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A social group of dedicated fly fishers who are passionate about fly fishing in the tropical north of Australia and equally as passionate about the close camaraderie this sport brings. This passion and dedication led to the creation of the NT Flyfishers Social Mob blog site; an interactive and creative outlet where everyone can share our wonderful fly fishing adventures and link into the “after fishing” social events we enjoy in this incredible part of the world.

Monday, 16 October 2017

CANADA PART TWO - ALBERTA AND BRITISH COLUMBIA

  Well after travelling around the north of Saskatchewan for a week and having a ball with the pike we travelled back to Regina after visiting a heap of big lakes for future fishing trips.  Some of the lakes very close to Regina had a heap of pike and while we were there a young fellow caught and released a huge Walleye in Lake Diefenbaker.   He had a para vane on though and for fly fishing I don't think dredging goes quiet that far, for me anyway.   After a bit of a rest we were off again, and I have to say how good the roads and Highway we travelled on were, hardly any big trucks and that may be because of the rail network there.  I counted one hundred and seventy cars on one train and it was only one of the trains on the lines.  Must take a lot of the loads by rail instead of road which was very impressive compared to our big highways down here.

But we were off the Calgary first so I could go shopping for trout gear.  Roggie wont tie flies on anything below a No.1 hook and usually draws the line at a No. 2.  But I was going trout fishing for the first time....I'm too used to always stripping the fly...and Roggie said I had to let it float around...that was going to be hard for me.  Just let the bloody fly drift he said....well!!!!! that's easier said then done but have a look at the backdrop for the fishing....so who cares ...magic.

Trout fishing...all new to me....but first I'm going shopping!!!!
Well....we left early in the morning so that we could reach Calgary around  lunch time and I could go to have a shop in Bass Pro ....how exciting.

Come on..so I was running...I was excited..a fishing shop the size of a small suburb..who wouldn't be!!!
OMG they even had a plane in there..fish tank..shooting gallery and heaps of flies
The boys had a bit of trouble getting me out of Bass Pro...I could have spent a lot of time...and money...they but they wouldn't let me and Roggie said you could see the drag marks in the floor and parking area where they dragged me back to the truck....not true...the truth is, I couldn't carry anymore.

Our next stop was Banff and the rockies...amazing.   Lots of water around and snow up high...beautiful.  This is a little spot we had our six casts near Banff under a road bridge....then and an earlier photo when Richie was there in January..

This is just after the pylon on the road bridge and where the first trout came from..crystal

We had been just the other side of the pylon on the left, but this is January and ice with no flow.
We had our first couple of casts under the road bridge,.....and yeah ...again Roggie got the first fish...a small bull trout

Only small and took a three inch yellow and white clouser on a 1/0...but could not shut Roggie up...first again!!
We didn't fish a lot around Banff, but took a lot of trips around the area to have a look at the beautiful place that the area is...too many people at the Fairmont in Lake Louise for Roggie...it was so crowded there..beautiful but I have to agree too many people, whereas Banff was not overcrowded at all, heaps of Aussies there and for the best coffee ever go to the Good Earth Coffeehouse in the Elk & Avenue Hotel

On the trips around Banff we came upon a few of the locals, this bear just having a stroll up the highway right up beside the truck and then strolled off into the bush....




maybe not quiet as exciting these too...

....and there were a lot of deer around in different spots.

One of the magnificent glacial streams around Banff.
I suppose I better get onto the fishing for real now.  After Banff we travelled south to our next accomodation at Fernie which was just in BC.  On the way we did our usual and fished any spot along the road that looked fishable. While we were fishing under another bridge beside the road in the Kootenay River we saw the red coloured salmon rolling over from us but couldn't get close enough to get photos but on the St.Marys near Cranbrook we saw a lot of these red salmon at the end of their run when they turn red before dying.  We were told that they were sockeye but are called Kookanee because unlike many other salmon they are landlocked and do not go to the sea, but at the end of their life they still head up into the headwaters to spawn before they die.

There is a lot more on these landlocked salmon on a separate blog so click on KOOKANEE see more on these...fascinating.

In Fernie we had a three bedroom aparment for a ridiculously low rental because it was off season, the partment complex fronted the Elk river which was about 50 metre from our door, crystal clear and full of fish, bull and cutthroat or cutbar.   You could actually see them laying in the water in groups, facing upstream.   We only got a few fish here. cutthroat or cut bar, not sure of the difference,  but luckily ran into an English couple who were avid fly fishers.  They put us onto the lighter gear and tiny leaders, with even tinier flies.  That was a new experience for Richie and me, and not stripping the floating fly was even more difficult when all the fishing I have done in the Salt and  billabongs required some stripping at least.   More on that shortly.

Looking south you can see our apartment complex in the centre of the photo

View of the same area from the back of the apartments

Even had seats for the 'Old' people

This is the river just below that seat, crystal clear and you can see fish laying either side of the log.
Richie with the first trout from the Elk River,  finally someone beat Roggie.
Our English friend gave us directions to some out of the way places further along the river to try, but prior to going to these spots we had to get smaller flies, not the ones that Roggie had tied,  which we were told might entice some of the bigger bull trout,  and they did because we watched the big trout following them in the clear water, but would not take them.  There were heaps of drift boats going past all the time and all they did was short casts and left their tiny flies to drift.  Didn't see them catch any fish like us though, but we could concentrate on an area longer I suppose.  So off to get the flies...

This might give you an idea of the size of the flies on size 14 or 16 hooks.  There is a lot missing
because of my 'Tuna Fishing'.
The Elk River fly shop was wonderful, could have stayed there and talked to them all day. George, their big black  watch dog , adopted Roggie and would follow him everywhere then lay down with his head on Roggies feet.  We nearly stole him, even when we went back for MORE flies George would run out and greet Roggie then curl up at his feet.   Might have just like the drone of his voice?

We also got some lighter leader at the shop, we had been using 10lb, but had been advised to use the 4lb, because it was the only size that would go though the eye of the small hooks.  We got some of that, it was so thin Richie and I could not see it, but the Old Fella had no problem, he tied all our flies on, and with my tuna fishing that was quiet a few flies initially. So with our new flies, and the thinnest of leader material we headed for some of the spots down the river.
Even the drift boat came down here, miles from where they lauched
the river split here under a railway bridge and had a smaller stream that went to the right in this photo.
This is the smaller stream off the river that joined again 100 yards further down. crystal clear
 The water in The Elk at a spot near a railroad bridge that we found was beautiful and it spit the river in two with the main river going straight under and a smaller stream off to the side.  The water was so clear and some of the bigger bull trout frustrated us in the main stream, we could see them clearly but they would not take a floating fly or even look at it, but if a two or three inch bunny eel or clouser went past them they would follow and turn away.   Very frustrating.  But the smaller stream to the side had less flow in it and some still pools and it was where I did most of  my fishing. 

Now I should first set the scene, I was determined to fish with my eight weight, it was a lucky rod after all, Roggie kept saying I should use a lighter six weight and I think he may have called me  'pig headed'  but I stuck with my eight weight.  I must admit Roggie was right in the end, the first half a dozen or so (seven I think) that took the fly I tried to 'Tuna Fish' and lift out of the water.   Not on that light leader...it breaks.   Finally after Roggie threatened not to tie on any more leaders or flies I let him give me instructions as I fished again.  (He never shut up)  His instructions worked..I didn't slam the next fish, took everything gently and Yay!!!!! I landed my first ever trout.

My first trout....I wasn't letting it go until we got a photo.
After that I was finally convinced to use the lighter 6 weight, it was very soft and sloppy more like an old car aerial from the 70's, but I never lost another fish and it would cast further than I needed.  Not stripping the fly was hard but I did get used to it, but having learnt to fly fish on queenfish around a metre in the Robinson River at Seven Emu, where you stripped as fast as you could to get the fish, it wasn't easy.

We got a heap of fish on the light gear, honestly lost count, they came from both the main stream and side streamof the river but no big bull trout, all the smaller cutthrout or the rainbow cross cut bar.  Next time we will take our four weights.

This was typical of the catch, there must have been a river full of them.  Great fun on light gear.
We explored most the rivers and streams around Fernie but a lot were shut off because of bushfires so we were limited to access beside the main roads a lot.  In one spot, as we were driving across a bridge on a smaller river, I forget its name, we slowed down because we could see fish in the clear water below.   There were big bull trout, facing into the flow, they would have been about 5lb and bigger Roggie guessed and amoungst them were large groups of the salmon on the end of their run.   So as usual found a track down and had to have a cast.   The bull trout ignored us, even with the larger flies that seemed at times to interest them but no bites.  We were told later that because the salmon were spawning they were waiting for the loose eggs to float down to them so should have used glo flies that looked like the eggs.   I'm not sure what type of fly that is, but you may.

Whilst the Bull trout wouldn't take the flies the small spawing salmon did.  They hit us all the time.

Thee were on their last legs after spawning but they still had a go at the flies?
There is schools of the spawning salmon just laying under the bridge.
Saving up now for our next fishing trip, our mate Canadian Pete who lives in Darwin is from BC so we are going to get all the drum from him before we go next time and fish a lot more in BC, and probably some of the rivers in the US just below Canada.   Will leave some time for the Pike in the lakes, might be a long holiday I think. 

We didn't only fish in Canada, spent a lot of time with our extended family there, Roggie and Gord (Richies father in law) were in their element with red wine and Irish whisky. But what a wonderful time we had,  AND Richies brother in law Reilly even took me to a football match in a convertible black Audi.   The family get - togethers were the best.

Roggie and Gord...they had finished the Irish and wanted more.

My ride to the 'Game;  ...go the 'Riders'
The game.....the 'Riders' won....
Over the recent years Richie has been travelling around Canada and the US just below the border exploring for the fishing areas, (he grew up travelling around Australia fishing and it has still got him hooked).  He showed us a lot of the places on the map and this trip we did around 5000 kms and visited a few of those fishing spots, BUT  there are a lot more.  So planning the next trip for a longer driving/fishing holiday, but right now, back home and the Darwin Harbour is fishing well, Dundee and Bynoe are going off and then we will take a couple of weeks to visit our good mate Jono Shales over in Exmouth.  Roggie said its no good trying to save up for our old age,  it's too late, so lets go fishing.  Isn't he wonderful.