Shortly after arriving in Calgary I discovered and subsequently joined the Calgary Women’s Fly Fishing Club. This enthusiastic group of anglers meets weekly over the fall and winter to plan fishing trips, organize classes and seminars as well as to volunteer in the local community. After far too many scheduling conflicts, I was finally able to make my first outing with the girls who were destined for Chief Hector Lake. For those who have been following this blog for some time, you may recall reading about our earlier visit to this lake from our spring post ( Hector Lake ).
After a relatively short drive from Calgary the four of us willing to brave the cold, fall conditions, started gearing up lakeside. Once the waders were on and the rods were strung up, two of us launched boats (one belly boat and one pontoon boat) onto the calm waters of Hector Lake while two others spread out along the shoreline in search of trout. The shoreline and edges of extensive weed beds are usually full of fish, but getting them to take proved to be a bit of a challenge. Just when you thought you had the fish figured out in a given spot, a large bank of clouds would blow through bringing with them cold, chilling winds which seemed to put the trout off.
The storm clouds that rolled over the lake one after the other were often accompanied by light rain. Thankfully the 15-20 minutes of brilliant sun between storms was just enough to dry off and warm up.
The cold water and stormy weather meant the belly boats were short-lived (for those unfamiliar with belly boats just imagine sitting up to you waist in cold water … you get the idea). It wasn’t too long before I heard Natalie ask for a tow back to shore. It seemed no matter how hard she kicked using her flippers she wasn’t really moving at all. This lack of progress of course led to hysterical laughter on everyone’s part, including Natalie. As she was towed along with an anchor rope attached to her boat, she let out her line and began “trolling” just like any other respectable, obsessive angler would. During the slow tow to shore she did in fact hook into and land a respectable rainbow trout. The important question arising from this occurrence is still being debated to this day… who caught the fish? The one holding the rod or the one trolling the angler?
A couple of the ladies took out a drift boat provided by Nakoda Lake Lodge and while I’m sure it was much more comfortable than the belly boat and provide better reach than casting from shore, it really didn’t increase the hookups! Needless to say, it was a tough day, with enough bumps, hits and small fish caught to keep a determined angler interested but the monster rainbow trout were as elusive as experienced during our spring outing. Not for lack of trying as we threw everything from leeches to streamers, boatmen and scuds, flashbacks pheasant tails, boobies …. and the list goes on.
Everyone caught fish, but the largest fish were caught from shore by Sheila. Congratulations Sheila! You humbled us all!
The Calgary Women’s Fly Fishing Club is a great group of anglers that I look forward to sharing the water with more frequently! Many thanks to them and particularly Sheila who organized this outing.