Sunday, July 30, 2023

Time of Day Restrictions Are Now in Place-AKA Hoot Owl

My Wild Alberta


A time-of-day angling restriction will be implemented on Wednesday July 26th at 2:00pm. 

We are monitoring water flow and temperature across southern Alberta. The real-time water quality data at Carseland shows that thresholds have been reached to implement a time-of-day angling restriction:

 Average daily water temperatures exceeded 20°C for three or more consecutive days

 Flows in Bow River measured less than the 25th percentile for this time of year for four or more days.

Restrictions are in place from 2:00 pm to midnight (14:00 to 24:00) on July 26 for: 

• All trout rivers and streams (flowing waters) in fisheries management zone ES1, including the Bow River downstream of Banff National Park to Bassano Dam (including this reservoir)

• St. Mary's River mainstem (including tributaries) below the St. Mary's Reservoir in fisheries management zone PP1

To learn how time-of-day angling restrictions are determined, how long they last and when they are lifted, visit:


Thursday, July 27, 2023

Yellowstone Cutthroat-Taylor Lake in Banff National Park

There are several lakes in Banff National Park where yellowstone cutthroat reside. Taylor Lake is a mere 6.3 km hike from the road although the hike has 600 m of uphill! My buddy Pat and his girlfriend Ashley; joined Karen and I on an overnight hike up to Taylor Lake. The hike took us a bit more than two hours with our overnight gear. The trail is in excellent condition. After a short flat section at the start, the trail works its way up to the base of Mt. Ball. It is a bit of a grunt but the majestic Taylor Lake is a beautiful place to fly fish for yellowstone cutthroat trout! 

After setting up camp and storing our food in the designated bear bins, we strung up our fly rods. Karen and I used my Bubba Gump Shrimp while Ashley and Pat used chernobyl dry flies. All of us were successful although the tiny shrimp pattern was a bit better! The yellowstones we caught were up to 15 inches in length and in excellent condition.

We saw a lot of cased caddis along the shore as well!

After our well deserved sleep, we woke up to a beautiful big blue sky morning even though it was well below zero C. We fired up our Jet Boil and had hot steaming coffee while we just sat and enjoyed the million dollar view right at our feet. 

After breakfast Karen and I headed to the waterfalls at the end of the lake. That was a real challenge because of two sheer walls that you have to negotiate. It was well worth the effort. We caught some decent yellowstones where the falls spill into Taylor Lake. Meanwhile Pat and Ashley continued to cast chernobyls along rocky shore where there were drop offs. We all caught fish.

At lunch, I got a weather forecast from my InReach. Rain was moving in later in the afternoon. We all agreed to "bug out" and head to the vehicles. Just before we got back to the cars, the rain started. Pat and Ashley headed to Canmore while Karen and I headed to Red Deer in the rain.

I have never been to Taylor Lake. The hike is a decent challenge and once at Taylor Lake, the views are outstanding. The fishing was decent and the yellowstones were healthy mid sized trout! Always carry bear spray and carry lots of water and snacks!

I would definitely go again. It was an excellent adventure with Pat, Ashley and Karen.

The trail is in excellent condition!

Pat and Ashley

Can you see the food storage "bear proof" bins?

Pat hooking up!

Ashley's First Yellowstone Cutthroat

Morning coffee was spectacular!


Tuesday, July 25, 2023

Cutthroat Fly Fishing at Its Best

Special days on the water are something that I cherish! My buddy Josh Nugent, owner of Out Flyfishing in Calgary, and I spent yesterday cutthroat fly fishing. Our day began with an 8 km walk before we rigged up. It was going to be all about dry fly fishing. Well the water was off colour from the thunderstorm the night before. We still decided to carry on with the plan. To say the fly fishing was superb is an under statement. Josh wanted to test out a new green drake emerger and the cutthroat were incredibly responsive. We had 4 feet of visibility at the start of the day and that gradually improved as the water slowly started to clear! Josh figured out that working water no deeper than 5 feet deep allowed the cutties to see our flies. We covered water that many fly fishers blow right by in their travels. Riffles, pocket water and of course pools were a big part of our day. As the day wore on, the fly fishing became better. What made me smile was the wide range of age classes of the west slope cutties. As usual, some runs were better than others. As we wandered along, we covered every nook and cranny. So many fly fishers just go from pool to pool and miss some of the best water. The best moment of the day was catching three 18 inch plus cutthroat from a long riffle. We watched 2 fly fishers blow right past this water. I am always amazed at how the bigger cutthroat rise up to take a fly in a very unhurried way. It is those moments that get your heart racing, especially if you have the patience to let them eat and turn upstream before you set the hook! I made that exact mistake when a cutthroat turned downstream, I set the hook and out popped the fly! Sigh!

We never did cover the last 4 km of water. It was well into the evening when we decided to call it a day. We climbed out of the water and walked back to the car. I always believe that fly fishing is about moments. We talked about those moments. A double header with big fish, setting the hook  too early and slapping flies that were chewing on our legs were going to be talked about for a few days.

Josh and I had one of those days you hope will come your way every once in a while.  We knew we "Had a Day." I hope others experience wonderful days like we did today. It certainly motivates you with anticipation for the next time.

Josh Nugent photo

Green drake emerger. You can get these at Josh's shop in Calgary! Josh fished this well chewed emerger all day. It is definitely a winner!


Thursday, July 20, 2023

Fly Fishing Beautiful Maligne Lake with Grandkids

Fly Fishing Maligne Lake is so much more than just chasing brookies and rainbows. The entire Maligne Lake area is so spectacular! Karen and I had an opportunity to take our twin grandsons to Maligne Lake for 4 days. Edwin and Oliver are seasoned campers at the age of 10 years old. We planned on fly fishing as well as exploring well down the lake. After a 5 hour drive to Jasper, we loaded up Big Blue, our 18 foot prospector canoe. Karen, Edwin, Oliver and I loaded up and headed 14 km down the lake to Fisherman's Bay. The weather was quite unsettled and we got thunderstorms twice. We just pulled off and tucked into a bay until the storms passed. After a big supper, we toured over to Spirit Island for a look! It is a very sacred place and we wanted to take a look!

The next morning, we rigged up our fly rods and checked out several bays after a big breakfast. Oliver hooked into a nice brookie and we got into several sizeable brookies and rainbows at a stream mouth. We kept a few for dinner. They were delicious. Edwin lost a monster brook trout near shore, he was sad! I had set up a double anquor system on the canoe and we also brought our Garmin fish finder. We used the Garmin to both look for fish and to find structure.

Day three, we moved back towards Hidden Bay. We caught some brookies dangling with chironomids. We then set up camp at Hidden Bay after watching a cow moose eat in a bay! My one grandson, Oliver, and I chased some big rainbows that were sipping down travelling sedges. Oliver was able to catch two on his own. That was so thrilling to watch and help. He used Landon Myers brown micro leech about three feet below a strike indicator!

Karen and I took a step back from fly fishing. We made a point of trying to help our grandsons catch some fish. They learned the importance of good fish handling practices as well as good camping practices.

The twins love to camp, explore and just hang out too. That was just plain fun in itself!

Well the 4 days passed way too fast. Karen and I were always on the hop. The boys were so much fun to camp with. They told us how much fun the trip was and they wanted to do more soon, real soon. Well alright then, time to plan more trips!

Edwin caught this brook trout dangling with a size 16 black and red chironomid.

Micro leeches worked great too!

Glen's Leech helped Oliver catch this brookie!

Oliver learning to cast. He did very well.

Got this rainbow on a blueflash damsel streamer!

Taking in the view.

Oliver tangling with a sizeable rainbow.

Just hanging out!

Heading home on day 4!...sigh!