What do you do when you need a break from the everyday and a chance to relax after a long stretch of work. You head into the backcountry and find yourself a spot to camp on the banks of the Oldman River! Oh yes we have done this before as you will remember from A Tale of Two Rivers in Two Days … but this time we were going to fish and explore the uncharted (for one of us) regions of the Upper Oldman.
The excitement was building as we prepared and loaded all the gear into the truck and headed south! We were due for an outdoor adventure together where we could disconnect from the world and enjoy one another and our shared passions! Relishing the benefits of a mid-week excursion, we had our choice of camping location with not another tent or “portable palace” in sight! After setting up camp and putting a bit of food in our bellies we put on our waders and hit the river.
The Cutthroat Trout were revealing themselves as they rose sporadically for something small on the surface at the few pools we stopped to fish. Oddly, we seemed to be able to catch one fish on each new pattern but not one in particular worked consistently. This kind of “finicky” fish behaviour required us to dig deep into our fly boxes for solutions and forced us to tighten up our casting and present the fly well. This was a welcome challenge for both of us.
After landing a respectable number of fish, we headed back to camp for a late supper and a relaxing night beside the fire pit. It was enjoyed without the “fire” part because not surprisingly to us now, most of Alberta was dry as a popcorn fart and a fire ban had been in effect for a few weeks. Fortunately a clear sky allowed for an enjoyable night of star gazing.
Waking early the next day we quickly broke down camp and headed further up the road to explore more of this amazing river. It was somewhat disappointing to find that some early bird anglers had settled into a few pools we wanted to fish but we did manage to find a secluded pull off near a beautiful pool to fish for the morning.
The Cutthroat were sipping bugs off the surface like the day before, so while one of us stepped up to the dry fly challenge, the other fell back on the “crutch” that is nymph fishing under an indicator. We can report that the sub-surface strategy fished more consistently but the dry fly action didn’t disappoint.
To our surprise a few healthy Bull Trout were caught along with a few large Mountain Whitefish and many Cutthroat. The highlight of the day had to have been when a very large Bull Trout emerged out of the depth of the pool and slowly followed inches behind a Cutthroat that was just about to be scooped into a net.
Truly this excursion was just what our souls needed and as usual the Oldman River did not disappoint!