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Monday: Paul Arden
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Ronan's report


Sunday/Monday August 19&20th, 2007

Western bullshit session at the Anchor B Ranch on Alberta's Oldman River. Paul (Harps) Harper, Max Muselius, Bob (Max's faithful cow pony) and Paul (Ubercaster) Arden laugh at one of Bob's jokes. Believe me, Bob's one funny horse.

Well, it appears the fishing's still pretty good out in western Canada. For some of you it might be a surprise that the question even arises, but it amazes me that with all the angler activity of those waters there are any fish left at all. Everything's within two hours of Calgary, a booming city of a million souls, and they all seem to be fly fishers.

Alberta is a sort of Texas North, and Calgary is its Dallas. In fact, Alberta is more like Saudi Arabia, which it recently surpassed as the USA's leading oil supplier. You can tell if you're in Alberta because of the cowboy hats. Anyway, everybody's making a shitwack of money out there, and they all seem to be tooled up and tearing around the countryside in expensive SUVs doing outdoor stuff like fly fishing.

Thanks to Max and Brenda's hospitality, our Alberta mini-clave went really well, despite only six of us showing up. But next year's should be a real western event. If you haven't got pissed and cast a lumi-line under the western stars you just haven't lived. Maybe next time Paul will do trick casting from horseback. Like snapping cigarettes from Eric's lips at a full gallop. With the lumi-line, at night. What a show. Babus, it goes without saying, would be better than Eric.

Chase (Wetwading) Jablonski with a nice southern Alberta bow. That's actually a pretty big trout. Chase is about 6'5" with hands like catcher's mitts.

We caught fish everywhere despite the heat wave. I met up with my brothers and my Scottish pals Bob, Ken and Al (Pyko) fished the Elk and all round southwestern Alberta. The fish seemed to be doing really well and were mostly in perfect condition. This all indicates a healthy situation for everyone.

I made a sentimental visit to all my old stomping grounds, and even fished some new (to me) waters. It did my heart good to see that, in most ways that count, the old places are pretty much the way they always were. And the 'new' waters are really something special.

Me with a good Crowsnest rainbow.

The Crowsnest and Bow are pretty busy, no mistake, but I reckon that's mostly because of the new non-resident fee regime on the Elk system in BC. All non-residents must pay a $20/day Special Waters fee on top of the non-res license. For that reason, it appears a lot of Alberta anglers are staying away from the Elk and fishing around home these days. That means more pressure on those Alberta streams. But the fish are still there and while maybe a tad harder to catch at times, apparently doing fine. And that's the main thing.

The Elk Valley is better than ever, as far as I can make out. With all those Alberta anglers staying home, we had miles of river to ourselves for three weeks at the height of the season. The Elk is big and can take a lot of 'pressure' anyway, but these days it's getting so you can actually feel lonesome out there. I saw only six drift boats in all the time I was on the Elk. Last trip there was a boat passing every half hour. The main thing is that this diminished angler traffic has to be good for the fish, who seem to be fat and happy as clams.

A nicely conditioned West Slope Cutty.

Bob


Pic Of Day

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