Due to recent heat about previous post naming this blessed river all references to the Alberta river that I love and try to fish yearly shall be forwith referred to as “River X”.
Overbooked, and crowded. Sounds like the all to familair beginning of an excuse for a mediocre fishing trip. The kind of trip that when a friend asked you how you did, you answer “I had fun”. So how did we do? All I can say is after 5 years, I now understand why guys like Bob Von Raesfield, Wayne Syn and Kay Mitsioshi who can fish anywere in the world choose to return to River X every year. Even Cam (the head guide) said that the fish have never been bigger or stonger.
I think its a combination of the really wet years and harsh winters in this paticular area of Alberta that have finally resulted in a season of unusually large fish. Also, Ely, our local Huderite insider, told me that they dump tons of fertalizer into the fields that surround the river all along its 19 mile span. From my fishery biology days, I remember that the best way to make fish bigger in a fishery is to fertalize the soil around it thus increasing the yield of the food chain from the bottom up. That would explain the differnce between the girly man rainbows in the Bow compared the steroid juiced fish of River X since River X flows eventually into the Bow River and shares the same genetic species of Kamloop|Steelhead|heat resistant rainbows.
River X plays with you. Even in a bad year the fish are stong and straigten out a typical dry fly hook. This year, for me, it was fish roulette–given the right circumstances I was landing about 1/3 of the fish that I thought were over 23 inches long (last years big fish on the river for me) . This year my biggest was 25 inches caught on a hopper of all flies! The dry fly fishing was sporatic because we had some bad weather and wind, however, it was not that bad. Everyday I had a shot at a big fish rising selectively to flies. Cam sais all the 23 inchers are now 25 inches and all the 16 inchers are now 21 1/2 inches now. I believe. Next year could be epic and I am booked and ready. I want to go twice next year if I can.
The new lodge that Cam built reminds me of the Hearst Castle. Lots of rooms. 15 people were in the lodge for ten days and I hardly noticed anyone around. Bob’s group of six were accidently booked the same weeks as our group of 6. It worked out in the end since only half our group really needed any guiding. The new lodge us to be Palmer Ranch Guest house. Yes, that would be the “Palmer” of the “Palmer Ponds” we fished two years ago. I especially enjoyed fishing with Papa Jon, Little Jon, Bob VonRaesfeld, Mike Lim and Scott Hood. I must say the Scott Hood, an orthodontist from Chico, has mad nymph fishing skills as well as being on of the most successfull Orthodontist I have ever met. A great guy.
As the Editing progresses over the next months links to the films can be found here. this page is a work in progress…