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Subscriber Bill Bell gives a rave review of his trip to the Elk River in British Columbia, handled for him this past August by Beckie Clark and Darren Yuers of Fernie Fly Fishing (www “The fishing was spectacular,” he writes. “And so was the scenery.” He goes on to give this account of the trip.

“I fished the Elk River and several of its tributaries, floating one day on the Elk and wading tributaries for three days. The river sees a good bit of pressure from floating anglers, but there is plenty of room and the fishery is extremely productive. The smaller tributaries provide a walk-and-wade experience only. The fishing for cutthroat trout was very good in all locations, plus two of the streams had strong seasonal runs of bull trout. I caught about 15 to 20 cutthroats per day, many between 14 and 18 inches with a couple more than 20 inches. I caught one of my largest fish in the smallest stream we fished. As for bull trout, I hooked two in one day (in addition to numerous cutthroat) and ten another day. The action was so good I actually let the guide take a turn catching a bull. The bull trout measured between 24 inches to well over 30 inches. In many places the bulls were clearly visible in the crystal clear streams we fished. We had mostly clear, dry weather, and due to lower water conditions, the wading was easier than on my last trip to this area. There were good green drake hatches in the afternoons that brought lots of fish to the surface.

“As for the guiding, Beckie Clark did a great job of tailoring my trip to my stated physical ability. I enjoy getting back into the woods and I told her ahead of time that I was up for anything. Indeed, our fishing was on the strenuous side. The first day we hiked about nine miles round-trip into a remote valley. It was a wonderful area, and we saw evidence of grizzlies, wolves, moose, and other animals, plus lots of bird life including a bald eagle. There were hardly any signs of people. The fishing wasn’t really any better in the backcountry, but it was an unforgettable experience. The other wading days involved relatively short but occasionally quite steep hikes.

“Beckie and Darren are both topnotch guides and two of the friendliest people I’ve ever fished with. They really understand local rivers, and this is crucial when you are trying to catch migratory fish like bull trout. Just be aware that this area would be tough for a do-it-yourself angler. It is one of the most pristine ecosystems left in North America. As for the town of Fernie, it’s a nice little place with very friendly residents. I had a blast!”

Postscript: Bill Bell gives the cost of his four days of fishing as $2,400.

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