Hidden within one of the many greasy summer stories comes the tale of the grease bull. As you may have previously read, last years greasy summer was spent exploring new and untouched waters. Many of which led to disappointment and heartache. However, each outing I gained more experience and more knowledge of what and where to fish during that particular time of the year. Furthermore, moving up uncharted waters can lead to witnessing incredible events. One such event unfolded on the last day in Alberta…
There is nothing more exciting to me than hearing the sound of a rushing waterfall. For down below its towering heights lay the slumber giants, waiting quietly to ambush their prey. I had not thought much of this tributary, figuring it would be running low this time of year and would not hold much. But the sound of the rushing water made my heart skip a beat. I knew there could be a hidden monster lurking in the depths. Approaching upstream of the falls I quickly became aware that these falls could indeed hide a mountain shark. The water ran quiet until it came upon the ninety degree drop, falling with great speed to the pool below. The bubbling water made sounds that call upon a fisherman, letting him know of the riches that lay beneath.
I stood perched above the falls scouting in the the dark blue waters that meandered out of the white foam. Being that I often nymph for trout, I rigged up my favorite fly below the indicator and added ample weight. With a precision that comes with years of angling, my fly hit just below the rock face and was able to quickly move toward the bottom of the pool. I lifted my rod high above my head, removing the slack line from the water, which allowed the indicator to drift seamlessly through the pool. Suddenly, I saw the quick bob of the indicator and with a quick tip of the rod the line became tight. That initial excitement flowed through me, as I knew there could be a monster on the end of the line. However, that familiar tug of rocky mountain whitefish became apparent and my excitement dwindled.
Anticipating the chance to watch a bull trout pull upon my line, my friend stood above me recording the events. I motioned to him not to worry, that only a whitefish was playing tug of war with me. Yet, he kept recording and we soon witnessed something spectacular. As I was reeling the whitefish in, a monster rose from the depths, breaching the water in an attempt to steal my prize and the end of my line. We both uttered sounds of disbelief and stared back at one another in a metaphoric pinch me moment. I quickly reeled in the whitefish, who swam off with PTSD flowing through his cold veins. With hands shaking, my friend pulled out his streamer box looking to match the whitefish hatch. Fumbling through his knots, he was finally able to attach the hook and began the first swing through the depths. The first cast ended, and a second garnered no more attention than the first. However, the third cast, the luckiest cast of the all, had the line tighten up and me yelling, “IS THAT HIM?!”
My friend pulled back hard on the line, with his rod bent to the hilt. He looked over at me with a look that told me it was the very fish we had seen. Down into the depths of the waterfall the fish went, in search of freedom from the pull of the rod. My friend jumped from one ledge to the next trying to get in position to fight this fish. Eventually, he made his way off the ledges and downstream of the falls. Pulling the fish hard over the second falls, the fish finally made its way into the softer water of the flow downstream. With one scoop of the net we cheered in triumph. What had been such a tough trip was suddenly all worth the effort. The bull trout measured 31 inches when compared to the notches along my net. After a quick snap back into the water swam this tired creature. Back to rest along the shallows to prepare for another day of surprise attacks on unsuspecting whitefish.
Though we managed to hook into a few small cutthroat after the bull, we both felt a satisfaction that only the pull of a bull can leave a mountain angler. We soon headed back through the meadow and up the hill towards the truck. Hopeful that the beer was still cold, as we earned it.