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Alberta Conclave 2021


Jim Fox
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Friends, here is your first notice about our FF@/Northern Lights 2021 Alberta Conclave. We will be gathering again in central Alberta to fish on the Ram, Blackstone, North Saskatchewan and tributary streams. Our dates are August 16 to 22. 

The current plan is to camp along the North or South Ram River somewhere. Our last conclave on the Ram was at a spot referred to as "Nice & Easy" and that is one option in the running. Another was suggested and I want to check it out before settling. Off-grid camping was amazingly popular in Alberta last summer and spots were hard to secure. I will finalize the specific location closer to the actual date.

Look at your calendars and ask if this is your year to join our gathering. There will be westslope cutthroats, bulls, rainbows and whitefish if you travel a bit, and the best company you could find. I hope to see you there!

Jim

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  • 5 months later...

I haven't been sending updates but I have heard a few questions so here is an update of Alberta Conclave 2021.

We are on! August 16-22 at the Nice and Easy site on the North Ram River. To drive, go about 1 km west of the access road to Nordegg to get to the Forestry Trunk Road (Hwy 40/734) and turn south. Drive down the FTR for about 36 km (you will cross the North Saskatchewan River - keep going) to the North Fork Road. Turn east and follow North Fork Road for about 10km to get to the Nice and Easy site (Google maps says it's GPS coordinates are 52.269793, -115.812253). If you start going up a long hill, you probably passed the turnoff. I will put up a sign when I get there. Chances are good that there will be others in the area along with us but it is quite large and naturally breaks up into several separate sites.

The camping location is not serviced but still pretty nice. The last time I was there, an outhouse had even been built by someone who runs free-range cattle in the area. We are just back from the river but it is close enough for the sound to lull you to sleep at night. If you don't know it, the Ram River system holds abundant and sometimes spectacularly large Cutthroat Trout. Hiking is often required to get to the best spots but it is worth it! I would like to try some South Ram fishing this year, as well as hiking a bit further down the river than I've been in the past. I might even bring my mountain bike (I don't own a quad) to make that trip a bit easier. Other fishing opportunities within driving range include the upper North Saskatchewan River, the Blackstone River and Frenchman’s Creek. If you want to access this last bit of water, expect to supply Michael Dell with a really good bottle of scotch.

To respect COVID concerns, I will not plan a potluck this year. Friday night is normally our big celebration night, to tell lies and remember friends who are no longer with us. Alberta conclave veterans, families, flyfishing newbies and everyone else is most welcome.  

Let me know if you are coming and we can be sure to stake out some space for you. Or just show up - we can always squeeze in a few more people.

You can email me at jim_and_dorothy@hotmail.com if you have questions or comments. I hope to see you there!

 

Jim 

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

Just curious as to whether "Nice & Easy" is private land or comes under the crown land designation . I believe if it's the latter you need to buy some sort of camping pass, if I'm not mistaken.. Anyone know?

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Sure must have scared a few people off...there was nobody except a family of five and me Wednesday and Thursday.  

So as an add-on, I bought my pass today through Albertarelm. I noticed on the way down to the N. Ram that there was nobody camping along the North Fork road either.. On my way home I took the long way down the trunk road and saw no more than half a dozen boondockers alongside the road, except at the N. Ram/Trunk Road crossing, which was packed as usual.

Met only two guys on the river, and they were both from Rocky. 

Edited by italk2u
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Hey everyone, two weeks out for the conclave. I've got a couple of things to update everyone on now:
  • The weather has been hot with little rain for a month so hope for some rain between now and then. There is also an open fire ban in place right now and I would not expect that to change. If you have a propane "fire pit" bring it along and it will get good use. If nobody has one, we can sit around a lantern. The stories will still be the same and we won't have to cut wood.
  • I believe people need to buy a Public Lands Camping Pass to stay at the site. Information can be found here:  https://www.alberta.ca/public-lands-camping-pass.aspx
  • My intent is to come up Monday (I rented a trailer again) and I should be there by mid-afternoon. 
That's about it for now. I know from previous messages that some of you will be there. If you haven't already, let me know if you are going to attend and we can keep an eye out for you. Or, you can join the search party for me when I miss the turn, break down, or find some really fishy water I just can't leave. Looking forward to seeing you all!
 
Jim
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  • 2 weeks later...

One last message before I head out in the morning. Everything is set for our Alberta Conclave beginning tomorrow on the North Ram River. We are experiencing a lot of heat and smoke here in Calgary and I am hoping for a bit of cooler weather and maybe even a bit of rain to take the smoke out of the air. Recent reports suggest moderately good fishing and less crowd than in other parts of the Alberta backcountry. The company will be fantastic I am sure.

Drive safe everyone and I hope to see you all. I should be rolling in mid=afternoon.

Jim

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  • 1 month later...
This year's Alberta Conclave was held August 16-22 on the banks of the North Ram River. We had a good crowd out from both Northern Lights and the internet FF@ list.. Weather this year was mixed and we began the week under a fire ban. Luckily for us, we got some rain and were able to have several nice evenings under the stars with the fire that is a critical part of these gatherings. 
 
The fishing was OK, with a few hatches (flying ants, BWOs and something that brought fish to large messy white flies). Some real hogs were caught, including one reputed to be 24". I did not see that one myself but Michael caught it and Tyzun saw it so it has some provenance. Some pictures, mostly from Wally Lutz, can be seen here: https://flywing.smugmug.com/Fishing/North-Ram-2021/i-zhS9nXP
 
I am bad at reporting the details of the event but you can see that those who were able to get out had a great time. Some gorgeous wild Alberta westslope cutthroat trout were brought to hand and released. Stories were traded, opinions were argued, and time was spent together among friends. 
 
As the discussion about vaccines, government actions from COVID, and other news swirls around us like wildfire, I can distance myself by thinking back a couple of weeks to chilly morning coffee with old friends, to the swirl of water around my knees and the adrenaline rush of a fish rising to the spot where I think my fly is. Nothing beats that. Here is a big thank you to everyone who came out and made this event a success,
 
Next year will be, I think, the 25th Alberta Conclave that I have been involved in. Planning for the 2022 event will start in a couple of months and I will let you know then when and where. If you are a regular, mark your calendar. If you haven't come out in the past, maybe this should be your year...
 
Jim
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