Mountain Streams River Report - June 26th, 2019
As I parked the car at the side of the gravel road I immediately noticed a familiar sign for a potentially great day of fishing. Wild rose bushes in full bloom up and down the dense brush. Their bright pink plumes bringing-to-mind the promise of newly-hatched stoneflies. Approaching the water of the upper Oldman River, I was greeted with dozens of empty grey stonefly carapaces (shucks) on the rock faces of the cutbank. The high-country stonefly season has arrived.
With several hatches going and many bugs on the water, I expected a very productive topwater day. However, it was the complete opposite. The arrival of a high pressure system in the morning meant not a single snout was seen all day. Instead the majority of fish were caught with a hopper-dropper-dropper, with 90% of takes on the bottom stonefly dropper. Three larger Cutthroats were forced to eat the Hopper-Stonefly creating exciting, unexpected, explosive eats. Seen on the water were Brown Drakes, large Stoneflies, freshly hatched Yellow Sally Stones, a few Caddis, and many small midges.
If targeting Bull Trout, look to the fast rapids and deep white water plunge pools. Use Mountain White Fish or Cutthroat color patterned streamers, or bright flashy patterns. Fish slowly using the heavy streamers or large stonefly nymphs, allowing your fly to bounce off bottom in the white water. If looking for Rainbow or Cutthroat Trout, fishing bubble lines on seams with hopper droppers proved extremely productive. However, slow side channels and back eddys held many smaller feisty cutts.
With mountain runoff continuing from the snow-pack, water levels remain high, and very cold. Areas to wade across are few and far between on the Oldman around highway 22, however, the higher you go, the lower the flow. Plan to stay on one bank, unless using a sturdy wading stick and waterproof pack. Clarity on the other hand is extremely high, with little-to-no muddying of the water save glacial till in the deepest pools and runs.
Weather remains to be extremely unpredictable. Make sure to bring rain gear and extra insulating layers. A small tarp wouldn’t be a bad idea either as heavy squalls and thunder showers in the afternoon are not uncommon. Hope for the best and plan for the worst and you will have a fantastic day in Alberta’s high country. Goodluck, and tight lines!
Flies to try
Dries: Franken’s Salmon (Size 4,) FatFrank (Size 8 or 10,) Yellow Stimulator (Size 8-14,) CDC Yellow Sally (Size 14,) Yellow Trude (Size 12-14,) and Extended Body Brown Drake (Size 10.)
Nymphs: Stoneflies (try the Smethhurst Stone Bomb) (size 8-12,) Red Copper John (Size 12-16,) Hare’s Ear (Size 12-16,) Evil Weevil Ice (Size 12-16.)
Streamers: Dolly Llama, Galloup’s Dungeon, Clouser Minnow, Galloup’s Boogieman, BeeBe’s Candy Man.
-Duncan Reed, Fish Tales Fly Shop
The Bow River
With the recent high & dirty water the Bow is getting a bit of a break from anglers. A few guides from the shop have been out the last couple of days for exploratory floats and things are beginning to settle down.