Flyfishing from a canoe

I just got back from a fishing/camping trip to one of our beautiful mountain lakes. The Wenonah Fisherman is an ideal boat for this particular setting. This lake is both fed and drained by a small stream that is pretty easily navigated by poling a highly maneuverable canoe, but is blocked (to all others but a poled canoe anyway) by a barely submerged logjam at the low end and twisty and narrow (boat-width) channels at the high end.

The best fishin’ holes were surrounded on both sides by a tall grassy wetland with about two feet of water. Standing in the canoe with a pole is the only way to go, because you can park in the tall grass and cast into the pools without spooking the fish as you would if you were wading. And of course, you can easily see down into the pools from that vantage point.

I also had some success while casting a fly over the holes and ledges while drifting slowly.

Fishing on the lake was slow this particular week. While most everyone was having little or no luck there (including myself, even though I had some success while trolling) I snuck away into the stream where no one else could get to and brought about a dozen brookies per hour to hand. I released them all but one for a camp meal (I’m not that into eating trout, but I love the fishing).

Fishing from the canoe in otherwise inaccessible locations is a most pleasant experience. Lots of wildlife to see and listen to in such a peaceful setting. This is what got me into canoe poling in the first place, and while I do love poling up challenging water just for the sport of it, I wouldn’t want to miss this kind of fishing trip.

As an aside, the question has come up here in the past about the best color for a fishing boat. My Fisherman came from the maker with a camo finish (no longer cataloged). I didn’t pick it - it’s just what I found on the used market. Anyway - while I’m sure it must have blended in well with the tall grass where the fish wouldn’t have noticed it even if it were bright red, the brookies would all school away from the shadow of my boat while I was moving - but not further than I could cast. OTOH - as long as I kept the boat still against the grass or the bank, they tended to treat it like any other “ledge”. Bottom line…I don’t think color or pattern makes much difference to the fish. It’s all about movement and shadows - or lack thereof IMO.

Canoes, kayaks
I fish from canoes and kayaks all the time as it lets me get where other fishermen can’t. When I’m river fishing, I usually use the boat to get from hole to hole and then get out and wade fish, though I do fish directly from the boat as well. I think you are right about boat color not making much difference to fish. Its all about movement shadows and noise.

Brook trout…
…are absolutely my favorite fish to catch. They always fight far harder than any other trout of a comparable size and their coloring is like a fine painting. Took my share near Aspen last year. First up on Maroon Creek up by the Bells and then a beauty on the Roaring Fork using a #12 stimulator that I bounced off boulders to hit the lies just downstream of them. Had just bought a fast action Winston, and that rod let me place my dries on a teacup - and it was their less expensive Ascent line. I’ve also got a Sage with a Hardy reel and a Scott 6’8" 4wt brush rod for streams like the Rapidan.

Interesting question about boat color. I’m betting money it’s movement - they have built-in shadow and movement detectors that pick up predatory birds, and a moving canoe is just a very large bird :slight_smile:

Spawning Brook trout…
… are gorgeous looking fish indeed. And do they ever fight!

Predatory birds…There were a few osprey around us on this trip. We got to watch them catch some fish. It’s no wonder those brookies were so cagey.

I haven’t learned to use a pole yet, but I do enjoy fly fishing from my canoe. You’re correct about comfort and visibility.

  • Big D

get stick…push boat…don’t fall in

I catch Brookies and pole an IK.
Use a Sea Eagle 380–A floating self bailing couch that I can also stand up in. Rapids of any size are no problem. Hull bottom is black reinforced PVC. (Don’t really think this or movement makes a damn difference to the fish, as I’ve caught trout both with flies or trolling a lure.) As to shade, trout prefer hanging out in pools under downed trees and other strainers/obstructions --Don’t think they have the cerebral capacity to distinguish these as 747-sized stationary predators!