Airstream Time

Exploring North America in an Airstream

Posts from the ‘Fernie’ category

Fernie to Hungry Horse Reservoir

September 3, 2017

We got off to a leisurely start. Taking the trash and garbage to the disposal area, we found a man sorting recycling into different bags. Kelly struck up a conversation with this lean gentleman, probably in his 60’s named Holmes. He is an retired engineer, who had to go back to work because his pension wasn’t doing well enough. He comes to sort recycling, takes it to a center and then gives the proceeds to a senior center charity.  Once I told him I was from Charlottesville, like everyone else we meet, he went on about how we were still fighting the civil war. I had to set him straight. He is from Newfoundland, and talked extensively about its politics and history. I told him that is where I would like to go next summer. We probably talked for an hour before we left. It would have great to talk more over cocktails as he is s very interesting guy with a great sense of humor.

Then we went by Elk River Guiding Company to buy some flies. They have a huge collection of beautiful flies. Leah helped us and told us to stop at Larry’s Fly Shop in Columbia Falls, which is owned by a girl named Hillary, and to tell her hi. We thanked her, headed out and picked up a Starbucks coffee for the road.

Smoke clouded the mountains as we drove south toward the border. The grasses were dry and brown. There were only two cars in front of us at the border, and the crossing was easy with a nice young man telling us where the fires were – all over, but we should be OK at Hungry Horse Reservoir.

In Columbia Falls, where there are no falls, we found Larry’s Fly Shop, went in and again bought a few flies. Disappointed Hillary wasn’t there, we talked to a nice fellow who gave us some good information. Spotted Bear River was really low, but the Flathead was fishing good. We thanked him and after crossing the dam, drove a rough road for 45 miles.

We found a beautiful campsite next to the reservoir. Once we got set up, we took a drink down to the lake as the sun sunk behind the mountains. The water was crystal clear as small fish broke the surface. To the south was a huge grassy plain. I searched for bears or elk, but didn’t see any. It’s a little spooky, but cool at the same time to be in a remote place all by yourself with bear warning signs all around. As the evening went on, a full moon lit the smokey sky.

Fishing The Elk River

September 2, 2017

Fernie RV Resort is in a perfect location. It sits next to the Elk River, but is only a block or two from a shopping center. We decided to fish the Elk today, although we don’t have a boat and don’t really know where to fish it. We drove down to the bridge, where there are four good pools. We caught three nice fish in the first pool. It is Labor Day weekend, so people came in to fish all the holes below us. Fernie is a busy place anyway, but it is really busy on Labor Day weekend.

We went back to camp, fixed a sandwich, then went behind the campground to explore the river. There is a great bike trail running along the river for a long way. Someone also said it runs through town. There are a lot of bikes and bike riders here. At 92 degrees, people were swimming in one big pool. That takes a hearty person, because it is very cold. Wading it to fish was cold. We found a spot that had four good pools and worked them hard for three or four hours. We caught enough to keep it interesting, but as Nate had said, it was a little slow, but any day you can fish a beautiful river is a good one.

We were tired from wading the strong currents and walking over big, round rocks. Back at camp, we did laundry in their excellent facility, took showers and looked at where we are going next – Crossover Campground in Montana, about a five-hour drive. We reread the letter a friend of Kelly’s, JC Hanks, had written. He has fished this area a lot and had some great recommendations. Sounds like it is right up our alley. It is very remote, probably no cell phone coverage and certainly no WIFI. Hopefully there are no fires and the fish are “bit’n”.

Paul and Leah and his staff at Elk River Guiding Company and Fly Shop have been very helpful. It’s a great shop.