Wednesday, July 20, 2011
The River Runs Through Me
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 Jr....my 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 anticipation.....one 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.