It appears the spring runoff has started on the rivers and streams of southwest Alberta. The warm temperatures we have been receiving over the past week has been causing more snow in the mountains to melt. As a result, water levels have been rising on the rivers and they are becoming discolored. With rain in the forecast this week, the runoff will likely increase in intensity. Providing we don’t receive prolonged rainfall, conditions should begin to improve in a few weeks. In the meantime, we can always head out to fish some of our local stillwaters.
That’s what I did Sunday and Monday. My brother-in-law, Paul, was in town and we were able to go fishing on Lee and Beaver Mines lakes. It had been a couple of years since Paul and I went trout fishing together, and it was nice to get out with him once again. The weather was perfect both days – some sun, some cloud, and light winds. Lee Lake treated us well the first day and we caught quite a few rainbow trout. They were “cookie-cutter” in size and appearance – all between 10-12 inches. Not very big by any means, but fun to catch. We only saw one large trout all day, maybe 20 inches in length. It was cruising the shallows, but it saw us first and darted away.
On Monday morning we headed over to Beaver Mines Lake, where we had better success, as far as trout size and excitement was concerned. The fishing was steady all day and we caught some decent rainbows. Purple Balanced Leeches were on the menu and that’s all we used for fly patterns the entire day. Why bother trying other flies when you have something that’s working?
The fish story of the day happened shortly after lunch when Paul hooked into a fish that tore off most of the fly line from his reel. A couple of times, Paul managed to guide the fish close to the boat, but each time it shot off, peeling out a bunch more line. Ten minutes later, we still hadn’t seen the fish. It didn’t want anything to do with us and was staying deep. By now, Paul’s arm was getting sore and we were wondering how long it would be before the thin 4X tippet on the leader would break. Slowly, Paul worked the strong fish in close enough to give us our first glimpse. It was huge bull trout! A few minutes later, the big fish came to the surface and after a couple of attempts on my part, it was netted. It was Paul’s first bull trout, about 26 inches in length. Not bad, if I say so myself!