|Lac Le Jeune|
|Pass and Isobel Lakes|
|Tranquille and Saul|
|Tulip and Rose Lakes|
It was time to make my annual (usually annual) pilgrimage to the fine trout streams of the East Kootenay. I drove my little car as fast as I could, arriving Aug 25th, just in time to catch the last of the summer weather. I awoke early the next day, wondering where I should start. I had been wondering where to start since my last trip ended last year. Some place familiar, some place that has been kind to me in the past. Michel Creek it is. A bright, warm, sunny day (the only one in 2 weeks of camping/fishing), I approached a favorite spot that doesn't seem to get much angler attention. 1st cast, 1st fish - a frisky 12 incher. I'm pleased. Walking upstream I see a spot I had fished last year, small piece of pocket water. It's difficult to believe anything of size would hang out in a spot this small, but I had success last year:
A few casts with a parachute Adams, at 1st I can't see the fly, so I'm not sure I'm getting a good drift. I reposition myself, down/across stream cast, quick mend, floats right through the slack water by the big rock and I see this beauty come up out the depths and take a bite and what a fight! Man, it was good to be back: Approximately 18 inches of trout, beautiful color. What a treasure, Michel.
The water was literally boiling, and I caught so many, I was getting tired of it. I was thinking "hmmm, can it be true? I tired of catching trout on dry flies". Actually I was tired of catching anything other than big ones. Not all the trout were big; most in that run were 12-14 inches, a few 16 inchers. But in the coming days, I would be thinking "it would be nice to catch anything!"
I was tired of being cold and wet and having less than stellar success fishing, so I headed to the warmth and comfort of a Sparwood hotel. And back to my favorite, Michel Creek. It’s truly a treasure. This time I fished right in town, starting from the confluence of Michel and the Elk. By now I was slowing down my approach, not running from one pool to another, frantically trying to catch as many fish as possible. I realized it was affecting my fishing and enjoyment of my trip; and slowing down really helped.
I started to notice on this day and in the days to come, if I would stop, sit and watch a fishy looking spot, after a few minutes, the trout would start to feed on the surface. They wouldn’t as I was walking by or up to a spot. I believe they could sense my foot falls and stopped actively feeding on the surface till they felt safe again. I also started fishing from one knee or sitting, and as always, I wore muted shades of green and brown. Despite the cold, wet weather, black ants were the ticket again:
As I watched this bank, I could see big trout coming out of the safety of the undercut bank to get whatever was floating by. What a sight, something I will never get tired of. I had several polite refusals before I hooked and caught the one above.
Moving upstream, I fish several good spots, with best success by the highway bridge over the Michel. Several nice fish were rising in the pool just downstream of the bridge. Again I used the ant pattern, with good success. Later I changed to a size 16 parachute Adams, when they tired of the ant.
After another great day on the Michel, as I was packing away my gear into my car, an older gentleman came out of his house to ask me about the fishing. “Great!” I said. To which he replied “you haven’t seen great till you go here….”