Entries tagged with “summit 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!

Should I head down to the river to fish for the day or take my pontoon boat out and do some lake fishing, instead? That was the question I had to answer on Wednesday. The salmonfly hatch has started on the Crowsnest River and water conditions were excellent for this time of year. The river was wadeable and there was at least three feet of visibility. It’s not often you have this kind of water clarity in the river at the end of May. The spring runoff was in progress, but cooler temperatures had slowed the snow-melt in the mountains. The weather forecast was calling for it to start raining in the afternoon and for it to continue for at least the next few days. I knew this was probably going to be my last chance to hit the river before it muddied up. If I didn’t fish the Crow today, I’d probably have to wait a couple weeks before conditions improve. It was a tough decision to make, and in the end I opted for rowing my pontoon boat on a lake.

Terry reaching out to net a nice rainbow trout.
Terry reaching out to net a nice rainbow trout

 I headed west of town, just across the Alberta-BC border and met Terry at Summit Lake. His pontoon boat was in the water and he was already rigged up when I arrived. A couple of other friends were gearing up on shore, too. Terry has been having some great action on the lake for several weeks, fishing mainly with chironimid (midge) patterns, suspended beneath a strike indicator. While some people compare this type of fishing to “watching paint dry,” I enjoy it … especially if there’s a chance of hooking a big trout.

Ponton Boat Fishing

A happy angler!

 Terry rowed out a little ways from shore and started fishing, while I assembled my gear. Before I had even strung my rod I glanced up, only to see that Terry’s rod was doubled over. Moments later, he netted his first trout of the day. I quickened my pace and in a short time was on the water, myself. The fish were cooperative from the get-go and the fishing was steady the entire time we were out. I landed a colorful brook trout early on, but it was all rainbows after that. I didn’t latch onto any cutties, but I think Terry managed to get one. The rainbows were gorgeous and displayed some of their amazing aerobatic qualities for us. I seldom count fish and didn’t this day, either. However, we caught plenty of trout and it appeared everyone else out that day did, too. At one point I looked up and every boat within sight had a trout on the end of a line.

Around 4.30 pm, the sky opened and the rain started to fall. By morning the Crow was the color of chocolate milk. Even though I would have enjoyed fishing the river had I done this instead, I still feel I made the right decision to fish the lake on Wednesday. I’ll get back to river soon enough.  Also, when the fish are biting like they were at Summit, it doesn’t feel at all like you’re watching paint dry!

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