35th Wffc Bih 2015

World Fly Fishing Championship 2019

Great Lakes Atlantic Salmon Fishing | Ontario

Great Lakes Atlantic Salmon Fishing | Ontario


(atmospheric music) – Welcome everybody
to the New Fly Fisher. I’m your host Colin McKeown. In this week’s show,
we’re fly fishing for Atlantic Salmon and
this is kinda different Atlantic salmon fishing. We’re not using bombers,
we’re not using wet flies, we’re using streamers
and sink tips. We’re not in Newfoundland and we’re not in the Maritimes. We’re here in Northern Ontario, in fact we’re in
Sault Ste. Marie, right in the center of the town. I’m with guide John Guiliani and he’s gonna tell us
everything we need to know about how to catch
big Atlantic salmon from five to 20 pounds,
using streamers. It’s gonna be a great
show, stay with us. (gentle guitar music) – [Announcer] The New Fly
Fisher has been made possible thanks to Algoma Country. GofishingOntario.com, Orvis Sporting Traditions, Rio Products, Superfly, fly fishing made easy. (mellow guitar music) – [Colin] Sault Ste. Marie,
the gateway to Algoma Country in Northern Ontario, thousands of
tourists and anglers come through this
small city each year bound for one of the many
wilderness destinations Algoma has become famous for. What many anglers do not realize as they pass by
the St. Marys River is that it is home to
an outstanding fishery. Steelhead, pink
salmon, Coho salmon and even lake
trout can be caught in and near the rapids. But few know about it. What is even more significant about the St. Marys
River is the large number of Atlantic salmon that
come each summer to feed. This is probably one of
the best keep secrets about this river. Yes, Atlantic salmon. Thanks to a consistent
stocking program, there are good numbers
of Atlantic salmon coming to the rapids every
June through to November. I wanted to fish
for these salmon, but I knew I needed an expert. And there’s one
professional guide who has become quite well known for successfully catching these Atlantic
salmon, John Guiliani. John has been
fishing and guiding on the St. Marys rapids
for nearly 30 years. This experience he’s gained over a great deal of time, learning about the
salmon, when they run, why they’re there,
what they’re eating and much more. Bill Spicer had come several
years ago to fish with John and enjoyed outstanding success. They had waded the rapids
and used either nymphing or swinging a fly techniques
to catch the fish. However, in speaking
with John on the phone, he told me there were
periods each summer when the salmon were
aggressively hunting smelt and would take a streamer. – Oh that was a big fish. Big fish.
– The head come up. – That was just the head. – [Colin] The thought of
catching Atlantics this way sounded too good to be true, so I had to come
and give it a try. Joining me today is good
friend Steve Bathgate who owns reelflies.ca, an online fly pattern retailer. Like me, Steve has never fished for Atlantic salmon
in the Great Lakes, so we’re both very
excited to get started. John took some time
to explain to us more about where the fish were, why they were there and
what they were eating. – Well the Atlantic
salmon basically moved in within the last couple of weeks. They make a summer migration from the depths of Lake Huron back into where
they’ve been planted. They’ve been planted at
the Edison power plant, that’s the long building
on the US side here, by Lake Superior
State University. So they home into
that spot first and then they branch out. They feel the current from
the Canadian power house and the US power house. But what keeps them there
is our summer smelt run. So we actually
look for the birds and the birds will tell you
where the fish are feeding. Atlantic salmon
the way they feed, they’ll crash through
a pile of bait and they’ll ball ’em and push ’em up to the surface and then stun them
with their tails and that’s why we do
pretty good on streamers, is because nothing
mimics a streamer like a wounded bait fish. It just kind of
hovers in the current. You’ll see the fish rising, you’ll see them busting on bait and then I try to get above
them and make big swings in the current and you guys
will be pounding your rods, doing a little stripping. Let it drop back and if
you feel a little tap tap, don’t set the hook on that tap. They’ll come up and
slap it with their tails and if you prick
’em in the side, they’ll just take right off and pull up a
scale on your hook. So if you can refrain
from setting the hook, seconds later, pow, so what I’m saying
is set the hook when you feel a fish on. – [Colin] What is equally unique
about what John has learned about these salmon is the way in which he
teases them to the surface. The technique is
known as harling. John explains more. – Yeah this is harling, and this is a Norwegian style, where you fish in a
boat in big rivers, heavy current, more
than three rods and you’re back
drifting streamers on top of wading salmon. The difference
between my fishing and the the Norwegian fishing, we’re fishing for
feeding salmon. Their salmon’s
coming from the salt and of course,
they’re ocean fish so they’re not feeding. So we have that in our favor. – [Colin] Though we have a
spread of flies behind the boat, both Steve and I are
casting to the sides with fast sink tip lines
and double streamers. Just as John has said, we kept spotting salmon
crashing to the surface, chasing juvenile smelt. Terns and seagulls
wheeled above, diving down and grabbing
injured or dying smelt, missed by the salmon. it was all quite
visually exciting, but also very frustrating. Cast after cast,
we could not seem to elicit a strike. Though we have any success
this first morning out, we were not deterred, especially since we’d seen so
many fish chasing the smelt. Perhaps later in the day, we would finally connect. Stay with us. (mellow guitar music) After taking the afternoon
off for some rest, we’re now back out on the water. The sun is out and bright, but the light is just
starting to fade. As day slips away, as day
slips away towards sunset. Our guide John
states it’s go time for the salmon and they
should be coming in soon to voraciously feed again. John has rigged out some rods to tease the salmon up, while Steve and I cast
heavy sink tip lines with short leaders
and double fly rigs. The trolling fly rig set up, John has put in place,
is known as harling. And it’s a popular
means of catching trout and salmon in many countries, especially in parts
of New Zealand. For our purposes, John
has put out four fly rods, two on each side, rigged with floating fly lines and 9 foot leaders, coupled
to a single smelt pattern. These flies only go down a
foot or so in the water column. And the goal is to use them as a means of bringing
salmon close to the boat, where Steve and I
can cast to them with our sink tip lines
and double fly rigs. Sometimes a fish will
take the troll flies, but generally, they can
be caught while casting. It’s all about the conditions. The tension mounts
as we wait to see busting fish and diving terns. – Oh oh.
– That was cool. – [Man] Oh I just seen
another silver one just swim right
underneath the boat. – Ah, I just missed a fish. – [Steve] I seen that. I watched your rod
double right over. – So I felt a little tink, like John had told me,
on one of the flies, dropped it back slightly, then I felt the slam
and I set the hook, and he was on for a
second, but I lost him, but it was a powerful
hit, a powerful hit. After I missed
that nothing seemed to go right for us. – [Steve] Right beside us man. That was five feet
from the boat. – [Colin] Salmon were
coming up all around, but we could not connect. We were so frustrated. Finally we ran out of light, time to head in and try
again in the morning. For over 30 years now, Lake
Superior State University has been stocking
the St. Marys River with Salmon parr each season. Usually 23,00 to 40,000
Atlantic salmon parr are released by the University’s Aquatic Research Laboratory. John Guiliani has been
affiliated with the university and their stocking
program for over 20 years. In 2007, the university
recognized John’s contribution to the program by
naming that year’s class of stocked Atlantic
salmon in his name. He’s the only Canadian to
receive this special recognition and acknowledgement for
his continual assistance to this important
stocking program. The next morning,
we got up early and headed to go back
out onto the river. Conditions looked ideal
and John felt confident this was gonna be our day. We got rigged up
and started casting and then the excitement began. – I’m gonna cut
back on him a bit, so I’m gonna go down to him. Nice head shakes. – Yeah, he’s giving it. That’s it, he’s
staying down and deep, it’s a good fish. – [Man] Oh yeah. – Finally, we’ve had so
many fish hit, but not– – Yeah. – [Colin] Usually salmon
go airborne right away for three or four jumps, but maybe when he
gets to the boat here. – [John] Yeah, when
he sees the boat, he’s gonna jump. Here he is, there’s the leader. – [Steve] Yep, I’m just gonna
keep a steady pressure on him. – [John] And some of them– – [Colin] You want
me to do the net? – Sure. Some of them, they get so full that they can’t jump.
– I’m right beside ya. – They’re just here gorging. – Looks like a grills. – Is it a grills? – Yeah, it’s grills. (splash) Alrighty. – Now he’s taking
the pole a bit. – Oh yeah. He’s throwing good. – [Steve] What do you get
when there’s 12 pounds? – Yeah.
– Yeah. – [John] They’re here,
I’ve seem them roll. That’s it, get that net wet. – Alright.
– Hit that top fly. – Nice fat fat fish.
– Oh it’s a fat fish. – That’s a fat fish. That’s a fat fish. Are you ready, heads up. Now he’s gettin’ wrapped. – He’s coming right down. – Nice male. Yeah baby.
– Yeah, he’s in. – [Man] You got him. – Look at that.
– Good job. – [Steve] Get the flies out. – [John] Yeah, we’ll
get the flies out. She’s pretty wrapped up. I’m gonna get one of you guys to work on the flies. – [Man] Yeah. – Beautiful little salmon. It’s got no fin clips, so that’s a wild fish. (atmospheric music) (atmospheric music) – [Colin] When the
water conditions are
right in the summer, John Guiliani takes people
wading for Atlantic salmon. Several years ago,
Bill Spicer enjoyed a fantastic few days of
nymph fishing with John and hooked into numerous fish. Here’s a great memory
from that visit. – [Bill] Here we go. – [John] That’s a big fish. Big Atlantic.
– Big fish, yeah. – [Bill] Yes sir. – [John] Bravo, that’s the
one we were waiting for. Look at the– Look at the pounding of that, good job Bill.
– Yeah, this is a big one. – Yes, this is a big one. (reeling) Wow. – What you want to
do is try to keep him in the hole if he
tries to run down. This is one of those
three and four year olds. Look at the bend in
that rod, big fish. You’re at the mercy
of the rapids now, that’s all I can say.
– Yeah. – [Bill] I’m really
leaning into this one here. – [John] If he’s gonna
tear down out of that hole, if that’s all he’s gonna do, let him go. We’ll have to chase him. That’s it, let him go now. We’ll walk him– You hold that rod up real high and we’re gonna
have to chase him. – Yeah he’s down and he’s
officially into my backing. You can see the
orange line going, he’s officially into my backing. – See hopefully that fish
will go into that hole and then we’ll be laughing. It’s just the journey down. I think he’s already
in that hole. So just follow me
Bill, this way. Then we’ll go right to shore and we’ll be able to
walk you down to that. – Whoa. Whoa. – Do you mind if I get ya? – It’s alright. I just went for a swim. (laughing) I’m a little embarrassed. – This is the spot
where it’s do or die, you gotta try and bring
him back here now. We hit the fish in the
big hole up stream, the fish did not
stay in the hole, took off downstream and we had to chase him, as you do in the rapids. Hey Bill, you can’t
go any further. – Yeah okay. – [John] That’s over
your head there. – Is it? – [John] Yeah. – That’s good to know. – [John] Just come
over this way a bit. – That’s good to know. What I’m doing is
he’s sitting there and I’m trying to
get him to move. If you pluck your line like that it goes right down into his jaw. He doesn’t seem to want to move. It’s official, he’s gone. That’s too bad. – [Colin] For fishing in
the rapids as Bill was, all you need is an
eight or nine weight rod with a floating line. However, for casting from
the boat using streamers, you need a special set up. Sink tip lines in
a 24 foot length in a 350 grain weighting
are ideally matched to both our 9 weight rods and the conditions. The 24 foot length
is easy to cast without the need
for false casting, while the 350 grain density
compensated sink tip helps get the flies
down to the salmon in this fast water. Full sinking lines do not work as they tend to
cause too much drag. We used a two fly set
up, on a short leader of 10 to 12 pound test. (atmospheric music) Whoa whoa whoa whoa. (reeling) whoa. This guy’s going deep into the backing. This guy’s gone
into the backing. – [Man] He’s down deep, huh? – [John] Yeah okay we’re
starting to drift back now, so you should be able
to pick up on him. – There we go. (groans) This fish took
the smelt pattern. They were bustin’ all around us. I gotta tell you the
mayhem and excitement when you’re trying to– – [John] I’m in neutral now, we’re gonna drift
back from him a bit. – Okay John. He’s taking line again. – [John] The thing is we’ve
got so much current here, it’s unbelievable. – Yeah, look how far
he’s taking this back. – [John] And you
gotta deal with that. – [Man] Now we’re using 12
pound leader right John? – [John] 12 pound fluoro. – [Colin] Yeah. Wow. I haven’t even see
the size of him yet. Oh wow. It’s in the corner. I can see it was in the
corner of its mouth. – [Man] Decent size? – [John] Yeah, decent I
think it’s a next year class. – [Man] Yeah it looks
like it’s in that six, seven pound range. – Nice.
– Maybe a little bit bigger. – Oh look at the, the smelt
are busting over here again. The terns are going
after the smelt. – [John] No boats. – [Colin] The salmon
are pushing up. – [John] No competition. – [Colin] Yeah and
we’re all alone, nobody here. There’s just one guy over
here in the jetty fishing. – [John] And we’re
backing down to him. – Oh he just came off. Aww. – [John] That’s why
they call it fishing. – Yeah and just to show
you what the rig is. Two fly, he was on the
bottom fly, I saw it. Wow, alright.
– Yeah. – [John] Let’s get back at ’em. That was a hard fight. – Oh yeah. Ahh. – [Colin Voiceover]
Now I had lost two fish and I don’t mind admitting, frustration was
starting to set in. Everywhere around us,
the salmon were busting on the surface, even
next to the boat. The tern circled and
dove into the water to happily eat the wounded
smelt missed by the salmon. It was quite a show. Now it was time for Steve and did he ever come
through with a major fish. – It feels pretty good actually. – [Colin] Well done Steve-o. – [Steve] Let’s do our best
to get this puppy in the net. All the lines clear? – [Man] Yeah. – Perfect. I’m just trying to keep
a steady pressure on him. – [Man] Way to go Steve. – Well, I’m not there yet. He’s holding in the
current right now actually. – [John] They’re backing
down, just watch your eye tip. – No that’s good. That won’t happen, don’t worry. There is no chance of that. He’s getting a big head shake. He’s trying to spit
the hook at the minute. Yeah he’s head banging
right now still. – [Man] If you give me a
chance, I’ll catch him. – [Steve] He’s a nice one. Okay, that’s great. (splashing) Oh he’s a nice one. – There’s the jump
we want to see. – [Steve] There you go, okay. Yeah okay, I’m gonna you an
opportunity here actually. Alright, I’m gonna bring
him towards you John. – A little bit higher.
– Okay. – How’s that?
– Woo hoo! – [Steve] You got him? – Good job.
– Ah, nice. – They don’t come
any fatter than that. – [Steve] Look at that puppy. (atmospheric music) That’s a beauty,
absolute beauty. Great job, that’s a beauty. (atmospheric music) – [Colin] Steve and I
enjoyed several days of fantastic Atlantic
salmon fishing, but sadly it was
time to head home. We truly enjoyed this
unique experience of casting streamer patterns
for salmon in fast water. It was unlike anything
we had done before. If you decide to come to
Sault Ste. Marie or Algoma for a fishing trip,
you need to set aside some extra days to
go out on the water with John Guiliani. Whether you wish to
swing flies in the rapids or cast streamers for these
powerful Atlantic salmon, you’ll have a great
time in the water with this wonderful guide. Best of all, you can
stay at local hotels and take in the many
wonderful restaurants that Sault is famous for. For most information
about this show and this destination, please visit us on our website. Thanks for watching and
we’ll see you on the water. – [Announcer] The New Fly
Fisher has been made possible thanks to Algoma Country, gofishingontario.com, Orvis Sporting Traditions, Rio Products, Superfly, fly fishing made easy. (mellow guitar music) (tumbling rocks)

9 thoughts on “Great Lakes Atlantic Salmon Fishing | Ontario

  1. I like Atlanic salmon.
    After I came from the denist I was ready to go huning on a inenational reserve….šŸ˜‚šŸ˜‚šŸ˜‚šŸ˜‚

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