With the ice out and the creeks beginning to swell, the grayling fishing can be superb. Pick any clear, moving river or creek with a foot or two of water and there is a chance fish are sucking back bugs just below the surface.
Our family has recently moved and we now live in proximity to the Yukon River. With the warmth over the last couple of weeks we regularly hike the 15 minutes down to the river to dip our toes and give the dog a swim.
I’ve been watching the progression of a nice little cut bank from ice through to thaw and now to moving water. At first a trickle, now a couple of feet, a little creek has been showing some nice grayling promise.
I’m thinking the creek inflow, where it meets the Yukon River, might be a nice place to throw a couple of small flies to unsuspecting grayling. Out of the way and not easily accessible, this inner city strip of nondescript river feels like back-country.
I have shared this progression and insight over the past number of weeks with one of my travel companions, Max. Max is my seven year-old son who is generally interested in most things and seems to be taking up the fishing tradition.
For his birthday this winter, I set him up with nice 4/5 weight fly rod, called the “Gecko”, developed and weighted specifically for children. Go see Steve at the new On Top Fly Shop and he can order them in for you.
Just before we left the house with the mandatory dog leash, bottle of water and bear spray, Max suggested we try out his new fly rod in this little creek. What a fantastic idea, given the scale of this fishing endeavour.
A creek of this nature was not worthy of a full-scale frontal assault with the armoury of my adult fishing gear; it was however, worth a couple of casts and some practice with the “Gecko”.
With the other members of my family frolicking yonder, Max and I decided to try out the little creek.
Max set up his rod, I tied on a fly and, with that, he instinctively began waving that rod back and forth. Only requiring a couple of little diplomatic adjustments, he was well on his way to fly fishing.
Fiercely proud and stubborn like his mother, Max continued to cast, strip retrieve (manually retrieving and releasing a portion of line to simulate the movement of live prey) and place that line in the drift, waiting for a grayling to hit.
Max fished for over half an hour by himself in this small creek, refining his cast, letting out more line until he could no longer manage it.
Not a grayling in sight; but as far as I was concerned, this investment of time was well worth the effort. It taught him that fishing is about more than catching fish.
It also taught me not to underestimate the natural ability of children and their ability to pick up new things.
Over the last couple of days, little Max Creek has blown up to a couple of feet and become a bit too silty with the ice run-off.
The prime time for this little creek has gone, but it leaves me thinking of all the other water waiting to be fished by Max and me.