The Elk Valley has been one of the few areas in the North West that has not been affected by major river closures or restrictions. We are lucky to have a free stone stream like the Elk, that is glacier and spring fed to keep water temperatures low enough for safe angling. Michel Creek on the other hand, relies primarily on snow-melt and was closed, leaving many wade anglers disappointed. However this closure was necessary with the low water levels, higher temperatures and increased angling pressure. The past few weeks have been challenging for most anglers who haven’t been used to a busy river. Many anglers from other areas have come to the Elk Valley as it is one of the few options left for them to cast a line. This influx of eager fishermen has created some extra tension and discomfort for an area where it is usually easy to escape the crowds. We have seen many incidents of quads driving on road closures, air being let out of tires, and poor river etiquette, to further escalate tensions in what is generally an enjoyable time of the season.
We welcome all fishermen to the area, and guides, locals and tourists all need to realize this is a unique situation this season, and perhaps make an effort to be not only more fish-friendly, but also angler-friendly. What does it mean to be fish and angler-friendly? Well, it will be different to all, but it may be as simple as using smaller hooks on your streamers, or leaving a pod of rising fish after catching only a few. It could be helping someone at a busy boat launch, or giving a wave to another angler instead of a stare. It looks like most of the Alberta waters are re-opening, so that will relieve some of the pressure and its almost time for families to get kids back in school. Hopefully we remember the summer of 2015 as a season where we caught a bunch of nice fish and cooperated to deal with the strength of Mother Nature, and not for an event of angler-conflict on the side of the river.
The recent and needed rain has bumped flows up to 34 m³ /sec from a low of 26 m³/sec . The bit of color it added gave the fish a bit of security and we saw increased action from the Bull Trout and some good BWO hatches. The hard boats are still banging rocks but for the most part are a great choice for drifting. The 5 day forecast shows increasing temperatures as well as warmer mornings so we expect the terrestrials such as ants beetles and hoppers to rebound as the main “hatch” to watch.
Michel Creek is closed to angling as is Alexander, Coal, Lizard, and Morressey Creeks.
Most of Alberta closures are open again but check with the local jurisdiction for details.
Have a great time on the river !