Late October. It’s closing down. Hard to find rising fish. On Saturday saw a couple of trout surfacing inconsistently on my local river late in the day when the wind died down. Missed them. No other opportunities that day. On Sunday changed it up and took a drive through the mountains into British Columbia. Fished the Elk river in Fernie in the afternoon. Hoped for BWO’s. Hoped for some rising Cutthroats. Found some. Nothing big. Caught several. Missed several. Not a great hatch. Actually quite weak. As I said, it’s closing down. I had to search slow collector areas; back eddies, etc., in order to find some rising fish. Only saw one other angler as I worked my way upstream. It was a young boy and his grandmother. He was fishing. She was supervising. They were standing above at a deep, clear, calm pool next to a huge log-jam, spotting cutthroats and occasionally catching one. When they saw me they said, “We didn’t think there would be anybody else foolish enough to be out today”. With a big smile the boy showed me a photo of a Cutthroat he had just landed. A great fish. He didn’t know what fly he caught it on. I checked. It was a small parachute Adams.
I went just upstream of them and fished a slow area. Two fools casting dry flies in late October in the rain, sleet and snow. Two fools, a grandmother and a wet dog.
Some soggy, foggy photos…
Nice weather for a change. Light sweater conditions in the afternoon and minimal wind. The dry-fly season on the Crowsnest river has been extended a little. Finding rising fish is getting harder but there are still some around. Bug life is weak but there are just enough midges and small olives around to entice some good fish to feed on the surface with the low, slow, clear water conditions. The river is still producing if you’re willing to hunt. I walked it this past Sunday. It’s an afternoon game. The low arcing Autumn sun creates long afternoon shadows and the trout like feeding in these darker river sections once (if) the bugs get going.
I started fishing the Crowsnest river in 2001. Seventeen years later it still amazes me the quality of the trout that inhabit it given its size. Best of all you can search for them with your eyes and try to fool them, often in the shallows, with small dry flies. You get to watch the trout react to your impression; you get to see it all unfold. Engaging, visual angling. It’s why I fly fish…
Here’s a nice Crowsnest rainbow that was located feeding on a shadowy bank. Caught on a size 18, BWO hacklestacker pattern.
A big snow storm this week. Some melting occurring. Rivers still low and clear. Brief angling days for the dry-fly angler. It’s usually a 2 to 5 pm event. This past Saturday trudged through the snow to the Crowsnest river. In the bright sun and low water conditions fished to some surface feeding rainbows on my knees.
A friend, Roman, came into town last-minute to fish. We spent three days on local rivers. The weather was cold. In the 3C to -3C range with some occasional snow. Winter like. Winter in September. It was runny nose, frozen finger fishing. The heavy skies and low light conditions were an advantage. Some great fish were spotted. Many were feeding solely on emergers and were extremely challenging. The ones willing to eat dries and in some sort of feeding rhythm usually could be duped. Roman landed some truly exceptional ones. Fall fishing in my region can be stellar when low fronts come in and the wind holds-off. We tossed low riding patterns to sighted trout each afternoon: parachutes, hacklestackers, etc. All trout were taken on size 18 Olive dries. Late one day some Mahoganies made an appearance. With the poor weather there was little angling pressure. For the most part we had the rivers to ourselves. Late one day a young fellow appeared out of the fog in jeans and running shoes and started to wet wade a pool we were on. He told us he was Czech nymphing a 2 fly rig. The temperature was about zero. Ice was forming on the river’s edge. An apparition from Prague? Later our paths crossed again at a local restaurant. The wet cuffs on his pants gave him away. We chatted and discovered he once lived one or two streets over from where I use to own a home in a little town in Quebec. We spoke about trout streams just south of the Quebec border. He identified several then spoke about one little obscure stream that was special to him. I knew it well. We both talked fondly about the small stream that flows some 3600 plus km away from where we were standing.
The day of Roman’s departure a wicked snow storm hit. Here are some photos of some of the trout he caught.
SOMEone flipped the switch at the end of August. September has been real cold so far. SOME mornings snow at elevation. SOME mornings right around zero. SOME mornings even colder. On Saturday it was 3C pretty much all day and foggy. SOME good Baetis hatches. SOME good fish have been looking up. SOME selective. SOME very, very selective. SOME frustration getting them to commit. SOME failure. SOME success. SOME brown trout. SOME photos from past two weekends. All trout, not SOME, taken on size 18 BWO’s.
Sliding into Autumn. Pale Duns have had their day. Blue Winged Olives are just starting. A few Mahogany may flies around too. The dry-fly angling has been challenging during the transition. Visited four very different rivers over the past few weekends. It was hard to find rising fish. Had to walked a lot and search. Not easy. Not many opportunities. Caught a few nice ones. Missed a couple. Time spent roaming around beautiful SW Alberta in search of trout is always enriching…