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Bad Day Turned Good On The Freeman


DennisS
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Well finally had an outing where it wasn't me being the story. DaveR and Roy Ramdeen and myself decided we were going to do the Little Smoky. We met a Tim's in Spruce for 6:30am. Shot the breeze for a short time and hopped into my vehicle and headed out. Morning started out not to bad but by the time we hit Whitecourt we were getting sprinkles of rain on the windsheild. With tripadation in ones heart we kept on going but the closer we got to Fox Creek the wetter and heavier the rain came down. Was not looking pretty. Still with the opptamistic cleem in our eyes we stopped for a bite of breakie. While I was eating I had visions dancing in my head how nice it was going to be driving down that beauty Big Stone Road. All that wonderful mud, slipping and sliding, driving at break neck speeds of 20 or 30 K. I just couldn't wait for adventure. Then I came up with a hell of an idea. I said "said guys how do you feel we back track and hit the Freeman instead." Dave and Roy new how much I love driving Big Stone road with these great conditions, but they relented and agreed that tough it would have been a great experince they to opted to give the Freeman a try. We finished of breakfast, water the horse, and jumped back into the vehicle (still peeing down rain) and head back to the Freeman.

By the time we got there it was still raining but not as hard. It sure looked like it had been raining for a bit. I was totally surprised we had the river to ourselves.(No not really). We got all rigged up and off we went.

River didn't look to bad even with the rain. Noticed that it had been up pretty good and had just come down. Dave got to the first hole first and started straining the run with very little luck. Roy stopped and tried a run along some fallen trees a little up stream of Dave. I sat down on a downed tree and rigged up a hopper(Fat Albert) dropper(purple prince(18)) Dave wasn't having much luck so I told Dave that I would just slide around the next bend and try the big pool. When I got their I sized up the pool and waded along the outside of the riffle then casted to the inside and let the flies drift and swing back across the riffle. First cast fish on. It was a nice little 11in. grayling. It had taken the purple prince. I cast out again and let it drifted down and across. It was just going to start it's swing into the riffle when Ker smack down goes the Fat Albert. The fight was on for all of 1sec and snap. He took my whole fly system. While I rerigging Dave came down and he started fishing out through the back of the riffle. He still wasn't having much luck until he started using a size 18 PT. Then Roy came down. He moved down and started fishing some of the slack part of the pool and was doing very will with a size 18 prince. He was fishing away and not paying attention for a bit of time when he realized that he had sunk a bit into the mud where he was standing. He started to try and get out and damed if he didn't start to sink further. Dave went over to help him out. After some gunting and pulling I see Roy pull out his wading boot then a mud smurred foot. But then I notice Dave was still rolling a log over towards Roy I yelled over and Both Roy and Dave called me over to give a hand. So I reeled up and over I went. Well when I got there Roy was almost up past his knee with his one leg and could not get out. I started laugh so hard and thinking thank god it was me for a change. Dave got the log over so Roy could sit down on it. That way we hoped it would stop him for going down further. Then things turned a bit serious as we really couldn't get him out. The harder he tried the further the leg sunk. I wrapped my arms around Roys leg and had him try and pull up while I pulled up on his leg. I ended up pulling so hard that I felt a big pop in my left forearm and a really bad burn in the muscels, not a good sign. Poor Roy, the leg didn't budge. Now Roy was starting to get pretty worried. Dave found a half rotten log and pushed it down and under the foot and tried prying up with it. The leg would come up a bit but the minute Dave stopped the leg would sink back down. After a bit Dave notice that the more he worked the log along the leg the more water ozzed up and as more water came in the looser the mud became. Eventually enough water came in that Roy couldf finally pull his leg out. Finally the ordeal was over. Roy kept saying what would have happen it he had been by himself. Yes I have pictures of Roy praying to the Mud Gods. I will try and post tonight or tomorrow.

So now I can honestly say (likely without a straight face) Roy is a real Stuck in the Mud type of guy. After we got him out we all had a really good laugh.

Roy went and washed off and Dave and I took up our old fishing spots. Dave switch over to a red humpy and for some reason the grayling started hammering it. I had been working on a soft hackle that was black and red that I'm calling the Black Widow Spider so decided to give it a try. That started working very will also. Again I would cast across and let it swing down and across. It worked very will and I caught some very decent fish with it. Roy finally got clean off and he headed back to fish the slack water. I told him to be very careful because we almost lost a guy there not to long ago. Both Dave and I had a good laugh again. We fished there for a bit then we decided to head down stream some more. We didn't have very much luck so we headed back and put another hr or so at the spot we were catching fish. It started raining again and the temp. dropped a bit more so we decide it was time to go.

So a bad wet day turned out to be a great time with 2 great fishing partners. How many fish were caught Well in the wise words of Dave R. Caught over 30 less then a 100. That could be said for all 3 of us.

What I was impressed with was my average size caught . I only caught 2 or 3 garyling that was under 6in. and most were in the 10 to 12in range and with a few over 12.

We had the whole river to ourselves and a good time was had. We packed up and headed home.

 

Again guys thanks for a great day and comrodry cann't wait to do it again.

 

Tight Lines Always

Dennis S

 

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Dennis

 

A very interesting day for sure. Glad to hear that our friend Roy was saved...not a good situation to be in and a lesson learned....while it is ok to fish by yourself, it's always better to fish with a partner and even better if you and your partner each have an FRS radio. Looking forward to seeing some pictures.

 

Vince

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Good story Dennis. I'm glad you were able to help Roy out of the mud. I've been in that position on the Freeman before and since then I've been careful to be aware of my footing. I didn't sink down as far as Roy, but there were some tense moments until I extricated myself.

 

As for the Little Smoky I took a glance down the Bigstone Road on my way to Fox Creek yesterday, and I thought to myself that I'm glad I don't have to drive that road. Then I heard Roy's voicemail when I got home and I wondered what happened to your trip. The Freeman was a much better choice.

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Yes there were a few tense moments for sure and a few lessons to be learnt out of this adventure.

 

Note to self I'm not so sure shovel would have worked as fast as Roy dug with his hand the more mud that ozzed in. I'm not sure if a shovel would have worked by one self. Michael's solution is likely the best and easiest.

 

Tight Lines Always

Dennis S

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Nice report. I was there on Friday, Oct 4 and I found the fishing to be quite slow but perhaps I didn't try hard enough. I caught a few, but not nearly as many as I did on a trip earlier in September.

 

Not sure when you went but I came across some fresh grizzly tracks which also led me to not spend too much time on the Freeman that day. I went over to Windfall and wasn't succesful there either. However, it was a nice sunny day so I just did some other general exploring in the area.

 

I had a similar mud experience on the Embarass River a few years ago and I was fishing by myself. I starting looking for twigs and berries to eat in case I couldn't get myself out. Of course I was fishing nowhere near where I told my wife I was going so if I didn't come home that night help might have been a while coming. At least I was in a good fishing spot should I have been stuck there for a while.

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Although I was alone when I broke my leg I was not without resources. I had with me one of the best pieces of fishing gear I have spent money on. My "inReach communicator"

I highly recomend you look into it. It is similar to the "spot" but in my opinion is much better. It is connected into the military satellites so chances of connection are greater than with the "spot". You can use it to track your movements on your smart phone and on your computer when you get home.

The best part is piece if mind for your family. When you have no cell service you can still send text messages with your smart phone. If you leave your lights on or have a breakdown or just need to let someone know your going to be later than planned you can do so. There is a monthly subscription for it and is based on usage and is quite reasonable.

They have recently released version two, Check it out, I think you will be interested...

 

Delorme.com/inreach

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Well I thought this muddy situation would be quiet history, but someone wasn't as tight lipped as i though... with pictures to boot. Yes i am very happy that i was not alone on this trip, in years past i wouldn't give it a second though to venture down the river for miles, down unexplored parths and even the great bear trail at mile 14 on the North Ram. I have gone as far as night fishing for big browns on stauffer. In our conversation later it was agreed that this was a great lesson experienced by all of us. Safety planning and eyes and mind on task should be good pratice.

 

A great time had by the three musketeers. As Dennis commented, my two friendly flyfishing friends decided to HOG the pool, leaving me to fish the slack water.. i had to make a 100ft plus cast with a three wt. rod above the tailout, beacuse that was where majority of the large fish were. We were treated with an all day drizzle of rain and cold weather only to have very short periods of sunshine that activated hatches of midges, pale evening duns and march browns. In the heat of the moment (Mud Sticking) i had a chance to test a few spider patterns tied from a few old books, fished with a lestering lift i found these to be deadly, what was more interesting is using a few flymph patterns subsurface. I watched Dave take numerous hammering hits on his red humpy commenting on the red silk that it was tied with and it didn't change colour when it was wet. I then recalled a passage from Sylvester Nemes book tiny soft hackles where there was a pattern i tied a red silk and snipe, that had the same effect subsurface. We caught a few fish a good estimation would be 50 to 60 each with seizes from 7 to 14 inches. I did have a good take that broke of right away on a streamer, it had to be a bull trout, by the way it took and headed out of the pool. A great day that ended with a very good and safe story to tell. Will be doing it again soon. I have attached a picture of the pool hoggers...

 

 

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In reality there was no hogging going on. Roy Boy was offered the opportunity to change places more than once, but he was having too much fun dredging fish out of the slack water with his Leisenring Lift.

If Roy measures fish the same way he measures casts, then those 14 inchers musta been minnows. A 100 foot cast would have got caught in the bushes on the opposite bank.

There were some tan caddis around in addition to the hatches mentioned along with a bunch of very tiny and pesky midges. Match the hatch didn't seem to be the way though. Anything with a bit of red seemed to work until late in the day when orange became the color of choice.

Yes, the red Humpy accounted for it's share of fish, but then it got broken off (maybe that same unseen bull trout?). Instread of rooting aound in my fly box for another I tried a size 14 Royal Coachment with a Trude wing. That was the day's most successful fly for me, although several other Royal Coachman variations worked too. Those flies were ones I demoed a couple of years ago at a meeting to show the evolution of a traditional pattern. The choice of floss I think is important because the tradtionals used Pearsall's silk which darkens appreciably when wet.

All in all a great day with lots of fish caught, great company and some sories to tell. That and watching those graying swim away to entertain us next time is what fly fishing is all about for me.

Edited by dave robinson
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Dave

 

Interesting comment re: the 100 foot cast with a 3 weight and the minnows....we all do measure differently eh. I know for a fact that a good fishing buddy and I always differ on length....what I measure at 19 inches he measures at 17....I like my measurement, which by the way, seems to increase in length as the day progresses. My GOLDEN RULE.....my fly, my rod, my net, my fish, my measurement.

 

Your comment as to the floss requires some clarification....did you use Pearsall's silk or regular red floss?

 

Vince

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Denis,

Thanks for the story, you always share a good one. Glad that it all turned out good and you didn't have to call STARS. But about the Little Smokey.....

Last week, while out at hunting camp we took a trip though the Pass Creek area and came across an access point to the Little Smokey. Too bad that I had left the rod at camp since we came across three fellows catching some decent grayling in the 14-16" range on every 2 or 3 cast, there were a few 6-8" too which is a good thing. They were wintering up in the big holes. Probably a good thing that I didn't have the rod since it would have been my luck to put down the pee shooter and start casting then a bull elk would have crossed the river within a few yards.... Anyway while there for a few minutes I took a few photos. Here is one I took of a pleasant chap from Calgary (a pilgrimage for him every September) with a nice grayling in hand. I've never fished the Little Smokey but from what I seen on this day I hope to return with rod in hand. :phishing:

 

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Never backtrack in your own footsteps over sand or mud. When water is nearby, what was solid the first time you stepped on it, might have liquified when you lifted your weight. I don't know what the phenomenon is called, and I think conditions have to be just right so it doesn't happen often, but when it does you have very little warning, and it really sucks. ;)

 

I'm glad you're okay, Roy.

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Jim, that inReach looks like a lot of fun, and better in many ways. But I'm kind of bony, and I think I'd break that thing if I fell on it. As a last line of defence, I think the SPOT is a better tool because it's just about bulletproof. I've sent lots of OK messages from all over northwestern Canada, and I've never had it so much as hesitate to sync up and send, even when guys couldn't get their satellite phones to work. And my first set of batteries lasted over three years.

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:fishing: John I have heard rummors that the Pass Creek area on the Little Smokey can be very good. Problem is it's very hard to get to. One of the locals last year told me about it.I will for sure get pictures of Roy praying to the Mud Gods. I've just been sicker than heck all week. Maybe I just need another couple of days fishing, that should cure me.Tight Lines AlwaysDennis S :fishing::fish_jump:

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Junior;

The phenomena you refer to is typical for thixotrophic fluids.

Multi weight oil, drilling mud, ketchup and quicksand are examples.

The fluid is actually a mixture of water and particulates (usually not much water)

When settled the fluid is thick or almost solid.

But when you agitate it or add sufficent water, it becomes liquid.

I'm not sure exactly what the properties of the particulate are that cause the behavior.

Drilling mud is a mixture of bentonite clay an a few other additives

Bentonite clay is what we have a lot of in Alberta, it's a constituent of glacial till left over from the ice age.

I call it Alberta Gumbo.

The thixotrophic property is useful in drilling mud because the mud is used as a drill head and stem lubricant

as well as a transport meduium for the waste rock from the drill head.

It solidifies when the drill stem stops rotating and keeps the waste from settling back down the borehole and jamming the drill.

It's a damn dangerous property when earthquakes and volcanic eruptions liquify what was previously solid ground.

Edited by dave robinson
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Interesting Dave. I was walking in BC by my grand parents place use to a lake but not near the water. In fact I was on a gently sloping hill. There was not much for tree in the area and it was covered in scrub grass. I saw this patch of ground that was barren and looked slick. Since I was a kid I marched right into the middle of it and promptly got stuck. The more I wiggled the more I got stuck. I was almost to my knees so I laid down and that seemed to stop the sinking.

It took me about an hour to dig myself out.

The barren spot is about 6' across and I've often wondered if there are any dinosaurs in there.

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post-73-0-18860800-1381773005_thumb.jpg

 

 

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Like I promised here is a picture Roy praying to the mud gods. Then through in a couple more of the day

 

one with Roy hooked into no not the bull but another of many Grayling.

then just a random picture of the day.

 

It turned out to be a great day considering how the day began.

 

Thanks again guys for a great day

 

Tight lines always

Dennis S

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