Entries tagged with “beauvais lake”.


It’s taken its time this year, but it looks and feels like spring has finally arrived in Crowsnest Pass. The grass is green once again and some of the wildflowers, like prairie crocus’, are in full bloom. Temperatures remain a little on the cool side, but at least we haven’t had to shovel any snow for a couple of weeks.

Prairie crocus' are in full bloom in SW Alberta

 The spring runoff has started and streams are flowing high and discoloured. Most of the trout lakes in the area are ice-free, providing anglers with the opportunity to whet a line while waiting for the runoff to subside and rivers to open. I spent a couple days fishing Lee Lake last week and had lots of success. It was fun catching fish on Lee, even though they were mostly small ones.

Lee Lake is ice-free and fishing well

 There was concern that some of the lakes around Crowsnest Pass may have experienced winterkill. However, there is no evidence of this occurring, as of yet. I didn’t see any dead fish along shore on Lee and I checked Beauvais Lake yesterday. There was concern that Beauvais may have been hit, but I didn’t see any sign of dead trout here, either. While I was there, I spoke with a couple of boat anglers who had spent the day fishing and had caught quite a few trout, including a few browns. Unfortunately, it appears Summit Lake, located across the border in BC, didn’t fare as well. We have been receiving reports since the weekend of numerous fish laying dead along the shoreline. It may not all be bad news, though, as trout have been seen rising on the lake.

Summer Hours

With the long weekend coming up, we would like to inform everyone that we are returning to our summer hours. We’ll be open each and every day, 9:00 am – 6:00 pm, until mid-October. Hope to see you soon!

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.

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

Over the past couple weeks, I’ve received quite a few calls and emails from people wondering about the ice on Lee Lake and whether or not it’s off yet. By this time last year it was completely ice-free and anglers were already enjoying some decent fishing. I checked on Friday (April 10th), but it was still frozen and there was no sign of it beginning to open, even along shore. While there, I noticed a bunch of Canada geese standing on the ice by the island, directly across from the boat launch. It was great to see they had returned to the lake from their winter retreat in the south. They were also squawking as noisily as ever. It seemed like they were waiting for the ice to come off, too, and some appeared to have already staked out the choice nesting sites on the tiny island.

What a difference three days can make! I drove to the lake this morning before heading to work, to check things out.  As I approached the highway turnoff, I noticed a vehicle in the Lee Lake parking lot. This could only mean one thing, right? My hunch was correct, there was open water and a couple of people were fishing from shore. As of this morning there’s about 30 to 40 feet of open water near the boat launch, more in other places. Barring a return visit by Old Man Winter, Lee Lake should be ice-free by the weekend. Other lakes in southwest Alberta, including Beauvais, Dipping Vat and Payne (Mami)  should start to open soon, if they haven’t already. Beaver Mines and Police Outpost lakes are situated at higher elevations and usually become ice-free a bit later than some of the others. It won’t be long now and there will be a lot of happy lake anglers, and Canada geese!

NEWS FLASH … I  fished the Crowsnest River yesterday. First time out this spring! Post and photos to follow. Below is a photo of Lee Lake this morning.

Lee Lake beginning to open

View of Lee Lake this morning from the boat launch