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Jim Fox

Alberta Conclave 2020

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I normally send this announcement out early in the new year but 2020 has offered up many challenges so far. Now that I have time on my hands thanks to Coronavirus, I am making the formal call for the 2020 edition of the long-running Alberta Conclave! We will gather again on the North Ram River at the Nice & Easy site (located at 52.269793, -115.812253 according to Google Maps) from July 20 to 26 2020. This timing gets us later in the summer but away from the long-weekend crowds. 

The location is the same as last year. It is a great site, directly on the river with abundant space for a large group. There was even an outhouse, with a lovely view.  The site is located about 10km east of the Forestry Trunk Road (Hwy 40) on the North Fork Road. When we get closer to the time, I will supply easy to follow directions. 

The Ram River system holds abundant and sometimes spectacularly large Cutthroat Trout. Hiking is often required to get to some of the best spots but last year a 20" cuttie was caught within sight of the campsite. Other options in the area include the Blackstone, the Upper North Saskatchewan, and Frenchman's Creek (though you might have to bribe someone to show you this one). There will be a pot-luck on the last or second last night, good company, some fly-tying, some BSing around a fire and fine fishing in a beautiful location. Newbies, partners, kids and dogs all welcome!

I will send out some more information and reminders closer to the date. Hope to see you there!

 

Jim Fox

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Count me in. Had a great time on my first one last year. Met some great people and learned a few things too.

Jim, I'll try to remember to bring scotch instead of beer this time.LOL

Dave

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So sad to hear of Scott Rowans passing .

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On 6/20/2020 at 12:18 PM, dipperdan said:

So sad to hear of Scott Rowans passing .

I didn't know. This is a very sad news. I really enjoyed his company and I am glad I got to know him.

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On 3/28/2020 at 2:47 PM, Jim Fox said:

Other options in the area include the Blackstone, the Upper North Saskatchewan, and Frenchman's Creek (though you might have to bribe someone to show you this one).

 

Jim Fox

I like old Scotch. 

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Four weeks out and it is time for an update. With all we are going through, I am very much looking forward to this trip. 

First on location, I will be heading up to the site on Monday, hoping there is sufficient space for us. I was up on the Oldman River a week ago and the camping sites were very full. If we can't get the planned-for site (location below), I will find another one that works and post a sign on the road. I will also try to head to cell coverage Monday night or Tuesday morning and post something to these lists. In whatever case, look for the sign with the FF@/Northern Lights logo. 

One change will have to be made from previous years. A highlight of the Alberta Conclaves past was the pot-luck dinner on Friday or Saturday evening. I do not know a way to do this and deliver a measure of safety so I am going to cancel the pot luck. We can simulate that fun time by all cooking our own dinners at the same time and eating together. I think we will also need to be careful about car-pooling to spots but we can probably deal with that on the spot. It is probably a good idea to bring masks to wear if sharing rides.

In this challenging time, it is very important to me to make this trip. Not only to cut into the stress I am experiencing (and I am sure everyone else is) but also to remember Scott Rowan - long time Alberta Conclave participant and good friend. I look forward to seeing people coming out. All are welcome! The fishing will be as it is but no matter what the company will be great. At an appropriate distance of course. Please let me know if you are thinking about coming - you can email me directly at jim_and_dorothy@hotmail.com.

Jim
 

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Last week, heavy rains in the area have raised the North Ram River enough to actually wash out part of the road, leading to the camp site we have used for years. I do not have enough time to re-scout for another option so I am officially changing the location. Mike Dell confirmed that the road to the site we camp at on the Blackstone River is open so that is where the Conclave Headquarters will be located this year.
 
To drive, head west on Highway 11 from Rocky Mountain House. Go about 1 km west of the access road to Nordegg to get to The Forestry Trunk Road (Hwy 40/734). Turn north (right) and drive to Chungo Road - a major road peeling off to the left. Drive up Chungo Road until you cross the Blackstone (it will be the first decent-sized river you cross) and up the little hill. There is a fairly large field on both sides of the road. If all goes well, we should be camped on the left side of the road. However, this is random camping and can't be reserved so it could be either side. Therefore, if you do not see a sign that says FF@/NLFT Alberta Conclave, look on the other side of the road. We have camped in the same location on several occasions before. There are numerous creeks in addition to the Blackstone in the area. Some are fed mostly through muskeg, meaning they stay clean during hard rain. I will bet someone will even take a side-trip to drive down to the Ram, though I have heard that it is quite dirty still.
 
Google Maps says the site is here: 52.615902, -116.327583
 
This is the first time we have ever had to change the location of a conclave so close to the date. Share this with anyone you think might be interested in attending. I am making a large-ish sign so people can see our location easily. If there is no sign, I am driving a grey Toyota Highlander with the license plate SGX 814. You can also call me before about noon on July 20 at 403-471-3108 as I will be within cell range until then at least. 
 
If nothing else, COVID has taught us to be resilient. This minor change won't kill the conclave of 2020 for me. See you there!
 
Jim
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FYI folks, The North Fork Road has re-opened for anyone who wants to take a side trip to the N. Ram

Dave

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Irene and I are heading to the Blackstone Sunday , see you all there !!

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Back home safe and sound , had a great time even with the rain and slow fish catching as the week went on.Fished some new water , streams were higher than normal.

 Thanks for hosting Jim, hope the tow truck arrived in good time. Have to find a new rental company!!!
Sad that Scott Rowan has gone to a better fishing place and glad Ervin had no bodily injuries in the collision on his way to the clave. 
Dave meet a new friend!!!
Hope to see all at next years

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The clavemaster skill that I am worst at is writing up a summary of the trip. When the event is over, I start thinking about next year, not reminiscing about this one. However, only a week late, here is a bit of an overview of the 2020 Alberta Conclave.

We had a great turnout, considering the pandemic situation that is affecting us all. Attendees included:

  • Irene & Dan - thank you for saving the site!
  • Terry
  • Michael
  • Karen
  • Ervin
  • Alberta Al
  • Andrew
  • Zach
  • Farrah and Pau
  • Dave R 

I don’t think I have forgotten anyone but if I have, please forgive me.

I arrived on Monday afternoon and found a crowd there already. I got a couple of hours on the Blackstone before dark and after dinner enjoyed a sip of whisky at the fire. The rest of the week went about the same - drive over a better or worse road to a fishing spot; endure sun, rain, hail, sun, repeat all day; fish in tough conditions and head home ready to sit down and jaw around the fire. Our “COVID Clave” camp was not that different from normal - just a bit more distance around the fire (which means it had to be bigger!). Fishing was slow, though I caught a beautiful bull trout on a dry fly and we saw some fantastic cutthroat taken from deep pools. I think the water was still pretty cold - insect life seemed to still be in a June mode in mid-July.

Friday night, around another fantastic campfire, the whole group shared in a memorial to Scott Rowan. Scott was a long-time FF@ member, Alberta Conclave attendee, and my friend. I first met met at one of the Cataract Creek conclaves in 2001 or 2002 and he was a regular attendee thereafter. We fished together many times and shared many fires. My heart is sore at Scott’s passing. The 2020 Alberta Clave celebrated our memory of Scott with a very fine Irish whisky and great reminiscing.

Saturday dawned with the same rain and sun mix that we saw all week. Karen and Ervin had already left by the time I rose and I took that as a sign to head back to civilization. On my way home, a tire blew out on the rented trailer I was towing and I did not have the right lug wrench. A friendly tow truck driver from Rocky came out to help and I was back at home in time for dinner. Another Alberta Conclave under our belts. 

2020 has been a devil of a year. Our Alberta Conclave on the Blackstone River reminded me how important it is to be in contact with friends, old and new. That is what this is all about, our FF@ and NLFTF participation - the opportunity to bond with other fine people, to broaden our outlooks and deepen our friendships. My soul is fuller for having been part of this event.

Thank you to everyone who did get out. For those who wanted but could not attend, you were missed but we will have another trip next year. The “COVID Clave” reminded me what an important event I have the honour of planning. I hope to see you all in 2021 with the sun warming our backs and rising trout before us.

 

Jim Fox

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