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Jun 28

Bull Trout fishing the lakes of Alberta, Canada

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Weekend getaway to Paradise Lake

Have you ever felt the need to just pack up and go, get away from the concrete jungle and noises of sirens blaring into your room at night? Have you just packed up your camping gear on a whim, hooked up the boat to your truck and burned rubber heading straight to a mountain paradise? That’s exactly how I felt; precisely what I did this past weekend! I felt the need for some rest and relaxation coupled with perhaps a few Bull Trout the lake has to offer. To be honest, it was more about the rest and relaxation then it was about the fish, they would simply be a bonus.

I made the hour and a half drive from Calgary Friday afternoon after work arriving at the campground before the sun went down. I never had much time to get my gear unpacked and set up, but managed to do it without any hassle. First the tent, then the air bed and blankets, followed by the stove and cooking supplies for morning breakfast. I had wood with me and decided to light a fire before retiring to bed for the evening. I sat in my lawn chair and listened to the crackle of the fire pondering where and how I was going to catch my first fish the next morning. I let the worries of life fly away like the smoke rising from that crackling campfire. When I am here, I am alone and the troubles and stresses of life seem to naturally melt away. It’s as if the place has magic powers, removing all worry from my mind. Maybe it’s the fresh air, or perhaps it’s the sheer beauty that surrounds one in a 360 degree view. I let the fire die down after an hour and slipped into my sleeping bag to retire for the evening; by this time it was 11:30 and I was dog tired.

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The next morning I awoke to the sounds of birds chirping and the smell of pine trees tickling my nose. It was chilly up in them hills, so I fired up the Coleman stove and made my first pot of camp coffee. As the coffee percolated, I whipped up a pan of bacon and eggs. For some reason, the food tastes better up here, as does the coffee! After getting my rods rigged up, one with a Live Target trout par, the other with a Rapala Countdown, I loaded the boat with the gear and headed off to the boat launch excited for the morning bite. I have fished the shore here, as well as in a friend’s boat, but never in my own boat. I was excited as I dropped the boat in the water and drove up to park my truck.

It was 8:00 AM and I had the whole day to fish ahead of me. I was hopeful but this lake can be stingy, leaving me to not worry much about the catch, and more about the experience and the breath taking experience. I fished the mouth of the creek first for an hour, coming up empty. I then headed up the lake in search of the mouth of another creek. The creeks were running out dirty as it was still the tail end of run off. I fished the second creek for thirty minutes before giving up, heading to another location.

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It was late in the evening before I was able to catch any fish, but the first one was a beauty Bull Trout that completely smashed my Live Target Trout Parr lure and peeled out line at will. Once you get a big bull trout here, it is completely worth the wait. The fish fought hard for a minute or two before I gained the upper hand and reeled him into my outreached net. The hooked was gently removed while holding the fish in the water in the net and then a quick picture was snapped before kneeling over the side of the boat for the release. My heart raced a mile a minute after he swam away back into the depths of the lake.

I sat there a minute basking in the glory of the catch and looked around at the sheer beauty of the mountains as I gathered my thoughts before making another cast. I stood back up from my seat after a few minutes rest. I proceeded to cast my lure back into the same location I caught my first bully! I came up empty but the next cast I was into another super scrappy bull. I can’t believe how hard these lake fish fight. I had my drag set perfectly letting the fish run if he needed to and reeling in when it was time. It is important to keep a tight line on any fish making sure they have minimal chance of getting off on a slack line. I was able to land my second fish of the day at eight forty five PM. I kept pounding the shore line till dark but to no avail, the lake would only give up two fish on my outing. I headed into the boat launch just before dark and loaded the boat on the trailer, heading back to camp happy and smiling the whole way.

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I stayed the night at the campground and left the mountains at 10:00 on Sunday morning. It is always hard for me to leave a special place like this and head back into the concrete jungle. I feel amazing and alive when I am here! It has been to long since I fished this lake and driving away is often the hardest part of the trip. I left content and full of peace and will return to this breathtaking jewel as soon as I possibly can. Where do you go to get away? Is it the mountains, the river, the lake? Please feel free to leave a comment and let me know where your get away is.