Dry-fly fishing on the Crowsnest River has been excellent as of late. A variety of insects, including mayflies (pmds, quill Gordons, flavs and green drakes), caddisflies and stoneflies (golden, yellow and lime Sally stones) have been providing some of the best fishing in recent memory.
Between guiding and working in the shop, I haven’t had much of a chance lately to get out and do some personal fishing on the Crow … that is, until last evening. Rolf and I headed out after supper and worked a section of river upstream of Lundbreck Falls. We fished from 8:00 pm until dark (10:00 pm). There were already a number of good size trout feeding on the surface when we arrived at the water’s edge, albeit sporadically, but as soon as the sun dipped behind the Livingstone Range the river came alive with fish.
We found some trout “snouts” rising along a willow-lined bank and worked them for about an hour, trying to figure out what they were eating. There were quite a few flavs on the water and lots of rusty spinners in the air. Caddis, and yellow and lime Sally stones were fluttering in the bushes along shore. We tried a few different fly patterns, before discovering it was caddisflies the fish were interested in – or at least it appeared that way. After snapping off a couple of big fish that came up to our Elk Hair Caddis dries, we managed to land a couple of good ones, including a gorgeous 20-inch brown trout at dark. Browns are becoming more prevalent upstream of Lundbreck Falls and this was the largest one I’ve caught here to date. Now, I just need to start concentrating on the lake trout that are showing up downstream of the falls. Where do you suppose they came from – Crowsnest Lake?
The fishing has been awesome on all of southern Alberta’s trout streams, so try to get out soon!
Rolf setting the hook on a rising trout
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, 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.
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.
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!
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!
- 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
Paul with a nice Summit Lake cuttie