July- Rock Hopping

Summer took forever to get here. And what has arrived feels like an impostor; an anemic fake. No real consistent heat. Warm one day, cool the next. Wet wading in shorts one day then layers of fleece and a wool hat the next. And from time to time, some real heavy rain to make things muddy. It’s hard to get in sync with local streams given the dramatic variability of the weather. And with that, hatches have been inconsistent; they’ve been all over the place.

July weather

The good news is Crowsnest river fish are big this year. Other rivers that I have put time on have also produced, not many, but some memorable trout which required a chase and a lot of rock hopping. Quality over quantity. I’ll take that exchange any day of the week.

tailwater rainbow on size 14 pmd dry

The other day I found myself in the middle of an unexpected golden stone-fly hatch. The tailwater river I was on is not known for this large insect. If some do make an appearance it is usually in early summer, not late July. Then again everything is late. July is like June. Maybe August will be like July. Maybe August will be like September. Maybe…

I had no stone-fly impressions. I fished the same water the day before (in the cold and heavy rain) and tossed mainly miniscule size 18 BWO and PMD emergers to bulging trout. With the giant stones skittering the surface the trout wouldn’t look at anything but the big bug. Why would you eat a single Bon Bon when you can have a whole Snickers bar?!

I lucked upon a fellow and his friend fishing a soft spot on the river. He was kind enough to give me a yellow stimulator (golden stone impression) from his fly box. Shortly after I hooked a fine brown trout that took me way downstream. I chased, once again rock hopping a long way.

Many thanks to Scott Smith I believe from Edmonton. Here’s the brown I wouldn’t have caught without his generosity.

brown trout on dry fly

Also, photos of other trout taken sight-fishing with dry flies and some SW Alberta scenery from the past 3 weeks…

tailwater rainbow on size 16 ant
beautiful crowsnest river
crowsnest river brown trout on pmd dry by Joe F.
thick crowsnest bow on size 16 pmd dry
crowsnest river
tailwater cutthroat on size 18 bwo
crowsnest river
tailwater rainbow, Joe F.
crowsnest river
tailwater rainbow, same fish as 2nd one on post
Joe F. with another Crowsnest river brown on dry/emerger









4 thoughts on “July- Rock Hopping

  1. Quality for sure! I will have passport in-hand this fall and next June/July when on the MO. We need to rendezvous, maybe on both sides of the line. Been too long since a north border crossing.

  2. Jim: Thanks for dropping in. Been reading your blog and seeing all the great fish you’ve been picking up in MT. Seems like the Mo is fishing real well….and creeks. I certainly haven’t fished all the rivers you have but I’ve never been on a better dry fly river than the Mo. as you state.
    Your weather has also been tough…lots of storms like us. Unstable weather.
    It would be nice to rendezvous…sure could learn a lot from your fly selections/patterns. We will stay in touch. Good luck rest of season…..

  3. Hi Robert,

    It sure has been an interesting season so far. Every day has been different. The forecast looks really good for next week, though, so maybe things will become more consistent. Maybe it will even be warm enough to wet-wade. That would be nice!

    • Hi Vic: Hope all is going well at fly shop….I will be dropping by to get some 5x. It has been an interesting season. Challenging with weather. Wet waded today…nice and comfortable. Trout fooled me, I didn’t fool them. Was on lower oldman……fish on nymphs…super challenging. You are in the middle of the season. Hang-in! Thanks for dropping in.

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