Every once and awhile we are fortunate to experience an indescribable rush of happiness that comes from sharing moments that can only be described as perfect in every way. This was one of those times.
A series of well-calculated decisions lead up to the moment that we stood as a group on the rocky floodplain of the Sheep River. Being as this was Phil’s first time to the Sheep , he proceeded to walk upstream to get a look at the river as it poured out of a tight black walled canyon. Sil began casting into a few runs while I sat in the shade getting rigged and before long she had worked her way down to a pool with some wood jammed on the outer edge. First drift through and her rod doubled over and line began to peel off.
A monstrous Bull Trout thrashed at the surface momentarily before breaking off and making a hasty retreat to the bottom of the pool. Thinking that Cutthroat Trout were the target species she had rigged up with light (4X) tippet. Noticeably dejected by the loss of the big fish and expecting in her heart that she had just blown the only chance at a Bull Trout, she re-rigged and half-heartedly casted back out into the pool. Immediately she hooked into another huge Bull Trout. Perhaps not as big as the first but BIG nonetheless. Phil was just in time to assist in the landing of this beautiful Bull Trout. Unbelievably, 3 more Bull Trout were seen milling about during the fight. As fisheries biologists we were impressed and amazed by the migration of this spectacular predator. It was on.
Wasting no time Phil headed back to try his luck in the pool and before we could even collect ourselves after releasing the landed fish, Phil was headed down to us with one of his own. A huge grin stretched across his face. Phil’s first big Bull Trout and on the fly!!
We continued our trek, casting into every likely holding spot for fish and time after time we were rewarded with Bull Trout.
The average size was around 22″ but there were a number of memorable 30″ plus mixed in with the catch .
Phil was asked at the end of the first day where he wanted to fish on his last day in Alberta…. his response … “let’s do that again!”. So we did.
The thoughts of plentiful, aggressive fish lurking in deep pools, runs, and skulking under tangled log jams made for a restless night.
The next morning we found the fish just where we expected them to be and it appeared that even more trout had migrated into the reach we were fishing. We decided that the conditions were ideal for us to fish our way downstream and explore. We managed to catch a couple stragglers but it seemed that most fish had already moved through.
At the end of the final day Phil snipped off his fly, reeled in his line and said with an ear to ear grin… “this has been Undeniably EPIC”. No truer words about a fishing trip had ever been spoken.
Be sure to click the link below to the video that captures the highlights of this adventure!