February 25th, 2008

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A Different Take
By: Ron Drysdale, Winnipeg, CA

On my most memorable day I didn't catch one fish. In July I was staying at a B&B up in Beaver Mines and (on the second or third day) I was introduced to two 28-year-old women who had just traveled there to take a one-day fly fishing course from the folks at Crowsnest Angler.

One lady (DL) was from Edmonton and the other (LP) was from Brazil ... a visiting scientist working with sheep reproduction in Red Deer for the summer. The shop had matched them up so they could drive down to the Crowsnest Pass in one car.

They were both stunningly beautiful ... imagine Andy McDowell and The Grrrrrrl from Ipanema (who could also play great Bob Marley on acoustic guitar and naturally 'cover' his stuff in Portuguese) ... and the next morning (as they were heading off to school and I was heading off to the Castle River) they asked me if I'd like to join them for supper that evening up in The Pass.

Hmmm ... gotta check the Palm Pilot ... let me see if I can fit that in.

It was a great evening at the best restaurant in The Pass. The ladies were scheduled to leave the next morning. But... they hadn't actually been "on the water" at the school and, although DL (with the car) had to be back in Edmonton ... LP did not.

We hatched a plan ... LP would go fishing with me the next day and stay one more night at the B&B and then fish the next morning for a bit until I loaded her onto a Greyhound (back to Red Deer) in the afternoon.

The B&B was booked solid for that extra night, but our hosts graciously arranged a sleeping area in the surgically-clean main-floor laundry area and on the last morning (as always) they fed LP and the rest of us like royalty...and LP's breakfast was quietly "comped!"

Where to take her for that first full day? Hmm ... a few days earlier I had been on a day-hike with several nice folks from the Castle-Crown Wilderness Coalition, and on the drive back down the valley, the hike organizer (a very-knowledgeable local guy from Beaver Mines) pointed out a barely-visible trail leading off the gravel road.

"It'll get you to a beautiful and empty section of the river," says he. (The West Castle ... strictly Catch & Release)

Fine by me.

He was right. The trail was built/modified to be walkable-only, and the riverbank was pristine and empty. My new friend and I spent a magical day on about 2km of the river and I got to see her hook and land her first trout (a fine 12" rainbow) on a fly.

On the last morning we fished the Crowsnest (where that big evergreen leans over the picture-perfect pool) and caught nothing.

No matter...nothing could have matched that quiet first day/first fish (for my new friend) on the West Castle.

Big hugs at the Greyhound Bus Depot (if I could call it a depot) in Pincher Creek... and on impulse I gave her my first-edition Leatherman.

We still e-mail each other. ~ Ron in Winnipeg

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