The 24" West Slope Cutthroat - British Columbia

Towards the end of the day on August 16, 2005, I was fishing a tributary of the Elk River in British Columbia. I'd already caught my share of nice fish but the late afternoon action had slowed down quite a bit. I had another hour or so to fish before heading back into Alberta with the group of fishermen we had brought here to fish with.

As I rounded a bend in the river I caught a glimpse of very large fish about 40 yards away on the far side of good sized flat rock just above the water line. I sat down on the bank to see if he would come up again. Sure enough, he rose several times in a period of 10 minutes. Interestingly enough he was the only fish in this section of the creek that was rising.

There was no real insect activity with the exception of some caddis swarming under the branches of the bank shrubbery. I was reasonably sure he was taking spinners - we had a good hatch of PMD's earlier in the day.

I started looking for my box of spinners. As luck would have it, I'd left it in the car - an hour round trip. How long will the fish keep rising? I decided to try to make do. Over a period of an hour I tried a variety of patterns including several jury rigged spinners. Every so often the fish would rise and reject the offering. After each cast I'd rest the fish before trying again. I wanted to catch him on the top so I stayed away from any sub-surface imitations.

After 45 minutes or so I tied on a brown beetle pattern with a bright green underbody and black legs. On the first cast he took the fly without hesitation.