only fishermen but occaisional beautiful young ladies. Here an angler tries to concentrate on fishing while a young lady relaxes on a rock at Sourdnahunk Falls.

This is the ledge above Holbrook Pool, this is a very good spot for drifting a nymph or floating a dry fly. salmon lay in the glassy pocket water behind rocks.

Another view of Sourdnahunk Falls, This is a spectacular and beautiful pool, a nice pebble beach and good riffles and pocket water downstream. A good pool to swing a wet.

Another view of Holbrook Pool, this is my old friend Jim McLarty, now deceased, fishing his favorite pool on the river. Jim's ashes were sprinkled here. Jim liked this pool for good reason, he once landed a seven pound salmon here. While we scrambled for a camera, Jim landed the fish, slipped it quietly back into the river, tapped his forehead and said "I don't need a picture, I'll have it forever in here"

This is me a hundred years ago, in a nice baby blue wading vest, what was I thinking?

And this is what brings us here, beautiful land locked salmon.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Another Bass trip on the Penobscot River

This is my friend Paul McGurren. Paul and I fish the Penobscot River every year for smallmouth bass. Paul manages the flyfishing department at Maine Sports in Rockport Maine. The smallmouth fishing on the Penobscot is outstanding, Paul is a registered Maine Guide and has been guiding this section of the Penobscot for 20 years. Paul is kind of a mentor of mine and a good friend, he has helped me with my casting skills and got me into serious fly tying. He is great company and a delight to fish with. If you are interested in a guided trip on the Penobscot you can contact Paul at ""

This is Paul's most productive fly on the Penobscot, a black bead head chamoise leech. I have seen him catch some of the biggest smallmouth on this fly, in fact, thats the fly he caught the bass on in the picture above. We had tough conditions that day, high winds and high water, but Paul still nailed them on this fly.

Richards wet fly, the man, the fly, the legend......

This is my friend Richard, he is a retired flyfishing photographer. His work has appeared in all the major flyfishing magazines and books. Having spent the past fifteen years photographing other people catching fish, Richard now spends most of his time with a fly rod in his hand instead of a camera. We have fished together all over, Alaska, Labrador, Canada and all over the great State of Maine.
This is "Richards fly". A simple hares ear soft hackle wet fly, but in Richards hands this fly is a fish catching machine. Everyone we know carries a few "Richards flies" with them and we all catch some fish with them, but Richard simply shines with this fly. We could be standing side by side, fishing the same run with the same fly and he would outfish me 3 to 1. This says a lot about having confidence in a particular fly, if you really believe in it, it will perform for you. Last week we were fishing the West Branch of the Penobscot River, Richard was doing his usual wet fly swing (it don't mean a thing if it ain't got that swing) picking up fish after fish. Soon all the hackles were worn off the fly, leaving only a hares ear body with a red head. Still it continued to catch fish, Richard speculated about stripping the fly to it's simplist form, it might catch fish with a bare hook and just a few wraps of red thread. While I go fishing with dozens of different patterns, Richard is a minimalist, he does fish other flies but generally works from an arsenal of less than a half dozen different flies, they all seem to work for him.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Some flies that have been good to me lately

Head: Glass bead
Body: Olive copper wire
Thorax: Burgundy dubbing
Head: Gold bead
Tiemco 2487 size 20
Tail: Pheasant Tail fibers
Rib: Copper wire
Body: Pheasant tail fibers
Thorax: Peacock herl

This fly worked well during an Olive hatch
Tail: 3 Dun Microfibbets, split
Wing: Snowshoe Rabbit foot
Body: Olive Turkey biot
Thorax: Olive dubbing

Tiemco 2487 size 20
Body: Fish hair strands
Wing pad: Diamond braid
Head: Black Bennechi thread 12/0

These flies produced very well at the west branch of the Penobscot River last week.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Let's Go Bass Fishing

Maine has great river smallmouth Bass fishing, my friend Richard and I took a trip to the Penobscot River above Bangor last week and had some great fishing.
We caught a lot of fish, Richard had two fish over 18"
I had to settle for the smaller fish, but I made up for it in numbers.

This is our guide Kevin McKay, . Kevin was great, we had a lot of fun with him and he worked hard to keep us on fish. I am an avid flytyer, and I had tied a lot of flies for this trip but Kevins flies were the top producers. He knows what these fish like to eat. A very personable young man too. In case you're wondering why Kevin is standing in the water, we lost our anchor so we tied a rope around Kevins waist and tossed him overboard!
Thanks for a great day Kevin.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Some dry flies

This Caddis fly is tied on a Tiemco 100BL, a great all purpose barbless dry fly hook.

This CDC emerger is tied on a Partridge Oliver Edwards K14ST, I love this hook for emergers but it is very hard to find, may be discontinued.

I like hooks, this is tied on a Tiemco 206BL black finish, barbless.