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Stauffer Access


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At Kevin Gardiner, ACA Red Deer Regional Manager's, presentation to the Northern Lights TU chapter, there was a comment by members that some willow clearing would help with foot access along the North Raven River.
Last year, ACA’s staff started clearing willow brush along the inside of the grazing lease fence line, downstream from the NRR parking area, and plan to continue clearing willow in 2018.
In addition some club members suggested recently that the addition of a few extra fence step-over access points would lessen the need to crawl under barbed wire and save body parts and a few pairs of waders from being ripped.

ACA is requesting our help in identifying areas along the Stauffer and or the Raven where either some willow clearing or the construction of a fence step-over would be beneficial. Please post suggested locations or email me at Newsletter@nlft.org and I'll pass them along. The Red Deer Chapter of TUC has also been contacted for its advice.

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I’ve been a longtime reader of this forum as a resident of edmonton. Never before has there been an issue so dear to me to warrant becoming a forum member in order to voice my opinion as this above stated post.

Let me qualify my stance.

Just because you can afford a flyrod,reel,waders and some flies does not make you a fly-fisherman. There is a vast difference between a fly-fisherman and a person that fishes with a fly rod.

The common term would be “paying your dues”. Experience and understanding gained through trial and error. A simple example would be: do you flop out 30 feet of line and splash it down onto the water with your fly landing,somewhere? Or can you lay out 30 feet of line and leader on the side of a run with your tippet and fly alight in the adjacent current the fish is feeding in?

The idea of clearing the natural surroundings,ie.willows,from a pristine piece of water in order for novices to assault a stream is ludicrous.There are many negative results for providing access to areas that a novice fly-fisherman would not normally venture to.

Stauffer creek has been 1 of 3 of my “home waters” for many years.My first few trips,so long ago,were both dis-heartening and passion enducing. It seemed at those beginning trips I was fishing more for caterpillars than trout with the number of flies I had landing in the willows and trees.Yes I was a novice. Not yet a fly-fisherman but a man with a flyrod.

I cast a line on many rivers many times before becoming proficient of intention.Laying my line and fly exactly where it was needed.Understanding why my line had to be here and my fly had to be there.

My first trip to the Bow river was a lesson in perseverance. Walking the banks with some knowledge accrued from a few books from the local library I was a full fledged fly fisherman. Or so I thought. So many casts with more time spent undoing haystack leader and tippet tangles than seeing my fly as it was suppose to be. Finally I saw a rising fish at the head of a riffle and told myself he’s mine. It was at least 20 minutes of casts going nowhere near anywhere he was going to see that fly. As many minutes,it seemed, of undoing so many tangled casts. The fish was still feeding away oblivious to this novice with a fly rod standing 40 feet behind him. To this day I know it was not my skill but the pity of the “fly fishing gods” that had that fish eat my fly. My reward was a beautiful brown trout buck of 19 3/4 inches.

Experience and understanding is what makes the owner of a fly rod a fly-fisherman.To degrade a river in order for individuals to by-pass the learning that comes with experience is detrimental to the overall quality of what we do and where we do it.

No good has ever come from mans interference with a natural environment. There are many examples of this from John Williamson-The British Angler (1740) through to Rev.Henry Newland-The Erne It’s Legends and It’s FlyFishing (1851).

I am completely against the clearing of a living ecology for the ease of access.

I do support the step over ladders and would gladly volunteer my labours to accomplish said task.

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Thanks for the post,Tony. Having learned to flyfish on English chalk streams I was schoooled on a traditional approach and appreciate your comments. Your early experience on Stauffer is shared by many of us. I should have explained the purpose of the willow clearing more clearly. ACA is proposing to only clear willow in a 3 or 4 foot strip along the inside of the livestock exclusion fence primarily to avoid anglers having to trespass on private land and/grazing leases and to lessen the need to bushwack to get back to their trucks. There's no intent to cut willows near the creek. You've probably noticed that for some reason there's been a rapid growth in the willows in the last couple of years. Was talking to a local who's fished Stauffer for 50 years and he too mentioned that willow growth has been faster recently than he remembers.

Thanks for the offer of labour re the fence step-overs. The major problem is identifying locations to install them where, when you're over the fence, the bush density will still allow you to get to the stream. If you could recommend some specific locations that would be appreciated.


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Admittedly,upon reading this post I pictured a “meaning-well agency” of some sort going in and cutting a 20’ wide swath along both banks for the entire length of that creek.

Thank goodness you have corrected me.


As to the ladder locations,as I have never encountered a problem or issue with getting to where I want to fish I can be of no help in pointing to specific locations.

My approach though would be to talk with local landowners and identify problem areas for them and address those accordingly.


Let’s all pick up the garbage we see left behind by the n’er-do-wells that visit our rivers and streams.

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