Our Man In Canada
September 11th, 2000
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Saskatchewan
The Southwestern Trout Streams, Part 2

Text and Photos by Bob Sheedy

Beaver Dam Hotspot

I had to return.

Under Rick's expert tutelage we arrived at the Second Bridge on Battle Creek, slightly south from my former haunt and hosting a deeper run. We half crawled to the edge and, kneeling, began slinging flies into its hatch-less October depths. After the nymphs of summer were again ignored, I knotted on a Psychedelic P-Quad and began hand twisting it along the bottom. The third cast resulted in a tussle with a fourteen-inch brown which was followed by another. This convinced Rick to join me in using this incongruous fall stillwater pattern. Soon he was posing with a foot-long specimen and we moved to tackle other areas. After spooking a horde of brookies from the redds, we probed roots, undercut banks, and tangles of driftwood until quitting time. Most fish taken were under a foot, for the larger specimens were hormonally over-charged, but it was the best day I had on a stream since I left Ontario twenty some years before. Battle Creek is a gorgeous place, with an insatiable appetite for devouring film - and flies that tend to cling to the pines in the process of steeple-casting in the tight overhanging environment. It is a model creek, a text-book environment- challenging, but easily walked as it lacks the impenetrable willows of Belanger Creek and other creeks further east.

Trout Streams of Southwestern Saskatchewan

I first discovered the Cypress fishery in 1997 when I was invited to participate in a trout-fishing seminar along with Mac Warner. There, I first met Dale Wig, our guide for the pristine environments of Calf and Conglomerate Creeks. Dale turned eight that first year and had saved his money for tuition to attend the annual Trout Festival hosted by the park. Today, at the ripe old age of eleven, he's an accomplished fly caster. Like us, he was disappointed to find that the sizeable trout were procreating in an off-limits area. Since the fishery is replenished largely by natural reproduction, we gave up after only one fish, caught by Rick, and headed across pasture and meadow to the brookies of Calf Creek.

Calf is a series of beaver dams surrounded by towering spruces. Walking was good, but the sizeable brookies were occupied elsewhere. We splashed around, cast and stripped and fed flies to the spruces. We did catch and release numerous smaller trout and enjoyed watching Dale's expert streamcraft. As we returned near dusk we spooked a herd of 18 elk from the meadow and watched them run into the coulee. And on the drive back to Cypress, we had difficulty negotiating the back roads, which had been claimed by hordes of mule deer that stood and watched as we motored slowly past. I have never seen so many deer in my life, or so many trophy racks attached to their original owners.

Fly Patterns

Other than the Bone and Frenchman, normal stream patterns are applicable in the region, save for spawning times. The Gold-ribbed Hare's ear is a favorite, especially when supplied with a gold bead head and perhaps a few micro shot for the swifter sections.

Current Issue Canadian Fly fisher

Once the grasshoppers mature and begin to plop onto the surface, fly box speculation narrows to a food group of one.

The big, wary fish of the Bone and Frenchman Rivers take more preparation, although knowing locals simply whisper "Dragonfly nymphs". Of these, the most knowledgeable tells me, "Tie them big, dark and ugly." Looking around the rivers I'd have to agree, although on the swifter sections of the Bone I'd like to try some large stonefly nymphs. All the streams have abundant populations of mayflies, stoneflies, and caddis.

Contacts

Rick, a repository of knowledge for the area and former Conservation Officer, is now the assistant manager of Cypress Hills Provincial Park and is largely responsible for most of the improved fisheries in the area. He hosts the annual Cypress Hills Trout Festival.

Rick Goett
Battle Creek Flies
MapleCreek, Sask.
Canada
(306) 662-2567

An excellent map and guide pamphlet (including phone numbers of landowners), Trout Streams In Southwest Saskatchewan is available by phoning (306) 662-3606. ~ Bob Sheedy

We thank the Canadian Fly Fisher for re-print permission!

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