And if you listen closely, or look at the image, it will have a picture perfect ending to a 34 fish day. The day started out early and needed two large Tim Horton’s to get me motivated, but once the caffeine kicked in, it was go time. It was 5:45 and we launched out of Policeman’s Flats before any other boats even touched the surface of the low, clean slow-flowing water. I figured getting out extra early would pay off, and boy was I ever spot on. We originally were set to launch at 8:00am but I am sure glad I changed my mind. Off we went backing into the old boat launch area. I rowed us out into mid-current, with cloudy skies to the south west. The weather man never called for rain so we were in good shape for the day’s trip. John had his son Tyler up from Louisiana and wanted him to experience a day on the river with yours truly. Not many folks get the chance to fish a river like the Bow, but when they do it is an experience they will never forget. Tyler had stated he had fished Bass at home, as well as Catfish but never had the privilege of river trout.
As we rounded the first corner after the launch, the bite was on and John had his first fish of the day on the end of his Rapala. Not long after, he latched into another scrappy trout and I knew we were in for a good day. As I mentioned earlier, where you catch the first fish, the type of water I mean, will set the stage for what to look for on the day. Our first few fish came out of choppy fast moving water which told me that the trout want high, oxygenated water to hold in. The heat of the day will drive both the rainbows, and browns into fast moving cooler water where they sit and wait for prey to ambush. We were dialed in and ready to make the best of these prime locations in the river. It was not long and John had landed his third fish of the day, behind a rock pile that was causing a big disturbance in the river. We landed him and let him go straight away. Remember, when the water is warm you need to get the fish unhooked and released very quickly. It is always better to keep the fish in the water at all times to avoid killing the fish. You will also need to revive the fish properly before letting the fish go; otherwise the fish may die as a result of improper handling.
Not too far along our float we decided to stop and fish a nice run with some deep water at the tail out. We managed to latch into a few dandy fish in this productive chute. Back into the boat and off we went tagging the banks where the grass hangs over into the river. I instructed Tyler to cast his lure as close to the back as possible without hitting the bank. At this point in the day, his casting was less than stellar but managed to reach close enough to the bank to lure this monster male rainbow pictured below. The fish proceeded to go on a reel screaming run down the river before Tyler could turn him around and bring him back up towards the boat. It’s amazing to visitors how hard these river beasts actually fight. It was sure a much more fierce battle then the Catfish he was used to pulling up from his local body of water.
The morning just kept getting better and better the further down we floated, with several dandy fish landed released. We entered a spot on the river I always pull off on; the reason is simple, big fish and usually lots of them. I also like to take a break and stretch my legs after a few hours of rowing straight. Many days previous, this location has been known to make a client’s fishing trip in the short 30 min stop we make. Today was not one of those days so I decided to get back into the boat and carry on down the river. At this point, we still have four hours left in the journey down to McKinnon Flats so it was time to move along! I hurried to row the boat into the middle of the river, as there was still a nice section of water I wanted to cast the minnow imitations from the middle of the river into the shoreline. John had on a Rainbow colored Rapala and he heaved it into the bank, landing it a mere two feet from the edge. I watched as he cranked, paused the lure then repeated the action to replicate a wounded minnow in distress. It was only a few short seconds after his retrieve; a fish completely destroyed his lure! I witnessed the rod bend over, almost to the ripping the rod out of his hands. John took his hand off the reel and placed it on the top portion of the rod as the fish peeled out of the bank at will. Nothing was stopping this beast from turning the boat around 180 degrees and making a run for the opposite bank. I immediately knew this was a special fish, a monster fish!
John was gaining some line back on him as I reached for the net and coached him to take his time. I wanted him to back off the drag on his reel, which he did immediately. A fish this big needs room to run wild without breaking line and getting away. I stood up to get a look at what was to come and finally caught sight of what was one of the largest fish I have seen in the river, ever. When you have a fish this gigantic on, it is vital that you take your time and don’t rush. This is how trophies are lost; the angler sees the fish and gets over excited causing panic. I always calm the client down and guide them to remain calm during the landing. We finally had the fish to the side of the boat and I took care of the rest, I had the net in the water ready, scooping him up into the rubber meshed basket. All three of our jaws dropped open as we gazed our eyes upon this complete tank of a rainbow. I hope you can appreciate the image of John’s Bow River trophy. I know John will never forget that fish, I know for sure I never will!
The rest of the day brought more of the same sized fish, all of which were rainbows. We played with color patterns and had success on several classic Rapala color schemes. The winner on today’s trip was by far the rainbow pattern. It always pays to mix it up with both color of lures, and the way they are presented. Some days the fish only want one color, or one way to take the lure. Mix it up and find your success, just like we did today!