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Solo Fishing Grayling in Northern BC 'Different Strokes for Different Folks'

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A flood of trail cam photoís fill my newsfeed, horn porn being spoke about as gnarly, beautiful, or the words ĎI hope I find a cranker like that this season!í. The anticipation is building! Moose and Elk season is here! Every, and I mean every one of my outdoor buddies are now drunk with thoughts of chasing that big bull. It seems the worlds troubles disappear as the season approaches. Whether itís lady troubles, or crazy work schedules, the words ĎAh, I donít need to worry about that right now, I have hunting season to take my mind off ití. This is something I have observed as an effective form of therapy based on the majority of enthusiasts Iíve spoke with have said those very words. Also I find proof within myself. Fishing sure the heck does it for me. Ridiculous at times, I have conjured up countless missions to drown what plagues my mind with a think on the drink. The rest of what I take to the water with me can be left on shore. Not to be thought about again until there is not one need to focus on wind direction, if the bait is smelly enough, water temperatures, barometric pressures, water color and clarity, sink rates, regulations, drag set, or whether that cloud looks like a turtle, or a mouse? Turtle, it was definitely a turtle. This shift in focus is the easiest way to mussel that drunken monkey bouncing around in my head.

This being said, if you live in the North East of British Columbia, good luck finding a fishing buddy during hunting season! Hell, even I have been obsessed at trying my hand at elk hunting. Not only could the little ladies and I use the winter meat, I had the urge for the surge! I was fortunate enough to spend some quality time with family, rubber bouncing over the earth, feet sore, with cow estrus sprayed all over my lucky cap and a bloody chunk of antler, found in the flesh of a snapped aspen tree, carried with me  in the brim of my pissy lid. 7 attempts and not one bugling beast was seen let alone heard. As a complete rookie hunter, I have this vision in my head of a huge muscle bound body charging in after what he lusts for with his breath bellowing out in that classic and intense bugle, throwing caution to the wind with the inability to stop himself from going for what he can't resist. I'll get my chance at this adrenal rush I am sure.

Long story long, my adventure intensity has been unfulfilled. So, despite the 'if you can't beat them join them' I decided to go with what I love. Get my fill!

When you wake up as eager as a river about to burst her banks, itís time to fish! There's nothing quite like hearing the turbo scream a little louder. Combustion bursting through your machine with RPMs not found on the monotonous paths. I woke up knowing it was time to point and go. It was my first time in this area and it felt like home. I will go back. Next time will be further. Next time will be into the Rocky Mountains bordering the Muskwa Keckika. I was close this day, but time was a factor and I was cautioned to not travel alone and unarmed as there is a high concentration of predators in this area, besides the fish were on at my first scheduled stop.

I arrived at the river, well... rivers and parked my truck beside the camp of 4 men skinning their freshly harvested bull elk. What a prime day in beautiful back country. Lucky guys! The night was cool and the vicious fall wind had decided to sleep this morning. After navigating my way down the cliff side to the river bed I see a beautiful merging of the 2 water veins. One was an average, see it every day shallow river, while the other was a deep fast flowing green beauty with sand and small stones visible clear to the bottom, both cutting along the shale canyon walls. LOVE! The mouth where the rivers met was a neat one. Under the waterís swirling surface there was a wall where the shallow main flow met the other. The current slammed against this wall curling, swirling and switching back; trapping most of what flowed in before being redirected downstream. This is where the bite was hot! I imagine it has something to do with my fly and other small food sources being pinned against the wall by the current making them easy picking for the Grayling and Whitefish.

After my skunk on the last river trip in the pool holding a million Arctic Grayling. I did some research and had concluded the Grayling are taking on totally different patterns and colors than years previous. Orange seems to be the hit. The stimulator fly on my hat has received some compliments, since I placed it there this spring, so I chose a size 10 stimulator with grizzly hackles, an orange thread head and crystal flash mixed with the buck tail wing and tail. Before leaving home I rigged up my new 8wt and tied a new 2x leader and a micro swivel with a 4 foot fluorocarbon tippet on the other end. It seemed to give me the perfect sink rate as I was getting strikes at the same spot on almost each retrieve.

The bite was on and I didn't mind experimenting with some underwater photos. Sure, I lost quite a few good sized fish in the process, yet I feel no loss taking my time to really appreciate the beauty of the well admired Arctic Grayling (Thymallus arcticus) The blue hue to their vibrant exaggerated fins as it swims, to the light colored striations sometimes pink or aqua in color on the pelvic fins, to the purplish, gold, silver, or blue scales and can have black freckles along the lateral line and cheek. Oh and then letís all take a minute to appreciate the famous dorsal fin with its pink-red ridge and red, aqua, or purple spots scattered in all the many rays. Brilliant! They tend to fight with the energy of a larger trout for comparison. In fact, I thought I finally hooked a decent rainbow trout when the best grayling I have seen took on my stimulator when I paused for one last second on the hang with my gear loaded in my pack and slung just before a planned move up stream. I didn't focus on the official measurement as I tried to take care to photograph this ample grey without spoiling his gills with sand. Well, isn't fishing the hang a little something like the 'last cast'?! It's never the last cast is it?! It lasts a little longer than we plan. Usually longer than the patients of most partners if any.  Just a little more! Always needing just a little more satisfaction to add to the wealth I personally strive for as an angler. It pays. Sometimes it pays!

Feeling satisfied, I switch up with some different flies to see if I could locate a trout or two. No beans. I will be sure to explore this new honey hole some more. Find some access spots to some more holes that look fishy enough to hold some monster bull trout.

So you know I was cautious and didnít head further North based on the advice of a worried friend. Do you think he factored in that after 3 pm the camp will be void of all its men and rifles, yet filled with yummy carcasses hanging from trees every few sites, grouse guts and wings sprawled about, packages of minnows and trout egg scented bait left along shore? Now when a squirrel and weasel fighting in the leaves above where the camps are located scares the bageebies out of you. Itís time to bounce. Too bad. Next time! Luckily no bears to be found back on top when I climb up the steep muddy path, and the hunt camp's fire is still warm enough to warm my paws and scarf my PB&J. Iím sure they wouldn't mind.

'Adventure is always in Season' ~Ooberfish~

Bill Dance:
Awesome read and very nice pics!

Thank you :)

Ya great thread.. MFF was way overdue   :)

Yup, just in time to jump on over to iceshanty... soon soon :)


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