This Articel is being Reproduced by Courtesy of Trout and Salmon ">

This Articel is being Reproduced by Courtesy of Trout and Salmon , Britain's  Leading Game Fishing Magazine , Sandy Leventon ( Editor) as well as  the Authour Peter Gathercole

FROM Gamefishing adventures , wild about fishing '2000

 

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Cutthroat Buisness

RUN A DRY-FLY DOWN A POOL SO CLEAR YOU CAN SEE A WILD CUTTHROAT SHADOWING YOUR FLY . WADE MOUNTAIN STREAMS BELOW THE TOWERING  PEAKS OF THE ROCKIES.  FLYFISHING DOESN'T GET ANY BETTER THAN THIS.

 

WELCOME TO CALGARY-   Home of the Stampede." I only just caught the pilot's announcement as the whine of the planes engines died. For the briefest Moments images of great Longhorn Cattle running Pamplona style through the streets of the city flashed through my mind.Then I remember , Calgary in Alberta , Canada is home to a World famous Rodeo-cum-funfair that takes place in july each year.they call this heady mix of clowns , cotton candy and bucking broncos the Stampede.whereinworld.jpg (52061 Byte)

Southern Alberta , to be precise the bit of it that falls within the Rocky mountains , was my final destination.My base for the week-long trip was the Eckardt's Tecumse Mountain Guest Ranch Resort - owned by the Eckardt family.the ranch ,with its impressive timber-build Lodge, is situated right next to the Crowsnest Pass ,a  route through the middle of this gigant belt of rock which divides the continent of North America from east to west and runs from the Yukon  down to Mexico.From the Lodges veranda the view was simply breathtaking, the shadow cast peaks of the Flathead Range contrasting vividly against the deep blue morning sky.

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Although there are some wonderful mountain lakes in the region , my taste of fly-fishing in Alberta was providedby a mere handful of the noumerous Rivers and Streams that tumble crystal clear through the foothills and mountain gorges and teem with free-rising Trout .  they say that within a 50-mile radius of the Crowsnest Pass there are around 500 miles of trout streams.

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One of the very best is the Crowsnest river itself , which is only a few minutes drive from the Tecumseh Ranch and is where Kai Eckardt , who is an extreemly keen fly fisher , spends much of his time.The species we were after included Cutthroat trout , Rainbows , Brown trout , Brook trout and Bull trout .The Bull trout is actually a char that has the destinction of being Alberta's Provincial Emblem. it grows big too and speciments well into the double figures are caught regularly on fish immitating lures from deeper pools.For one not entirely au fait with this part of the world , it came as big surprise to be told that the Rainbow trout we were catching were not indigenous to the region.Rather , they were introduced back in the nineteenth century.In the pure rich water the quickly established a breeding population so that now they provide wonderful sport to dry fly and nymph.

The only downside is that they inbreed with the native Cutthroat producing a handsome hybrid known as the Cut-Bow.I say downside because , although the fishing hasn't deminished , the number of pure-strain cutthroat is reduced and a part of the regions natural herritage is lost for ever.Though it was wonderful to catch wild rainbows , i was especially keen to catch cutthroat. The Livingston river , a superbe piece of water , cutting its way deep into the surrounding rock and running fast through runs and broken pools , was were i first succeded. even in a fast riffle , the water was so clear that it was possible to see a fish rise up to the fly and drift with it fo a second before sipping it down.

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That day a big CDC Kilkhammer worked the magic for me enabeling me to catch and release a number of fine cutthroat. Beautifully coloured , their flanks and fins are peppered with countless tiny back spots and with that flash of red at the bottom of the throat that gives the species its name. Fly hatches were prolific , and varied , usually starting off with a steady stream of Pale Morning Duns added to , as the morning progressed by Blue Winged Olives , then by gigant olive duns , called Western Green Drakes of similar size as our mayfly.

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In the smoother glides it was patterns such as the PMD and the Light Cahill that proved most effective while in the fasted broken water , larger more buoyant patterns worked best. The latter included a wonderful detached-body imitation of the Western Green Drake plus standards such as the stimulator and the Trarantula ,the crutial component beeing deer hair to beat the swapping effect of the current . The most impressive insect of all was the Golden Stone , a gigant golden-yellow stonefly , almost two inches long ,thet would hatch most days in substantial numbers.

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Even when using the larger flies the standard tackel was an 8 1/2-ft rod rated for a five-weight line that was , invariably, a floater. Even on the larger , more pwerful strechtes this kind of tackle was perfectly balanced and allowed the use of light tippets , down to 3lb's , which were necessary were catch and release is regularly practised.Tecniques for presenting a fly ranged from traditional upstream to fly first. The later method was especially effective for fishing smooth glides ,where a flyline passing over a fish could easily spook it. It involves making a short parashute cast  downstream , then working line out by wiggeling the rod tip.It is not difficult once you have tried it a few times and , so long as you ensure the fly drifts  drag free , it certainly fools better fish. From time to time the wind could be a little problem . This is Chinook Country and the warm breeze sometimes makes casting tricky on the more open stretches, though it tends to be at its strongest in the afternoon when the rise is subdued anyways.

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Most Anglers and Guides i fished with preferredto use dry fly. Certainly during the summer months insect activity is so good that other tactics appear unnecessary , particularly as on a good day you can expect to catch 30 or 40 fish with little difficulty , and many more if you are prepared to fish hard. The average size is around 14-16 inches in length with a good number of larger fish up to 3lb or so. However during the spring much larger Rainbows migrate into the Crowsnest river to spawn and these can be well over 10lb.

During the peak of the hatch , the fishing can be fast and furious so when fly life does peter out around mid-afternoon , it does , at least , give you a chance for a drink and a bite to eat. It's a time to recharge the batteries and get ready for the evenings spinner fall.

In an area so rich in good Fly Fishing water , various methods are employed to get the angler to the fish. The most common is simply to cast and wade along the course of the river ,though during the summer with temparatures in the mid to high twenties , breathable waders or wet wading are the only comfortable options. One exciting  , though expensive, option is to take a float trip. Here anglers are taken by boat downstream through  a whole series of runs , glides and pools. Not only is the fishing usually very good , as a great deal of productive water is covered , but the thrill of bumping around big rocks and through white water rapids adds a "buzz" to the day.rossandme.jpg (309773 Byte)

Though the Fishing was extreemly good , it was the whole atmosphere of the region that made the trip so special. There is something quite awe inspiring about looking down as a released cutthroat glides back into its natural enviroment , then look up and be confronted by the peaks of the Rockies towering above.

For those who crave a wilderness expirience this area has it all. Not only is the fishing wonderful , but the tremendous scenery and wildlife can be enjoyed on horesback , mountainbike , or simply on foot making it a perfect spot for those who must combine their fishing with a family holiday.

All Pictures coutesy of Trout and Salmon and Peter GathercoleŠ

Thank you again Peter for this wonderful articel , we still have a coupple of copies that get read in our Lounge regularly , I know we and the guides you fished with still remember the fun week we had. always tight lines ,                                                                                                                                                  the Eckardt's