Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Poo Brown....Beyond the Elk

We prayed for rain and we got it.  What we didn't pray for was 2 landslides in the Line Creek Canyon and we got that as a side salad to our wishes.  After an epic start to the season with Golden Stoneflies and Drakes generously feeding fish, the Elk suffered a set back when 2 natural slides came down the steep canyon and dirtied the river quite badly.  'Shit Brown" was the term used to describe the Elk to me as I'm currently enjoying the clean waters of the Columbia in the West Kootenay.

The fortunate part is that the slide is on Teck (mine) property and is blocking the access to their mine so remediation work is in full swing and the expect to have the road operational by early August.  That may not mean the end of the siltation but it will lilkey be greatly reduced.  Left on it's own it may take weeks if not months to clean up as it is holding water back and damming the river.   The diversion of the water will hopefully provide some relief from the silt but we won't know how things will turn out and will have to update as it progresses.

It will give the fish a break although crowds were not much of an issue and really we needed some rain to help fill the aquifers in the valley and cool down the temps.  These cutts have shown their ability to handle the muddiest and siltiest of conditions so I'm not too concerned about their situation as the population was extremely healthy this year.  The higher water temps present a great risk to the fish and that warming trend has been somewhat alleviated by the cool rains and we have cold nights in the forecast which should keep the Elk in the safe zone as far as temps.

So it's time to explore  as most of you have done over the years here and as those who have been here before know there is a lot more to this fishery than the Elk.  So hello Elk tribs, St. Mary's, Bull, Wigwam, Flathead, St. Mary's AB, Oldman, Waterton, Columbia etc..  I prefer guiding many of  these rivers myself as it's a bit more of a challenge and in some cases provides a completely different angling experience.

Water levels are good, bugs are good, fish are  good, Elk is poo.  Other than the poo factor it's game on.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Everything's Right and Ready

The hot weather and low snow pack has the Elk in prime shape right now.  The riffles are showing and Green Drakes and PMD's are rolling off with some regularity.  We had an unexpected low move in and drop a bit of moisture which encouraged a push of the big green mayflies.  The cutts; fat from three weeks of steady stonefly hatches, appreciated the change in diet and hammered the drakes with impunity.

The rocks on the riffles are still holding lots of drake nymphs but the numbers and size range of PMD's and BWO's indicates that it's going to be a good mayfly season on the Elk.

The tributaries are running clear and  in great shape.  The Bulls have already migrated high up into these drainages  and in some cases have begun to spawn.  Hatch periods are a little more concentrated  on the tribs but when time comes huge green drakes have been tumbling down the runs and getting hammered.

It hasn't been very crowded here despite the ideal conditions and we have a pretty slow week here in Fernie if anyone is interested in getting out there.  You won't be disappointed.