Fernie is a very cool town and mostly known for its skiing and snowboarding opportunities on the slopes that surround it. Despite being a paradise for the winter sports enthusiast, the Fernie area also provides some absolutely amazing fly fishing for big cutthroats and big bull trout.
On Friday morning we decided to split up. Cody and I headed off to a small creek while Garret and Trevor floated the Elk River. Cody and I experienced some amazing dry fly fishing, with the average cutty being about 14 inches. Garret and Trevor had an awesome day as well.
Trevor with a colored up cutt from the Elk
On Friday night we found a place to camp, just as our friend Ben arrived with Trevor's car and drift boat. Our camping spot looked like an armada of cars, boats, and gear...
Too much gear.
What a great view to wake up to
On day two we all floated the Elk River. Streamer fishing proved to be really productive, even more so than dries because of the high winds. We experienced some huge chases from some big bull trout, including one that tried to attack a smaller bully that I had hooked in the first run of the day. Even though none of us caught a huge bull trout, we all had a great day and landed plenty of cutties. The Elk was a beautiful River and I could probably say that it's one of the most scenic rivers I've ever fished.
Trevor and Ben, both at work
A small bully for the Elk
Another nice cutt by Garret
On day three we decided to go for more of a wilderness experience into bear country. After driving on some forest service roads for a while, we finally reached the edge of a deep canyon. The river below is well known for its huge bull trout.
Because we didn't know much about how good the cutthroat fishery was in the river, we were all in bull trout mode with our 7wts, full sinking lines, and huge articulated streamers. Ben was the only person (smart person), to bring his dry fly rod.
After bushwhacking our way down the steep slopes of the canyon, we finally set our eyes on the river. We decided to split up for most of the day and as the morning went on and we found that the bullies were not very active, it became more of a relaxed day on the water. I'm pretty sure all of us took a nap at some point.
Garret ended up landing a nice 20 inch bully, but Ben was the man of the day because he saw consistent action on dries, especially when some big drakes started coming off and the fish went nuts.
Garret with a colored up bully (photo by Ben)
Ben with a nice Cutty (photo by Garret)
The greatest part of the day was when Garret and I stumbled upon a pool that looked like it belonged in a different world. Deep blue-green water that seemed to be clearer than glass. We began fishing the tail end of the pool when Garret told me to walk over to him. He pointed at a dark orange streak and as we watched it sway in the current, we were overcome with excitement. It was a huge bull trout.
With the sun high and the warmer water temps, the bull trout wouldn't eat a thing. We hiked up on the ledge above and looked down on the beast, as well as several other bullies that were easily over 30 inches. It was an amazing thing to see.
The big guy
We eventually found Trevor and Cody, who had done quite a bit of hiking. They hadn't landed any bullies either but still had a great day. The river was in my opinion, even more beautiful than the Elk, which only made the trip better, even though I didn't land a single fish on the day.
On our final day, we decided to fish a small creek again. The temps were a little bit cooler and we didn't get into as many fish as our first day. Cody did manage to land a very decent cutthroat.
One of the finest cutt's on the trip
Smaller fish did exist
It was tough to say goodbye to such a prestigious landscape and great fishing, but in the end we had to. It was an amazing trip and I think we all feel that it will be difficult to top this one. Maybe the only way to top it is to return in the future, which I'm certain we will. Thanks to the Elk River Guiding Company for all the helpful information. Until next time...Later BC!
On the road to nowhere