The new fishing season kicks of with a HUGE bang.
The water has cleared and it’s the beginning of a brand new fishing season. New licences for the 2017 season were issued today! I had to make a quick pit stop at Canadian Tire to acquire my new licence before heading south to launch my jet boat on a solo mission. I make the mad dash for the licence and then launched the boat at Policeman’s Flats at around 11:15 AM. Upon arriving in the parking lot at Police, I saw a few boats with trailers parked and several cars and trucks in the lot. Those vehicles are usually anglers who park there and walk either up or down the river to the prime holes located close to Policeman`s Flats parking lot. I rolled up slowly and angled the boat towards the awaiting water. I could see the nice blue coloration as I exited my truck, quickly getting my waders on and tying up my lures before backing the boat into the water. I parked the truck and locked the door, and as I was walking down towards the boat, a fly fisherman had stopped to chat with me. He rolled down his window and stated “the fishing was awesome today, they were hitting on bead headed nymphs“. I politely said “that’s rad, thanks for the heads up“ as I swiftly made my way to the awaiting boat.
I jumped into the boat and decided to head down river instead of up. I warmed the jet up for a few minutes before gunning it and blasting a short distance down river into a back channel that usually holds some monster trout. I had tied up a Live Target smelt and decided it was time to launch it out in to slow deep pocket of water in the back pool. On my first cast I got action. My rod tip dove over but this fish never hit like a trout. I caught a quick glimpse of the fish as it rolled and came to the surface; a monster Pike had taken my offering. The new regulations came into effect today, and as stated, all fish must be released including Pike. The fish was hooked deep and I think I may have accidently killed the fish trying to remove the hook for the back of his gills. I took as much care as possible to release the fish as per the new regulations, but I will say I never cried over killing the Pike. I stayed in the back pool for a few minutes and came up empty, so I opted to fire up the motor and keep trucking downstream. Not far down, say three hundred yards, there is another deep run I like to fish. In the summer it usually holds some big fish, but when the water is cold like it is now, it`s always hit and miss. I lifted the motor to try my luck. After one pass I came up empty and kept moving down river to more prime locations.
I rounded the corner after the old Lonny`s Tree farm and there was other anglers in the location I like to stop at. Three fly fisher`s with their boat docked on the bank. They were out wading in the river and I moved aside to respect their water. The lady had a fish on and was battling it like a champ. As I floated by I gave them the thumbs up and continued on my mission of big browns. I hit the jet and went straight down to brown town, wasting no more time on unproductive water. I hit the “Burnco Hole“ and casted tight to the undercut bank. I ripped the lure out of the bank and then twitched it slowly with long pauses in between. As I stopped the lure on the long pause, this fifteen inch brownie smashed my smelt. I made at least ten passes in the Burnco hole and landed three fish before moving on. I wanted to fish a few other spots before I had to make my way back upriver and home for the day. I moved down again to water many anglers would scoff at, but not me, I am a skilled angler and have figured out where and when to fish water where others would drive right on by.
My first pass in the trough was a little close to the bank and I opted to let the boat drift, staying quiet and stealthy! I let it drift about twenty yards before I fired up the motor and headed back up to give it another shot. I let the boat swing wide on the second pass giving myself enough distance (from boat to shore) to make a proper cast. I landed my Live Target lure a foot off the back and cranked the reel rapidly to make the lure dive. Upon cranking the lure, giving it a short burst while in the water a few feet; this beautiful female brownie completely smashed my lure. She was sure smart, bull dogging me into deep water, but not smart enough to escape my Ego S2 slider net. A quick picture and back she goes for another lucky angler. I left the area after the first fish caught and released, but had deep suspicions there was other trout in the same trough. It’s hard leaving an area that you know may hold larger fish, but most often, depending on river angling pressure that day, its best to left the small section of water rest and come back later! I stuck to my gut instinct and left to come back later on my way back up river, and boy did that ever pay off big time.
After fishing down river for thirty minutes, I returned to that same spot and swung wide again, positioning the boat perfectly in a light breeze by this time. I made another pin point cast into the undercut bank, and before I got the lure to dive, I felt a huge smash and then the reel started to scream. My eyes were glued to the end of my line, locking in my target like a cheetah. I was careful to put steady pressure on this fish and then he busts out of the water and goes airborne to try and spit my hook. I turned the rod tip downward to try and keep him in the water and under control. This can be risky and can often mean losing a fish on a slack line, but luckily I set the hook perfectly and the tactic paid off huge. My boat glided slowly to the opposite side of the river, resting gently on the far shore line in six inches of water. I made a point of getting out of the boat after taking this quick selfie of my bounty, a 27 inch bruiser brown, that many would consider a trophy fish. I walked out into deeper water after gently removing the hook from the top of his kyped jaw, and properly revived him rocking him back and forth gently with his head facing upriver. It was not long and he started to buck in my hands, darting out into deep water and taking cover behind a large boulder in the river. My heart was racing rapidly and I yelled out loudly “Yeah BABY…..Wow”. The geese nesting their babies on the shoreline honked as if they were clapping at me, and I proceeded to sit back in my boat chair and savoir every second of what had just transpired.
It took me a few minutes to regain my composure after replaying that massive brown in my mind over and over again, savoring the decision to leave that area and come back later. I relished in the fact that I trusted my gut feeling and was rewarded a fish that many anglers lay awake at night dreaming of catching. I fired the boat and headed back home for the day, content and happy as those geese sitting on their eggs on the shoreline. I landed and released over ten amazing trout, and I never stop thinking about what an incredible fishery which runs right through my birth city. The Bow River has been stingy to me, and it has been kind beyond my wildest dreams, giving up most of its secrets to me over time.