Entries tagged with “crowsnest river”.


Where did our summer go? June and July disappeared before I knew it, and August quickly turned into September. Kids are back in school and family vacations are all but done for another year. For many anglers, including myself, this is the time of year we enjoy most. It’s a great time to be on the water. There’s less people fishing now and trout are beginning to feed eagerly, in preparation for winter.  Oops … did I say “winter”? 

Thus far, the weather has been really nice this month. Although evenings are becoming cool, afternoons are warm and pleasant, with temperatures climbing into the mid 20° Celsius range (70° Fahrenheit). Leaves on trees are starting to change color. Within a week or two, the Crowsnest River valley will be decked out in full autumn splendor. 

There are a few caddis flies present on the rivers and blue-winged olive mayflies are beginning to interest trout.  As September progresses, the best hatches of BWOs will occur during early to mid-afternoon. Currently, there’s lots of terrestrial insects along the stream banks. If you’re heading out fishing soon, be sure to carry a few grasshopper, ant and beetle imitations. 

Fishing the Castle River in July

It was a late start to the season, due to cool weather and rain. Most of the rivers in southwest Alberta remained high and discoloured until mid-July. Fishing was good, though, once water levels dropped and the rivers cleared. 

Waiting for the evening hatch to begin and the wind to end

Some of the best dry-fly fishing on the Crowsnest River can occur at dusk, providing the wind cooperates. In the photo above, taken during the September long weekend, Rolf and I were waiting for the strong gales to subside. They never did. What happened a few minutes after I took this photo made up for the lack of fishing opportunities that evening. We watched in amazement as a large black bear suddenly jumped into the water from the bushes on the left, before swimming to the other side of the river. We remained calm, quiet and still, and watched to see what it would do. The bear didn’t realize we were less than 50 feet away. Once the bruin crossed the river, it didn’t stop. It kept going, heading through the trees in a northerly direction. Rolf and I breathed a sigh of relief and were glad we didn’t need to pull out our cans of bear spray. The fishing may not have been great that evening, but we returned home with an exciting story, nevertheless.  

Landing an Elk River cutthroat

Lately, I’ve been guiding on the Elk River. The cutthroat trout are truly amazing on this river, and it’s a lot of fun catching them on dry flies. However, contrary to what some people say, Elk River cutthroats can sometimes be as challenging to catch as Crowsnest River rainbows. After trying nearly every fly in his box, this angler was rewarded with a nice cutthroat trout that wanted a foam ant pattern.

Fishing conditions on the Crowsnest River and other trout streams in SW Alberta are shaping up … finally. Water levels are continuing to drop daily and the rivers are becoming wadeable once again. I like fishing the Crowsnest this time of year, because there’s so  much going on, in terms of insect activity. The river is quite clear and the trout are beginning to rise to dry flies.

Dry-fly fishing has started on the Crowsnest River

I was fishing on the Crowsnest River on Wednesday and there were plenty of adult golden stoneflies, yellow and lime Sally stones, caddis, pmd mayflies, and even some green drakes on the water. The best part, though, was I only encountered one angler the entire time I was out. Not bad, considering it’s almost the middle of July. The fishing was pretty good, too. I fished a hopper-dropper rig most of the day … a Stimulator or SA Hopper dry fly, using a Bead-head Prince or Copper John dropper. About half the fish I caught were on dries, the rest on nymphs. It was a great day!

Dry-fly fishing on the Crowsnest River

It’s springtime in the Rockies, including here in Crowsnest Pass! We got off pretty easy this winter, compared to last year. I know we’re not out of the woods yet, and anything can happen between now and summer, but it didn’t seem like we received very much snow in Crowsnest Pass this winter. Yet, when you check the Alberta Environment website, their data indicates average to much-above-average mountain snowpack in southwest Alberta. It appears the snowpack is greater north of Hwy. 3, than it is in the south.

The section of the Crowsnest River between Lundbreck Falls and Highway 3 is closed to fishing from April 1 to June 15.

I went for a drive yesterday to check conditions on the Crowsnest River. I stopped in at Lundbreck Falls and chatted with a couple of anglers who had driven down from Edmonton. They were going to fish the day, then head home. They had only been on the water a short time when I caught up with them. One of the anglers mentioned he had already caught a nice rainbow trout. Making a six hour drive to fish for eight hours, and then driving another six hours to get home at the end of the day is what I call dedication. At least, they wouldn’t be going home skunked!

Below are a couple more photos of places I checked yesterday. I also headed over to Lee Lake. About a week ago, there was a bit of open water at the boat launch, but cooler temperatures over the weekend caused it to freeze again. I’ll update conditions, once they change.

If you’re planning to go fishing on the Crowsnest River soon, remember the section between Lundbreck Falls and Highway 3 is closed April 1 to June 15. The section upstream of the East Hillcrest Bridge is also closed until June 16. If you’re in doubt about what sections are open, check the fishing regs. Watch out for ice shelves along the river and fish with a friend.

Yesterday, as I was leaving the parking lot at Lundbreck Falls, a robin flew in front of my truck. I guess spring has arrived to Crowsnest Pass, after all!

The Crowsnest River downstream of Hwy. 3

 

Downstream view of the Crowsnest River from the Hwy. 507 Bridge.

It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade. ~Charles Dickens

It’s hard to believe the fishing season on the majority of the rivers and streams in SW Alberta has been closed for more than a month and that Christmas is only two weeks away. Unlike last year at this time, we haven’t had to deal with much snow, at least not yet.  But rest assured, winter is coming. Although there’s not a lot of snow on the ground at the moment, we’re bound to get our first good snowfall sometime before Santa pays his annual visit. We haven’t had a lot of snow, but we’ve sure been receiving a lot of wind lately. A couple of anglers who had been fishing on the lower Oldman, downstream of the dam, stopped by the shop this afternoon to say they had been blown off the water. I guess the 100 km per hour winds made it tough to stand up, let alone trying to casting into it.

Crowsnest River at Highway 507 Bridge

I went for a drive the other day to check water conditions on the Crowsnest River. Ice is beginning to form along the edges, but there’s still plenty of open water in the stretch between the Highway 507 and East Hillcrest Bridges. If you’re planning to check it out for yourself in the coming months, this section generally has the most ice-free, fishable water.

On another note, our 2012 Fly-Fishing Schools have been scheduled. We’ll be offering a couple of Beginner Schools in May and June. In addition, Jim & Lynda Mclennan will be returning next season to instruct a couple of schools. Gift certificates are available for any of these classes, and make a great “stocking stuffers” for Christmas. Click here for information regarding our Beginner Schools. Click here for info regarding Jim and Lynda’s Schools. Certificates are also available for our guided fly-fishing trips. Call the shop at 403-564-4333 or 1-800-267-1778 for more information.

It’s official, fall has arrived. Yesterday was the first day of autumn across the northern hemisphere, including right here in Crowsnest Pass. You would never know it,  though, judging by the awesome weather we have been experiencing lately. It feels more like summer than fall, that’s for sure. The temperature outside today reached 30 degrees Celsius (86 ºF). Amazing!

The fishing has been holding up really well on our local trout streams. Water levels are good and most streams are in perfect condition for wade fishing. Terrestrial imitations, such as hoppers, ants and beetle patterns, have been producing quite well. Blue-winged olive mayflies and caddis have also been providing decent dry-fly opportunities. 

The Crowsnest River is in great, late summer condition.

 The weather forecast is calling for things to start cooling down over the next week or so. It’s still going to be nice, but temperatures are expected to return to normal for this time of year. I’d be real happy if it stayed like this until Christmas. Then it can warm up, again!

The fishing is picking up on the rivers and streams in SW Alberta. Although water levels on some of the rivers south of Crowsnest Pass are a bit high at the moment, they’re clear and fishable. The Castle is still a little on the high side, but some of its smaller tributaries are wadeable/crossable and fishing well. The Crowsnest, upper Oldman, Livingstone River and tribs are in good shape and anglers are having good success on these waters.

The rivers and streams in SW Alberta are shaping up nicely

 Insect activity has increased over the past couple weeks and dry flies are working. Hatches include, golden, yellow and lime Sally stoneflies, caddisflies, pale morning dun and green drake mayflies. Good fishing everyone!

I was able to get out fishing on the Crow yesterday afternoon. Until last week, the river had been high and discoloured, largely due to all the precipitation we’ve been receiving over the past several weeks. All that snow melting in the high country hasn’t been helping, either. The river is still quite high and you probably won’t be able to wade across it for a while yet, but at least the water has cleared to the point where it’s fishable again.

The Crowsnest River remains high but fishable

 When I arrived at the river, I noticed a few adult salmonflies flying about and was hoping that the trout would be on the lookout for these big bugs. We’ve received reports of anglers having some success with large attractor dry flies, so I decided to start with a Stimulator. Over the next hour, I fished some nice water with my dry fly, without success. Not even a look or refusal … nothing at all. Yet, there was more than enough water visibility close to the stream bank, places where you normally expect trout to be holding in these conditions. They just weren’t interested in coming to the top to feed. It was time to change tactics. If the fish wouldn’t rise to the surface to take my dry, I was more than willing to go down to the bottom of the stream with a nymph.

One of the rainbows I caught using a Kaufmann Stonefly nymph

 I switched to a Kaufmann Stonefly Nymph and attached a strike indicator and some split-shot to my leader, then started working a current seam behind a rock deflection jutting out from shore. It didn’t take long, one or two casts,  before I hooked a fish. It got away before I could tell what it was. I moved upstream to the next pool and hooked a couple of fish right off the bat, but they got away, too. Not long after this, I hooked and landed a decent rainbow. I managed to catch one or two more trout after this, before calling it a day. Not a lot of fish came to hand, but it was a great afternoon, nevertheless. I’m sure things will only get better on the river from here on in.

Today is opening day for the trout streams in southwest Alberta. It’s not uncommon for rivers and streams in this area to be flowing high and discoloured on opening day, and this year is no exception. Temperatures have been cooler than usual this spring, which is slowing down the snow-melt. The cooler weather we’ve been experiencing over the past month is probably a good thing. Conditions could have easily been a lot worse had it been warmer, especially with the amount of rain we’ve received over the past several weeks. Warm temperatures, combined with above-average snow-pack and heavy spring rains, are a recipe for disaster. We all remember what happened in 1995. Fortunately, it doesn’t appear this is going to occur this year. Providing we don’t get too much more rain over the next week or two, conditions should begin to improve shortly. Water levels on the Crowsnest River are beginning to drop and it’s clearing up. Visibility was approximately 2 feet this morning.

View from the East Hillcrest Bridge yesterday, looking upstream

 Even though water conditions are not ideal at the moment, there are a few anglers on the river today. They’re catching some fish, too. One fellow stopped by the shop while I was writing today’s blog to rearm his fly box with woven body stonefly nymphs. He had caught a number of nice rainbows this morning using this fly and decided it might be a good idea to to pick up some more while he was in the area. He was in a hurry to get back on the river and didn’t stay long. I can’t say I blamed him. Now if we could only get some sunshine!

The weather has improved in Crowsnest Pass, since my last post. Spring arrived officially last week and temperatures are finally beginning to warm up enough to start melting some of the snow and ice in the valley. Hopefully, this melting will occur gradually. Otherwise, we could have some real issues with water levels later this spring.

Yesterday, I dusted off my fishing gear and headed down to the Crow for a few hours. Fishing opportunities (Chinooks) were rare this winter and I wasn’t able to get out on the river for several months. It’s amazing what a week of warm weather can do. Sections of the river that were completely froze last week are open and fishable again. There’s still areas with ice cover, and lots of ice shelves around, but there’s no problem finding open water to fish.

Plenty of open water to fish

 The river was clear and in good shape, and there was no problem wading. The snow was knee deep in some of the treed areas along the river, but I had no difficulty getting down to the water.

The river was clear and wadeable

There were lots of small winter black stoneflies crawling along the snow-covered stream banks. I also saw a few ducks, some Canada geese and a small herd of mule deer. It was great just to be on the river again. The trout I managed to catch were chunky and appeared to have wintered well. Like me, I guess!

Early spring rainbow trout

Tis the season … to send our warmest wishes to our friends. On behalf of The Crowsnest Angler Fly Shop and Guide Service, I would like to wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! Thanks to everyone who stopped by the shop this year. We truly appreciate your support and look forward to seeing you again next season. Thanks also to our staff, guides and everyone else who helped out this summer.

I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old, familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet
The words repeat
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!
~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

 The Crowsnest Angler Winter Hours & 2011 Fly-Fishing Schools 

The shop will be closed December 25 – January 10 for Christmas and New Years. We’ll return to our usual winter hours on January 11 and will be open Tuesday through Saturday, 9:00 am  – 6:00 pm. Closed Sunday & Monday until mid-May.

  Our 2011 Fly-fishing Schools have been posted on our web site. Click here for information. Jim and Lynda McLennan will be returning in July to conduct a number of schools, including a new one , “Presenting The Fly.” For more info on the McLennan Crowsnest Pass Schools, click here.

Christmas Gift Ideas

If you’re still searching for a last minute Christmas gift for someone, we may be able to help. Gift certificates are available for guided fly-fishing trips, schools or gear. Also, a reminder that all men’s and women’s waders and wading boots are 30% off while supplies last.

Christmas in the Frank Slide