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The Annual Adventure


Chadillac
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Well as per usual, work and life created the perfect obstacle for me again this year. But I have to say, I have grown to accept it and really enjoy the handful of hours I am given each year to go fly fishing. Typically I get one week a year. I try to plan weekend trips but they never pan out, as work all too often pops up as I'm about to head out the door.

We usually try to go someplace new, but this year, I had a score to settle. Even got a couple extra buddies to join us who hadn't been on a back-packing trip before. Gotta say, they went all out. I know I packed way too much food in and a couple useless items. But in the end, I was still 10 pounds lighter in the pack than those two guys. Next year, I'll find something else I didn't need to bring.

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We had a total of 6 guys out this year (only 5 at once), so there were a few more stories to be told around the fire. It was a late drive out to our staging location on the Friday, about 8 hours from home (Lac La Biche), so we didn't get there until roughly 1:00 on the Saturday morning. Had a rather short and uncomfortable snooze in the world’s smallest truck. But as the daylight hit us, we were eager to pack up and hit the trail. We were a little less eager the further we went... The funny thing about hiking upstream is it is exactly that... up! But I knew in my guts that it was all going to be worth it. We stopped for a quick snack and photo op along the way at a stream we like to call Lunch Creek. After about a 3 hour hike, we got to our camp. I know, it's not far, but did I mention it was all uphill? We set up camp, did some housekeeping and quality of life treatments to our camp site, gathered wood, and hung our food. Turns out none of us are very good at throwing rocks over tree branches. After about an hour of laughing at how poorly the last guy threw the rock, I am proud to say it was I who claimed victory in the now annual "grub hanging rock toss". We "threw" together a quick z-haul and the job was done. The next giggle was produced by one of the rookies on the trip. We eventually stopped laughing that he actually brought Jiffy-Pop when we wanted some. From now on, there is always room for Jiffy-Pop. For the rest of the day we sat and eye-balled the river and laughed around the camp fire.

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The next morning was a bit later of a start than I would have hoped for, but it was a start. We put all our gear together and decided to head upstream. Not much more to say than it was exactly what I thought it could be. Fantastic! (Years before we had come to this same spot, but we ended up hitting it a high water. The fishing was limited to a small channel fed by a spring. The nice thing was we could sight fish, but there was very little fishable water.) HAM BONE! I caught the first fish of the trip, a small cutthroat, and then sat back and watched my friends all hook into fish. They all managed to get into one pool and all hook up. There were two back-back double-headers. And the biggest fish of the day went to one of the new guys. One guy ended up with sore feet due to a poor choice in footwear, so he and his brother decided to head back and fish around camp. The rest of us continued on upstream for a couple more kilometers. The fishing continued to be great. Nothing all that big, but lots that were willing to entertain. The days fishing came to a close as we laughed at my buddy throwing sticks at an overhanging tree, trying desperately to retrieve the fly it had stolen from him. He never got it back. We gathered 'round the fire once more, ate Jiffy-Pop and recounted the day’s events.

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Monday morning was chilly. It stayed cloudy and rained off and on for the majority of the day. Four of us gathered our gear together and headed downstream. The water was a little skinnier below camp, but did have some nice pockets strewn about. The fish were a little more picky, but eventually they came around. I ended up with the big fish of the day, but it was still smaller than the one my friend caught the day before. We didn't fish as long this day, as the weather threatened us with torrential rain, it never came, but boy did it get windy!

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Tuesday we hiked back out to the trucks as two of the party had to go back to work. But we had one replacement join us. We fished around the staging area on Tuesday and Wednesday. As would be expected, it was terrible. So many vehicles/quads cross the river here and there is exponentially more pressure here than where we were previously. We fished hard with limited success. Thursday the 3rd guy left and the remaining 3 of us hopped in the truck and drove way downstream. It was about a 2 mile hike in from where we parked. Oh, and I forgot my camera… We had a slow start, but it soon picked up. One guy landed about a dozen in under an hour. A few cutts, a few rainbows, and a few hybrids. I wasn’t quite so lucky. But I did manage to hook up a large bull trout. It was easily the biggest one I had ever caught. After a lengthy battle, I got it between myself and shore. Didn’t fit in my net, so I had to corral him. I knelt down beside it and prepared for a picture (My buddy had his camera). But with the slack in the line, the hook slipped out of his lip and he was gone. I made one desperate attempt to block him with my net, and it broke. I sat on my knees in the water, shook my head and stared at the rain clouds looming overhead. For the sake of being polite in this forum I will say that I simply said “darn” in a rather stern voice. But I think we all know what I really said and that I yelled it. The other two boys were speechless. And then they giggled. And then we laughed. I asked if he got the picture. Nope.

 

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Hank 'n' Rees

 

It started to rain and we had to get on our way before we couldn’t make the climb out of the valley. We got back to the truck and heard that the forecast called for snow. The decision was made to hurry back to camp, blitz our gear into the vehicles and make the 3 hour trip back to civilization. We had planned on pulling out the next morning, so we weren’t too upset by the plan. We grabbed a hotel, went for supper and a beer, and slept. Next day we headed home. What a week. I wonder what next year will bring.

Can’t wait.

 

Sorry for the large post.

 

Cheers

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What a great storey....no matter on not taking a picture of the bull....the minds eye will always remember the catch. Sounds like you guys had a great time on your adventure....good buddies, good fishing, good camping....how much better could life get.

 

I know for me it's not always about catching....it's about spending quality time on quality water with quality friends.

 

Vince

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