Category Archives: Competitive Fly Fishing

A new beginning

Hello my friends!

I’m not even sure from where to start…took me a while to get back at this. So many changes and challenges in our lives lately…epidemic, lockdowns, unusual weather patterns, caterpillar invasions just to name a few but better just stick with what we know best…FISHING 😉

This year I am pushing hard on kayaking. Got a new toy with pedals bigger and better for open water. It is still early to get a good review but after a few trips I’ll probably write one here.

Fishing was not spectacular this year😕except with only one outing when I fished a mouth of a river. The bite was so good that it became annoyingly easy at one point. They were bitting anything that fell in the water.

That’s the best times to make experiments to test new baits and patterns. And now we are getting into  it 😁

So many questions on HOW or WHY did I get back into spin fishing…🙂

For starters I have the say that this was the fishing style that helped me get into fishing tournaments, it helped me transition from live bait to artificials only, many many moons ago 😉.

But for me this was never a step back, once you become a fly-fisherman you can never “step back” it always stays with you… if anything I took it to another level. I’m using nymphs under the ice

I’m tying new patterns on jigs

And I use spinning gear to fish them.

Some times I pair them with different plastics to create a different profile, modify the speed and the fall rate of the lure.

All of these lures are fished on ultra light spin gear, around 6′ rods, 2lb to 4lb lines, reel size 1000.

These light and finesse setups can trick some real monsters even in the toughest fishing conditions…and then it gets crazy trying to land them in the kayak 🤪

This year I had a lot of carps taking my modified baits

Some of these I modify on purpose in my search of the “perfect jig fall” and with some I just get lucky like this old plastic swim bait I was using one day getting bite after bite on it. It was almost falling out of the jig hook when I decide to change it with a new one from the pack…same size and colour. Put it on…nothing. 3 casts, 5 casts 10 casts …nothing. I put the old ripped one back…bang!!! First cast got a fish on. Later I compared the baits …the new plastic was swimming nice and straight with tight side to side action…but the old ripped one becase was barely holding on the hook had more “movement liberty” so it was swimming slower with larger side to side action…and that was what they liked that day.

Every day you can learn something new. Hope this blurb will help you on the water 😁

Tight lines everyone 🤠


This spring feels like a winter. Super high water levels tons of rain and cooold.

We went for the headwaters and tried to get some action from the little ones. But even there the cold made the fish lethargic.Here’s some pics from Jordan’s outing:

The only ones who had a bit more action were the steelheaders, towards the mouth of the rivers, but even there the window was short, once the water dropped the steelhead went back to the Lakes too.Here is some shots from Dave:

Awesome fish Dave! Good job!For the pike Opener we hit some lakes. Mid May and we still have frosty windows in the am:

Water high in the bush pretty dingy got a big one that got away after a 2-3 min drill.

But the spring is here for sure, proof is on the hike trails

And bike trails 😃

Thanks for the shots Jordan 😉



“Secret” Trout Opener

This Opener was special…don’t remember to have anything like this so far. The waters were so high everywhere the Government declared state of emergency in Ottawa and Montreal. In the morning was snowing with winds of 50km/h gust of 70km/h. Absolute horror for fly fishing.

But against all odds …we went anyway 😎

Due to all these conditions everyone had to find fishable water other then the usual spots. So all of us came up with our best “secret” spots. Some got to their “secret” lake, some to their “secret” creek 😉

Kayak fishing had to be ruled out … for the simple reason that we had no space to go under any of the bridges along the way… water was so very high.

So back to the good old walk&wade.

Water that usually is like ankle high now was just raging.

But we just don’t give up …

Tried to do the best out of it. Met with like 12 or more fly fishermen no one was catching anything, just changing spots after spots.

We fished all morning and enjoyed the outdoors like we always do. With the right equipment there is no bad weather to go fishing.

Then at one point the reward came…I hooked into a beautiful brown and after an epic battle I was lucky enough to land it in the net.

Absolutely awesome looking fish.

Back to the water after a few pics.

Amazing experience!

After that Gedas had his turn to hook into a tank

Unfortunately the landing part didn’t happen. This time with this high water the fish had all the advantages.

The afternoon we chaged gears and went to a small creek.

We had fun in the steelhead’s kindergarten

With a #2wt rod it is a lot of fun I tell you.

Many hookups but not all finalized…the fish were just not fully committed

But it was an absolute blast!!

PS. The steelheaders crushed the water today

Greag job guys!

Until next time…


Crazy Trout Opener?!

The weather just went nuts on us. Yesterday the prediction was like that:

The river systems were already high just recovering from the last week’s storms and snow melt.

But on top of that rain came and we got probably around 30mm. Last night the Government declared State of emergency in some areas of the Province due to the floods. Now we will expect some snow by tomorrow… and we are getting ready to go down river with the kayaks…is this Opener crazy or not?

Are you ready?!

With only 2 days left until the Trout Opening day I am thrilled and counting the hours left. This year the new approach will be kayak+river. A few other friends are joining me.

The waters are high due to the late spring and the huge rain storm we had just about a week ago. But if no rain for the next 2 days we will be okay.

Due to the new kayak approach and the high waters the name of the game will be Streamer

More weight here … 😁

And because I have to practice with the BC setup before I get in Vancouver I will bring in the heavy artillery

Ofcourse I prepared something more special…😎 dark side special 😎

I’ll see you on the water!



Not too long…

Hey guys,

There’s not too long left of this winter in fact I believe yesterday was the first official spring day. If the temps are going up steady like in the last few days in about two weeks we can get out on the kayaks 😁

… or canoes 😁

The calendar is filling up already, got already booked two trips in the great North, one closer to home and 3 events.

Hope that Grand River will not be too affected because of that kerosene spill we had just a few weeks ago.

This year I will try some new tactics new rivers and hope to meet new people interested in the sport of fishing.

We’ll keep you posted stay close 😎



Throwback Thursday

I guess you’re a little bored by now, of seeing so many pictures with ice and snow. So I thought maybe a happy throwback little story will make you smile again.

This is from my last two trips up north in 2018. Both times I was in a kayak – my latest delight.


For the first time in the beautiful Massasauga Provincial Park, I was amazed by the landscape.

It was a day with crazy weather and fishing went nuts on us. My good friend Dave and I started paddling on a crispy October morning with clear blue sky. Fishing was super slow…we found no fish in the first hours.

But after a while some black clouds started to show up, the wind picked up and the storm got super crazy with winds of 50km/h temp went down close to 0C, rain became slushy.

Really hard to explain how you feel in those moments. No matter how good is your rain gear you will get wet and cold eventually.

But the best part was that the fishing picked up. We start having hits from bass but only deeper then 25ft.

Soon enough I found a “magic” spot, a sudden drop from a sunken island that was just 1ft under the water, was dropping to 40ft in less then 15ft. The only big problem was staying on the spot, the high winds were giving us some problems 🙂

But the fishing was so good…the hits were one after another and I for one would not really care about anything else.

It was then when I got two fish that really surprised me. One was a:

Rock bass! 😁

I’ve never thought these guys are living so deep. Got him at 42.4ft depth. Impressive in my opinion.

The second fish was camera shy so he released himself from the hook in front of the net. It was either a catfish or a burbot, hard to say in that splash that made around the kayak.

Obviously the hook I was using, no6 dropshot hook, was way too small for these kinda of guys. So basically I was undergunned.

The storm slowed down but we were already wet and cold so we decided to get to the campsite and have a lunch beside the fire. Paddling to the spot we passed one fishing boat with two guys…we overheard when one of them was complaining to the other one that his heated seat was not working anymore 🙂

We just laughed …

Back at the camp site I got into my element.

Nothing like a campfire when you’re wet and cold.

The storm went away and the sky started to clear up.



The day finished with another good session, more fish caught, but you had to reach depths between 30ft to 40ft to have a good chance.

My conclusion for that day was that I have to get some bigger hooks on these drop-shot rigs because basically I lost in the drill everything that was bigger then 2lb.

As we are paddling back to the car the sun started to go down

Amazing day in an awesome landscape…

…hope this helps you push away the winter blues 😉


Ice challenge 2

We are getting closer to the end of our February ice challenge. A few more outings were made and the results are good. The leading group is Jordan and Gedas obviously in a tight race for the first place. Here is Jordan’s latest:

Hard to beat this beauty. I think his secret is in whatever pours in his cup…hmmm what can it be?

But Gedas is not far, here is his last outing results:

We just have to find out how long is that spoon so we can validate the results 😀

Dave and Donna came back from a super trip up on Nipissing Lake. Unfortunately the fishing was slow in walleye’s Mecca.

But the beer was good and the company as well. We all know fishing is about having fun with friends.

Meanwhile my fishing partner 🙂 and I have crashed them on a local pond

As you can see team work is everything here 😀

Everyone works…

And everyone shares…

Especially when it comes to hot chocolate

Fishing was tough in the beginning but we found what they were looking for that day and had a blast

Still a few more days left from February’s Ice Challenge you never know who will win until the last moment… somebody may surprise us.


Ice challenge


All the guys from the club are trying to cast into the hole 😁

Lots of huts on the ice

The fight is hard for the first place as you can see in this pic

But so far we have Jordan and Gedas battling for the first place. Both are having some nice catches from under the ice, pike:

And perch:

On the third place Linas is just crashing us with his perch catches. Here is one of his best:

Maybe his secret is nighttime ice fishing?! 😉

The rest of the gang is just “struggling”

As always I am in charge with safety and security 😁  lol

But most of all I am happy to report that everyone is having a really good time

This is real winter fun surrounded by friends…we should probably get out again!

Can’t wait to see what Lake Nipissing will produce this weekend 😉

See you around 🙂

Ice fly fishing?!

Oh yeah! It is totally possible…just don’t use dry flies or poppers 🙂 .

All you have to do is apply the same good old rule “match the hatch”.


Nymphs are the best but small streamers works too. Perch is usually the target but this year I was surprised with a few bass eating my nymphs.


The setup I use is simple: a small 24″ ultralight ice fishing rod that cost me $12 and a $2 reel. The main line is a 4lb ice fishing braid about $6 … so you can have one rod setup like that with under $20.


Tie a fluorocarbon leader on the main line and then all you have to do is go to your favorite pond, drill a hole in the ice and “cast” your new fly rod 🙂 . Let the nymph(s) sink to the bottom. If you use two flies put the heaviest one first and the smallest one on the dropper with around 14-16inch distance between. In case you decide for a squirmy-wormy fly a Palomar knot is best, have the fly tied straight on the main line(no dropper). This helps you make that worm move more naturally.



The ones that gave me best results lately are in this order: Caddis, Buzzers, Squirmy-wormy, Micro black streamer.

Also important if you tie the squirmy-wormy on the line, try to have the hook point up, that way when the fish hits it the hook-up is always in the upper jaw, and that is what you want for a 100% catch/no miss/no loose 😀


Of course that I carry a lot of other models, trying to combine or find the best working fly, all depending on the water colour, time of day, weather, depth…but enough theories for tonight 😀 we can always talk more on this subject, just let me know if you’re interested.


Thinking…out loud

In an era where “fast” is the normal speed, where Facebook and YouTube channels are dominating the online, I am coming back to my good old blog. No one has the time or the patience to read these texts anymore. Just click and scroll to the end then to the next picture or mid action in the next video. Fishing tournaments are the same in a way…you just catch one fish after another as “fast” as you can, always in a rush for the next one. Nothing really matters in those moments, just the speed you have in catching those fish. Everything else gets lost in this foggy crazy rush of getting the fish in the net. You see the sun is up and shining nice but for you this means time, positions, shadows…you see the beautiful landscape but for you this translates into structures under the water…you see the boat slowly floating on the waves but for you this means drift direction…ultimately even your boat partner is just an obstacle in front of your cast.

You see …I am not saying to start day dreaming when fishing, like sitting on a boulder in the middle of the river waiting for the hatch to start. All I am trying to say is that…in my experience… after all these years spent on the water, after so many tournaments and competitions, after hundreds of fish put in the net…all I have left are friends. And I want to say FRIENDS. People who stay with you a lifetime, who make you laugh every time. They listen to you…they GET you.

This is what SOTTO CHAMPIONSHIP is  all about this season.

Thanks for taking the time to read my tonight’s blurb 🙂

Your good old friend,


Online Tournaments

The Online Tournaments are here!

And they are open for everyone.

We will start with the Steelhead and continue with Brown Trout, Pike and Bass later in the season and as soon as the fishing for these species is open here in the SW Ontario.

The Advantages of an Online Tournament:

  • Fish are submitted and verified in real time
  • You can see anyone’s fish pictures
  • Standings are handled and shown in real time
  • Registration is easy
  • Everything is done from your mobile device

For more details check the top left menu

Competition participation eligibility

As we are getting closer to our first event of the year we get a lot of questions about the  eligibility criteria, more specifically about what it  means “eligible to participate” and ” for SOTTO members only ” ? I will try to explain here with a few more details in the hopes that the wording this time will be clear.

In the last 5 years Sotto FF Club tried to build up a Provincial Championship for the Province of Ontario. Along with this Championship the Rules came along,  the liability and insurance issues  as well as many other  challenges.  In order to overcome these we created the Sotto League in an effort to have everyone in one group that would fall under the same competition regulations, liability,  etc.

So if you happened to participate in one of our many events in the last few years, you might have a green tag with your name on it, and for sure we have a few Waivers in our archives signed by you.  That doesn’t mean you are a SOTTO member. That means that you payed a fee for participating in one or more events during that year.

All SOTTO Club members are listed on the website and if your name is not there that means that you have not paid the  annual membership fee or have done no volunteering  work with the Club. An official membership application will be reviewed in our next Club meeting and will be posted on the website as soon as it is approved.




Important updates

During our  club meeting  held this past weekend we decided to change a few things regarding the way the SOTTO Championship will run this year. The discussions focused  around  key issues  such as liability, cost and revenue among others.

The newly approved  changes in the SOTTO Championship Rules are:

  • In order to participate in any tournament from this Championship you have to be a member of the SOTTO Club
  • Occasionally, we will  allow invited guests to  compete  pending upon the President’s approval and the Council’s recommendation.
  • The  Sotto Spring Cup (Lyndon) Competition will be a team only event.
  • The Thames River and Saugeen River events might be two days events, depending on the weather conditions. 


New for 2018 season

Ladies and gents,

We still have some snow on the ground but not for long. Just one more week until the last FT meeting when also we will decide how the 2018 Championship will unfold.

As you know, every year we bring something new to the Championship. This season we will have ONLINE real-time tournaments. Fish will be submitted and verified in real-time. You will also be able to see all the pictures that your adversaries submitted. Easy and smooth access from your smart phone.

Let us know what you think about that, use the comments box bellow or top right menu contact us.


Florida Challenge 2018

Here are the results from the first tournament of the


Congratulations to the winners! …and to all the participants!

Nr Name Team Individual points Championship Points
1 Alicia Raytrowsky The Fishing Finatics 104 80
2 T.J. Raytrowsky The Fishing Finatics 89 70
3 Hari Klein Sotto 2 81 60
4 Gedas Cepinskas GIGA 75 50
5 Linas S. GIGA 59 40
6 Dave Culver The Steelheads 33 30
7 Calin Ardelean The Steelheads 14 20
8 Claudiu C. Sotto 2 12 10



Happy New Year!

We wish you a Happy New Year! And all the best for the year to come!

After a great 2017 we are looking forward to another busy 2018 season, with a different view and new challenges.

Although here in Ontario Canada we have -20C temperatures and no fly fishing whatsoever, eight of our Club members are having a great fishing tournament in Florida, USA

Great job guys!

Snook in the surf


…more snookPeacock bass

more peacock bass

…and more peacock bass

unknown gold fish-tell me a wish 🙂 LOL

And even the mighty Hammerhead-shark

Awesome! At the end of the day it’s all about spending time on the water with like-minded people.


2018 – SOTTO Championship Schedule

These are the events scheduled for 2018. More details will follow soon. Anyone interested can contact us here or on our Facebook page.

All these schedules are subject to change due to bad weather conditions, high water levels, or other natural disasters.

  • Florida Challenge – Dec 25th 2017 – Jan 7th 2018
  • Fly tying/Championship discussions – Jan 27th
  • Fly tying/Championship discussions – Feb 24th
  • Fly tying/Championship discussions – March 24th
  • Sotto Spring Cup (lake) – April 7th
  • Grand River Upper – May 26th
  • Island Lake (location might change) – June 16th
  • Grand River Lower – July 14th
  • Thames River – August 18th
  • Saugeen River Challenge – September 15th
  • Sotto Fall Cup (lake) – October 13th
  • Steelhead – Cup -November 10th