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Recommended Fishing Tackle for Upper Thelon in Barren Lands

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Jackpine travel is booked for the Upper Thelon.

Now, I've been pouring over trip stuff, and I have a question. Got my gear list and all looks like I would have expected. What threw me was the gear I need to bring - water shoes for in and out of the boat and bathing suit optional. I would have thought the water would be pretty cold even during August but I suppose some water gets trapped by an esker and heats up. Please let me know about this Ripley's phenom.

I was going to bring a fly rod and a spinning rod. Not being one to dig casting heavy wet flies into what sounds like near constant wind I thought maybe 2 spinning rods were the way to go. Thoughts on this? Grayling, pike and lakers. Grayling seem to be fairly small so would a 7' medium light rod do the trick here? I know there is quick current. I don't really care for lakers but I love pike fishing. Would 7' medium heavy work here? Have to get these to a 25" max case for travel so I get to buy a new rod. They provide info for fishing equipment which I am looking at but 8lb - 12lb test for a grayling? I'm guessing they are not line shy and the higher test means a large bonus fish won't break me off. Is it the current that makes this a requirement? I do have a 4 piece ' 8 wt fly rod I could bring if that makes more sense.

Perhaps this should go into fishing/hunting.

All I know is that I am like a little kid waiting for Christmas.

Thank you!
 
If I knew how to fly fish and had the equipment I'd be really tempted to bring that along for grayling and whitefish. I'd guess much of the grayling fishing will be done around rapids? Otherwise I'd take a 5.5-6' light/medium light rod with a fast tip and decent backbone. This would offer a lot more flexibility in the type of fishing that can be done over the fly rod. I guess it would come down to personal preference and what you're willing to give up.

I'd go with a 6-6.6' medium heavy for pike and lake trout.

I like shorter rods in canoes. They take up less space when stored, when casting, and can make it a little easier to bring the fish close to the boat.

I'm also a big fan of the no stretch super lines. Really good abrasion resistance and much better feel when there's a light strike and it's easier to tell when the lure is bumping structure or weeds. Smaller diameter makes for less wind resistance as well.

Keep in mind none of my recommendations come from personal experience fishing those species in the barrens but are rather from my experience fishing similar sized fish in a former life as a fisherman.

Alan
 
Perhaps this should go into fishing/hunting.

I think this would be a good idea from the perspective of getting more possible responses and also for future researchers. I'm going to create a new thread called "Recommended Fishing Tackle for Upper Thelon in Barren Lands" and move the last three posts into it.
 
If I knew how to fly fish and had the equipment I'd be really tempted to bring that along for grayling and whitefish. I'd guess much of the grayling fishing will be done around rapids? Otherwise I'd take a 5.5-6' light/medium light rod with a fast tip and decent backbone. This would offer a lot more flexibility in the type of fishing that can be done over the fly rod. I guess it would come down to personal preference and what you're willing to give up.

I'd go with a 6-6.6' medium heavy for pike and lake trout.

I like shorter rods in canoes. They take up less space when stored, when casting, and can make it a little easier to bring the fish close to the boat.

I'm also a big fan of the no stretch super lines. Really good abrasion resistance and much better feel when there's a light strike and it's easier to tell when the lure is bumping structure or weeds. Smaller diameter makes for less wind resistance as well.

Keep in mind none of my recommendations come from personal experience fishing those species in the barrens but are rather from my experience fishing similar sized fish in a former life as a fisherman.

Alan
Thank you Alan, I do love the new lines. Former life as a fisherman? It never goes away - I'll bet you still have your rods in the basement!
 
I think this would be a good idea from the perspective of getting more possible responses and also for future researchers. I'm going to create a new thread called "Recommended Fishing Tackle for Upper Thelon in Barren Lands" and move the last three posts into it.
Thank you Glenn. I'm not trying to keep you busy, promise!
 
Former life as a fisherman? It never goes away - I'll bet you still have your rods in the basement!

I still have a couple for taking kids out fishing now and again. It certainly does stick with you. Rarely do I have any actual desire to fish but, when out on the water, I can't help look at structure and think about what might be there and how I'd try to catch it. When running rapids up north in clear water I loved watching out for fish in the rapids.

Alan
 
I’d take a collapsible medium weight rod with 10lbs braid for the grayling and as a backup, and a good heavier 2pc medium weight for the big stuff with 20 lbs braid. I don’t think you need medium/heavy rod in the upper section of the Thelon. The BIG fish come when you get the lakes at the end of the river.
A handful of #2 and #4 Len Thompsons and some Mepps spinners and you’re good to go.
 
I am a basic fisher kind of guy. Not a true afficianado. On all of our Barren Grounds trips I take just a few basic essentials: A two-piece spinning rod, a net, two Mepps gold spinners, and one Mepps silver spinner. With this basic equipment I have caught pike, grayling and this lake trout on the Thelon River in 1993, one paddling day (10 hours) above the confluence with the Mary Francis River. I think you will be passing by this spot on your trip, Keeled Over.

Thelon041 resize.jpg
 
This is perfect - thank you gents. I've got a bunch of rods but not too many travel rods that break down to 25". Looks like I get to do some more shopping.

Love the stripped down tackle needs. I assumed fish would be pretty anxious to strike up north, but good to know I can cut back on the lures. I was going to bring a small chest pack, but I think a couple of small boxes in my jacket will do. Plus I get lure sticker shock every time I go to the tackle store these days.

Thanks again!
 
I think a couple of small boxes in my jacket will do. Plus I get lure sticker shock...
I've never been in Grayling territory but had luck with Pike and Trout on Niti 1 lures (1 1/2" Brass color in the tannic water) and Creme Spoiler Shad (I used 1 1/2" in their Black Glitter color) on my last Ontario trip. Neither of these will likely break the bank.

I can't advise on a two piece rod (I use 6'6" one-piece, light spinning rods) but 6 or 8lb fluorocarbon line should work well. (note: if you're unfamiliar with fluorocarbon line, make sure you wet the knot before tightening. It does not have knot strength if tightened dry).
 
I've never been in Grayling territory but had luck with Pike and Trout on Niti 1 lures (1 1/2" Brass color in the tannic water) and Creme Spoiler Shad (I used 1 1/2" in their Black Glitter color) on my last Ontario trip. Neither of these will likely break the bank.

I can't advise on a two piece rod (I use 6'6" one-piece, light spinning rods) but 6 or 8lb fluorocarbon line should work well. (note: if you're unfamiliar with fluorocarbon line, make sure you wet the knot before tightening. It does not have knot strength if tightened dry).
Thank you gamma, I will check into those lures.

I I have always depended on those brass spinners, and love them in tannic stained waters of Michigan! I would have thought more people would have used brass in stained water, but it doesn't seem to be the case out here.

A bunch of years ago I bought spoon and spinner parts from Pen Tac in California. I think it is a different name now but I have come to depend on their finishes. I had heard about the effectiveness of their blades, one being 18k gold and nickel plate. What the heck I thought, so I got some of those as well. It has been a go-to steelhead blade now for years. The gold makes for a subtle flash, won't spoke them, and the nickel shows up in deeper water where Cleo's turn black. Get that steelhead green water and you can't go wrong with them. Shoot me your address and I'll send you a couple of blades. I have never seen another one out here. Bring it back in slow - slower than you think it should be. For context, if you reel these in at the same rate as a Cleo you will be reeling too fast - it just spins instead of wobbles. You will still catch fish, but that wobble kills them. I'll throw in a couple of spoons as well. Let me know!
 
I always did well with Mepps, like Paddling Pitt. Small for grayling, larger for trout. Maybe a five of diamonds for trout, or pike. These are not sophisticated fish.

-wjmc
 
I always did well with Mepps, like Paddling Pitt. Small for grayling, larger for trout. Maybe a five of diamonds for trout, or pike. These are not sophisticated fish.

-wjmc
I’ve also caught whitefish with Mepps spinners. I have even caught grayling with a bare hook. Perhaps my success is because of unsophisticated fish. I have generally been able to catch fish on demand. Usually five casts or fewer. I fish to catch food. Not for sport. Kathleen and I never want to have fish in camp overnight. So I normally fish only on the mornings of layover days. We can then eat fish for breakfast, or lunch or supper, or all three depending on the size of the fish. My preference is grayling, which fits nicely in the pan, and is the right amount for our breakfast.
 
I’ve also caught whitefish with Mepps spinners. I have even caught grayling with a bare hook. Perhaps my success is because of unsophisticated fish. I have generally been able to catch fish on demand. Usually five casts or fewer. I fish to catch food. Not for sport. Kathleen and I never want to have fish in camp overnight. So I normally fish only on the mornings of layover days. We can then eat fish for breakfast, or lunch or supper, or all three depending on the size of the fish. My preference is grayling, which fits nicely in the pan, and is the right amount for our breakfast.
Thank you Michael. Right now I'm practicing my "naked guy fishing on a rock pose", but I can't make it look natural like you did. Plus I better lose a few pounds. Is that bad on a group trip?
 
And then I read about 6 articles from people that said they wished they had brought a fly rod. So, I can get three rods in the two cases which are ok, can keep below the 25" max case length. Tried to incorporate all the info above with current and potential new rods.

8' 4 wt fly rod with floating line and a sink tip.

7' ultra light spinning for small lures and I'll work on some floats with small jigs or the usual nymph patterns.

7' medium spinning with braid for the lower river.

Do people typically nite fish up there? Looks like this late in the year it gets pretty dark at nite. I love working lures in the middle of the nite.

I think I have this covered, but don't be shy. I want to make sure I have this covered.

Thank you.
 
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My limited fishing experience and even more limited in the "far north" (55 - 59.5 degrees N) is that even a complete dolt like me can catch fish at any time with any type of gear in less than 5 minutes.

On the other hand in more southerly regions I usually reach my time limit (10 minutes) with nothing to show for it.
 
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