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Summer in the Mountains

 

Come summer my fishing playground becomes the mountains and this summer is no different, having already taken at trip to Jasper National Park and Maligne Lake. While fishing may slow in the prairies because of higher temperatures, in the mountains the water is actually just warming to a trout, or a pike's liking. This means long pleasant warm days with cool nights to keep many of the bugs at bay and good fishing.

Depending on the time of year, the streams may be riding high carrying a load of silt down from the mountains. If they're high, the options are pretty clear, go lake fishing, which is what I will concentrate on. Going fishing in the National Parks is mostly a trout affair. There are opportunities to catch northern pike in Talbot Lake and there are whitefish in some of the other lakes, but really, the park lakes mean trout. To catch them is matter of focus.

I've fished lakers in the Parks, mostly at Pyramid Lake near Jasper and I've had amazing success using nothing more than a non-lead jig slowly worked along bottom. I've also pulled small Williams Wobbler spoons behind 2.5 ounce bottom bouncers with great success. It seems with lakers, it's all about finding them first. I'll move around in my boat keeping a sharp eye to the sounder until it picks up deeper water fish signals. They're usually lakers. When I see that, I drop on of the two I mentioned above to the bottom and see what's biting. Usually, with a little scanning on the depth sounder I can quickly find out where the lakers are and start fishing. Typically, by the end of June the lakers at Pyramid Lake have gone to the deepest parts of the lake and I'll regularly be picking them up in 46 to 59 feet of water.

In the spirit of experimenting, I've been tinkering with all kinds of lures and found another one that really got the lakers excited. It's the small Apex Hotspots. This little plastic lure that darts from side to side were originally made for salmon, but are right at home with lakers. I've been getting real good results using the lighter colored ones and use them with that same bottom bouncer. As long as the lakers keep chewing on them, I'll be continuing to put them down.

When it comes to rainbows and brookies I use the one, two, three approach and this totally depends on the day. Usually I'll start the day trolling and cover the water pulling a fast sink line, trolling large streamer like flies. Wooly buggers, fullbacks and 52 Buick's are good starters to name a few. If the trolling is working I may stick with it much of the day, but I also like to hunt for trout so I will often go looking for trouty looking water and settle in over a specific spot on the lake.

When it comes to mountain lakes the one thing I look for is shallow flats. These flats are the food buffet table of the fish world and this is where the action is. Shallow flats can mean different things to different people so for clarity, any bottom that slopes gradually from shore that's 20 feet deep or less I consider a shallow flat. When I find one I look for a couple things. One, little to no wind and two, possible structure, be it weeds or a rock pile. I'll work the edges of both with much attention and work it from the bottom to the top.

Starting with the bottom it's going with small jigs or bust. A small jig dragged on the bottom looks a lot like a caddis fly nymph crawling along. When trout see this, they're quick to charge over and inhale it. Jigs can be slowly jigged below the boat if it's deeper, say more than 12 feet, so not to spook any fish. Otherwise I'll often cast a jig and drag it slowly on bottom to great results. The other system is hanging a small bead head nymph under a bobber. The rigging can take on all kinds of contortions, but rather than get sneaky I'll keep it simple.

I'll set up a full on slip bobber rig at depths in increments from shallow to deep and back again working all levels of the water column. For example, I'll be anchored in 15 feet of water. On my first cast I'll set the depth to 6 feet. If no bites I'll put the next cast out at 8 feet and then at 10 feet until the fish bite. When they do, I'm off to the races. I'll keep fishing that depth until the bite cools, which sometimes never happens. If it does, however, a short move, even 50 feet down the lake will often put me right back into the action.

Fishing in the mountains is just coming into its prime. Combine a camping trip to the Rockies with a little fishing and you'll be set for a great weekend vacation.


Previous Fishing Articles

(1) Small stream BT fishing

(2) Fly fishing beyond Trout: getting started

(3) In The Walleye Zone

(4) Zoo Trout

(5) Fly Selection for Beginners

(6) Fly Fisher's Christmas

(7) New Waters

(8) Big Bad Burbot

(9) Looking Back

(10) Out of Africa

(11) Finding Success on Crowded Trout Streams

(12) Mountain Peaks, Fast Streams, Fall Colours And Rocky Mountain Whitefish

(13) The Browns of Autumn

(14) Fly-Fishing Pike Through The Seasons

(15) Walleye Town

(16) River Fun - One Bite At A Time

(17) Fly Fishing Larger Rivers

(18) Going With The Flow

(19) Becoming A Better Fly Fisherman

(20) Swinging The Fences

(21) A View From The Aerie

(22) Dixieland Delight

(23) Atlantic Salmon - The Fish of 1000 Casts

(24) Do It Yourself Pink Salmon

(25) Montana's Cool Missouri

(26) Pretty Is As Pretty Does

(27) Toothy Critters

(28) Hard Water Lakers at Cold Lake

(29) Top Ten Flies

(30) Northern Exposure

(31) Home Water Lessons

(32) Chicken Of The Sea

(33) Sealing the Deal – How to Ensure You Land More Fish

(34) Deep In The Heart Of Texas

(35) Keep It Up!

(36) River Fishing for Fall Walleye

(37) After the Flood - A look at Southern Alberta rivers and streams one year after the flood

(38) Reindeer Lake - A Diversity of Opportunity

(39) Hawg Holes

(40) Saltwater Salmon

(41) Early Season Dry Fly Fishing

(42) Down a Lazy River –
A Fly-rodding Adventure on the Lower North Saskatchewan

(43) The Fly Fishing Season Ahead

(44) IN SEARCH OF SPECKLED FOOTBALLS

(45) FISHING CANADA'S PRAIRIE CITIES

(46) Bright Fish from the Land of Silver

(47) Canada's "Other" Salmon

(48) Fall Walleye

(49) Wet Flies

(50) Versatility the Key to Success

(51) Grayling of the Boreal

(52) Teaching Kids To Fly Fish

(53) Size Matters

(54) Fly Fishing Small Streams

(55) Chasing Winter Whites One Lake At A Time

(56) Manitoba's Fishing Jewel

(57) The Twelve Gifts Of Christmas

(58) The Point Of It All

(59) Fishing With Friends-Big Weather Seizing The Day

(60) Fall Fly Fishing

(61) Personal Pontoon Boats 101

(62) Big River, Big Fish

(63) Bottom Bonanza

(64) Fishing Small Flies

(65) So Many Choices, So Little Time

(66) Four Seasons of the Bow

(67) Favourite Lakes - Some Like it Hot

(68) GEARING UP FOR SMALL STREAM TROUT

(69) Trout Hunting - New Zealand-style

(70) Don’t Leave Home Without Them –
10 Lures That Should Be In Everyone’s Tackle Box

(71) Edge Walleye

(72) FLY FISHING STRATEGIES FOR HIGH WATER

(73) Smallmouth Bass – An Oft Overlooked Challenge

(74) Four Corners – Four Waters

(75) Chasing Pothole Trout

(76) Springtime Stoneflies

(77) The Torrents of Spring

(78) Drift Boat Fly Fishing

(79) Bust Them With Bait

(80) Cure the Winter Blues with a Good Book

(81) Hot Strategies for the Cold Months

(82) Cutthroat: The Angler's Trout

(83) Terrestrials

(84) Fly In For Fishing Fun

(85) Rocky Mountain High

(86) Reading the clues

(87) Where the Trout Are
The art of locating feeding trout
in rivers and streams.

(88) K.I.S.S. and Tell Fly-fishin

(89) Fly Fishing 101

(90) To Catch a Big Halibut, or Ling Cod

(91) The Bountiful Bones of Ascension Bay

(92) Grayling in the Eye of the Beholder

(93) Fly Fishing for South Fork Clearwater Steelhead

(94) Manitoba's Red River - North America's Catfish Capital

(95) Eliminating the Spook Factor

(96) Trust Your Electronics

(97) The Most Important Hatch of the Year

(98) Early Season Nymph Fishing for Trout

(99) Finding Success for Ice Trout

(100) Walleye can be Humbling

(101) The Secret to Landing the Big One Finally Revealed

(102) Winter Flyfishing

(103) North Saskatchewan River - An Underutilized Gem

(104) Hot Fall Pike Action

(105) Tips and Tricks to Save the Summer Slow Down

(106) Reading Trout Stream Waters

(107) Frequently Asked Questions

(108) Streamer Fishing for Larger Trout

(109) The Lure of Big Walleye at Last Ice

(110) Deep Water Perch

(111) Post Spawn Brookies

(112) A Fisher's Life

(113) The River's Last Stand

(114) The Big Ones Come out at Night

(115) Coho on the Coast

(116) Chasing and Catching Halibut

(117) Summer in the Mountains

(118) Peak Walleye Season

(119) Slow and Steady Wins the Race

(120) Last Ice Rainbows

(121) The Burbot Event

(122) Tackle Matching

(123) Ice Fishing Strategy #2 - Going Light

(124) Ice Fishing Strategy #1 - Location

(125) The Lure of Brook Trout

(126) The Shallow Water Hunt is On

(127) Hot Backswimmer Action Happening Right Now

(128) Fishing Among Giants-Pursuing Lake Sturgeon on the Prairies

(129) Adventure at Davin Lake Lodge, Northern Saskatchewan

(130) The Vesatile Plug

(131) Bead Head Flies, Plugs and Shot and other Spring Favorites for Pothole Trout

(132) Planning your Upcoming Angling Adventures

(133) Good Fishing at Last Ice

(134) Maximize the Odds - Use Multiple Presentations

(135) Daily Fish Migrations

(136) Fish Migrations - Following the Spawn

(137) Lake Whitefish - An Ice Fishing All Star

(138) Pick Your Favorite Brook Trout Lake...and Go Fishing

(139) A Look Ahead to Great Trout Fishing

(140) Wrestling White Sturgeon on the Fraser

(141) The Fun in Ultra Light

(142) Flyfishing and Leadcore Lines

(143) Embrace the Spirit of Adventure

(144) Never Stop Learning

(145) Ice Fishing is Getting Hot

(146) Jigging through the Ice

(147) An Ice Fishing Unsung Hero – The Setline

(148) Rainbows on Ice

(149) The Season of Ice Begins

(150) Red Hot Fall Pike Action

(151) Hitting it Right with Water Boatman

(152) Facts On Cats

(153) West Coast Adventure

(154) June Walleye Frenzy

(155) Aerated Lakes are Big Trout Factories

(156) "First Fish of the Year - Pothole Rainbows and Browns"

(157) "Northern Exposure"

(158) Sometimes There is More to Fishing Than Catching Fish

(159) Early Season Pike On The Fly

(160) Man Overboard