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Calgary, Alberta, Canada

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Westslope cuthroat trout

Alberta mountain streams and rivers offer its own beauty and glory to those that invest in searching for it.

This is my story of just one catch that I’ll take with me and file in my memory when I can no longer walk the streams, God willing, way down the road.

I’ll remain anonymous as well as my spot where I caught this hued native cutthroat trout. It’s not the biggest catch I have ever had, but it’s the battle between myself and one lonely cuthroat that was trying to reach my fly, and I was determined to give him at least one shot. In most cases that may be all that you get is one good chance.

My friend and I scaled a few banks and large rocks to find a private spot that we had never reached before. We stopped near a large pool that had a fast flowing current wrapping itself around a large boulder with a small eddy being formed just within reach. Below it was a small waterfall that would want to grab your presentation and throw it wildely into no man’s land. To the left of me, I had a boulder twice my height that I was forced to lean on with my left shoulder. This was my only advantage as I needed just above my right shoulder to backcast until the feel was just right. 

My friend sat on top of the boulder to help spot a trout that seemed to be agressively feeding on PMD’s every few minutes. I could see it rise myself at times and judged the spots he was coming up to feed. I quickly realized that my cast had to be perfect and the presentation I was allowed was no more than two seconds at best. Too far to the left sucks my fly down into the pool. Too far to the right and my fly would only sit for a partial second while the waterfall sucked it down. Too far either north or south put the fly out of range. It may of been only 15-20 yards at best but the sweet spot to have your fly present itself was very small, and my fear was he would strike and miss and know something was wrong with that fly and not come back. 

A few times I would manage to get a full second where he would come up to strike it only to have my fly wash away down the waterfall. After many attempts and near misses I finally gave it the cast that it needed and he took my small white PMD in the side of his mouth. “You got it Don’t lose it!” Doug yelled as he leaped off the boulder beside me with his stylish wooden net in hand. My mind raced as I had a light tippet on for the size of the fly but also knew I had to keep him away from the water fall or he would be lost forever. This is where good friends come in as he coached me where to steer the trout and on his first attempt he managed to scoop it. Doug took his phone out while I kneeled in the water for a quick pic and then I let him go for another day. 

We were both amazed by the darker and deeper colors this Westslope cutthroat had in comparison to the ones we had previously caught that day. Good friends, good stories, good memories.