Benefits to being the early bird

It has been said that anglers are ever the optimists, for each cast made has its own unique possibilities and potential

It has been said that anglers are ever the optimists, for each cast made has its own unique possibilities and potential –  just like each lake, river and stream.

I like to think that I too am optimistic.

When I am standing on the banks of a river, watching the early morning mist rise from the surface of the water, I like to think I am going to have a glorious day ahead. After all, why would I have gotten up so early?

I do like to get an early start to a day’s fishing. Having said that, I do however find it harder and harder to drag my poor old tired carcass out of bed these days – especially any time before six o’clock.

Be that as it may, I also try to compensate by having my terminal tackle set up the night before. Not only do I find it hard to see what I’m doing in the early morning light, there’s also something about not having your line in the water when other anglers are already casting to an early morning rise.

Preparation and anticipation may not exactly be one and the same, but experience has taught me that one’s anticipation can be quickly dashed without proper preparation.

Fishing for me has always been full of anticipation, from the beginning of the season to the end. Each run and each ripple, each and every seam along the edge of fast-flowing waters, each insect rise and every protrusion along the drop-off offers new opportunity.

Each cast is made with both a certain amount of anticipation and expectation and, the best part of it is, each cast made without a strike is but a prelude to the moment when you do feel a sudden, heart-stopping bump on the end of the line.

Out here in the East Kootenays where I am currently sharing my stories with folks who drop by Fort Steele, there are no less than four world-class rivers to fish. The Elk, St. Mary, Bull and Kootenay rivers all hold an abundance of very large bull and cutthroat trout.

I have been offered a free drift boat trip down the St. Mary River and I’m hoping that particular day there will be at least a few fish that just might be guiled into taking a Royal Wulff or Stimulator fly pattern.

We’re into August now and conditions are absolutely perfect on the rivers around here. I can’t wait to head out. There are a number of fly fishing stores in the area that provide guided drift boat trips down both the St. Mary and Elk rivers. Such trips are well worth the price.

They allow an angler (usually two anglers in a boat plus the guide) to cover a fairly decent stretch of the river and cast to each and every good looking run, riffle and holding pool. Some of the better spots along the river cannot be accessed by vehicle and others can be returned to on another day by parking your vehicle nearby and walking in where access is allowed.

A good guide will not only take you to some of the best fishing spots along either river, recognizing your own particular casting abilities they will try to hold you there long enough to make your cast. Along the way, they will make a few suggestions and, in most cases, you will be rewarded with a few good strikes. What more could a person ask?

Like I said, I am looking forward to my day drifting the St. Mary. The fact that I will be doing the first drift of the morning at nine and will have to get up around six to get dressed, have breakfast and drive the hour it takes to get to the spot where we will be putting in, well, like they say, that’s all a part of fishing.



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