August, Sept. and Oct., 1997 --- Red Deer River, Bow River, MacNaughton Ranch
Friday August 8, 1997 Bow River
Arrive 1:30 or so, set up camp at Wyndham Carseland Provincial Pk., $11.00 a nite, buy your firewood for $6.00 a “wheel barrel” from the tattooed blonde with a one-eyed German Shepherd. OK campground. Big weather happening – heavy rain, monsoon style winds. I cruise up and down a bit; eventually find a bunch of risers right at the boat launch and get a dozen or so little guys on caddis fished “wet” style. Back at the campground, Robt. has arrived. Tent blew down earlier. Note: first 2 or 3 fish browns.
Saturday August 9, 1997 Bow River
Hot day by the p.m., although started out a bit iffy. We float and fling flies all day with nary a hit; on the way back up we spot some risers in a tailout riffle. Lo and behold, we catch some fish – hook a dozen or so mostly smallish rainbows, Robt. almost lands a large brown. Best time 7:30 p.m. to dark; major caddis happening. BWO’s when cloudy.
Sunday August 10, 1997 Bow River
Wayde Braseth meets me at Carseland at noon, and we’re on the water by 2:00 or so. It’s another slow day…I hook one good ‘bow on a BRB, lose him…Pygmy has no luck with various spinners, crankbaits, powerbait, etc. Go to the scene of last nite’s action – same time, same place, not nearly as much action. Head up to take boat out, and it’s happening with the caddis big time – land a couple of decent little ‘bows, can’t fool the larger fish wallowing about. Wayde tries flyfishing, likes it! Hot & calm today.
Tuesday August 12, 1997 Red Deer River
Up to the dam about 7:45, and things are happening. 4 other FF’ers and a couple of gearchuckers are at the usual spots. Nobody above the bells, except a guy in a water otter by the outlet. It’s the usual deal, lots of big browns slurping up caddis. The fly tonite is about a 16 Elk Hair Caddis. Hook 5 good fish, 2+ lbs. Land 2, foul-hooked beast pulls out at the net after long fight, LDR on a couple others. Should wear waders for this deal. Warm and calm.
Wednesday August 13, 1997 Red Deer River
John S. and I put in below the dam about 3:00, and drift down through a few runs. I get a nice brown on Clouser Minnow (!) and John gets one on spinner combo, with fly rod (!!).
62° water. We motor up, pull out, and by 8:00 or so we’re doing a repeat of last nite. I have good luck with #16 Bob Scammell black ant. Hook 4 big browns, miss another. Land 3, which weigh in at 2, 2 ½ and 2 5/8 lbs. Smaller guy wraps around my legs and breaks off. John gets an 18” ‘er and 19” ‘er, both on EHC. John can’t find his way back across the river at dark, so I launch boat, row down and rescue him. San Juan’s Ferry Service! Showery weather earlier in the day…find evening, cooler and relatively calm. Lots of caddis, some BWO’s.
Monday August 18, 1997 Red Deer River
We’ve had a lot of rain recently; particularly on Friday and Saturday last week. Check out the dam – arrive about 8:00 and there are anglers everywhere, notwithstanding that the river is now the color of well used dishwater. Meet Harold Hedlund & Ryan Adair – Harold is with the fire department; knows Jerry Burnett. We watch a guy (Bill Young) in my favorite stretch. The action is nowhere near the pace of last week, but still the occasional big snout thru the muddy water. Have a beer, watch this guy catch nothing. Bait chuckers below get a brown, according to Harold. I make a few casts after chatting with Harold for half hour or so (good story about guy floating the Oldman – gets dark, hears rapids – late – camps out-found under bridge next a.m. – ok)
Wednesday August 20, 1997 Bow River
By myself (with Tar); hit the water a bit after noon. River is high and still somewhat off color from last weekend’s rain…oh well; set sail anyhow. Today, I try mostly nymphing with SJW’s and Kaufman’s Golden Stones – trying the deeper edges of the riffles…Nada, other than 1 follow on the worm. Hot (80°) and sunny day, saw a few FF’ers…no boats at Gunnell’s spot…finally get some action on caddis around 8:00 (same spot as with Robt.) – land half a dozen smallish rainbows (biggest 10-12”) not as heavy a hatch as last time down here. No luck with stimulator along the south facing banks…see a quide in Mac. Drift Boat, couple of sports….66° water in p.m.
Saturday August 23, 1997 Red Deer River
Take Doug D., STR, & Helene out for a spin! Go up to Jack Donald’s – find some rising fish at the 2nd powerline crossing down from Donald’s – I catch 3 fish for the crowd…Big spinner fall of Trico’s on the water, plus some BWO’s. Get 1 on dragging LaFemerger, 2 on BWO (dragged?). It’s been a nice 3 days - 25°, calm, but the river is still pretty dirty from last week’s rain. Fairly high for late August, but I whack a rock at Ft. Normandeau. See a bald eagle with fish, dead beaver.
Wednesday August 27, 1997 Red Deer River
Take budding FF’er John Mcbeath and Choco out, along with Tar – up to the “first powerline” pool, find a few rising shad. John gets one on Canadian Tire red mayfly, about a size 10 – I get one on dragging caddis; miss a bunch. Dogs get playing around at one point…lotsa fun. Off just before dark, on about 6:30.
Monday September 1, 1997 Red Deer River
Labour Day is clear and windy! Roper invites us to a picnic at Mackenzie Crossing, I bring the boat…no luck with the fishing – spectacular river valley but the river is pretty wide and shallow, at least right here. River is clear, no bugs except hoppers chirping. No fish, although a pretty perfunctory effort with laids, etc.
Sunday September 7, 1997 Red Deer River
Below the dam, with Tar – breezy warm nite – arrive 5:00 or so-the boys are still around…I land 5 nice browns, biggest is 3 ½ lbs, all on #16 Black Ant, 4 x tippet. Later break one of caddis. Guy across the river (float tube) – from Red Deer, formerly Rocky, has got a couple in the afternoon, he gets 3 or 5 more later on as the caddis hatch thickens – “on little caddis, fished wt. Bob Scammell is out looking for anniversary fush – of note is story of 31” ‘er being killed by spinfisherman – charged by Park Ranger.
September 20, 1997 MacNaughton Ranch
John Sage lends me his 14’ Jon boat to take out to Lonesome Birch Lake – turns out the “lake” is pretty low and weedy, shorelines mashed by cattle. Oh well, give it a shot in the dugout section – no luck with buggers, clousers, so try ol’ Rick’s Mink – and it works! Land 2, about 13”, lose a bigger one. Highlight is Tar tipping me over into the slough! Vange later sez the fish were “delicious”…(she’s a good cook)
October 13, 1997 MacNaughton Ranch
Thanksgiving – duck hunt Saturday, turkey Sunday; today we’re out erecting our new aeration windmill tower…record lows last nite, down to – 8 °
…while the boys are working on the windmill, I decide to make a few casts with Rick’s Mink – lo and behold, hook (land and bonk) 2 15” rainbows; get another (C & R) later, let Shannon reel it in….ice on the edges!