It's time to get out the BULLSHIT and head on out to the Canadian Rockies for "The Running of the Bulls". Every year thousands of trophy size Bulls make their spawning migration into various tributaries of the Elk River and the Kootenay River. Many of these Bulls are residents of Lake Koocanusa, the impoundment behind the Libby Reservoir of the Kootenay or Kootenai River (depending on what side of the border you're on). Those Bulls from the resevoir are incredibly huge, having gorged themselves silly on a diet of Kokanee. This year RA Beattie and myself were set to spend a week filming Bulls and enticing them on dry flies. Unfortunately RA couldn't make it and we had to pull the plug on the project until next year.
Bull Trout fishing in B.C. is legal unlike in the states where the species is threatened, blue listed or endangered. It's feast or famine most of the time with Bulls, they're either in the taking mood (early morning) or have lock jaw (most of the day). Everyone has their own secret methods for success, blah,blah, blah, whatever, sinking line, floating line, nymph, streamers, eggs, small cutthroats.... or little kids... to each their own. What's not a secret, at least anymore... is where to target these monsters. By now everyone's probably read at least one article extolling the virtues of the town of Fernie and the Elk River. And everyone of those articles includes a little something on the Bull Trout fishing in the area and specifically one river. A river that usually sends mere mortals home with their tails between their legs after looking down into the 1000 ft. forested roadside canyon. Maybe you've read Geriach's Grizzly Central or Thomas's Bushwacking Bull Trout in BC. It used to be this river was revered only by locals in hushed whispers at the gas station. At sort of last vestiage of locals only fishing and rather polite F You to travellers looking for the Bull Trout Bonaza. Not anymore. Every access is filled with SUV's from Alberta to Alabama. That's cool. Who fish's access points? I say grow a pair. The absolutely stellar Bull Trout fishing isn't in the canyon anyway, that's where all the anglers are. You want CRAZY BULLS head up to the upper section of the river. That is IF your ride can handle it. Besides the washed out 4X4 road, the horse outfitter who allegedly sprinkles drywall nails on it, and a day's worth of chainsawing blowdown it's definately worth the effort. Be forewarned though, once you get there.... it's the URSUS HORRIBILIS that may ruin your day. Oh yeah that's right the no self respecting Grizzly would be caught dead down in that canyon. I've fished 10 years down there and never seen ONE sign of a Grizz or a Black bear. Up in the upper portion of the river though, whole different ball game. It's wide and flat and open and the river is braided and skinny. It's easy picking for Grizzlies up there, just remember your bells and bear spray.....cause Grizzlies like it when a spicey meal rings the dinner bell for them...... NO BALLS NO BULLS.
Here's two clips from last year shot on my crappy Optio W20... we landed the fish but the battery died on the camera... ergo no hero shots.... BOO! I know, I know, get a net right! Nets are for SISSIES and smart people. Maybe next time and maybe I won't be fishing a 4wt. with 4x tippet.