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
adventures , wild about fishing '2000
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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 ,