Thursday, June 28, 2018

Brown Drakes

As I drank my morning coffee, this brown drake wandered by and landed on my front window. It made me smile. The browns and gold eye and sometimes walleye love to gulp them down. The green background is my lawn and amazingly enough my front window was clean enough for a great shot!

This brown drake was sitting in my spruce tree!

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Great Photography from the Eye of Steve Luethi

I always enjoy Steve Luethi's photography from out on the water. He has a great eye and and knows how to use his camera's settings to get fantastic results. Steve also has a fun sense of humour and that translates into some great pictures. I love pictures that say something. Steve is developing into a skilled artist with his camera. Yes, there are a few pictures in this post that his buddy Pat took, you can tell which ones they are.

Thanks Steve for the pictures. Many of my regular readers love your work! So do I!

Monday, June 25, 2018

West Slope Cutthroat on Our Eastern Slopes in Alberta

It was a beauty of a day to get out to the eastern slopes west of Red Deer to chase our West Slope Cutthroat Trout! After a quick check of the flow rates at Alberta River Basins (there is a new web site this year), my neighbour, Colin, and I knew that the river was not in perfect shape but fishable. After weaving through some construction, we arrived. We were early but the weather to start the day was emphasized by a chinook arch. We knew wind was going to be a factor too! 

Well the cutthroat were hungry and quite active. There were no significant hatches but a size 8 or 10 wiggle worm certainly got the attention of the cutthroat. The key was getting lots of split shot on the line because the river was flowing high and fast.

We fished through 6 runs today. All the runs had active cutthroat!

The weather changed to a rain shower or two, then to heavy wind and once in a while we had beautiful sunshine. Typical eastern slopes weather.

Please be careful to take care and make safe decisions this upcoming long weekend. The rivers are high and fast.

The Porter Property on the Raven River Has Been Secured by the Alberta Conservation Association

Here is the great news:

The Porter Property on the Raven River Has Been Secured by the Alberta Conservation Association

Take a look!

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Colorado Cutthroat Slam-Part3- Greenback Cutthroat Trout

I was quite excited to have the opportunity to catch a Greenback Cutthroat Trout! Greenbacks were thought to be extinct but several years ago, a small surviving population was found in a tiny third stage tributary in northern Colorado mountains. Colorado fisheries managed to recover several, breed them and replant them in several rivers and lakes in their native drainages. After catching Rio Grande cutthroats, we had to swing around to the other side of the rockies and head north through Denver and on to Loveland. At that point we headed to Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park.

The drive was quite uneventful and fortunately we had reservations at a campground. It became quickly apparent that we were going to have to do some hiking, again at close to 10 000 feet in order to fly fish for Greenbacks! We also realized that the RMNP was busy, real busy so we planned on hiking at 6 am to the lake we had targeted. We got there early enough to actually get a parking spot and not have to go back down the valley and take a shuttle bus to the trail head. The hike was not long and the elevation gain was reasonable although any activity at 10 000 feet makes you work hard!

I tied up several rigs for fishing the lake and we took a good look at google earth to get the lay of the land. Once up to the lake, we located an incoming creek at one end lake. Once we arrived there, we could see several greenbacks in the creek. We tied on size 22 red copper johns. By the time Leon was ready to fish, Karen and I had caught our greenbacks. They are beautifully coloured cutthroat, maybe the prettiest we have ever seen. Leon followed suit and caught a nice greenback. We could all relax and just fly fish the rest of the day knowing we had accomplished our goal of catching all three subspecies of cutthroats in Colorado!

In the lake, we could easily see the greenbacks cruising. The lake was gin clear! They we eating tiny bugs, perhaps as small as size 26 at or just below the surface. We also saw BWOs so we continued with our size 22 red copper johns. Yes, we got refusals but we also got many takes. The neat thing was we could see all the takes (and refusals). We caught greenbacks from 5 inches all the way to 13 maybe 14 inches. The hike down was leisurely knowing we had indeed achieved the Colorado Cutthroat Slam.

I texted Jim Kilpatrick in Loveland. He and his wife brought barbecue for supper as well as certificates and t-shirts to celebrate our success! It was the perfect way to end our adventure in Colorado.

The next day started off early, it was a long drive to Butte, Montana and then on to Thompson Falls where Leon's summer cabin was on the Clarke Fork River the next day. Yes, there was a lot of driving but it was a small price to pay to catch these beautiful cutthroat!

Leon has now caught 9 different subspecies of cutthroat trout while Karen and I have now caught 8. We still have 3 to go!

...and that will be saved for next spring!

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Colorado Cutthroat Slam-Part 2:Rio Grandes

It was a long drive to the Rio Grande area of Colorado from where we initially set up to catch Colorado cutts the previous day. We had to drive through small mountain villages as we repositioned to South Fork, aptly named because we were now camping on the South Fork of the Rio Grande River. Once we arrived in South Fork we went to several of the fly shops that were in town. Wolf Creek Anglers were able to help us thanks to a guide that had just come in from a tiring day on the oars but was quite motivated to aid our quest! Again the information from Jim Kilpatrick helped us immensely as well!

The Rio Grande Cutthroat could be found in several high alpine lakes, and some rivers and creeks. We opted to head to a high mountain lake that was accessible thanks to a logging road that climbed almost 6000 feet in 12 miles. It was Fathers Day and the weather was not nice. It was cold, just above zero celsius and windy. The wild flowers were exploding all around the area which made the entire area, visually quite amazing!

After a short hike we arrived at a lake that had Rio Grande cutts and brookies. We set up with small midges and were into the cutts right away! Swallows on the water told us to try chironomids, small ones. Again we had success with red copper johns size 18, flashbacks and Glen's Leech (black size 12)!

The rain intensified and the cold made manipulating our set ups tough. We were fortunate to catch lots of Rio Grandes including a very large one that Leon brought to hand! In several cases, we could sight fish! That made the fly fishing quite fun!

Later in the afternoon we were all cold and we headed back to the camper to warm up and have a drink. Once we got back to South Fork, the weather was 30 degrees fahrenheit warmer! Thank goodness.

It was now time to get ready for a drive up the other side of the rocky mountains through Denver to Estes Park and see Rocky Mountain National Park where we hope to catch Greenback cutthroat trout!