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Kootenay report pt 2

Friday, Aug 1 found Wendy and I pulling into Cranbrook to spend a few days visiting good friends and getting in some quality fishing. Having missed too many good photos because my camera packed it in, one of the first things I did was to buy a new Olympus 850 SW. It was a great investment.
One of the things you can’t miss in the Cranbrook area is the huge number of mule deer, not only in the countryside, but in the very heart of the city. They are so numerous, that many of the city's residents are calling for cull, as the deer (especially the does with fawns) can be quite aggressive. Saturday, I was heading to the tackle shop to get my classified waters license when I spotted a deer walking through a residential district. I circled the block to get a picture, only to find that the doe had taken a break in someone’s front yard. I parked and went into the yard to get this photo. (There is no zoom used in this shot).

I headed from the tackle shop out to the McPhee Bridge and down to the water. (As an aside, there is a large golf course/luxury housing development going up on the banks of the St Mary River. It is frustrating to see the government charge us extra (classify) to fish the water and then reduce the access and open the system to the threat of pollution from golf course and lawn run off and depletion of the water supply by irrigation for the course. ) I headed down to the river and went upstream about a mile, wading and fishing as I went.

I didn’t have a great deal of luck (I was not fishing the faster water, as I should have been), but I did mange a few cutties and little brook trout.







I took a break about a mile up the river, and was having a snack on the riverbank when these guys came down the flow. These 2 boats and a single guy wading the far side of the river were the only people I saw.


After a couple of hours fishing up river and then returning to the bridge, I headed back to the car and to Debbie and Sandy’s place for dinner.
The next day I was back at the bridge, but headed down river this time. I learned my lesson from day one and started to work the faster riffles and runs. The water was absolutely perfect, with deeper pools interspersed with fast rapids and good riffley runs. I fished for 6 hours and landed over 15 fish, the smallest about 10 “ with most in the 14-15 inch range, with at least that many spitting the hook before landing. They were healthy and fat, and put up a great fight on 2-wt Rainshadow.





In the whole time I was out this day, I didn’t see another soul.
Day 3 and I took Sandy out to the same area I was fishing the previous day. She doesn’t fish much (usually one day every time I am out there and never when I am not), so her catch rate was pretty low (0). We only stayed for 3 ½ hours, but managed to land 12 fish. There was another angler who passed us going upriver, and about 10 minutes after he passed, a guy came down the middle of river wearing a wetsuit and goggles with a dry bag attached to his wrist. He said he had seen tons of fish throughout his drift.







Day 4 Wendy and I went out for the day. Wendy has rheumatoid arthritis, so the trek down from McPhee Bridge was out of the question, so we went to Wycliffe Park and fished Perry Creek. There were lost of little cutthroats and brookies in the creek, and kept us happy for a few hours.



Wednesday we left Cranbrook and headed to Kootenay Lake to spend the night with friends who have a house on the lake at Lewis Bay. Lynn told me that the locals say Lewis Bay is the best fishing on the west side of the lake. I headed down to the shore with my 6-wt. switch rod and a couple of Tom Thumbs to try my luck. There is a rocky point at the edge3 of their property, and I figured that would be a good place to try. It was about 5:00 PM and fish were rising regularly 20’ from shore. I spotted a fish rise and dropped a cast near the rings and let it sit there. in a couple of heartbeats, I hooked into a nice 17” rainbow. A brief struggle and he was to hand and then back in the water. I continued casting to rise forms without further success for another 20 minutes and then there was a huge smash at my fly and a 22” brute took off skyward. It was an on-an-immediately-off moment, and the last one on the lake as I was called to dinner then. There was to be no further fishing at the lake for me.
The next day we left bight and early for Summit Lake near Nakusp. The trip was uneventful. I have made that trip many times and have never stopped to fish the Kaslo River, but I marvel every time I drive along it, what a beautifully fishy looking river it is. Next time I am out there, I will make time to fish it for at least a day. Summit lake is a pretty lake, but with surface temperatures at 74° F, the fishing was non-existent.




That isn’t to say we didn’t have our fair share of excitement though. On the second day of our stay there, there was a massive thunderstorm that hit around 4:00 pm. We sat under the awning of the trailer, watching the lightning pound the hills around us. Suddenly there was a flash and a simultaneous explosion of thunder! The bolt had obviously struck very near to our location. When the storm had passed, we took a walk around to see if we could find the location of the strike. 75’ from our campsite, we came across this:

I thought at first it might be the result of some Stagg chili, but upon examination of the back of the outhouse it was apparent that this was the lightning strike. The main power for the water pump and lighting for the park terminated on the back of the outhouse, making a perfect target for the lightning. With that much excitement behind us, we couldn’t see the possibility of adding to it, so the next day we made one long drive back to Coquitlam.
It was a perfect vacation. I didn’t get as much fishing in as I would like to have, but family and friends were there for me to visit, and they all gave me plenty of time to get away onto the water. Whenever I am in the Kootenays, I am amazed at the number of rivers there are to fish, and how unpopulated they are. In the whole time I was out I never saw more than one other person walking the shores and often not even that. The beauty of the country and the solitude of the experience are 2 of the 3 reasons I am always drawn back there. The third is the west slope cutthroat!!.


 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
bluesteele said:
Great Report what a vacation I'M SO JEALOUS :thumbup:

Could you imagine being in the crapper when that hit :happy:

That would of scared the crap out of me :-X

Bluesteele
I think if you did survive, you might have severe psychological problems with "elimination issues" in the future.
 

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Pat AV said:
Nice, the bridge you speak of treated me well the on time I hiked down that hill.
The 200 ft; down the hill isn't too bad. The 200 feet back up is a killer tho'. Fortunately I know the easy way back up (for now).
 

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Great story and pics, buddy........I see a Kootenay drift next year for sure. Those are really fat trout and the Brookies are really cool. I love those markings. Apparently, they have bright orange flesh, much like sockeye.....Ortho 8)
 

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Funny you mention that Ribwart. After seeing Prof's pics and having driven through that area on the way to/from Lake Louise this year, I was starting to plan the exact same thing. I started the planning this morning (slow day at work).
 
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