Well, its been almost 2 weeks since my WestJet flight back to Toronto touched down. Calgary was a cool 11C when I left, Toronto delivered its 32C, 100% humidity promise. Its hard enough to leave Calgary because of the fishing….the weather here had me wondering why I didn’t misplace my boarding pass.
They say time heals all wounds…
I can now look at some of the photos from the trip and NOT feel depressed…rather, I can look at them and feel fortunate. Another week fly fishing the Canadian west, spectacular climate, incredible fishing, healthy rivers….just amazing. In fact, I think the words “amazing” and “awesome” were uttered so many times that they began to lose their punch. I would urge anyone thinking about getting out there “some day” to try an make it a priority. Forget the new car, the big screen TV, that new iPod you think you need (..even your beer money) and save for the opportunity to get out there! Chances are, you’ll realize that you need to either MOVE there, or make a yearly trip for sanity’s sake. (I fall into the second category)
This year’s fly fishing;
I’ve told some close friends that we (Dan Jackson and I) had to “work” for many of the fish this year. Due to the drought conditions in Alberta, access to some of the mountain rivers was closed due to the risk of forest fires. This was bad news for me, as I rank cutthroat fishing as Priority #1. I did manage to talk Dan into showing me a few other spots for cutties, and we found a few…but not in the same numbers we had seen in previous years. Guess thats the new goal for the summer of ‘08! Fingers are crossed. Now, the fly fishing…
In the weeks leading up to the trip, Dan and I had worked out an itinerary that would give us a pretty impressive cross-section of experiences…if the weather co-operated. Well, we got lucky…again.
The trip was to begin with a Bow River float, and end that way with our mutual friend and Bow River Guide Extraordinaire~Sam Cerveny. www.catchmydrift.ca (I would strongly urge anyone considering a trip to the Calgary area to contact Sam) The other rivers, the crazy amount of back roading..following up on tips/top-secret advice…I’ll have to leave out the specifics I’m afraid. Suffice to say, we spent several days in British Columbia, but most of the time was spent in Alberta…the land of fair fishing license prices! There is plenty of water to explore in Alberta, most of the really good spots are really well known too. A bit of research, a bit of money spent at a quality fly shop and you’ll be set.
Well, might as well start with a shot from the Bow~this is Sam and I posing with, what I consider to be, a pretty amazing brown. Great colors, no sign of having ever been caught…just incredible. (see a close-up of the fish on the home page of hipwader) A note on the “scarf” things; these are made by a company called Had Headwear and are popular for sun protection purposes. I bought one, used it out there (pulled up over the nose) and found them to be very effective. (against mosquitoes too….keep reading)
This little dry-fly caught beauty put up a great fight…but not quite as acrobatic as this monster…
This fish jumped at least 5-6 times and nearly kicked my butt. I’ve never seen my line disappear so fast or, for that matter, seen so much of my backing on tearing off into the river at high speed! A cool fish any way you catch it…this bugger took a #18 caddis. Yikes. The head gear~no, its wasn’t sunny…but the mosquitoes were ravenous! I was happy to have kept this thing handy!
This was, I think, Dan’s biggest rainbow of the trip and by FAR the biggest river rainbow I’ve ever seen. Thats my net under it, in a few inches of water. The hoop is 18″ long, the handle about 7″ long….and that rainbow was about 2″-3″ longer than the whole thing! Dan caught this on a dry folks. I responded the way anyone would~I want my net, and my damned reel back Dan.
Now this was my cup of tea….beautiful, ice cold mountain water full of cutthroats.
One of my favorite shots from the trip with the fish that God made for dry fly nuts~the Westslope Cutthroat Trout. That water was ice cold, crystal clear…that fish put a bend in my 7′6″ XP right into the handle.
Yes! Once in a while, it was fun to take a break from the cutty action and join Dan for some bull trout fishing.
An honest to goodness, nymph-caught bull trout! Dan proved that with the right pattern and approach, even the big bulls would nail a nymph.
Nice going Dan!
Looking forward to the summer of 2008! If my marriage will survive another trip, I’ll be heading west in about 11 months, 14 days, 5 hours…..
Planning a trip to the Bow River and need a Bow River Guide? Catch My Drift Guide Service is highly recommended.