Fall Rainbows on the Fly

Posted on: October 11, 2019

Most fly fishers think of the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains as the best area for giant rainbows but Alberta’s Lakeland consistently produces some of the biggest fish every fall season. The many stocked pothole lakes in the region are excellent fish habitat. Many kinds of insects and bait fish in the waters produce football sized rainbow trout with some topping the 10 lb mark. The big reason for this is the Cold Lake Fish Hatchery, a facility which stocks many thousands of rainbow fry each year in the many put and take waters in the area. Bonnyville has a town pond located on the shores of Jesse Lake as does the Town of St. Paul which is located on the north side of the community. The Hamlet of Ardmore also has a stocked pond by the golf course and we recommend you check the Alberta Fishing Guide for specific regulations on each body of water. These small ponds are excellent for new fly fishers just learning the craft as there is ample room for back casts and anglers have an excellent chance to catch a fish. Boats are also not required as the fish can be caught from the shoreline. Don’t forget to bring along the family and pick up some lunch to enjoy by the shore as most locations offer picnic areas and vehicle parking. For the more adventurous angler, the Lakeland offers some excellent lakes that contain both rainbows and the always hungry Tiger trout (a cross between a Brook trout and a Brown trout). Chatwin lake offers an excellent fishery close to the Moose Lake campground and St. Paul has Lac Delorme. Both are regularly stocked and can produce large fish when the fish over winter. Check google maps for road access and stop at the local tackle shops for more information. The Cold Lake area has a gem of a lake called Little Bear Lake. This water body is a backswimmer lake that produces hog sized rainbows and tiger trout. Fly fishers troll back swimmer patterns until freeze up with sink tip or floating lines. The fish key in on the backswimmers along with large woolly buggers in black and olive green as these flies represent stickle back minnows. Canoes and kayaks along with belly boats are effective methods to help anglers present their flies but small boats with electric or gas motors can also be used. One of the best locations is the shallow water along the shoreline where the fish cruise looking for emerging backswimmers. When hooked in shallow water, the fish are a challenge to get to the net! The late fall bonus that anglers are rewarded with is the fact the fish are also excellent eating quality – so get the smoker ready. Next time you want to try some fly-fishing, head to Alberta’s Lakeland for some Late Fall Rainbow action.

—Guest post: Ken Wychopen

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