The 2016 fishing season, gone but never forgotten
It started much the same as previous years I have been guiding, the regular boat checks to make sure all will run smoothly, which includes adding air to the Saturn Raft and making sure it has no small leaks that will turn into something more major. Then I move onto the aluminum rack system, making sure all the nuts and bolts are securely tightened, before the first client steps foot into the raft. Safety has been, and always will be, number one when my friends or clients hop in the boat. My first client this year was a repeat customer Chris and his father, which ended with a thirty fish day. The rainbows were on the munch that last week of June, and Chris and his father cleaned up on their float trip, landing several fish over the twenty inch mark. The next several trips were much the same as the first one; all my clients broke the twenty fish per day average.
July was a game changing month for me and my customers, I decided that it was time to purchase a jet boat and added another dimension to the fishing game. I ordered a custom made, 16 foot aluminum Explorer Industries 162 drifter to the mix, making no Bow River fish safe again. I drove to Edmonton, where the boat was made and picked it up the second week in July. Talk about feeling like a kid in a candy store that Friday. As I arrived in the city limits that Friday, there was a huge storm brewing and lightning was striking the ground just north east of our location. As we stepped out of the truck and made our way across the parking lot to pick up the boat, the sky’s opened up and it started to pour rain. By the time we did the walk through and went over the operating procedures of the motor, I thought we were going to have to take the boat back to Calgary and leave the truck behind. A torrential down pour came down and flash floods almost stopped us from making our way back south with boat in tow. We made it out before rush hour hit, and looked back in the rear view mirror to dark, gloomy skies. I had many trips pre-booked for 2016, so the addition of the jet boat made a huge difference in the fishing season.
After breaking the motor in that Friday evening, the remaining trips would be exclusively from the jet boat, with the exception of a group trip I had in August with Steve Meredith and his wife Lynn. We brought out the drift boat for the group and had both boats in the water that day. What an amazing day we all had. The water was dirty and weeds were a challenge, but we all caught some amazing fish. Steve was looking for a brown trout, as he has never caught one before, but it was just not to be. We all know that browns can be tricky to catch!
The summer of 2016 was wet; we had lots of rain fall which brought out all the wildlife. I have never seen so many deer along the river as I saw last season. The eagles were also out in full force. I saw many golden eagles as well as many bald eagles souring high above, or perched on the many dead trees that adorn the river bank. I always see the eagles when I float the river, but this year there seemed to be more of them.
With the new jet boat, I also got to fish the lower section of the Bow River below the Highway 24 Bridge. I always wanted to fish this section of the Bow River, as I have heard many stories of monster browns and epic rainbows caught and released in this stretch of river. Unfortunately, I was only able to land one rainbow over twenty inches and the fishing below the Carseland Weir was less than stellar. I think there are two reasons for this. One, we had a heat wave in 2015 that may have drove those fish up the ladder at the weir and two, we had the massive flood of 2013 which may have reduced their habitat down in that stretch of river. I read an article in late October from a guide who has fished this stretch of river for many years. He claimed that the heat wave of 2015 that shut down the Bow River for three weeks was the cause of the reduction of fish below the Carseland Weir. He stated he never saw signs of dead fish floating on the surface of the river, but thought that the heat wave had killed off most of the fish. Here is the link to the article if you would like to read it. I had a blast fishing solo in that stretch of the river; it is always fun for me to fish new water even though I did not land many fish.
It was such a great year for me in so many ways. From the camping trips to the many fish myself, and my clients caught, it will be a year I will never forget. 2016 is in the books, gone but never to be forgotten. I would love to thank all my regular clients, as well as all the new clients I had the privilege to meet. I hope you all have a very merry Christmas and a prosperous new year. Big thanks also to John Martin for letting me store my boat in your shop for the winter. I appreciate that very much, and I can sleep at night knowing the boat is in a safe and warm place. Many thanks to all of you who made me smile and laugh out there, it is always a blessing for me to serve you and follow my passion for guiding year after year. I hope to see you all again in 2017. I will be taking bookings during the holiday season, so if you would like a prime date for the 2017 season, feel free to leave a message here or send me an email with the date/dates you would like.