Archive for August, 2010

At first I was going to title today’s blog entry “End of Season Sale,” until I realized there’s still two months left before the fishing season “officially” ends.  I realize it’s not the end of summer, either, and that there’s still three more weeks until autumn officially begins. Anyway, I thought I’d let everyone know we’ve put a number of items in the shop on sale. Prices are in effect while supplies last. All sales final.   

Sage Discontinued Fly Rods

Sage Model VT2 (9-foot, 7-wt & 9-foot, 8-wt ) Reg. Price $565.00    SALE $ 395.50


Wardell Discontinued Breathable Waders (*limited sizes)

 Model 5200 – Reg.  $350.00    SALE $245.00

 Model 4000 – Reg. 185.00    SALE $129.50


Springbrook Felt-Sole Wading Boots (*limited sizes)

 Reg. $116.95 – $125.95    SALE $81.85 – $88.00


Springbrook Neoprene Wading Socks (*limited sizes)

Reg. $50.95    SALE $35.50


Weinbrenner Felt-Sole Wading Boots (*limited sizes)

Model 4025 (Borger Boot) Reg. $230.00    SALE $161.50

Model 4200 Reg. $179.00    SALE $125.00

I had so much fun creek fishing last week I decided to do it again this week. This time I headed further away from town. I knew there would likely be some rainbows and cuttbows around, but I was hoping to find a few brook trout. I like fishing for brookies, especially when they’re all decked out in their fall spawning colors. I grabbed my 2-weight Winston rod and headed out for the afternoon.

Great cover for trout

Great trout cover

I’m happy to say my hook-set /catch-and-land ratio improved significantly from last week. Mind you, most of the fish were a lot smaller too. It’s funny how the small ones never get away. Most of the pools held at least two or three trout. They were all eager to rise to a dry fly … any dry fly. They weren’t fussy at all. Presentation didn’t matter, either. The only thing I had to watch out for were snags. In places, there were quite a few of these to contend with.

A nice shady section

A nice shady section

There were lots of cuttbows and a few rainbows in the creek, but I never saw any sign of brook trout. That’s unusual here. I’ll try to go back in a few weeks and see if they’re still around. Photos to come, if I find some.

One of the larger trout

One of the larger trout

I was able to get away for a few hours this afternoon and decided to do some creek fishing. Because I had to be back before the shop closed, I didn’t go far from town. There didn’t appear to be anyone else fishing the creek and I was pleased to see I’d have the water to myself. It wasn’t a particularly long stretch of water I planned to fish, perhaps 200 yards. But there would be four or five pools and runs … enough to keep me occupied for a couple of hours. Here’s how things went for me this afternoon.


I missed a good fish here, right off the start

I missed a good fish here, right off the start

On my first cast, a nice trout rose to my SA Hopper, but missed. Not wanting to take any chances, I changed flies and put on a Coachman Trude. The fish rose again, but refused the fly. I changed flies once more and tied on an Elk Hair Caddis. Yet another refusal. I made a few more casts, but nothing. “Smart fish; it’s probably seen a few flies this season,” I thought. I headed upstream to the next pool to look for one that was “less educated.” Maybe I could come back and try for this one again, later.


This pool was a bit deeper than the first and looked quite promising.  I had two more refusals, on back to back casts.  Another trout rose 20 feet upstream. I  managed to get my fly to the fish. Missed it. It was my fault, though, I was too anxious when setting the hook.

Great looking pool

Great looking pool


Fish On! … finally. Wait a minute; fish off … it got away! At least I still had my fly. I made a few more casts, without success. It was time to move up to the next pool.

Pretty water, that's for sure

Pretty water, that's for sure

 POOL #4

Maybe the deepest pool in this section, with trees and “fly-eating” branches that kept getting in the way. Twice, I managed to hook the same branches behind me. They were too high for me to reach my fly. I gave the leader a good tug and got everything back, including the fly … both times. Had a fish on for a couple of seconds, before it slipped the hook. I was beginning to wonder whether I should have stayed at work, instead. The last pool was just around the corner. 

Yet another good pool

Yet another good pool


I cast my fly onto the water and lost sight of it. A trout rose, but I couldn’t tell whether it was to my fly. It was. I didn’t set the hook in time. Another missed opportunity. A couple of casts later and there was another rise to my fly. This time, I did everything right. The trout jumped from the water a couple of times before I was able to land it.  A decent cuttbow for this creek.

A colorful cutt-bow

A colorful cuttbow

 POOL #1  (One More Time)

On my way back to the truck I decided to try the first pool one last time.  I re-attached the SA Hopper to my tippet and crawled on my hands and knees, until I was in position. A trout rose in the tail-out of the pool, just as some people drove by in a black jeep. They didn’t see me and I started to cast. The fish came to the surface and took my fly. I quickly landed the trout, a 12-inch cutthroat. Nice fish, but not the one I had seen earlier.  I made a few more attempts, without as much as a look by another trout.

Desperate times call for desperate measures. If the trout wasn’t going to come up to a dry, maybe going down with a nymph would be the answer. I attached 18 inches of 6X tippet to the hopper and tied on a #16 Copper John.  I cast the flies into the current flowing against the grassy bank and watched the dry fly as it drifted toward me. It only floated a few feet, before it disapearing under the surface. As soon as I set the hook I knew it was the fish I’d seen a couple hours earlier. The rainbow trout provided a good work-out for my rod and arm.  Shortly after landing the trout, I headed back to the shop. I had a big smile on my face.

A great way to end the day!

A great way to end the day!

If you’ve stopped by our fly shop in the past year or so, you’ve probably noticed the        8-foot trout silhouette we put up to decorate the outside of our new addition.

A view of the front of our shop, with the trout silhouette

A view of the front of our shop, with the trout silhouette

 During this time, we’ve had lots of compliments on the fish and our addition. Well, yesterday we added another 8-foot trout silhouette above our sign next to the shop. We think this trout looks as impressive as the first one.

Positioning the frame that will support the heavy metal trout

Positioning the frame that will support the heavy metal trout

The Crowsnest Angler Fly Shop

Securing the trout to the sign

 Thanks to Randy Rinaldi Welding for installing the steel frame and hanging the trout for us. A job well done!

Our trout sign on display along Highway 3, Bellevue, Crowsnest Pass

Our trout sign on display along Highway 3 - Bellevue, Crowsnest Pass

The fishing is holding up quite well on the Crow these days and anglers are continuing to have good success on the river. Although it’s easy to catch lots of small to medium size trout, the big ones are becoming a bit more difficult to fool. I guess that’s normal for this time of year. Some people would say we’re into the Dog Days of Summer. The days are warmer now and water levels are lower than they were a few weeks ago. Trout have seen a lot more of our flies by now, too. In order to have success catching larger fish, you’ll need to be more cautious when wading and casting. Fly presentation is also important. Sloppy casts will usually result in spooking trout. Evenings can provide some of the best dry-fly opportunities for bigger fish. The last hour of daylight can be the best time to be out on the water.

Try using small dries and nymphs at this time of the year

Try using small dries and nymphs at this time of the year

 Unlike a month ago, where big dries and nymphs accounted for many of the larger trout being caught on the Crowsnest River, chances are you’ll now have to use small dry flies and nymphs if you’re hoping to catch a big one.

 While fishing the Crow the other day, I noticed lots of ripe berries on the Saskatoon bushes growing along the river. I was forced to stop fishing a couple of times to sample them. It probably won’t be too long, before some of our local wildlife (i.e. Mr. Bear and family) discover them, too. Remember, it’s a good idea to stay alert and always keep your eyes open when fishing during berry season. Have fun out there!

P.S. There’s still some openings in this weekend’s (Aug 14 & 15) fly-fishing schools, with Jim & Lynda McLennan. These schools are listed below. For more info, click here.

Lynda McLennan Schools

August 14 – Introductory Fly-Fishing (men & women) 

August 15 - The Next Step (men & women) 


Jim McLennan Schools

August 14 – Fly-Fishing Intensive (FULL)

August 15 – Late Summer/Low Water

Over the past several years, there have been numerous sightings of river otters along the Crowsnest River. A lot of these reports have come from anglers, who have been encountering them while fishing. Earlier this year, I went out looking for some otters that had just been spotted along the river, east of the shop. Naturally, they were gone by the time I arrived. Today was a different story, though. This time they were waiting for me.

Otter, checking me out

Mama or papa otter, along with a young one, checking me out

When I first saw the otters, they were sunning themselves on a large boulder along the water’s edge, about 75 yards away. Actually, they saw me first and by the time I realized what they were (at first, I thought they were mergansers), they were already sliding into the water. It appeared to be a family, numbering four or five in total. I was amazed at how effortless they were able to swim.  “Graceful” and “powerful” is how I would describe their swimming ability.  They seemed curious, yet wary of my presence. Once in the water, one of them barked at the others and then they all paddled upstream in my direction. They swam within thirty yards of me, close enough for a good view, but not quite close enough for a good photo. Too bad I didn’t have my long lens. Once their curiosity was satisfied, they turned around and headed back downstream. I quickly walked to the corner, hoping to catch another glimpse, but they were nowhere to be seen. Pretty neat encounter, I’d say. The fishing was pretty good afterward, but seeing the otters was the highlight of the day!

I suspect otters were common along the Crowsnest River at one time and there’s probably plenty of reasons why they haven’t been seen in these parts for many years. I’ve heard there’s some people, including a few anglers, who are not particularly happy they’re back. This is probably because they feel otters are a threat to the fishery. I disagree and believe there’s room for fish and otters to co-exist. But then again, these are likely the same people who don’t like grizzly bears, wolves or bull trout.