August 28, 2017
We packed up and moved camp from Cranbrook over to Canal Flats. Stopping at Rick’s Meats and Sausages, we bought a sub for lunch, bacon, a little jerkey, bacon, turkey and cheese. It’s not a long drive, so in about an hour we checked into Kootenay River RV Resort. The owner is a man in his 40’s named Kelly. A gregarious guy, he told us all about Canal Flats, where to get groceries and about the Kootenay River. He didn’t know a lot about the fishing, but he called a man named Dave. While we were setting up camp, a man in a big, white truck drove up and introduced himself as Dave. He has lived here all his life and loves to hunt and fish. He lives up on the mountain behind us. Elk used to be a lot more plentiful here, but the wolves and cougars have thinned them out. We have special regs permits for the Skookumchuck for the next two days, so that’s what we are doing, but Dave told us about other great streams in the area and a couple of high lakes. He told stories about the huge numbers of fish he used to see here. It was great listening to his stories, and what a nice guy to come in to give us all this information. We thanked him profusely.
Canal Flats is the origin of the Columbia River. It pops up out of the ground, flows into Columbia Lake, then exits as a river, runs north for hundreds of miles, makes a big turn, running back south through British Columbia, exiting through Castlegar just a hundred miles away before exiting Canada. It is the #1 fishing river in British Columbia and an incredible river. Columbia Lake is gorgeous with huge Rocky Mountains behind it. The big, powerful Kootenay River crosses right next to the Columbia.
We drove the 39kms up and across the mountain to the Skookumchuck (The Skook). It’s Monday, so we didn’t expect to see many fishermen, but we were wrong. Maybe we shouldn’t have written that blog, fishacrosscanada. There are only a few places you can get to the Skook, and all of those places are getting a lot of pressure. We caught beautiful cutthroat trout about like we did on St. Mary’s. The water is pretty low, and crystal clear. Places looked like they might be a foot or so deep, but were up to your waist or chest. We only had a few hours to fish and were still tired from fishing all day yesterday. We quit at about 5:00 and started the long, bumpy drive back to camp. We will work harder tomorrow.