Saturday, January 3, 2015

2014 Fall Steelie Season

 Well of the 28 years I've been fishing steelhead will have to put the fall of 2014 as one of my toughest. Now that I am a 9 to 5 worker makes it even tougher were I have to use that 28 years of knowledge and pick the days with perfect river conditions to maximize the the days that are going to be most productive. Well I hit some great days on the the river as far as water conditions that should of brought fish in but it really didn't happen as compare to the past. Plus I had to take the month of Dec off to fix a an old fishing injury. Yes broke a leg on the river 1999 and the knee had to be fixed up .
 There is a few theory's out there to why it was a tough year for all but that's fishing and if you think every year is going to be a banner year well are you going to get a rude awaking. One theory is because of such a late spring this year and there were a lot of fish that spawned late are still out in the lake to try to rebuild the fat for 2015 spawn. Another is we could of had a bad spawning survival rate back 3 to 4 years ago.
 I was still able to get a few fish so here is a few pictures of my fall 2014 all put into one blog.

Nice female coho 

Believe it or not but a laker caught in the river

Big coho buck in his full spawning colors and big kype jaw

Nice hen steelie

live action release 

Another nice steelie 

sorry but the one ended up in the frying pan

Dec Under Construction!!!!!!

Friday, January 2, 2015

2014 Family Derby

Santa finally has arrived with the trophies for the 2014 Maxfield Family Fishing Derby.
This year we started with the Trout trophy which was a fish caught by my brother Cricket during the Sarina derby and pulled off a 3rd place prize and earned it the title "money fish"

The next Trophy awarded was for the largest Salmon, again my big brother Cricket took the glory with a 10 lb Chinook salmon. I made the mistake of hooking into a big coho and forgot to weigh the brute, I  could given Cricket's 10lber a run for it's money but this was my mistake (Dumb A**).

Cricket was in the running for what we call the triple crown only to have been achieved by my mother Ardis Maxfield. He was well on his way to winning the bass derby with a 4 pound 14 ounce bass caught in lake Huron. Kory was still determined to claim the bass trophy for his own which he shared with Cricket last year, this was the 1st time we have had a dual winner on the Maxfield bass trophy. Kory and I headed out to a local reservoir on beautiful mid October day where he landed a 5 pound 1 ounce monster large mouth to spoil Crickets run for the triple crown.

Last but certainly not least we awarded the Miscellaneous Trophy which consists of the biggest  fish caught any where in the world. Well there was a real dog fight with it this year, my daughter set the bar high early in the season with a 90 pound shark which she caught on a vacation in Mexico. My nephew Joe tied hard to bump her off the podium but couldn't quite do it. He landed a quality 50 pound halibut which fell short and Laura ended up winning with her monster shark. This award was special because she is the 1st girl other then Ardis to win any of the Maxfield fishing trophies. She sparked a great interest with the rest of the girls becoming more competitive and looking to knock the guys off and win one of the prestigious Maxfield Fishing Trophies.

Here are a few of the other fish that didn't quite make the cut.

Joe with a p-cod and his 50 b. Halibut

walleye I caught on the fliy rod

My 46 inch lake St Clair muskie

Kory with a 6lb. walleye
My big coho I forgot to weigh

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Muskie Madness

At the end of September a friend at work invited me out to join him and his cousin in a fishing outing on Lake St. Clair. What a beautiful day it turned out to be. Phil and Steve set out the planner boards and loaded both sides of the boat with four rods. Once the boys had the  boat organized we set off on our adventure. Ready, set, fish!

About a hour into the day and I had the honors of hooking the 1st fish. The pressure was on, I couldn't  afford to loose the 1st fish . My 5 minutes struggle produced a nice  muskie.

Next up was Phil and now the pressure was on him. A hour later and he was on to the next fish .

The day turned out to be a very successful one. We caught 11 fish in 6 hours. My biggest measured out 46 inches just edging Phil's personal best of 45 inches.

Here is a pretty neat device call a recovery trough where water is added at one end and you place the fish facing the flow allowing them to get fresh oxygenated water to help recover before we put the fish back in the lake.

Here is a small video of a couple fish Phil caught. Forgot to film any of my fish but always another time for that

Muskie Madness from Just An Aging Steelheader on Vimeo.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Soo Trip 2014 Vision Rods, Steelhead, Steelhead and Steelhead "Part 2"

 We arrived back at the Soo around noon, Nick and Jay headed off to book a room for the night. I drop Brad off back at the Fly shop and headed back to book myself a room with the understanding we all meet to head out to the rapids at 2 pm. The Soo rapids are the head water from Superior spilling into the St. Maries River and with Superior just officely being ice free that week the water was dam cold. We just came from rivers with temps ranging around 15 degree Celsius (59F) to 2C (35F).  With  6 gates open to the main rapids we could not fish with so much water  which also forced all the fish to be concentrated in the manmade section of the river.

Brad and I fished my favourite pool using strike indicator working the drift like a float rodder would. This hole is deep slow and a natural drift is how you want to attack it. Nick and Jay fished the run above look for a spawning fish then while not disturbing the hen they fished the 5 or 6 fish waiting behind her to gobble up any spawn or bugs that she kicked up while digging her bed up and that drifted away from her . The worst thing you can do is disturb the female. One reason is she need to complete her job to relpenish the resource and second she why the five or six fish are sitting behind her which are usally drop backs or males trying to stage to be the dominate fish.

Now Jay coming from a spin casting background, had never caught a steelhead on the fly rod ever. First cast he ties into his first ever steelie on the fly. Well being a virgin on the fly rod the fish kicked his ass and wave at him with its tail as he dove for more secure dephs. But 3 fish later Jay was able to master the fly rod and landed his 1st steelie on the fly. By the end of the trip Jay had improved so much it was like he had been fishing steelhead on the fly his whole life. He got the technic of nymphing down to a art as if he was a pro. Now the sickness of steelie fishing  had grasped Jay's inner sole and when Nick was ready to leave he couldnt get Jay off the water, "One last cast" I keep hearing.

Jay was so impressed with Brad's teachings of the finner art of fly fishing he sent this letter to the much appricated Brad  

  Just wanted to shoot you a quick email to say thanks buddy! I have done a bunch of fishing over the years but this was EXTREMELY memorable! You taught me how to Spey cast in 5 mins and maybe 15 mins after that, I had a nice Speck! You did a great job putting us on to fish the whole trip! I have NEVER seen such a big run of huge steelies! I cant wait to come back! I have dreamed of it nightly! It will be sooner than you think 😉
Too think...I had hooked, and played, a WAY bigger fish than the one below! I thought I hooked a f*#king TUNA!!!
P.s say thanks to the Red Dragon for me, It was great to watch him fish. I learned a lot watching.

Sent from my iPhone

Jays Letter to Brad says it all on the fun we had on this trip

Oh the Red Dragon came from me biting into a hot saugage just off the gril and the steam that came out of my mouth look like a fire breathing Dragon. The boys were impressed lol.

Well as Jay puts it 2015 is being planned already.

Soo Steelies from Just An Aging Steelheader on Vimeo.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Soo Trip 2014 Vision Rods, Kayaking, Speckle Trout and Steelhead "Part 1"

A trip has to start from somewhere

Well-being a very unproductive spring for me  in Southwestern Ontario for steelies, it was time to do my annual spring trip to the Soo but this year Brad planned a little twist. He invited a couple other guys from the southwest and planned to head off to Superior Provincial Park to kayak and fish for Speckle trout and steelhead. It meant camping in a tent which I hadn't done in something like 30 years but thought what the hell my boy got me heading to Algonquin in August better tuffin up. Now if you never travelled highway 17 you are missing out on one of the most beautiful scenic drives.

Telling there is a lot of beautiful country in Canada to explore there is no need to travel abroad. We finally arrive at our camp ground and set up camp we decide to go out to a nearby lake and fish off the Kayaks for some speckle trout while we wait for Nic and Jay.

Lake Superior Provincial Park Camp Grounds

View out to Lake Superior from our camp site

The fishing was slow but Brad managed a couple bumps using his  silver and cult vision rod with a sinking line. I used a GT four vision rod with a floating line which was silent for this lake making it a nice kayak ride for me.
Brad Kayak fishing for Speckle trout

The boys finally arrived set up camp and we decided to head off to the Agawa river to try for some steelhead. Brad had been up to this river a week earlier hitting it in its prime with a good catch and release of fish. The river had warmed up and dropped a couple feet from the previous week on our arrival. By the end of the night Nic caught and land a nice steelie by nymphing and Jay caught about a 1 1/2 pound speckle trout using the same Technic
Nick's Agawa Steelie

Jay's Agawa Speckled Trout
The next morning we decided to try some rivers an the northern side of  Superior Provincial park for some steelies and speckle trout. The night before we got a lot of rain and finding a river that had not been effected was tuff. Brad and I decided to hit a small lake again for Specks and Jay and Ncck went off to try to find a river fishable. Brad and I fished Rabbit lake and being the nice guy Brad is he asked which rod I wanted to use. I decided go the silver and cult vision rod with sinking line which turn to be a good choice. I had a few fish on but ony landed the one.
Rabbit Lake Speckle Trout

Nick and Jay fished their way back to the camp hitting a couple river stil fishable but rising fast. Nick again nymphng was able to pick up a couple steelies on the mouth of coldwater river.

 Lake Superior Wild Steelhead
Well that night trorrental rains ended this leg of our trip with all the rivers rising fast the next morning so we decided to pack up and  head back to the Soo to fish the rappids which I will describe in my next blog Soo Trip 2014 "part 2". Even though the weather forced us to head back to the Soo I still enjoyed the senery, camping and fishing for specks which I hadn't done in over 30 years and  was very rewarding.



Friday, June 6, 2014

Fun Day Kayaking for small Hammer heads (pike)

Well the weekend plans were set to get the deck painted and a few chore around the house. Kory came home for the weekend to get out of the big city of Toronto and he wanted to get into some fishing. Mom informed him if he helps out and gets most of the chores done he could borrow me for the morning to do some Kayak fishing. Six am Sunday morning came quicker than we thought (Kory being a young guy was out at a stag and Doe until one in the morning) we loaded the Kayaks up to head out to a local stream we knew had an abundance of hammerheads (small Pike) in this water system. Before I could get the Kayaks unloaded Kory was already out casting his favorite spoon for pike called Cyclops. 1st fricken cast he has one on, I hadn't even unloaded the camera gear yet. Well that was the prelude to a good fishing ahead of us.

I stayed at the lower end of the river where we had caught pike previous but Kory being the explorer, ventured 3 k down the river to less traveled area and popped 12 .

 By the time dear old dad made the trek the fishing had pretty much slowed because of  the time of day. Plus we had promised  to be home by 1pm to get  back to work on the deck.