Thursday, 8 October 2009

Fly'n The Bow

I got a PM (personal message) on my site, the Alberta Fly Fishing Forum, back in the spring from one of my members who offered me a guided jet boat fly fishing trip on the Bow River. Tracy (AKA Swede) bid on this trip to help raise money for the Southern Alberta Stream Watch auction. A worthy cause which helps fund students throughout the summer months to keep an eye on our streams and rivers while working under the Alberta Sustainable Resource Development. Tracy and his wife Marlene offered up this trip to myself and two others that play an important role on the forum. I chose Jokey (Joe) who helps me moderate the board and keep things flowing smoothly and Phil Rowley who hosts "20 Questions With Phil". Phil is our forum expert and answers technical question about fly fishing, fly tying, entomology, fish behavior and more.

Because of our busy schedules, it wasn't easy picking a day when all three of us could get together and head down to Carseland but after many e-mails and PM's to our guide Mike (tungsten) we finally decided on Friday October 02.
Mike is not a professional guide but spends many, many hours on the river every year and as we found out, knows the Bow River waters intimately. He put this trip up on the auction block to include jet boat, lunch, refreshments and guidance. He also refused to take any money as a tip.

We left Edmonton Thursday night and drove straight to Strathmore. I previously asked Mike about a cheap Motel we could stay in for the night. I knew we would only get about 6 hours of sleep so I figured the cheaper the better. We booked at Leroy's Motel and it was a little run down to say the least. The rooms could use some upgrading, the bathrooms need some caulking around the tub and a coffee maker in the room would be nice but I do have to say, the rooms were very clean (and we checked thoroughly).

We were up by 6:30am, dressed and off to breakfast by 7. After some Macadon's we headed down to the river and showed up about 15 minutes late. I was pleasantly relieved when I saw Mike's jet boat. I was expecting one of those shiny fiberglass jet boats or maybe even an aluminum river boat (I don't like those big-ass jet boats when I'm fishing the Bow. They blow by you doing like a zillion miles an hour leaving wakes high enough to get into your waders). Mike's jet boat was a long jon boat (I think it was 16ft in length) with a jet motor on the back. It was fairly quiet but moved us along the river quickly (not a zillion miles an hour though).

I hadn't fished below Carseland before so I was excited to experience some water I had never seen before. It was interesting to see so much featureless water but when we did find some slack water or little feeders, the trout were right where they were supposed to be. I'm not used to fishing these types of water and I probably should have brushed up on reading trout streams before the trip but Phil knew exactly were to drop his fly and out fished all of us. I ended up catching five, Jokey about eight (I think) and Phil, well he cleaned up. Jokey and I tried nymphing for a bit but the hot fly on that day was by far a weighted boatman pattern.

For highlights of the trip, you can view the video below.