Fly Fishing the God's River Canada
Pick your fly-fishing spot
Brook Trout are the main target species -- although anglers will encounter the occasional whitefish as well. The typical God's River brookie is a deep bodied, muscular fish used to holding in fast water to avoid pike predation. This 'big water' environment has taught the brookies to be aggressive and opportunistic.
Low light feeding situations are of course prime times to catch fish -- but with the short summer season and the big brookie's needs for "calories" -- one of our favorite patterns is to skate lemmings across likely holding spots to elicit violent strikes, and this can happen throughout the day, not just at dawn or dusk.
The God's River is a fertile system with a lot of aquatic life to support the large numbers of hefty fish. Bug life abounds in June and early July. Golden Stones and many different mayfly varieties point to the pristine water quality on the Gods.
Unlike most trout-water, you will find trout in uncommon situations in this river. Large rocks in the fastest runs of the river will have trout holding in the upstream pocket just in front of the boulder or shelf. Presumably this allows the fish to hold in current to feed while making it difficult for pike to attack in the fast water. Needless to say, hooking a large fish in this situation makes for a challenging situation.
"Stonefly" A rare subspecies that only exists
in the most pristine of environments.
The typical seam with fast water on one side and calmer, deeper water on the other will produce fish - but that big grab might be a northern pike or a walleye! To key in on the brookies we focus on faster moving water. River banks, runs, tail outs, boulder fields and the heart of the rapids all produce.
One of the go-to patterns on the God's is the cone head streamer. Black, brown, olive with flash, red or yellow accents are popular for anglers with sinking and/or floating lines. When the fish are aggressive, they will chase down a fast moving streamer just inches under the surface. When in a more neutral mood, and later in the summer when the August water temps creep up into the 60's, a dead drifted woolly bugger will tempt the brookies from their holdings.
Fly Fishing Equipment
Dry fly fishing can at times be spectacular on the Gods River. Salmon flies, caddis and assorted mayflies will get the trout feeding on the surface. But more often than not streamer fishing, using sinking lines, will be most effective. Patterns that immitate sculpins and minnows will produce. Green wooly head sculpins, zoo cougars, cone head muddlers, large wooly buggers and butt monkeys all work. Generally speaking a 3-4" fly is best.
The weapon of choice is a 5 or 6 wt for dry fly presentations and a 6 or 7 wt for 'mousing' and throwing larger streamers. Bring floating and sinking lines. When streamer and mouse fishing we use 8 - 10 lb fluorocarbon leader material.
Our guides are convinced the next world record brookie will come from the God's River. 2007 saw a 29" fish and numerous 25 - 26" specimens that were caught and released. The entire river is catch and release only for the brookies, and this policy has been in place for a long time. There has never been any stocking on the God's - all fish are 100% native and wild.
Fly Fishing Gear
The average trout is 17 - 18" long and weighs over 2 lbs. Rarely do anglers catch fish smaller than 14" (they are hiding in the tribs!). 19, 20 and 21" fish are common. On a typical day we turn multiple 23 - 24" fish. At these lengths, these brookies are at 4-5 lbs. Getting these extra-strong square tails to the net is of course up the angler ….let's just say barbless hooks, current, and head-shaking brookies add up to a real challenge.
The typical June, July and August fishing experience will feature 10 - 15 trout per day. In September when the brookies get into spawning mode, the fish stack up and 'fish every cast' action is common.
Fly Fishing Gods Lake
When you get tired of catching 5 lb brookies in the river (ha!), the Gods Lake pike and lakers can put the "turf" in your "surf & turf" trip.
Bob's 44 inch master angler
pike caught on a fly rod
Gods Lake pike respond to the fly as well as (sometimes better than) the conventional tackle presentation. After ice out, fly anglers can stalk large pike (up to 48") in shallow bays. At this time a finesse presentation (think marabou quivering in front of the pike's snout) is the ticket. Bring leach and baitfish patterns.
In June/July the pike will relate to the rocks, and surface and sub surface patterns will both produce. Bring a lot of flies - 100 fish days this time of year are common. Red, yellow, white, purple and black patterns from 1" - 8" will produce.
August is "monster pike in the cabbage" month. Poppers, gurglers, mice and frog patterns twitched over cabbage in 8 - 14' of water is not for guests with pace makers. Big numbers of 32 - 45" fish set up camp in the cabbage this time of year to ambush whitefish and other prey.
An 8 or 9 wt rod with light wire or 60 lb fluorocarbon leader material will prevent cut offs.
In September, the lake trout come up to the shallow main lake reefs and get ready to spawn. Imagine multiple 10 lb+ trout fighting over your streamer in crystal clear 8' water. The 30 - 40 lb class fish hang a little deeper but can still be caught on sinking lines and large streamers. After ice out and through early June, lakers can be taken on the fly, but since they are not as concentrated as in the pre spawn September period, the fishing is not as fast and furious.