The 2020 season got off to a late start because of Covid and then high water. During the covid lockdown I was able to take advantage of isolation with my family and managed to get out with my boys for a few early season floats which I always enjoy.
Once we were given the green light to start guiding, the rain and high water kept us off for the first week. Then the sun came out and for the rest of the season we had quite a nice summer.
Every thing seemed to be late this year. The BWO’s, Caddis and stoneflies all showed up two-to-three weeks late compared to a typical year, but it's been a long time since we have had one of those. It's hard to know what is a typical year any more!
The lower section, MacKinnon to Carseland is the section I concentrated my efforts on for most of the season. High water and the lure of rising fish kept me down on the lower river section. Once the river started to clear, the hopper dropper was the go-to set up. Stone dropper with Aaron's leech early in the season and hopper-dropper with any tungsten jighead fly seemed to be the ticket later on. I don't think I tied on a small dropper that wasn't a tungsten jig hook all season long.
When you find a durable fly that is easy to see and does a good imitation of both a stonefly and hopper (I have a couple favorites), it simplifies things. It was only when things started slowing down at the end of the season that the standard SJW and a couple of smaller nymphs hanging off of tags seemed to be most productive.
The best part of guiding is being able to fish with people that I have guided for years. Two gentlemen come to mind that I have been guiding for over twenty years now. They generally would pick 5 to 6 dates and spread the days out over the season. This year after our first trip one of the gentleman informed me that that was his last trip. His "spirit was willing but his body was unable." That was a sad day for sure. We have made a lot of memories and I will always be grateful for our time on the river together. We've shared a lot of laughs and a lot of big fish stories over the years. I only hope I will be able to be fishing strong at 89 years old like he was. I am thankful for the fishermen that stepped up to fill in and take his place. His fishing partner has more trips left in him.
2021 will be my twenty-fifth season guiding on the Bow river and that would not have been possible without the support of the many return clients I have had over the years. I would name names but I'm afraid of leaving someone out. Most of my trips are with repeat clients that I have been fishing with for years and years and I am truly grateful for their friendships and support. With any luck, and a new body, I could have another twenty-five years left.