Monday, July 25, 2011


There's not much point in heading onto the Elk early, that can only lead to nymphing, streamer fishing and other acts not suitable for a cutthroat stream. The peak periods are definitely mid to late afternoon and the fishing is picking up as the water continues dropping down. BIG fish in prime lies yesterday working the stonefly hatches.

There were a mixture of stones with Goldens and Western Yellows predominating. The fish were selective but eager once the right fly was found. Lots of 'meat' landed yesterday with water visibility increasing rapidly. Fishing is getting GOOOOOOOD!!!!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Elk River and Tribs Update

The Elk is clearing and sloooowly dropping and the bigger fish are starting to move into the prime lies as the seams and current breaks develop. Golden Stonefly patterns are what all of us are throwing about 95% of the time, althought the occasional drake and PMD brings up some fish.

The tribuataries are running fast and streams such as the Wigwam and Fording are still pumping and will not be ready for another few weeks. In Alberta the Crowsnest has provided some excellent dry fly fishing with large stones and we expect the PMDs will be happening within the next few days.

Temps on the Elk river are in the high 40's to low 50's and the fishing is generally picking up later in the afternoon as the water warms. PMD spinner falls will be happening soon which means some epic evening fishing in both BC and Alberta, both areas should start peaking this week.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The River Runs Through Me

A Friendly Michel Creek Couple

Every once in a while when I'm on the water I try to imagine what it would feel like to be the river. The sensation of getting pushed downhill towards the next place of refuge, pushed off the bully like banks and colliding with the currents behind me and then mixed into a bouncy seam of oneness that turns to a party of dancing water before being slowly jiggled back into the main stem of the river. This sensation or feeling is generally explored on the slow days and the last few have had me feeling like the river is passing right through my body from head to toe has I let myself enjoy the flow of nature.

That's a small example of some of the shit that roles through my head after years of guiding the slow days without ample netting moments are a breeding ground for abstract thought and I'm looking forward to the end of those moments for the time being. I have my favourite guest here; Ray Robinson website cover shot and an inspiration to me and many of the guides who have seen him in my boat over 100 times in the last 7 years. Ray has had the best days on the river of any other client I have and has also caught the three biggest cutts I've had anyone hook. The remarkable thing he is nearly 91 and is still better than most people out there. Smooth cast, intense focus and amazing awareness. It makes me feel proud to have him in my boat; but tommorrow I need to ask a favour from the fish gods and goddeses 'cause the river is moody and unpredictable.

We're finding the feeding fish in the seam convergences and drop off points and the occasional one off the bank. The stoneflies are out in abundance including some huge Golden Stones that the fish are still keying on. Size 8-12 orange and red foam patterns are doing most of the work out there and the occasional soft pocket will pick up some fish on smaller stimulators and caddis patterns.

After two days of low pressure systems mixed with sun it became clear that the green drakes still aren't ready. I sat in a seam collection below an acre of gravel when one of the lows was moving in and waited in size 12 slipped out of the surface film and flew away, nothing followed. Back to the stonefly, no matter how much I tried to get into something else, I ended up tying the stone back on.

So the Elk is still dirty, still high and still settling down. There have been good days on certain sections and some really poor ones as well. Both my days have been mediocre. The Columbia river in the Nelson/Castlegar area of the West Kootenay was just stepping into it's caddis hatch and my last night of guiding there on Friday was beautiful. Snouts and tails were breaching the surface in all of the back eddies and the caddis dries did their work. It was painful having to drive away from that and begin my season over here on the Elk. This hatch will continue into early August and if anyone is interested in this the guy to go to over there right now is Rod Zavaduk at Castlegar Sports . He's dialed into this spot on the river that I know of but have yet to fish that would provide some of the most exciting dry fly fishing for big rainbows you could imagine. Give him a shout, he offers both half and full day trips.

Some of the tribs are clearing here in Fernie and the Elk will soon follow it's going to be an epic August here on the Elk judging by the amount of nymphs still clinging and growing on the rocks of the riverbed. The Crowsnest River in Alberta and is fishing really well. This stream is a total gem when it's on and it's short window of being on should not be missed; it's a really cool stream with some gorgeous rainbows. Not many photos yet but the couple above came from the Michel, both fish sitting in the bucket of log jam no bigger than a kitchen sink.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Columbia River Update....

I love water so it's hard to feel bad about the amount of it and how it effects the fishing so I won't bother feeling bad about it and just feel blessed that we have so much of it. The guide season will be shortened by this which means my planting season has been extended and really I feel okay about it especially now that I am back in Nelson enjoying the flavours of Kootenay living. This is such a cool little town with so much going on. I feel connected here and even though I never seem to spend enough time here, I have an easy time saying and feeling that it's my home.

My favourite new rivers are here as well and one of them, the Columbia River is probably the only Kootenay trout fishery that is providing some good angling. Good is a bit of a stretch unless you condense those periods of goodness into moments; but those moments seem to make up for the least a bit.

The last few days has seen streamer fishing evaporate and dry fly and soft hackling techniques emerge. The caddis are starting to appear in large numbers along the bank since we've had some hot weather but I havent' seen the 'show' yet but anticipate any evening now. I was a bit surprised we didn't see them swarm in tonight and I'll spare you my theories but it's gonna go off any day now and it's gonna be big.

The trout of the Columbia River seem to have condensed their feeding periods into the last couple of daylight hours and into the dark and the last hour and a half tonight was quite productive as we fleeced trout of the mixing currents and seams of the Waterloo Eddy.

The fish were not breaking the top and were mostly tailing so I went to an emerger pattern tied on a Daiichi 1310 and my guest Douglas Green got busy pinning the soft taking rainbows. It was a nice close to a pretty tough day. Here's the Freestone "tip of the day" which came in handy this evening. When you see fish rise but without heads popping out (tailing) you can pretty much be assured the trout are feeding on emergers or spent adults. Another way of deciphering this is if you see bubbles on the surface after the rise, it is indicative of a fish that has taken an adult fly off the top.

As far as Fernie goes.....well it can wait probably another 10/12 days. In the meantimes I'm waiting for the caddis to get their shine on and start choking the skies.

more soon