This past Labor Day weekend, Garret, Cody, Undie, Ben and I ventured north to the Fernie, British Columbia. We had a rough plan in place but it basically revolved around fishing as much as we could and hoping everything turns out after that. When we originally arrived at 11:00 pm in Fernie, the bad news was broke to us that the only real campsite in town was full. After some debating we decided to split a cheap motel. The lady at the desk told us the only room she had left was reserved for coal miners, and the sheets might be, “a little dirty”. Turned out they were pretty clean so we went out on the town for the night, and returned later for a short sleep.
We arose early and eager to fish. The plan was Garret and I would float the Elk River, while Cody and Undie would go wade a local creek.
We loaded up and pulled out of town. Garret and I threw his raft in upstream of town and Cody and Undie took off to the creek. Once the sun got over the mountains and the water warmed up Garret and I started to get into fish.
The dry fly fishing was very good. Later in the day we started throwing streamers in hopes of catching a Bull Trout or two. We did hook into a bull trout, but the Cutthroat were also hammering the streamers.
That night we made camp on a deserted forest road next to the river. We made some dinner and talked about fishing and life’s other endeavors around camp. Ben had arrived late that night due to other complications, with my car and boat.
The next morning we floated the Elk with two boats, the dry fly fishing was not as good due to cold weather, but the streamer fishing wasn’t too bad.
Undie with a nice Bull Trout
Floating the Elk
The next day we decided to trek deep into the backcountry in search of big migratory Bull Trout. These fish come up the river to spawn, and can eclipse 30+ inches. We were at the Wigwam River, which sits in a deep canyon you have to climb down.
Looking for a path down.
We decided to make our own path down the mountain, and needless to say it wasn’t exactly easy going, but it could have been worse.
Besides the crazy hike in, there were other guys in the section of the river we fished, and the Bull Trout had been pounded on. With the bright sun and the fish sitting in the deep pools, it was hard pickin for the large fish. Garret did manage to catch a medium-sized one, so at least our efforts were somewhat rewarded.
Ben gave up on the Bull Trout, and found a nice drake hatch, so he switched up to dry flies and caught some nice cutthroats.
The sun started to go down and it was time to hike out of the canyon, even though the fishing didn’t turn out to be that productive, it was a really fun and adventurous day.
The last morning was upon us and we headed to the creek Cody and Undie had fished the first day. The fishing wasn’t that great, maybe because of the cold morning, but we still hooked into some nice fish.
Overall it was a great weekend with good fishing and even better friends. We roughed it by trying to save as much money as our broke asses could, which near the end of the trip meant sleeping in the seats of our cars on the edge of town, and a daily diet of one peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I wouldn’t have it any other way though, those are the things that make the memories you remember for a long time.
I took a few pictures but a lot of the good photography credit goes to Garret, Cody and Undie. Also thanks to the guys and gals at the Elk River Guiding Company Fly Shop for the info on the Fernie area fishing.