Tuesday, 29 October 2013

July Through October

Where has the summer gone?! The past few months have just flown by and now the leaves have turned and have fallen off the trees, Autumn  has most certainly arrived.

It was a few weeks after the flood that Zach and I decided to check out a couple of mountain streams. After taking a good look around, it was clear a lot had changed We decided to cast some dries, and had no trouble finding cutties that were willing to sip a hopper. After landing a few fish, we headed downstream to throw some streamers in search of bulls. It wasn't long until we had hooked into multiple fish! Zach hooked into a huge bully that had us crossing a tricky section of the river (we nearly fell in), and down through multiple pools to finally land this awesome bull.  Not too long after, I hooked and landed a nice fish myself to end a great day.

Zach with sweet Bull
Photo by : Zach Southgate

Photo By: Zach Southgate 

Most of the summer I spent walking the banks of the Bow, analysing and learning the new water and structures that fish are now holding in. Fishing the river had its on and off days for everyone, but during the good days the fish could be found by casting hoppers and other dries overhead.

Early September came fast, and I made a trip out to BC to visit family and friends. My mom (Myrna) and I packed up the SUV and headed west. We stopped for the night at my family's property that is located along the Thompson River. As soon as we parked, I jumped out, grabbed my rod and got  in a hour of fishing for some rainbows before dark. The next morning I woke up early to get in a few more hours of fishing before we continued our way West. While I was on the coast, a good friend of mine; James invited me out for a day of Sturgeon fishing on the Fraser River. I met up with James and Ryan, and we spent the day on the water. We had been on the edge of a big storm that was blowing in , but luckily for us it stayed away for most of the day.  As James, Ryan and I were chatting on the deck, one of the rods started to bend over and they both told me to grab it and set the hook. I looked over, and a second rod hooked into a sturgeon as well. Both Ryan and I were hooked up for a double header. A little while later I landed my first sturgeon. With a grin on my face from ear to ear we celebrated and threw around a few hi-fives. The next few days I spent on Vancouver Island visiting with  friends and family, and spending a bit of time on the beach. By the end of the week I was back on the mainland and met up with James again for a day of pink salmon fishing before making my way back to Calgary.

View from the property 

James Cunningham

My first Sturgeon!! 
Ryan Pohl
Pink Salmon

James casting to some Pinks

 The day I got back my good friend Nick (aka Flatlander) had come all the way from the flat province of Manitoba, and arrived in Calgary to visit some awesome people here in Alberta.  Nick, Adrienne and I headed out to the mountain streams to look for bulls, but didn't find much more than a few rainbows and brook trout that day. We spent most of the time laughing at one another and sharing good conversation before we headed home. After a great few days Nick sadly had to make his way back East .

Photo By: Nick Laferriere
Adrienne, Nick and me doing what we do best.. goofing around!

On a gorgeous mid September day Jordan and I decided to pump up the Watermaster and go for a nice float down the Bow in search of some trout. We were able to pull off into many different areas, and cast to a few sections of river that were holding fish. They day finished up with a few nice rainbows but even better laughs.

Photo Taken By: Jordan Besenski
Photo Taken By: Jordan Besenski

Near the end of September Adrienne and I decide to pack up the boats and head West to try some lake fishing for the day. After a minor detour which consisted of driving 30km+ past the lake and up the mountain into the snow, we finally made it there. The weather was not in our favour that day with  70km/hour winds making casting difficult, and our patience wear thin. We decided to pack up and try our luck at another lake in hopes that the wind would be a little more cooperative. The fishing wasn't overly successful, but we both enjoyed the adventure just as much.

Just a little bit Gusty.......
Photo Taken By: Adrienne Comeau 
Photo Taken By: Adrienne Comeau
Adrienne Casting to Grayling

September was coming close to an end which meant some of the streams and rivers would be closed for the rest of the season. Justin and I took advantage of the last few days to fish these streams, and went out to explore a few new areas that we had yet to fish. By late afternoon we were reminded that it was fall, and that the weather was changing as a bitter cold wind started to sweep in. I was thankful I had brought multiple layers to keep warm, but before long the layers that I had brought were no longer a match for that cold wind. As the sun set behind the mountains, we decided it was best to make our way back to the truck and head home.

October arrived and Justin and I headed South West to one of our favourite mountain rivers. The day started very early and I was packed up and ready to go by 5 in the morning. We had a hot breakfast over the fire before we started fishing. I started the morning off with a dry fly and with success as I landed a few cutties, but by mid afternoon the wind had become so intense, we had no choice but to brave it by chucking heavy streamers with extreme caution for a few more hours. The wind blew to over 100km/h and the parked truck was being pushed forward. At one point Justin got blown off a ledge and left skid marks from his shoes in the gravel, while I had to hold on to the truck to stay on my own two feet. It was at this point that we knew it was best to call it a day.
Early morning breakfast to start the day

Friday, 2 August 2013

Alberta Floods and Good Fishing

Alberta's Hell and High Water Song
Zach at 2:42 rescuing people

The past few weeks have been a whirl wind of events that has all happened in a blink of an eye. The week of June 17 started with hot weather pushing in and the streamer fishing picking up as the river starting dropping from the constant rain we had experienced over the past couple weeks. I fished in the afternoon of that Thursday not knowing that it would be a couple weeks before I would be able to fish the Bow again. That night we had a weather warning that called for a lot of rain over night. By 10pm it started to rain hard and I went to bed not thinking much of it. When I woke up that morning I turned on the TV, only to hear that Canmore's Cougar Creek (a nearly dried up creek) had turned into a raging river that made backyards disappear and destroyed homes beyond repair. Not only were houses destroyed but the main highway and bridges in and out of city were destroyed by this newly created raging river.

As the day wore on, more news came in about other rivers flooding. This time the Highwood River breached its banks and overflowed into the town of High River putting nearly the entire town underwater forcing everyone to evacuate, most with just the cloths on their backs.  Zach and many other with boats headed over to High River as soon as word was heard that people were trapped and needed to be boated across the town to safety. It would be a couple weeks before they would be able to see their houses again and see what was left. Sadly this town has been almost completely destroyed with many homes being swept away and thousands uninhabitable.

By mid-afternoon it was inevitable that the Bow River would breach its banks as the flooding in its tributaries would soon meet the river. Within hours there was wide spread flooding in communities that were on the flood plain with the water even pushing its way into the down-town core. Everything in the rivers path was being destroyed or swept down the river never to be seen again. In less than 24 hours these normally comforting rivers turned into dangerous raging water way taking away bridges, roads, homes and sadly peoples lives. Many towns and cities in Alberta were put into state of emergency shutting down parts of some towns and cities and in the case of High River prevented the residents returning to the homes for almost two weeks.

Slowly, as the water receded, the realisation of how much damage had really happened started to set in. When it was safe to do so, people were allowed back to their communities to begin a long and emotional clean up of their homes.  Immediately after the flood Calgary's outpouring support of volunteers became infectious and everyone came together to help those who were effected by the flood.  In this tragic event, the city came together in a way that no one had ever seen before. Its amazing to see how much clean up and repairs have already been done to these cities.

Within a week of the flood , Fish and Wildlife and Trout Unlimited put together an extensive fish rescue operation on the Bow River. As the water receded from once flooded areas, fish became trapped in the newly formed ponds. Over the next week and a half  Fish and Wildlife , TU and  many volunteers including myself went around the city to rescue any fish that had been trapped in these recent flooded areas. We used electro shock boats to stun and net fish as well as seine nets to rescue these fish. We then released them back into the river. Fortunately the majority  of the fish we rescued were white fish and dace with very few being trout which are known for receding with the current back into the river. After the 2005 flood, we had some of the best fishing in years.

Photo Taken By: Adrienne Comeau
After a couple of weeks patiently waiting for the river to lower and to be safe to be around again, I  made my way back to this exciting newly structured river. The Bow was still higher than normal high water and coloured, but had a few inches of visibility and I was excited just to toss a few flies in again. By sunset I was completely covered in stoneflies and had spotted a couple aggressive rises, but none of them took my presented foam bug. I went out the next day to explore the newly formed banks and look for water that fish would hold in during this time of faster water.  Once I had found a good run to toss my flies into, I was able to hook into a few trout, even losing a really nice brown.  Over the next couple days my friend Zach and I were able to look at a few newly changed areas and hook into some really nice rainbows and browns. It was comforting to be able to find the numbers of healthy fish that I had fished to before the flood. In the next couple weeks we will be floating as much as we can to learn this new Bow River.

Sunday, 23 June 2013

June And A Whole Lot Of Rain

In the last few weeks it has been wet and cold. The rain has seemed never ending and the river continues to rise and become increasingly dirty. I had ventured a few times to the river to do some close to shore fishing as fish push in right along the banks during the high fast water. While most anglers stay sheltered and dry away from the rain, my friends and I throw on our waders and rain jackets and head out to the lakes to do some pike fishing! We had spent a couple days at different lakes and had great success. Its this time of year that we explore the lakes around Calgary for many different species from pike, brook trout to artic grayling.
High muddy water Burbot
Rainbow caught a foot off the bank
Lake View
Exploring some new water
Jeff with a pike
Me with a future 40"
Photo from Zach Southgate

When the sun finally came out, the water dropped and cleared, so we decided to take the boat out and toss some streamers along the banks of the river. Our aggressive stripping of lines left us with fresh line cuts on our fingers that reminded us of what we were to expect over the next few months of streamer fishing. The day started off pretty slow but it wasn't long before we had some hits from some gorgeous healthy browns that were willing to aggressively charge our flies.

Jeff and Zach with a beautiful Brown
Blue cheeked Brown

Zach with a Hog!

Before long it is Fathers Day weekend and I decide to grab the boat and take my dad down the river in hopes of him hooking into a few fish . The afternoon was warm up until we got hit by gusty winds and a downpour from a thunderhead that was passing overhead. After about half an hour the rain died down and we were only left with strong winds that would come and go throughout the rest of the time we spent on the water. My dad had hooked into a few feisty rainbows so it to turned out to be a great Fathers Day.

Me and my dad on Fathers's Day

Friday, 17 May 2013

Trip to BC

I has been hard to find the time to update my blog the last couple of weeks, It seems as soon as I get home I'm out the door on another road trip to another destination unable to sit down and write.

I have always considered British Columbia my second home, the deep green forests and streams that lace their way through the mountains and down to the coast has always given me a sense of bliss that keeps me coming back. A few weeks ago I made my way out to the west coast to visit with my family and of course get some fishing in with friends for some wild BC steelhead. The weekend of April 5 was the Cast and Blast Event in Squamish, put on by Brian Niska of Whistler Fly Fishing. Lisa had driven up from Washington to meet at my families place for the night so that we could get an early start on the road and make it up to Squamish by mid morning. We made it early enough that we were able to meet up with Adrienne and fish a couple runs before most people would start to show up. By the time we made it back to the event site there was a great turn out of people. Old friends were greeted with hugs and new friends were made as quick as they could introduce themselves.The weekend consisted of talented presentations of various topics by some amazing anglers. Between casting lines with drinks in hand the events progressed through out the days and  in the to nights. Everyone had a great time and were involved in all the festivities.  With such late nights it was a surprise to see most people up at sun rise ready to be on the water to get the first choice of runs. After a quick fish Sunday morning we packed up,said our goodbyes and headed over to the Fraser Rivers Edge Bed and Breakfast to visit with April and Adrienne for a much needed girls night.
The catch of the Day
Me and Ade
Photo By: Lisa Schweitzer
Sexy Staches!
Photo By: Lisa Schweitzer
Bobby, Sarah, Lisa, Me
Kurt doing some trying
Photo Taken By: Aaron Goodis
5 minute tying competition
Kurt, Mike, Ade and others

Girls Night with Ade, Lisa April, Me and of course Colby!
♫ I whip my hair back and forth! ♫

Next morning came and before the sun had a chance to peer over the mountains, I was out the door and on my way to Tswwassen for the morning ferrie ride over to Victoria. I planned to get a few days of fishing at the Cowichan River then spend a couple days in Nanaimo visiting my grandparents. While on the Cowichan a lot of the time was spent exploring the river and it surroundings. We had spotted a few fish close to shore that had partnered but they would have no interest at a fly that was presented to them.  There was to be no fish caught those couple days we had spent there, but just to be standing in the water surrounded by the lush green forests that guard the river, had made our trip.

Trying to get a peak over the falls

Before long we were back on the mainland making our way over to Chilliwack for the Michael and Young Spey Day . We arrived on the Fraser river to find lots of people and tents that had been set up to showcase all the latest rods and equipment. That day everyone  had a opportunity to test out spey rods from many different companies and have fun while doing it. I spent the day with lots of good friends laughing and  having a few drinks on the water while casting. The night started with a big bonfire with lots of old and new friends and ended with goodbyes and promises to keep in touch. Next thing I know I'm on a plane headed back to Calgary thus ending my much needed BC holiday

Andrea and Me

Francois with Hooke!

The Girls!

Brian Niska showing us how its done!

Ade tossing some longs cast

Andrea and Brian

Typical of the two of them!
Andrea  and Josh
James with some tight loops!