Friday, June 15, 2012

Opening Day on the Elk River

I woke in Fernie this morning around 5:30, Spencer was on his way out the door to continue the fish studies in the Elk Watershed and the smell of coffee and cigarette  alerted my senses enough to surrender to the possibility of a sleeping in.  I began my day by sorting through the 1500 dozen flies I just received from my "Thaiing" team.  Some nice stuff for sure but there was nothing in there that would have helped a fly angler on the Elk today.  The river was as high as I've ever seen it and the visibility was about a thumbnail.

No casts just some time spent at the bank appreciating the velocity of the river and the endurance of the fish that sit blind in that water, gills getting pounded by sediment.  Be like living in a sand storm I guess; did see a few lime sallies and what looked to be a paralep (mahogony dun).  Never felt so safe about a bugs chances as I watched the paralep swirl around in a soft, back eddy foam line.

Well they do have the clearing of the water to look forward to and along with that they can look anticipate the hammering of golden stoneflies and getting the high protein reward from eating these huge bugs.  We in turn can look forward to sticking large foamy patterns into there jaws and welcoming them to another season of guiding in the Elk River valley.  Streamers will also rob some meat off the banks in early season.....

Blue Ball Streamer

This time of year is a waiting game and I prefer to sit it out.  Planting is paying well and keeping me healthy and I'm in no rush to head onto a river that just isn't ready.  That being said SW Alberta does have some decent conditions and some days can be quite good while others....not so much.

The cool and damp weather has the Columbia behind and I have a feeling that the caddis will be going strong into August again this year.  That's later than normal but follows what happened last year when runoff and cool weather hindered the success of the evening caddis hatch (which is actually a mating congregation).

My first trip will be on the Waterton in Alberta for some browns.  An overnight pleasure cruise with Jimmy Carter (formerly NOT the president of the USA) and a few of us eager guides.  Our fly shop will be opening on July 1st and I am expecting some reasonable to good fishing at that point.  Booking earlier could be a roll of the dice unless you are willing to travel east to Alberta.

'til next time.

Monday, June 11, 2012

The Rivers Are.....Rising!!!

I've been planting trees in the East Kootenays for a long time now so it doesn't surprise me to wake up in June drive up a couple thousand feet in elevation and get snowed on.  Getting snowed on in town at the valley bottoms is a bit rare but certainly not unquestionable.  So far June has brought us some cool and very damp weather which in turn has our rivers  pumping brown and high so if you're thinking of coming up for seasoner opener in the Kootenay Region on the 15th...your on your own.  We wont' be looking at running trips until later this month on the Elk River and that will depend on a solid week of appropriate weather.  This of course are prognostications based on experience and a general feel for what's ahead and it's really too hard to predict what will actually occur.  So far the forecast looks good but is showing some more rain but in moderate amounts and mixed in with some sunshine.  Alberta will likely be in much better shape at that point and may even be in it's prime.  I've always found the Eastslope of the Rockies to fish well in late June and early July.

So if one was to come up at that time (Jimmy Carter) head east and enjoy exploring the areas we like to go to on our days off.  We have a few trips in that area at that point but have lots of openings.  The rainbow and brown trout fishing can be spectacular in SW Alberta and is a nice switch from the cutthroat fishing of the Elk Valley and there really is some spectacular scenery there as well.  Has a much different feel than the Fernie area.

In other news we WILL be opening a small fly shop in the Stanford Inn in Fernie this year.  We will carry all our favourite brand names as well as a fly bin that will be mostly filled with Squidbeak Flies as well as Montana Fly Company's.  We will be carrying the stuff that works, a collective of patterns that none of our guides would feel embarrassed about tying on.  There might be the odd 'range ball' in the pile to satisfy those who love gawdy, stuff hanging everywhere kind of patterns but most of the bin is what we use in our area and it's worth checking out the selection if your planning on doing some angling on your own.

Updates will be frequent from here on in.  'Til next time....