After leaving the upper Midwest I headed back to my adopted home in Montana for a couple of days before heading up to Canada for a few weeks of wilderness camping and some serious fishing. Crossing the border turned out to be a bit of an ordeal as I apparently set off every red flag with my answers to the questions Where do you live? Nowhere, I live full-time in my Airstream so wherever I’m parked is home. Where do you work? I’m currently unemployed but actually I’m a photographer working on a project. Are you a professional photographer? I suppose I am. Do you have permission to shoot photographs in Canada? No, I didn’t know that I needed to ask permission. The conversation went on like this for a while and eventually they searched the entirety of the truck and the Airstream. There was nothing to find. It turns out that they just didn’t believe that I didn’t have any guns with me since both vehicles are tagged and registered in Montana. Lesson learned.
I initially landed in Fernie BC but quickly decided to head over Crowsnest Pass and explore the Oldman, Livingstone and Highwood rivers. The landscape up there is beautiful and the few people that I met were kind, generous and easygoing. On the Livingstone River the Cutthroat were like no others I had encountered, the fish were very picky and extremely bug specific on top of being wary and shy due to the amount of fishing pressure that the river sees in the summer. After a day of watching and looking under rocks I came up with a series of fly patterns that worked like a charm, a greenish sparse bodied nymph with no flash and a wisp of a thorax, a wonderfully fun to tie emerger using a Klinkhammer hook so the majority of the fly is under the surface tied in the same colors as the nymph and a dry that is based on a traditional Wolff pattern but using the same muted colors of the other two. All three were tied on size 18 hooks. All over central Alberta where I camped I continued to see cow patties covered in mushrooms, I also found campsites that had been recently used and throughout the woods around them I found random rocks painted in bright colors...Three weeks of random camping in the Canadian Rockies was a great break from the heat and humidity that I had been experiencing since late May but I needed to get back to Montana for a volunteer gig helping to build some sculptures in Lincoln. I had never explored Alberta before, it is an amazing landscape that I only just scratched the surface of. I will be going back.