Catching cutthroat trout on dry flies is great fun, but don’t confuse it with hooking and landing Columbia River rainbows – possibly the fastest, most difficult trout in the Canadian Rockies’ fly-fishing quiver.
Or, as one client said laughingly the other day after whiffing at his sixth fish in a row, “I feel like I’m facing Major League stuff after playing softball all my life.” Yup, that pretty much sums it up sometimes.
Another client, frustrated at the big redbands moving left and right to inhale mayflies, muttered to no one in particular, “Don’t these fish ever hold still?” No, not really – any more than Chris Carter is likely to hang his fastball waist-high over the center of the plate. You can do a lot of things wrong and still catch cutthroat on the Elk River; a single miscue on the Columbia is usually enough.
Of course, just as with Major League Baseball, the rewards are huge for those who’ve paid their dues in Double-A: Steelhead-strain ‘bows hooked in skinny water that barely covers their backs one moment – hopper eats that literally displace water the next.
September is upon us, and on the Columbia that means October Caddis (I know, whoever named the big orange fly obviously didn’t fish the Canadian Rockies this time of year.) ‘Octobers’ are about a size 6, with apricot-colored bellies and wings like a pup tent. You can’t miss them when they’re airborne at dusk, though the trout seem to look for them from sunup to sundown.
If you think you have what it takes and aren’t afraid to park your ego at the boat launch, come on out and give the ‘Mighty C’ a go: it’s the river guides go to for graduate degrees, and the river clients go to to test their skills against the toughest, most unforgiving fish and currents this side of Montana’s Missouri River.
We remain the only outfitter (in Canada or the U.S.) to specialize in dry-fly fishing to large rainbows in traditional freestone runs and pools. We don’t nymph, we don’t use lead, and we don’t tolerate whiners and posers. As the D.B.O. boat decal says, “Shut up and fish!” … Chris