04 July 2009

An evening on the Oldman River

The Oldman River sure looks great , clear and green ...To wade across it may be difficult , but was worth the effort on Friday night .. I am blessed to have another great trout dog and friend , Winston ( nick named "little big dog" ) . He first hit the wintery water of the Crowsnest (when the ice broke) at the age of 3 months. Now he picks his route across like an expert . When in doubt , follow my dog , I tell clients . Standing part way into the rapid he gave me " the look" when I command him " Winston come". The fast water took him away ,and with hand signals I incouraged him to not turn back and show him my direction . After a big shake , Winston burns some donuts in excitment . Being a little heavier in my old age often pays off in crossing heavy water ... I fished my way to a place where a fast run forms a narrow shute . It would be doubtful that any body has fished this spot this year . I have been watching the water flows drop daily , averaging a cubic metre per second decline each day . I probably was first to get across .. With no foot prints in the sand I figured this was untouched water and big trout were slamming green drakes ..The fast shute was joined at a right angle by the slower end of another fast bit of drake water . There they rose to the fly . I had been trying out different fly patterns while fishing on the way to here . I fished likely looking patterns like a green tri-wing sedge , olive stimulator , a big "simple caddis" was still on my line . None had caught me a fish but some got a tail slap other wise known as the " fish finger ". I cast the big deer hair caddis across the fast shute into the converging slower run with a reach cast and all the extra stuff I could add to get a good drift ..all I got was a fist full of fish fingers after dozens of good drifts. Enough of fly experimentation , I tied on my favourite drake pattern from the shops collection . The biggest fish of the bunch rose in the middle , up thirty feet from the confluence .. but I started close with my olive offering as good fish were right in the edge of the rollers and the confluence mix . They occasionally slapped the surface , spraying water into the wind . Whether actualy taking the bug or drowning it,s hard to tell ? it happens so fast and you can hear the smack . It,s got to be the most exciting dry fly fishing in the Rockies . The first fish I chose to take in the rollers (the closest ) took more than five minutes to land , it used the fast water and I used side pressure and on that 4x tippet and many runs later a surprizingly large rainbow came to hand .... 22 inches with out the kipe . A thick , solid , 3+ pound rainbow ..well how big was that big cuthroat looking one out in the middle ??. I did not get to find out .. after pulling out a few more decent rainbows casting my way up to that biggest trout ...he was put down , only coming up once to slap my bug and give me the finger .. Fair enough...near dark I followed my dog out , he never forgets a route ... If you are reading this you are probably not here and missing some great fishing... Al B.