Archive for May, 2009

Did you know the 2009 Alberta and British Columbia fishing licenses are available for purchase online? The availability of licenses via the Internet can be a real time-saver. What’s great about this, too, is these licenses are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

British Columbia implemented online licensing last year and it’s now possible to purchase your Basic and Classified Waters licenses by visiting the BC government web site. We are a vendor for BC licenses and you can continue to purchase them at our shop, as usual. However, keep in mind we only have one computer terminal available to issue BC licenses and appreciate your patience when obtaining the Basic and Classified Waters licenses. To avoid potential line-ups and/or waiting time, anglers may want to consider purchasing licenses online, in advance.

Your BC license will have an angler number printed at the top of the page. You will need to use this number to purchase Classified Waters licenses. You will also need this number when purchasing next year’s Basic license. It’s a good idea to record your angler number on a separate piece of paper for future reference.

 You can purchase BC licenses by clicking here. 

To purchase Alberta Wildlife Identification Numbers (W.I.N.) and angling licenses, click here.



 For those of you who like to check our Crowsnest Angler Fishing Report on our web site, today’s posting will be the last one for about a week or so. I’m heading out on a fly-in, fly-fishing trip to Northern Alberta and won’t be around to update the report or answer email until June 8th. In the meantime, our staff will be monitoring stream conditions daily. Please call the shop for info. I’ll be posting a full report of my trip, along with photos, when I return. Have a great week, everyone!

It appears the spring runoff has started in southwest Alberta. Water levels have been rising on most of the region’s rivers and streams over the past week or two, due to increased snowmelt that’s been occurring in the mountains and backcountry. It hasn’t been the warmest spring on record by any means, but temperatures have warmed up enough for the runoff to begin.

Runoff has started in SW Alberta, including the Castle River, near Beaver Mines

Runoff has started on most streams in SW Alberta, including the Castle River near Beaver Mines

Yesterday, I went for a drive to Waterton Lakes National Park. Along the way, I checked out a few of the trout streams to see how the runoff was progressing. Although water levels are up on all of them, some were running surprisingly clear. Providing we don’t receive monsoons over the next 2 to 3 weeks, some of these streams may be fishable when the season opens on June 16th. Time will tell!

A small stream near Waterton Park flowing high, but clear.

A small stream near Waterton Park flowing high, but clear. There's still plenty of snow to melt in the highcountry.

 I only spent a few hours in the Park and because it was drizzly and cool I didn’t get to do any hiking, or anything of the sort.  While driving about, though, I noticed there were lots of  prairie crocus’ around and glacier lilies were blooming in quite a few places, too. Speaking of flowers, the sixth annual Waterton Wild Flower Festival will be taking place June 13 – 21. A variety of events are scheduled, including guided flower walks, hikes and workshops. Some of the courses include: Wildflower Identification, Bird Watching and Photography Workshops. For more information on the Festival, click here.

After brunch on Sunday (Mother’s Day), Paul and I hitched the boat trailer to my truck and slipped over to Beauvais Lake for a few hours. The girls stayed behind to visit. Paul’s vacation was drawing to a close and he wanted to try and catch a brown trout, his first one, before heading back to Winnipeg on Tuesday (today).

Beauvais Lake

Beauvais Lake, Alberta. It was a gorgeous afternoon - no wind and the lake was calm as glass!

 We were surprised to see there were only a couple other boats on the lake. Kelly and Cathy were in one of them and it looked like they were having a good time catching fish. Later, they sent me a great photo of a moose they encountered while fishing that day.

A close encounter with a Beauvais Lake moose! Photo courtesy of Kelly Thomas.

A close encounter with a Beauvais Lake moose! Photo courtesy of Kelly Thomas.

 Paul and I caught a half dozen rainbows (small ones) near the boat launch, and I also landed a 12-inch brown. We worked the shoreline along the cabins, catching more rainbows, but nothing larger than about 14 inches.

Paul lands a rainbow trout

Landing a Beauvais Lake rainbow trout

We rowed toward Scott’s Point, where Paul latched onto a nice Beauvais Lake longnose sucker, using a Bead-head Prince Nymph. The BH Prince has become Paul’s, “Go-to fly.” He laughed when I told him he had just caught a Manitoba brown trout.  He wasn’t fooled. A few minutes later, though, Paul hooked his first real, bona fide Alberta brown trout, and a dandy, at that! It had to be 20 inches, at least. I grabbed my camera and started to snap some pictures of Paul leading the monster brown toward the net. Just then, the trout thrashed on the surface (see photo below), causing the fly, you guessed it – a BH Prince, to become dislodged. Paul’s line went slack – the brown trout was gone. We were both disappointed, but at least had photos of the action, and more importantly, proof that Paul had hooked his first-ever brown!

The one that got away!

The one that got away!

 It was time to get serious, so I switched to a #6 Olive Woolly Bugger. Those browns were in trouble now! After only a few casts, I had a solid hit. “It’s got to be a brown trout, for sure,” I thought. Alas, it was only another Manitoba brown trout (a.k.a. Beauvais Lake longnose sucker). That’s right, another sucker! Paul and I laughed … again, and kept on fishing. Soon after, I got another strike on my Woolly Bugger; this time it was a brown, measuring about 14 inches. We fished until 5:30, then headed back to town to pick up the girls for a 7:00 dinner reservation. Time sure flies when you’re having fun, even if you’re catching suckers!

A face only a mother could love. It was Mother's Day, after all!

A face only a mother could love. It was Mother's Day, after all!


Beauvais Lake brown trout
Beauvais Lake brown trout

Paul wanted to fish one last time before heading home so we went over to Summit Lake yesterday. The weather didn’t co-operate, though, like it did the day before. It was cool, drizzly and a strong easterly wind blew the entire time we were there. Despite these conditions, we had a good time. We managed to land a few of the larger rainbows and also caught some nice cutthroat trout. Some of the larger cutts were really colorful. All in all, it was a good way for Paul to end his Crowsnest Pass vacation. He’s already planning next year’s trip!

Note: To all my friends in Manitoba, the reference to Manitoba brown trout – longnose suckers was made in jest. No offence intended. Please, no angry emails. It was only a joke :)  

Summit Lake, BC

Paul with a nice Summit Lake cuttie

It appears Spring has arrived in southwest Alberta – or has it? The weather has been quite unsettled as of late and while we’ve already had some nice days in Crowsnest Pass, other days have felt like we’re heading back into winter. Just when you think it’s safe to put the snow shovel away, Old Man Winter pays a return visit.

A little bit of everything in the six-day forecast

There's a little bit of everything in the six-day forecast. Sunday & Monday just happen to be my days off! Where should I go fishing?

The spring runoff is just around the corner. Most years, this occurs between mid-May and late June. The severity and duration of the runoff depends on the mountain snowpack and the amount of rain we receive in May and June. Currently, the snowpack in the mountains of southwest Alberta varies between “average to slightly above-average.” Last week’s heavy snowfall definitely helped things out, particularly in the region south of Crowsnest Pass toward Waterton Park. Water levels are gradually beginning to rise on most rivers and streams, and all it will take now for the runoff to commence is a bit of warm weather and rain.
Water levels are beginning to rise on most of SW Alberta's rivers an streams

Water levels are beginning to rise on most of SW Alberta's rivers and streams

 Terry sent me an email the other day, saying he and his son, David, had made a trip to Police Outpost Lake on Saturday. Judging by the pictures below, it appears they had an awesome day. Lots of fresh snow and a beautiful view of Chief Mountain. It sounds (and looks) like the fishing wasn’t too bad, either. All of the trout lakes in southern Alberta are ice-free and fishing well. Once the runoff starts, the lakes will become popular places to fish.

Where's the boat launch?

Where's the boat launch? Photo courtesy of Terry Hrudey.

A great view of snow-covered Chief Mountain

A great view of snow-covered Chief Mountain. Photo courtesy of Terry Hrudey.

A chunky Police Lake rainbow trout

A chunky Police Lake rainbow trout. Photo courtesy of Terry Hrudey.