Entries tagged with “cutthroat trout”.

The weather in Crowsnest Pass continues to be absolutely gorgeous! We’ve been receiving above seasonal temperatures for the past couple of weeks and it looks like there’s more to come. Our forecast is calling for the warm, sunny weather to continue for at least the next week or two. Temperatures are expected to reach 26°C on Saturday, the first day of autumn. Amazing!

Yesterday, I took advantage of the beautiful weather and went fishing with Ernie, a friend from Bellevue. We headed south of Crowsnest Pass, in search of cutthroat trout. Our first stop was a tiny creek, where fish are not very large. We weren’t looking for big ones, anyway, nor did we catch any. Ernie and I spent  a couple of enjoyable hours, sight-casting to 10 – 12 inch cutties. Every pool held at least one or two fish and we took turns casting to them. We also took turns removing our flies from bushes and trees behind us. Oh, the joys of fishing a small mountain creek! 

Ernie hooks into a cutthroat trout

Later in the afternoon, we headed to another spot to fish bigger water. It was getting on in the day, so we wouldn’t be able to stay long. There wasn’t much going on, in terms of insect activity, and we only encountered a few rising trout. In one pool, I caught a cuttie on an Elk Hair Caddis. The fish was about the size of the ones we were catching on the small creek, earlier in the day. I always thought bigger water meant bigger fish, but I guess it’s not always the case. Ernie had fished this stretch of river a couple weeks earlier and caught some larger fish on dry flies. I switched to a nymph and it wasn’t long before a nice fish decided it was time to eat. I got a glimpse of it, just before it broke my tippet. In another pool, I was able to sight-cast to a number of trout, by hiding behind some bushes along shore. The water was crystal-clear, allowing me to watch the fish move in the current to take my nymph. A couple of times, I was so absorbed in watching the trout, I forgot to set the hook. On the times I remembered to strike, I was rewarded with a fish. All in all, it was a great day!

Fishing for cutthroat trout

Time to head for home

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of  spending the day floating the Elk River with Linder and his grandson, Mitchell. Conditions on the Elk have been quite good lately and the trout have been cooperating nicely, at least most days. Mitchell has recently taken up fly-fishing and with the help of his grandpa, he seems to be picking it up nicely. Earlier this summer, Linder invited Mitchell, who’s eight years old, on a couple of fishing trips in the area. During one of these excursions, Mitchell landed a dandy cutthroat trout, measuring close to twenty inches. That was a great accomplishment for a young kid like Mitchell and he was really proud … Linder, that is.

During yesterday’s trip, Mitchell didn’t land any twenty inchers, although he hooked one that was close, using a Fat Albert dry fly. The trout came out from behind some tree branches overhanging the water and gulped the fly. Mitchell played the fish well and it looked like he already had years of fly-fishing experience under his belt. At one point the fish came close enough to the boat for me to net. However, the mesh bag  became tangled and the fish flipped out of the net before it could be scooped from the river. Then, just as I was about to make another attempt, the hook came loose. The trout quickly disappeared in the swift current. I think I was more disappointed than Mitchell that we didn’t boat the fish. He only wanted to keep trying for another one.

By the end of the day, Mitchell had landed some decent cutthroats. He was a bit tired, but happy. Afterward, I asked him what he’d remember most of this day. He responded by saying, “Fighting the big one, before it got away.” I’d say Mitchell has the makings of a true fisherman! Not only did he catch the biggest fish of his fly-fishing career this year, he also came away with a good story of “the big one that got away.” I suspect Mitchell and his grandpa are already looking forward to next season. In the meantime, I’ll practice my fish netting skills!

Elk River Trip

Linder and Mitchell

On Tuesday I had the opportunity to go on a mountain bike trip to the headwaters of the Castle River. I was joined by my friends, Rolf and Peter. We left Crowsnest Pass at 8:00 am and were unloading our bikes at the trail-head about an hour later. Within minutes, we were peddling along the bumpy, pot-hole filled logging road, heading south toward Waterton Lakes National Park. It didn’t take long, the first five minutes of the trip to be exact, for me to realize I was not in top “bike shape.” By the end of our 35 km trip, every muscle and bone in my body ached. My backside was the most vocal, though. I must look into getting a bike seat with more padding.

Portions of the old logging road were in rough shape, with large bowling ball size rocks strewn over the ground. Other sections contained deep washouts and ravines, reminders of the 1995 flood. Then, there were the steep hills. There were no short-cuts around them and it was much easier to push the bikes up or down them, than peddle. Other sections of the road were much like they were prior to the flood, and easy to ride. I particularly enjoyed the downhill sections … that is until we returned later in the day, where they became uphill sections. At long last, we arrived at our destination, approximately three or four kilometres from the northern boundary of Waterton Park. The scenery was spectacular!

Rolf and Peter, gearing up to fish

Rolf and Peter, gearing up to fish

 Although it was more of a mountain bike torture trip we were on, we had also included our fly-fishing gear. In the event there was a decent place close by, and we had time, we planned to fish a bit before heading back. As it turned out we’d have about an hour, so we thought we’d make the best of it. We were glad we did. Here’s a few photos of the day.

Mountain Bike Trip

Within minutes, Peter was into a nice cutthroat trout


Mountain Bike Trip

Peter, with a beautiful 15-inch cutthroat trout. A decent fish for this section of river.


Rolf cast to a likely-looking spot. The headwater of the Castle River are more creek-like in size and appearance than they are a river.

Rolf casts to a likely-looking spot. The headwaters of the Castle River are more creek-like in size and appearance than they are a river.


Mountain bike trip

One of the cutthroats I managed to catch. Photos by Peter Amundsen.


Mountain bike trip

Preparing for the ride home. Myself, Peter and Rolf (left to right).

After enduring more than three weeks of cool, overcast, rainy weather, the long term forecast for Crowsnest Pass looks awesome. It appears we’ll be receiving some summer weather after all! Stream conditions are returning to normal and the fishing is excellent. Water levels are great and the trout are happy. Anglers are happy, too, now that the sun is shining and most of the rivers and streams are running clear once again. If you’re planning on heading out fishing, don’t forget the sunscreen!

Crowsnest Pass Weather

What better way to enjoy the sunshine than spending a day fly-fishing for cutthroat trout. That’s exactly what Linder and David did yesterday on the Elk River. While both fellows have fished quite a bit this summer already, it was the first time these two friends have been able to “hook-up” this season. I was glad to have been able to be there, too. 

Linder and David, with a beautiful cutthroat trout. Photo courtesy of David Richardson.

Linder (on right) and David, with a beautiful cutthroat trout. Photo courtesy of David Richardson.

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