Archive for May, 2010

Should I head down to the river to fish for the day or take my pontoon boat out and do some lake fishing, instead? That was the question I had to answer on Wednesday. The salmonfly hatch has started on the Crowsnest River and water conditions were excellent for this time of year. The river was wadeable and there was at least three feet of visibility. It’s not often you have this kind of water clarity in the river at the end of May. The spring runoff was in progress, but cooler temperatures had slowed the snow-melt in the mountains. The weather forecast was calling for it to start raining in the afternoon and for it to continue for at least the next few days. I knew this was probably going to be my last chance to hit the river before it muddied up. If I didn’t fish the Crow today, I’d probably have to wait a couple weeks before conditions improve. It was a tough decision to make, and in the end I opted for rowing my pontoon boat on a lake.

Terry reaching out to net a nice rainbow trout.
Terry reaching out to net a nice rainbow trout

 I headed west of town, just across the Alberta-BC border and met Terry at Summit Lake. His pontoon boat was in the water and he was already rigged up when I arrived. A couple of other friends were gearing up on shore, too. Terry has been having some great action on the lake for several weeks, fishing mainly with chironimid (midge) patterns, suspended beneath a strike indicator. While some people compare this type of fishing to “watching paint dry,” I enjoy it … especially if there’s a chance of hooking a big trout.

Ponton Boat Fishing

A happy angler!

 Terry rowed out a little ways from shore and started fishing, while I assembled my gear. Before I had even strung my rod I glanced up, only to see that Terry’s rod was doubled over. Moments later, he netted his first trout of the day. I quickened my pace and in a short time was on the water, myself. The fish were cooperative from the get-go and the fishing was steady the entire time we were out. I landed a colorful brook trout early on, but it was all rainbows after that. I didn’t latch onto any cutties, but I think Terry managed to get one. The rainbows were gorgeous and displayed some of their amazing aerobatic qualities for us. I seldom count fish and didn’t this day, either. However, we caught plenty of trout and it appeared everyone else out that day did, too. At one point I looked up and every boat within sight had a trout on the end of a line.

Around 4.30 pm, the sky opened and the rain started to fall. By morning the Crow was the color of chocolate milk. Even though I would have enjoyed fishing the river had I done this instead, I still feel I made the right decision to fish the lake on Wednesday. I’ll get back to river soon enough.  Also, when the fish are biting like they were at Summit, it doesn’t feel at all like you’re watching paint dry!

The runoff has begun on the rivers and streams in southwest Alberta, including the Crowsnest River. Water levels have been rising gradually for a week or so, as warm temperatures are beginning to melt the snow at higher elevations. After checking the Alberta Environment web site, it appears the snow storm that passed through southern Alberta earlier this month helped a little, in terms of increasing our mountain snowpack. However, with the exception of a few places where snow accumulations may be slightly above average, most areas are currently sitting at below average measurements for this time of year. Providing we don’t receive excessive amounts of rain over the next several weeks, the runoff could finish early this year. Maybe everything will be fishable by June 16th, when the season opens on all the trout streams in this part of the province.

If you’d like to fish somewhere/anywhere while waiting for the runoff to subside, you may want to head over to one of the local trout lakes. The fishing has been quite productive at Lee, Beauvais and Beaver Mines lakes. Summit Lake, located just across the border in BC, has also been providing good fishing as of late. Remember, though, you’ll need a BC license to fish here.

Crowsnest River Salmonfly Hatch

I checked the lower Crowsnest River this morning for signs of salmonflies and found a couple of empty shucks on the abutments of the “Iron Bridge,” just downstream of Hwy. 3. It looks like these big bugs are beginning to hatch on the river, and right on cue, too. It’s not unusual for the emergence of these stoneflies to coincide with the spring runoff. Wouldn’t it be nice, though, if the river cleared up a bit, before these insects have finished hatching?   

   

The spring runoff has started on southern Alberta's rivers and streams

The spring runoff has started on southern Alberta's rivers and streams

SHOP NEWS
We’ve changed to our summer hours and are open 9:00 am – 6:00 pm, each and every day. We’re really excited about the coming season and look forward to seeing all of you again.
Help Wanted in Fly Shop
We’re looking for summer staff in the shop (June – September/October). Duties will include retail sales, issuing angling licenses, stocking shelves, store clean-up, providing local fishing info/advice to customers … etc. Resumes can be sent via email to Vic Bergman (info@crowsnestangler.com) or dropped off at the shop. They can also be mailed to: The Crowsnest Angler – Box 400, Bellevue, Alberta T0K 0C0. If you’re friendly, enjoy meeting people, and you like fishing and talking to others about it, and would like to work in a fly shop for the summer, we’d love to hear from you. Applicants must have fly-fishing experience/knowledge. Only successful applicants will be contacted for an interview.
2010 Licenses
 A reminder that Alberta and British Columbia angling licenses are available at our shop. If it’s more convenient for you, it’s possible to purchase your licenses online.  For Alberta Wildlife Identification Numbers (W.I.N.) and angling licenses, click here
BC licenses are available by clicking here. If you’d like to pick up your BC license at our shop, and you had one last year, remember to bring it with you. In order to issue this year’s license, we need your “Angler Number.” You can also record the number on a slip of paper. If it’s an Alberta license you require, bring your W.I.N. card to the shop. Until next time!

It appears spring has arrived in Crowsnest Pass … again. After last week’s extreme weather, I was beginning to wonder if all those warm days we experienced last month were but a dream. We should be cutting grass this time of year, not shovelling ten inches of snow. Well, most of the snow that fell last week has already melted, at least the stuff along the valley floor. There’s still lots of it in the mountains, though.  The long-range forecast looks pretty good, even for the Victoria Day weekend, coming up in a couple weeks. The Crowsnest River was quite clear as of this morning, but I suspect this will change once it starts to warm up again. We are approaching the time of year where the runoff usually occurs, after all.

All of the trout lakes in the area are fishing well – something to keep in mind once the runoff begins on our local rivers. But who knows, if we don’t receive too much rain over the next month or so, the river might remain fishable throughout the runoff period.

 My brother-in-law, Paul, and I fished Beauvais Lake twice in the past week, in hopes of catching some brown trout. We managed to land a few browns, but nothing over 16 inches. Lots and lots of rainbows, too, but mainly small ones. We won’t talk about the number of suckers that inhaled our chironimid and streamer patterns. The weather was iffy both times, but we still had a lot of fun together. We’ll try for some browns again next year, when Paul returns for his annual visit.

Fishing on Beauvais Lake

Fishing on Beauvais Lake

FLY-FISHING SCHOOLS
Here’s a quick reminder to anyone interested in registering for any of our Fly-fishing Schools. We have room for a couple more people to register in the May 22 Beginner Fly-Fishing School. Equipment can be supplied, if required. We’re also conducting another Beginner School on June 12th. Call or email for more info. Info is also available in the “Events” page on our web site (www.crowsnestangler.com). In addition, Jim and Lynda McLennan will be conducting a number of fly-fishing schools here this summer. For a complete list of their schools, click here.
SHOP HELP WANTED
We are looking for summer staff in the shop (June – September/October). Duties will include retail sales, issuing angling licenses, stocking shelves, store clean-up, providing local fishing info/advice to customers … etc. Resumes can be sent via email to Vic Bergman (info@crowsnestangler.com) or dropped off at the shop. They can also be mailed to: The Crowsnest Angler – Box 400, Bellevue, Alberta T0K 0C0. If you’re friendly, enjoy meeting people, and you like fishing and talking about it, and would like to work in a fly shop for the summer, we’d love to hear from you. Only successful applicants will be contacted for an interview.