Archive for March, 2010

Many of you know Nathan Bond, a former employee of our shop and fly-fishing guide extraordinaire. Some of you also know that Nathan is a talented musician, a pianist (classical), at that. In recent years, Nathan has also developed a passion for rock climbing and has even invited me to join him on an “easy climb” up, or an “easy repel” down the face of Goat (Bluff) Mountain, right here in Crowsnest Pass. However, he has yet to convince me that “I’m not too old” to do this sort of thing! I wasn’t too surprised then when about a year ago he came by the shop to say he was planning a trip to South America to climb Argentina’s Mount Aconcagua, the highest mountain in South America. At 6,962 metres (22,841 feet), Aconcagua is commonly known as the “Roof of the Americas.” Conquering even the highest mountain in our “neck-of-the-woods” would pale in comparison.

Nathan set off on his epic adventure in January. He stopped in Santiago, Chile to visit friends, first, before continuing on to Argentina to prepare for the climb. I’m not sure of all the details, but after two attempts Nathan and his party reached the summit of Mount Aconcagua on February 10th!

Nathan, at the Summit of Mount Aconcugua
Nathan, at the Summit of Mount Aconcagua. Photo courtesy of Bryan & Rhonda Bond.

Upon completion of his expedition, Nathan returned to Chile, where he was looking forward to spending more time with friends and being able to participate in another one of his interests … surfing. He travelled to the beaches of Pichilemu, an area considered to have some of the world’s best waves.  It was here on February 27th that Nathan experienced firsthand the devastating earthquake ( 8.8 magnitude) that rocked Chile. The earthquake triggered a tsunami, causing Nathan and numerous others to flee to higher ground and safety. While Nathan was unscathed, it took some time before he was able to make contact with his family in Crowsnest Pass to let them know of his well-being. 

Structure damaged in earthquake. Photo courtesy of Bryan & Rhonda Bond.
Structure damaged in earthquake. Photo courtesy of Bryan & Rhonda Bond.

Anyone who knows Nathan won’t be too surprised to learn that he chose to remain in Chile following the earthquake and volunteered with the Save The Wave’s Coalition Chilean Earthquake Relief Effort. That’s Nathan for you, always ready and willing to help … no matter what! For several weeks he worked with crews delivering water purification filters to residents of some of the surrounding communities. Congratulations Nathan on reaching the summit of Mount Aconcagua, and kudos to you for helping with relief efforts in Chile! That must have been some vacation!

For more information on the Save the Wave’s Coalition Earthquake Relief Effort that Nathan was involved with, check out the link in the above text. Residents of Medicine Hat, Alberta may want to watch for a special “Chilean Earthquake Fundraising Event” on April 10th. The fundraiser is being organized by Nathan’s sister, Simone.

Nathan left Chile several days ago and is now in Brazil, awaiting his trip home to Crowsnest Pass. Below are a few more photos from Chile, courtesy of Nathan’s parents, followed by a report on ice-out conditions on several of our local trout lakes. Spring appears to be inching forward!

More earthquake damage. Photo courtesy of Bryan & Rhonda Bond.
More earthquake damage. Photo courtesy of Bryan & Rhonda Bond.

 

Roadside obstacle. Photo courtesy of Bryan & Rhonda Bond.
Roadside obstacle. Photo courtesy of Bryan & Rhonda Bond.

 

Delivering water purification filters. Photo courtesy Bryan & Rhonda Bond.

Delivering water purification filters. Photo courtesy Bryan & Rhonda Bond.

 

Tsunami aftermath. Photo courtesy Bryan & Rhonda Bond.

Tsunami aftermath. Photo courtesy of Bryan & Rhonda Bond.

 Ice-out  Report for Southern Alberta’s Trout Lakes

I went for a drive yesterday to check on a couple of the areas trout lakes. Some friends reported late last week that Lee Lake was beginning to open, and I thought I’d head over there to see how things had progressed over the weekend. There was about 30 feet of open water along shore near the boat launch and a bit more in the “Narrows.” Providing we don’t get a stretch of cold weather, Lee Lake might be completely ice-free within a week or so. Throw in a day or two of strong winds, though, and it might only take a few days to open up.

Lee Lake beginning to open. March 22/10.

Lee Lake beginning to open. March 22/10.

 I checked Beauvais Lake, too, but the ice here is only beginning to soften along shore. Lee is usually the first trout lake to become ice-free in southwest Alberta, followed by Dipping Vat, Beauvais, Payne (Mami), Police Outpost and Beaver Mines.

Beauvais Lake remains frozen. March 22/10.

Beauvais Lake remains frozen. March 22/10.

We’re all familiar with the old proverb, “When March comes in like a lion, it goes out like a lamb.” Well, the opposite is also true, and if the spring-like weather we’ve been experiencing so far this month is any indication of what’s to come, I won’t be putting my snow shovel away just yet. Southern Alberta has been basking in warm temperatures for several weeks. Actually, it’s been more than a month since Crowsnest Pass has received any significant amount of snow or any of the cold temperatures we normally have to endure (or expect) at this time of year. It’s been kind of nice to be getting positive, double-digit daytime temperatures in late February and early March, but you know we’re going to pay for this - sooner or later. I’m guessing were going to be “paying the piper” before month’s end!

Temperatures in the Pass have climbed to +12°  Celsius (55° F) some days. As a result, most of the ice has disappeared from the Crowsnest River. Normally at this time of year, the majority of ice-free water is located between the East Hillcrest and Highway 507 bridges. The river downstream of Hwy. 507, through to Lundbreck Falls, and toward it’s confluence with the Oldman Dam Reservoir, is usually locked in ice until late March or early April. Not this year, though, and it’s possible to fish the entire section of river between the East Hillcrest Bridge and the reservoir. If you’re planning to wait a few weeks before heading out, keep in mind the section between Lundbreck Falls and Highway 3 closes at the end of March. If you’re unsure of what’s open and what’s not, be sure to read the regs before you go.

"Horseshoe Bend" on lower Crowsnest River

"Horseshoe Bend" on the lower Crowsnest River (March 8/10)

I managed to get out fishing for a couple of hours yesterday afternoon. The temperature was around 10° Celsius and winds were light. The river was crystal-clear, low and easy to wade. There’s still some ice shelves along the river, but they did not pose any problems, at least in the section I fished. Prior to hitting the water, I drove down below Lundbreck to check water conditions.

Update: Crowsnest Pass received about an inch of snow overnight. A precurser of what’s in store? Perhaps, but the “short-range” forecast is calling for clear, sunny skies tomorrow, and temperatures of 10° C by Friday.

Lundbreck Falls

Only a bit of ice remains clinging to Lundbreck Falls

 

The river was crystal-clear, low and easy to wade

The river was crystal-clear, low and easy to wade

Crowsnest River rainbow trout

I landed four rainbows in a couple hours, using bead-head nymphs (Pheasant-tail and Prince), and Wire San Juan Worms