...from Steve Leuthi!
Another great adventure! Thanks for the fabulous pictures too Steve and Brandon!
Brandon and I set out for a two day exploration trip up in the Grande Cache wilderness. We left Thursday evening after work. The goal was grayling but we knew this river was a host to big bull trout as well as Alberta's elusive native Athabasca Rainbow trout. We arrived in Grande Cache around midnight after a long snowy drive, found ourselves a motel and got a couple hours of sleep before venturing off highway. The drive from here on was certainly an adventure! The navigation of muddy ruts and gated caribou sanctuaries weren't enough to keep us from finding the river and we did so after just over 280 kms of oilfield roads out from Grande Cache.
We found ourselves a suitable camping spot then put the rods together and executed the final few kilometers on foot. The very first part of the river we came to was holding bulls, and lots of them. Within the first few casts we were both onto fish and a great start to the trip! We then moved on upstream and found some very nice water and with the next pool Brandon quickly completed what we called the Northern Alberta Slam! (a bull, a grayling and a rainbow in one day).
The rest of the day was foggy and rainy at about 5C but the fishing was good as I also got my first few arctic grayling, a few good ones at 17" and 18" some of which even ate the bull trout streamer with a 2/0 hook!! Saturday morning we woke up to a major frost and chilly temperatures but with an upside of the fog lifting and not a cloud in the sky! We started on the river right where we left off and quickly found the fish eager for a fly. Moving upstream is where I then completed the Northern Alberta Slam, first with a nice rainbow trout that gave us an acrobatic show before being subdued by the net. Then we found the honey hole.. a part of the river with a nice bend and large log jams that was very very deep. The water was nice and clear where we watched big bull trout chasing each other to grab our flies! The odd time a nice grayling would out compete the trout! This went on for a while (along with a lot of high fives and laughing) before we had to make the hike back to the truck. While hiking back through a meadow in thick brush we made a discovery that gave us chills. Grizzly scat and dig holes of which the dirt was still damp and very fresh. We made it to the truck in one piece with the bear spray still in hand and made the long journey back to Red Deer. There is already discussions about going back next year!