Friday, September 28, 2012


 There is nothing like a plan without a plan when it comes to putting the finishing touches on a fishing trip. Sometimes it all comes together, sometimes it doesn't but when the journey is more important than the destination...things usually work out just fine. 'Tis the case for my most recent journey into the unknown with some buddies and a river in Canada.
I've been busy for awhile and have been experiencing some serious premonitions of the annual burnout moving on fast. Looking at the calendar, I saw that I had a week off between trips so we made some hasty plans to head to parts unknown for a few days. A few days fishing trip around Dillon somehow ended up as a jet boat excursion on the Siksika Reserve about an hour outside of Calgary.
The plan was for my boys to drive and me to sleep in the truck and we were going to get a guide for a few days. No luck with finding a guide resulted in the change of plan to take my boat up to the Bow instead. Half way there, I made a pit stop and drove away with a borrowed jet boat and a desperate need for a map.
Along the way, I sent various emails to a host of places and ended up getting a callback from a little lodge on the lower river that was just closing for the season. Sounded cool, but there wasn't a workaround so we wrote it off. Turns out, one of their guides calls me near Shelby and says he's in for joining us for the day at no cost provided he gets to do some fishing. And the plan began to take shape.The lodge is called the River Ranche, check it out for something different sometime, cool setting, lodging, river, and people.
We ended up getting into Calgary around 10 that night to find that there were very few to no hotel rooms in Calgary. A quick call to found us some sweet suites at the Travel lodge and that was settled.
Now for the bigger issues like working a jet boat, not getting lost, reading new water, BS'in with Indians, eating donuts, and hopefully catching some fish. The 4 of us bombed up the river around noon in an uneventful first ascent. Very few rising fish (it had been lights out until we got there) and even less love on a streamer or nymph rig. However, the thrill of the unknown and lure of new water was enough to satiate the crew for the day.
Day 2 was just me and the boys. A few more rising fish and some love on worms early on made for an overall optimistic vibe. It didn't pan out. So, we stopped at a backwater that the guide said held some Pike the day before. I have to say that our expectations were low. I made a few cast and got one that was maybe 5 or 6 pounds but big enough to kind of make the trip worth it in many ways. I head back to the boat for lunch and give the rod and the overworked water to one of the guys and say got get 'em. Thinking that it was done so I'm going to rest while they flog away. 3 minutes later, Tom is hooting and hollering while nearly being pulled in from the bank by something tugging on his line. Turns out to be slightly larger than mine by about a foot and 10 pounds. Good for him I'm thinking, he deserved that fish after all the work he's put in over the last few years. Satisfied, we start to head for the boat but Sparky decides to make a few more casts, one of which results in a 44 " beast which was just simply much more fish than we knew what to do with.
That whole thing would have been a good to have on video. We got the fish, let it go and all kind of stood around dumbfounded by how our luck had changed and our crazy little adventure seemed much more rational in hindsight.
In the end, as we drove home all of yesterday, the thought that rumbled around my head was how lucky I am to have lived this life.

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