This past weekend I had the good luck to head out to Grand Cache for yet another bachelor party. This one, which happened to be Mike’s, is the last of the summer and we decided to celebrate in much the same way we did for Logan’s. I have wanted to go to Grand Cache for some time now, and had heard only good things. I booked the Friday off, so the original plan was to leave Thursday right after work, set up camp somewhere in between Edmonton and Grand Cache and fish all Friday. Ben suggested that we just leave Friday at around seven in the morning. In thinking about this, we came to the conclusion that this would be the most favorable course of action. This way we would arrive at the campsite at roughly the same time as we would if we had camped somewhere. The benefit was that we didn’t have to set up and take down a campsite before we got to the place we would be for the rest of the weekend.
For those doing this trip you should budget roughly 4.5 – 5 hours with pee, gas and food stops. Campgrounds can be booked in advance and are plentiful; there are 3 loops in Pierre Grays Provincial Park with around 20 sites at each. There is also open camping along the road with some fairly decent looking sites. From what I saw these won’t have latrines so be prepared for that. Being a group, and a rowdy one at that we booked the entire first loop in the Provincial Park. Sites were nice, wood was provided and the best outhouses I have ever used were the icing on the cake. Our campsite was located on the top of a hill. Behind each site was a path that offered a short but steep walk down to the upper lake. This lake is called MacDonald Lake but we will visit that in the day two post.
After arriving and doing a set up of the tarps, dinning, cooking and tents we gathered our fishing tackle and drove down the highway toward town. I was charged with finding a suitable place to fish so I took some time in between Hinton and our campground to search through Barry Mitchell’s fishing guide while cross referencing it with the Alberta Fishing Regulations. We ended up parking the truck near and open campsite right off the highway on the Muskeg River. It looked like it had some good pools and cover for fish to hide in and after donning our waders we set off walking upstream, tossing lines as we went. Mike and I were both looking to land our first fish on our fly rods so this was extra exciting. I wasn’t having much luck but Mike managed to hook one. However, in the initial panic and excitement it quickly got off and told its friends what to look for.
Logan and Ben were having better luck. Logan managed to strip in a nice 8 inch Rainbow and Ben who was on spinning gear also pulled in a Rainbow of the same size. We walked further up stream and worked a wider section that meandered to make some nice sized pools. Nothing was really rising, but there seemed to be an abrupt change at around 5:30. I switched to a Light Cahill pattern I had tied myself as a change of pace and on my first cast I had a potential suitor strike. The only thing was it was on my strike indicator! No sooner had I began to reel it in to take it off Logan hollered over giving us the same info while showing off the nice Rainbow he just hooked!
After switching spots a few times we walked back to the truck and started fishing downstream from the bridge and things really picked up. Mike landed his first Rainbow on a fly! The look on his face was so priceless. I was getting kind of discouraged as he pulled in a few more! Most of us had switched over to an Elk Hair Caddis and I was using the first one I had tied myself, so it was a bit haggard. Logan had the good fortune of hooking one shortly after Mike got his second. When he got it close enough he notice it wasn’t a Rainbow but our provincial fish the Bull Trout. Now this may sound geeky but it was a real treat to see this fish. I switched my fly to a smaller Elk Hair Caddis that Logan bought, and on my first cast I had one on the line and stripped it in for the win! We fished to roughly 7:30 and after some celebratory beers headed back to camp to Eat drink and be merry until the other guys arrived. It started to rain but managed to break up by the time the rest of the guys arrived. Things got pretty rowdy that night, and in the morning we woke with hangovers and discovered that my tent had leaked!
Here are a few pics from the night and of course my first fish.