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For those who remain bitter about the controversial classification of many of the East Kootenay’s rivers and streams, I am on your side. Some of the best cutthroat fisheries in North America were basically shut-off to Alberta anglers. However, those who refuse to visit southern BC just because of the “East Kootenay Crisis” are really missing out on some fine creek fishing opportunities. This July alone, I discovered seven creeks that remain relatively untouched and are choked with tons of trout. Add this to the 19 other un-pressured streams that I have come across over the last few years, and you have some mighty fine options in your southern British Columbia repertoire.

About 3 years ago, Tim and I fished a creek that we found intriguing. Not only was it choked with fish, but it contained cutthroat trout, brook trout, cut-bows, and some decent rainbows that were very eager biters, and with the proper fly, all species could be caught in a few hours of fishing. Andy castin' for cutts on a small creek Hitting the “grand slam” on this creek using dry flies was a real treat, and landing the stunning cutthroats and cutthroat-rainbow hybrids made for excellent photo-taking opportunities.

This July, I decided to do more exploring on this creek. On the first day, I traveled along the creek for a little ways up the logging road and found a fine looking tributary. With dark, deep runs and smooth pocket water settled against a small canyon wall backdrop, this creek captured my heart. With a small White Wulff in hand, I greased it up and fired it up into the first seem……BAM! A nice little cutthroat smashed my offering without hesitation. After taking a few runs, it scrapped its way off, like many small trout do, especially on barb less hooks. This little cutt got my heart going though. It was sitting in some pretty plain water, and the finer water was still waiting up ahead. Without hesitation, I laid down a smooth cast against the canyon wall. My fly was floating high and dry, and heading for the prime spot. The second the fly hit the drop off, for what seemed like an eternity, a decent, darkly colored cutthroat looked up at it, moved up from the bottom of the creek and methodically swallowed my offering. I lifted the rod tip, and was doing battle with a decent small stream cutthroat trout.

A beautifully colored cutthroat trout from the mentioned streamThis trout, and many of the other cutts I caught that afternoon had beautiful, dark gold sides from being in a deeper, darker stretch of water. They weren’t the size of some of the bigger trout in the Elk River and its many tributaries, but they were eager risers and real candy to the eye.

The following day, I discovered three more fine tributaries. The first one I was reluctant to fish, mainly due to its size. It was only a foot and a half wide in many spots, but just for the hell of it, I decided to give it a whirl below the small culvert that it flowed through. The first, second, third, and fourth casts were all winners, and I landed a few cut-bows that were a little too embarrassing to take pictures of, but the fifth cast that I took produced a 6” lunker (never let me say that again). The fish weren’t that big, but casting big attractors into a creek that Shaquille O’Neal’s running shoe could dam up was a blast in itself. Andy dips his fly in a tiny gem

This was as high up the road as I went, and further down the road were two more small tributaries, both containing fine dry fly fishing for small cutthroats. The first of the last two tributaries that I fished was pretty small, but it was infested with 6”-10” cutthroat-rainbow hybrids. The second of the final two tributaries that I fished really reminded me of Coal Creek, an Elk River tributary that Tim and I are fairly familiar with. This creek didn’t produce the same size of cutts that Coal Creek’s finer holes can produce, but it definitely produced a lot more fish than Coal and the other Elk River tributaries that I have fished. I fished a stretch of river as long as a football field all afternoon, and seldom could I not be seen battling some scrappy cutthroats. I used one fly all day: a red Stimulator, and by the end of the day, what was now a red ball of fuzz, was still landing cutts. It was an epic day of dry fly fishing on a relatively untouched southern BC stream that I will keep in my fishing journal for years to come.

As I headed further south on my BC trip, I stumbled across another gem. An old friend of my This creek produced hundreds of cutts in an afternoon grandfather had mentioned a small, spring-fed creek many years ago, that contained small brook and rainbow trout. I never got to fish that spring creek, but was eager to do so this summer. A lot of the prime stretches of creek were fenced up by private property signs, including one which warned trespassers about explosives, so bushwhacking on public stretches of the creek were in store. With the potential for the vicious rattlesnakes of the area biting me, I took my Fox 40 whistle for protection (oh god). The spring creek was a half-pint version of the North Raven River, settled in a New Mexico-type valley. After wrestling a few rattlers and stomping on a few scorpions (with my bare feet), I made it down into the creek. I tied on a generic spring creek searching pattern, a black deer hair beetle. I took a couple of casts in the first run to no avail. This creek was located in some very heavy cover, so back-casting space was very minimal and frustrating at times.

I worked some more water and managed to pull a tiny 5” rainbow out of a small pocket. I had no intention on fishing a full day on this creek, due to limited access, so I fished each hole with patience and finesse. After a couple of hours, I landed a small brookie, and another tiny rainbow. This small spring creek tumbles through thick foliageIt was relatively poor fishing, but considering it was a spring creek, it was a lot better fishing than many days I have had on Stauffer Creek. After stumbling over some logs and hitting a few more nice runs, I somehow ended up in an RV park. This wasn’t exactly the place I wanted to fish, especially on a weekend, but the park wasn’t very crowded and a mighty fine looking bridge hole awaited me. On my first cast in the RV Park, I caught a tiny brookie. On my second cast, I landed a decent brook trout on a small beetle pattern. All that wading and the best fishing was in an RV park? What a crazy sport!

I was still fishing that same bridge hole and had a nice rainbow slash at my beetle pattern. The next cast I took made the trout look up, but drew a refusal. This was a nice fish for this creek; it looked to be a decent rainbow. I lightened up my tippet and threw out a small caddis over it. A small twitch of the caddis drew a vicious strike. After putting on a small air show and taking a few runs, This fine spring creek brookie fell victim to a rubber legged stonefly this beauty was mine. I landed what looked to be an 11” rainbow, not bad for a tiny spring creek, especially in the middle of an RV park!

All in all, it was just another fine day of fishing in southern British Columbia, on another creek that has many undiscovered holes waiting for your fly. Don’t hesitate to try some of BC’s southern trout creeks because even at this day in age, gold can still be found.

Andy Tchir, WesternSportfishing.ca

Written by: Andy Tchir