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Discussion Starter #1
Im going to start this up as a collection of pics, short stories and ramblings of my angling in the central Alberta area. My knowledge on most of the angling and how to go about doing it out here is still very limited so there will be a number of posts that are mostly exploratory in nature with the occasional fish thrown in when I get lucky.

I have a 4 wt, a 5 wt, a bar rod/reel and the Limit Killer switch rod paired up with a Milner. Early plans are to spend significantly more time on the North Saskatchewan River looking for pike, lake sturgeon and mooneye with hopefully a few trips out into the foothills for brown, brooks, bows and maybe bulls and cutts.

I found a nice looking area early this morning that looks promising for sturgeon and maybe pike. Im going to try and check it out mid week with the float rod and see what happens.

 

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Discussion Starter #2
I got off of work at 5 am this morning and came up with a quick game plan. Sleep for a few hours, get up around 10 or 11, hit up the fishing store for a license and some bait and go check out the area I saw earlier today in the week before coming back home and getting a couple more hours of sleep before I have to work again.

So the North Saskatchewan River is like a mini lower Fraser River, relatively nondescript on top, a mud/rocky bottom and dark. So in order to get a feel for how fast the water was moving and the depth I was dealing with in this area I rigged up a float and a piece pencil lead and began probing the river. 5 or 6 casts and move up 40 more feet and do it again. First thing I noticed was the river was up about 10-12" over the weekend, probably still runoff, not sure how long that is going to last or how high its going to get. The area I was checking out ranges from 6'-9' deep and is flowing at a relaxed pace with a mostly hard mud with some rocks mixed in out to as far as I could cast off of the bank. After depth checking to the top of the run I added a dead minnow to a short leader 12lb leader and 1/0 hook and started hoping.



Float fishing a low vis Fraser replica lost its appeal pretty quickly so after about 30 min I took off the float and dunked some bait. I tossed out into about 6' of water on the current line of fast and slow water. I was only using about 3" of pencil lead and the clicker on my Milner as a drag but it was enough in the mild currents.



It didnt take too long for the action to start and after about an hour and a half I'd had several good bites and managed to land my first 2 Goldeye.





I'm going to count this short trip as a success and try to build on it into the next trip.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Can you eat Goldeye? I had to Google them as I had never heard of them.
Not sure. I think the limit is 10/day though. I might try them for sturgeon bait, kinda like pike minnows for sturgeon, in the Fraser.

I though this was B.C. fishing reports???:peace:
Haha. Not anymore. Going to be Western Canada Fishing Reports by the time I'm done posting for the year lol
 

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I though this was B.C. fishing reports???:peace:

Go for it, ABSteel. My great grandpa and his twin brother used to pan for gold in that river after coming from Islay in Scotland and then across country from Owen Sound back in the 1860-70s. Always interested to hear about stuff from that area even if it will be a cold day in hell before I ever live there.....
 

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We throw em back. Not very edible. Its a bycatch for us when fishing for Sturgeon on the North Saskatchewan.
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
In my experience the best fishing is found with a back roads map book, a pair of hiking boots and a full tank of gas. So I loaded up all three and tossed in the wife as well for a road/hiking trip to check out some waters that looked like they could produce for me.

We hop in the car, hit the highway, popped the cruise on to 121 and watched the km's fall away. To the foothills we went and the boring prairie drive turned beautiful and fun once we started encroaching into the shadows of the mountains. My goal for today was to check out a tributary of a tributary of a tributary of a tributary to a river.

Rumors were that this little feeder is a mainly spring fed creek with a stable population of small brook trout, brown trout up to a couple or three pounds and maybe a bull trout or white fish in the upper stretches.

The reports of the springs fed aspect were bang on the money. We stumbled upon a number of little brooks like this one on our exploratory journey.



Now most of the little springs were like this one, too small to really hold fish unless there were beaver dams on them but their nourishing and stable waters are definitely aiding the main river when it comes to fish habitat.

Speaking of habitat... whooo wheee! It's beautiful. Deep corners pools followed by woody runs and oxygenating riffles. Sooo much wood in this creek. The surrounding forest is mostly fir and poplar with a mossy and open understory.





The creek was higher and dirtier than I expected to see but there were a couple pretty good thunder storms that rolled through during the night. While the river was brown it wasn't muddy and I was glad to see that even if the rain pounds down its not going to blow out too easily.

Continued...
 

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Discussion Starter #11
As we continued to push further up river here were several thunderheads getting perilously close and threatening to wash us down. I had packed water, a lunch and a stove to make some stream side tea but didnt pack a rain coat, for either of us. Just as we were getting ready to pack it in we rounded the bend to a huge cliff on this little gem.



We scrambled up the side real quick to take a peek around the corner but a sudden, and too close, clap of thunder sent us high tailing back to the car.



We didnt pack any rods with us this time. The journey of a thousand casts starts with a single dream. Reality set in.

There were several other highlights to the day other than of the piscatorial variety. I have never in my life seen so much deer sign. Or elk sign. Or bear sign. Or wolf sign or bobcat sign. The variety of large wildlife in the area was astounding considering that all sign was certainly wiped nearly clean last night.

Fresh wolf




Fresher bear. As we hiked in, these prints were not there. I wish I'd taken a pic because these bear tracks were only 3' off our incoming tracks. Sizable and showing claws. Grizzly? Spooks me either way and we made double time back to the car lol I've always kind of scoffed at people who are scared of running I to a bear when out in the bush. I've had many run ins with blacks while in B.C. and they always turned and ran but having a grizz follow me though the bush really made my hackles stand on end.




So the plan is to return in a couple armed with the 5 wt and a can of bear spray strapped to my hip. If the fishing is even half as exemplary as the surrounding area I just may have found a new favourite... for now.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
So apparently alberta has a pretty good system of river level graphs available online in real time. Very useful for those out of town trips. Also interesting to see the daily fluctuations on the NSR. There is a dam on the river out towards the mountains that creates Abraham Lake. Like most dams on large rivers its primary goal is to make power with secondary use of controlling river flows. Using my newly found flow graphs I can see that the river peaks in Edmonton around 8pm every day. How this will effect the fishing and how I can use it to my benifit is foreign to me right now but they m sure it will come in handy at some point in time.

 

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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
So I finally managed to get out for a few hours again. Work has me tied down 6 days per week for a while so my time is tight. Saturday evening I decide that I'll head out Sunday morning for a few hours on the NSR looking for a sturgeon again.

4x4 loaded up




Rolling through the concrete jungle




Parked in close proximity to the suburbanites. Caution must be taken to ensure that they are not disturbed from their weekend slumber.




The super secret trail that winds down to the river. Nary a soul has wandered it's path in nearly six and one half hours.




But the hardships were worth it




Unfortunately, with little planning I had to take what I could get for bait... which was nothing. All of the smaller fishing stores were closed on Saturday when I decided to make this happen and the Cabelas only had maggots left. Or a 100 pack of dew worms. So I ended up with smelts from Sobeys lol.




Unfortunate because I had wanted to try out the gammi circle hooks on this trip. There were a few quick taps on the smelts but it was obvious that nothing was liking them, at all. On the plus side all of the down time gave me a lot of time to search via my phone for new spots. One that was near by seems quite promising except for the part where if a fish is actually hooked there is a 3' drop to the muddy bank below and I'm not sure how I'd get back up. I did find a new area which looks promising but that will have to wait until next time.
 

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I'm heading to Calgary for 2 weeks for work in a month or so.

Dry dropper is my favorite way to fish. Can't wait to spend evenings and weekends chasing browns, bows, and cutties.

Nice thread :)
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I'm heading to Calgary for 2 weeks for work in a month or so.

Dry dropper is my favorite way to fish. Can't wait to spend evenings and weekends chasing browns, bows, and cutties.

Nice thread :)

I wish I could get out more to toss drys for browns but my reality is closer to catching goldeye on my 4wt in the nsr lol
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Gold in Hand

I wish I could get out more to toss drys for browns but my reality is closer to catching goldeye on my 4wt in the nsr lol
The more I thought about this the more I figured I should make it happen. With the call for no OT at work tonight I made the call to hit the flow again. Off at 5am, quick pit stop at home to pick up some gear and scarf down some food and on the river by 1/4 to 7.

I strung up my Greys XF2 5wt and tied on the most buoyant fly I had, a foam hopper, and had at 'er. I hadn't casted the fly rod since late August of last year so there was a lot of rust in the groove but the cast only needed to be short anyways. I managed to miss a couple fish on the dry and so forth a change of pace I tied on a small pink salmon fly. Small brass bead head, silver body and pink hackles and tail. Ended up with a couple of these.




Changed up to a nymph of some kind, yellowish body, brass bead head, under a flo... indicator. Pulled up a couple more!



So apparently the key to goldeye is not using a 7wt switch rod to catch them. On the lighter stick they are a blast! They pull decent and omg do they like to jump. I'm really starting to like them the more I catch them. Their aggressive, there's lots of them, they fight pretty good and they're only minutes away from home.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Sturgeon Recon

So with a little success under my belt and some time left to spend not at work I headed off to check out an area that looked promising through my internet angling. The roads were jammed with people going to work as I plodded along through the busy city. I missed a coupe turns and got lost in a seemingly endless expanse of housing but eventually found my way to the big river.

I found it. Exactly what I've been looking for. Deep water. Slow water. Sturgeon water.



Saturday, Sunday at the latest I'll be back but this time armed with proper bait and appropriate gear. The bar rod is coming out. Its time to get serious.

 

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Discussion Starter #19
Headed out this morning with the sturgeon stick and some real bait to the new area I checked out earlier in the week.




The river is up due to some big rains and runoff, about 30% more volume. I was out for about 5 hours and nothing. Might try early Sunday for a few hours again.
 

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Went out early this morning just driving around the river and checking out possible sturgeon holes and hit the jackpot. About 5am I'm walking down a trail and on the other side of the river I see something that looks like it could be good. 20 minutes later I'm walking down the other side of the river and it starts to look good, real good. Then I see three dudes there fishing. So I sneak up in the bushes and listen in for a bit. They're fishing for sturgeon. And they're talking about ones they've caught there before. I sneak back out do a few fist pumps on the way back to the car. I have no gear with me so I go back home.

After about an hour im too amped to fall asleep so I grab my 11'6" clarus matched up with a king pin and go out to my usual spot, because its so close to home, to pin up some goldeye. Its like I'm fishing for coho in slow water. Small foam float, little piece of lead and a half a dew worm on a short leader. Immediately I'm into goldeye. And somewhere I the next hour and a half of consistent action I also manage a small walleye. My first one ever. And I caught it on the pin lol

 
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