Now I love the Southern Alberta Rocky Mountains as much as anyone, my earliest childhood memories are of the The Crowsnest Pass and The Oldman headwaters. In fact my family has been camping and fishing in the Dutch creek area for approx 50yrs. The gin clear waters, ideal scenery , abundant wildlife. As a young man I used to believe that the Livingston valley was always green, year round!
When I started to get into Fly fishing seriously I began to discover that the mountains are not always green and that the waters at times are less then ideal for Cutthroat on the fly, or for any of our other native and non-native species.
When we explore our wild country, we discover and learn more about our environments and by extension our seasons. Now spring runoff is not a new phenomenon by any means, this annual event is very important to the health of rivers and streams. But as far as angling goes we are forced to wait it out like a back up quarterback on a high-school football team. We know we’re going to get in the game, we’re just not sure when!!!
But if we put our trout snobbery aside, and are willing to look into some of the still-water fisheries and are willing challenge ourselves by seeking other quarry, there is some absolutely fantastic opportunities awaiting in our Southern Alberta waters!!
3 yrs ago I was talked into trying Northern Pike on the fly. Reluctant at first, The Trout Snob in me gave in and i’m very happy that I did. Not only is a Pike on the fly an amazing fly angling experience, but it is now one of my favorite species on the fly!
Another alternative is The Native lake Whitefish. Plentiful and a ton of fun to catch, they mostly take nymphs, but with the right conditions they will take dry flies!
One of the oldest species on the planet, the Sturgeon, is another challenging angling opportunity. Now I have done a ton of reading on the possibility of catching one of these living dinosaurs on the fly. I have come up with no definitive answers for this quandary, so I put down my fly rod and managed two quality specimens. Not fly fishing, but a great way to spend some more time in the outdoors when the Mountain rivers are not ready for us!
I have challenged myself to try and angle all sorts of different species on the fly. There is an abundance of opportunities out there other than trout, and I would encourage anyone and everyone to engage your curiosity and find out whats under other bodies of water!