Angler of the Month - Dave Desmarais E-mail
Wednesday, 07 July 2010 00:00

Dave with a nice coho One of my favorite things about doing KFM is all the interesting people I get to meet. That’s what I missed the most after selling KFS. Dave is a great example of this. If it weren’t for KFM our paths wouldn’t cross and if that didn’t happen I wouldn’t get to learn about what he was doing and such. Dave lives in Whitehorse, Canada, which is in the Yukon. It’s out there. To do any real shopping Dave told me you have to drive to Fairbanks or Anchorage, Alaska. They are 12 and 16 hours one way! What Dave’s backyard does have in abundance is terrific fishing. In every direction there are lakes and rivers. The mighty Yukon flows nearby and while there are salmon runs they have traveled thousands of miles and aren’t in the best of shape. However it is the home of the Inconnu or more common name Sheefish, one of the species that’s high on my list of fish to catch. There aren’t many places where one can access waters that hold them with a kayak as they only live in a few watersheds.

Another place I’ve been very interested in is Haines, Alaska. That’s where Dave does his salmon fishing as all 5 species are available there. He uses a kayak to get to parts of the river that are seldom or ever fished. He’s in a kayak Dave with a nice lake trout fishing paradise and I know we’ll all enjoy learning more about his backyard.

1) How did you get the nickname Bowrider?

I was given this nickname because I was caught and photographed (by Kalin)  sitting on the bow of a friends Ocean Kayak Big Game cleaning a pike while he was paddling around the lake. The name has stuck.

2) How and when did you start fishing and where?

I was born and grew up in London Ontario, Canada. My father (Stan) was a good fisherman and taught me the ins and outs of fishing as early as I can remember. I can not remember a time I when I was not fishing, so I guess you could say that I have always fished. I really became an avid “angler” when I was in high school (1981-1985) those were the molding years for me in the sport/lifestyle of fishing.  I learned about: fishing in all types of weather conditions, tying files, pre and post spawn fish habits, and that I was indeed an addict for life. Friends of mine go into drinking and drugs during high school but I was always at the Thames River early on Saturday and Sunday mornings so no time for staying out late.

Dave with a Grayling 3) When did you learn about kayak fishing and how/when did you start?

My wife and I were looking at buying a canoe when we met Kalin Pallett. Kalin was then the Ready to go Manager of Up North Adventures in Whitehorse and he is a hard-core paddler turned kayak angler. Kalin set me up with my first fishing kayak (Mad River Synergy 12) then sold me my next three boats, 2 Wilderness Systems Tarpons a 120 and a 140 (aka the Mistress) then an Ocean Kayak’s  Big Yak for whitewater and chasing Arctic grayling.

4) What types of fishing do you do from your kayak, methods, species, environments and which do you like the most?

I have caught enough 30lb plus fish to have come to a place where the fish are just the icing on the cake – I still love going out for large fish but I have found that just being on the water reward enough.  I typically target Northern Pike and Pacific Salmon (Pink, Coho and Chum). I can say that I love both pike and salmon equally but for different reasons.

Pike can attain a good size, are aggressive and on the fly rod are way too much fun. I typically fish for them in the weedy bays of a lake or on the “saddle” areas between two islands. I search for pike with a Blue Fox Vibrax® spinner in number  5 or 6 with a blue bell and a silver blade and once I know they are around I switch to a 10wt. fly rod with a large natural colored streamer.

My pike fishing is done on the Lakes in the South of the Yukon namely Snafu and Squanga, but I plan to get out on the Yukon River more for pike this year.

Salmon can also get large but I have to say I target them for the excellent table fare that they are. I fish with Blue Fox Pixies® 75% of the time. If the river is high and dirty I’ll use a braided 25lb test line and hot pink Pixie® with hot pink eggs when the river is low and clear I’ll use the silver Pixie® with orange or green eggs. These I like in the smallest size they offer. I run the small Pixies® on 12 lb test mono. If I am fly fishing for salmon I’ll use my 10wt. fly rod with an egg sucking leach type pattern, bright and big if the river is high, natural colored if the river is low. I fish the Chilcoot and Chilkat Rivers in Haines Aklaska 95% of the time.

5) How did you end up in the Yukon?

I went to collage for Aquaculture and the school just happened to be located in the middle of some of the best Musky fishing lakes in Ontario. Sir Sandford Fleming was the name of the college and at that time I wanted to get into re-stocking lakes and I knew many people went to this school to do just that. My career took a turn in the other direction…raising fish for food.  I was very good at it and P7190245_s within a few short years I was managing a fish farm in Alberta. It was here where I really fell in love with fly fishing. I was in Calgary for a few years and the famous Bow River was in my backyard. I was catching big brown and rainbow trout on the fly and was completely addicted. My job was going well but it was a small farm and I wanted more so I took a position in Desert Hot Springs California with a large exciting facility….unfortunately there is no real good fishing in the desert (go figure).  I almost resorted to fishing in the tanks where the tilapia were. I was beginning to get a bit upset with things and the fact that I hardly fished, so I started looking north….  In Whitehorse there was an Arctic char farm and they were looking for a hatchery manager so the rest is history. My wife had seen Whitehorse a few times as she passed though there for work so it was an easy sell for her.

6) You have a long off season, what do you do during the long dark winter?

I ice fish a bit but mostly now I tweak the kayak make new things for the boat. I have considered Dave with another nice coho making a fiberglass/carbon fiber SOT fishing kayak. I have a lot of fiberglass experience but I have not seen a boat design that I fully like yet. Maybe soon…who knows?

7) What are some of your kayak fishing goals?

To put the Yukon on the kayak fishing map as the world class destination it is. Fish species wise I would like to catch Bonefish, Tarpon, Lingcod and Halibut. The last 2 I see happening this summer.

 

 

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