The Calgary Women’s Fly Fishing Club schedules a number of outings throughout the year and it had seemed lately that life had gotten in the way of participating almost every time. The last outing shared with these fantastic ladies was a couple of years ago on a trip to Hector Lake (you can check that out in The Return To Hector Lake), so there was much excitement to finally attend the 2017 camp-out on the Oldman River. A favourite fishing destination with the Exploring Alberta Team!
This adventure took us to the upper Oldman River, much further upstream than we had explored in the many previous trips. Over 20 ladies set up camp at a group camping area, where we ate, drank and discussed fishing plans for the next few days. Despite the unfamiliarity with this section of river, it wasn’t difficult to find interesting water to fish among the bedrock cliffs, deep pools and boulders strewn runs. Many Cutthroat and even some Mountain Whitefish rose eagerly to every manner of fly, but the older and wiser of the trout remained elusive and a litter harder to entice.
You might be wondering what specific flies worked over the course of the trip and interestingly enough, it seemed as though everything we tried worked, but frustratingly only once. This seemed to fly in the face (pun intended) of those days when you carefully evaluate the water, bug activity and fish behaviour to inform fly selection or “matching the hatch” and then cast to rising trout catching them one after the other. This trip was about “one hit wonders” that saw fish taken on elk hair caddis, flashback pheasant tails, prince nymphs, squirmy worms, adams, usuals, mattress thrashers… and other flies found deep in the bowels of the the fly boxes!
Any frustration or disappointment related to the finicky fish subsided immediately upon the return to camp where we were treated to an incredible steak dinner with all the fixings! As the waders dried out, we swapped tips from the days fishing and prepared for a second day on the water. Some of the more ‘hard core’ anglers snuck in a few more hours of evening fishing after dinner.
Day two was time to get serious, explore more water and find some of the larger Cutthroat and some Bulls. Pushing further upstream, a couple of us settled on the banks of a large pool and watched. Mayflies were emerging and the fish were eating. After some trial and error, a beautiful 20″ cut was fooled by a neatly tied wet fly called the “Little Greeno”. That fish finally confirmed a consistently successful fly and presentation technique using no weight and a classic downstream swing. Those few ladies within ear shot were informed of the discovery and all started landing 18″ and larger Cutthroat. It is always great to end of fishing trip with success.
A huge thank you to the organizers for arranging this event and to all the ladies for being so welcoming. Book me in for next year!