Elk River Report – July. 10

Things started out great on the local waters and it was one of the best starts to the season I have seen in a very long time!

Then mother nature decided she had other plans for us and flooded her presence through Fernie with a tad too much water for anyones liking. We are on the mend and things are starting to shape up.

ELK RIVER – The Elk River is dropping; it’s still moving fast but clarity is improving every day.  The flood changed the river immensely; so be super careful when you decide to float.

Elk River Fishing

It’s going to be an interesting season learning the river dynamics all over again and I am getting tons of questions about the fishing.As a flood isn’t something that we are well versed on it is going to be a fun new learning curve for everyone.

The last few days have been very encouraging though as there are heads poking up for imitations presented and naturals. Still lots of sub surface activity, but if you get yourself into the back channels and inside corners you will have the most success.

I have never seen so many dead worms hunkered down at in some of the back channels….crazy. I have not seen any substantial stonefly hatches yet, but there are a few here and there. Have seen lots of ants, beetles and even small hoppers. There was a small mayfly hatch yesterday afternoon, but couldn’t reach high enough to get my hands on one….. 

Elk River Fly Fishing Fernie

The ticket the past few days has been the back channels and working the banks tight with big bugs…..working the foam lines with stoneflies and ticking stonefly imitations just above the river bottom.

If you decide to float again, use caution. If you decide to walk; be careful as the mud looks unsuspecting and will suck you in like nothing. Yes, this happened to me….saw a great little riffle and had to cross a mud pocket and sunk in above my knees…. It was a good chance for some hard laughs….As the water is still high, make sure you have stable footing as some banks have been undercut and may not hold your weight.

BOAT LAUNCHES – Our boat launches have never been anything to write home about; and this fact still remains. Having a pontoon allows you to access anywhere, drift boat access at most of the launches is ok and thanks to the City of Fernie the Fernie launch is good now. Standford and Morrissey may pose problematic with sludge if the weather turns wet…. 

FLIES OF CHOICE – Have been using size 10 big old stoneflies – switching it up from Orange Stimis, Dornan Water Walkers to anything big and fluffy to dead drift. Try a size 14 prince nymph, size 12 black or golden stonefly and if you feel like swinging; huck a big ol sculpin pattern. All the above proved successful. In honor of the dead worms in the back channels, you may wish to throw something that looks like that out there…

ELK RIVER TRIBS –  Michel Creek is clear. The access isn’t that great though .Parts of the road washed out and they have the road blocked off so no access further up other than mine vehicles…..they are working hard to have it open as soon as possible.

The Wigwam is still moving like a rocket, but it is clear and beautiful as always, this is going to take some time to shape up and I wouldn’t count on chasing bullies there anytime soon.


St. Mary’s – Our outfitter friends – The St. Mary’s Angler have been keeping us up to date on the river over there and it is shaping up as well. Clarity is improving everyday and they have trips heading out this weekend. They are currently on the water today.

The Bull River is shaping up and fishing pretty good. The water is much clearer than the Elk.  I would hit up some feeders coming and fish the mouths of creeks flowing in.  The fish are tight to the banks and hanging where there is ample food and protection.

The Crow / The Castle / St. Mary’s / The Oldman – They are all fishing pretty darn good. The Crow this past week was fishing AWESOME; until the rain decided to come. That didn’t help much, but still getting them on golden stones and lime sally’s

All in all things are still coming into their own, We have trips going out and guests are happy. We are not cancelling any trips due to the flood and business is as usual!  It’s just taking a little bit more time to get going. Remember – this time last year the water was still chocolate brown and we didn’t run our first trips until the 16th.

If you are wondering whether to come or not; I would say that any day of fishing is better than not in this area. If this is your first time to Fernie, perhaps wait a week. If you know the area and know where to sneak away too…..then may be worth it….At the same time; don’t have your expectations up for a wickedly stellar fishing weekend…..If you are a true fisherman you understand that it’s not just about catching the fish. Safety first and I would recommend waiting a week to bring your self inflating pontoons.

We are fortunate enough to have not been hit as hard as our friends on the Bow River / SE Alberta area and at the end of the day our hearts to out to all the families and business that are still trying to get their lives back on track. 

If you have any questions at all please don’t hesitate to shoot me an email or give me a shout.

Beckie@fernieflyfishing.com / 250.423.1597

Elk River Fernie BC