It's the most wonderful time of the year! Runoff is nearly over and the Eastern Slopes are opening for fishing June 16th. This is the start of the best time to fish in Alberta because just about everything is open and one can begin visiting unexplored waters. Here's our seven suggestions for making sure your first trip to the mountain streams is a good one:
1. Make sure your vehicle is good to go to the mountains - Most of these places have no services for a long ways. At least do a walk around and make sure tires are inflated. Check your oil. Fill your gas tank. Check to see if your fishing area needs an access pass like the one needed for Kananaskis.
2. Pack a first aid kit - You never know when you might need a band-aid. And let someone know where you are going and when you will be back. Safety first!
3. Check your leaders and tippet - Make sure your nylon tippet material isn't expired by testing it before you go, and if needed pick up some new 4x or 5x Rio Suppleflex Tippet for fishing those dry flies or your preferred material.
4. Pack extra clothing - Weather in Alberta can be incredibly weird. I've had days in August fishing the mountains where it was snowing when I got out there. Be prepared for changing conditions.
5. Clean and dry your gear before going - Specifically, footwear and waders. Don't be the person transferring invasive species from one waterbody to another.
6. Pack a map - Because there's no cell service in many of these areas, you will need a map to explore and identify access points and waterbodies. Try the Backroads Mapbook Southern Alberta for great results.
7. Fill your fly box - Nothing worse than driving all that way to find you don't have the flies you need. Make sure you have stocked up on the patterns that are appropriate for your targeted species and water body. Dries like green drakes, pmds and caddis are great for early summer cutty fishing. Have some terrestrials as well; ants, beetles and hoppers can elicit an eat from fish when nothing is hatching. Take a few streamers for the opportunistic predatory fish that might be waiting for you.