Rolling With the Punches

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There hasn't been much activity through our feeds in the last week, and that really has to do with the season opener and university finals. Yes, yes constant excuses. April can be very cruel, ego destroying, confidence ruining month if you don't have a general idea on what exactly you're trying to accomplish. Some stretches of river can seem devoid of any life form, others might be stuffed full of fish in select reaches, but their activity is so limited, because whether it be the 50km gusts of frosty wind or the ever changing temperature and barometer pressure, consistent April days are few and far between. 

My first few trips went relatively well and I really do have to give a substantial amount of credit to Dave Jensen of the Alberta Fishing Guide Magazine. If it wasn't for his advice, I likely would've struck out on any fish that would be consider "substantial". A few nice bulls came on a size 18 hares ear. Would not have even considered that method if it weren't for Dave's wisdom. What's even more cool is seeing almost comatose fish snub your streamers, or cautiously follow only to show no interest at the last second, and then sighting them, and catching them with tiny nymphs and observing the mighty predator everyone claims bull trout to be, totally destroys its own reputation of being a cold blooded trout killer, was interesting to say the least. Watching the two foot long plus predator swing out of his lie, tip his head up where I thought my flies might be, and setting the hook before the indicator so much as twitched, and feeling that full flex of the rod with some risky tippet was one of the cooler things I think I've ever experienced on the water. What's even more cool was getting a beautiful mountain brown trout on the very next cast that was camouflaged amongst the bulls, whites and rocks.

Most are simply not willing to just give out locations in April and for good reason. Few rivers are open, fall spawning trout are relatively sensitive to pressure when they're pooled up and at a low energy time of the year, and with some rivers having 1-2 pools per 3-4km, sharing a pool with another group or others is not beneficial to anyone. The fish don't benefit, and neither does the success of either parties involved. Perhaps if you're looking for the camaraderie, it may be your cup of tea, but the Bow is a great place to do that. But spending time in the mountains, to me, is about putting effort in and being rewarded with no one else around. Sharing that feeling with a close friend is simply awesome.

What else is new... Oh! The hilarity of posting pictures immediately followed by strangers who immediately want to be your buddy, just to get their own piece of the pie is magnified this time of year. But you can't really blame them, our long winters, give some the shack nasties. But those that do their homework and put their tracks in the mud generally get rewarded. One tip I can offer however is that Google is a great way to do some sleuthing and find studies done on fisheries that open April 1, some offer exact locations of wintering pools. It really just takes some time, careful reading and eventually, boots to the ground.

This blog post is just a general observation of mine over the past few weeks, and a post to share some of my personal pictures of opening week. I've made some new friends, and I've likely also created some enemies because my passion and understanding of these fish, especially at this time of the year usually outweighs reasonable (some might say respectful) communication. I try to stay well behaved for the most part, but sometimes, whats left of the rebellious teenager in me shows its ugly, immature, testosterone filled, angry face. But it's a learning experience, you just have to roll with punches.

Also have to give huge props to Smith Optics. The Chromapop Ignitor lenses are a fishes worst nightmare.