All photography provided by Jeff Mironuck
Since 1999, we have been guiding anglers on the Elk River and surrounding streams. We have a small but dedicated guide staff that have a lot of fun on the river and really know their fish. We find that keeping the same few select guides coming back each year ensures a great experience for everyone.
While we pride ourselves on being excellent guides we understand that some laughs on the river and fish in the net is really what matters in the end. We built our business by building relationships with our clients based on friendship and hard work.
What We've Achieved
- Over 15 years guiding on the Elk River, Wigwam River and surrounding streams.
- Jeff Mironuck is the author of 2 fly fishing books and numerous magazine articles.
- A steady base of returning clients that we are proud to call friends.
- We have negotiated private access that our clients really appreciate.
- We have kept our costs and prices at a fair rate for 6 straight years.
- Our steady regular guides have now worked for us for 9 years, we believe they are the best around.
So what can you expect when you book a fly fishing trip with Home Waters guide service on the Elk River? Our guides love fly fishing. We have 4 full time guides and we are now in our fourteenth year of operation.
I’ve spent allot of time trying to figure out how I got so lucky with the guides that work for me and I came to one very simple conclusion. These guys love fly fishing and they take pride in all of the waters that surround our small town. These really are our Home Waters and when you get out on the water with one of our guides they can’t wait to show you the best of what we have.
Maybe it’s a little like bragging, we believe we have the best dry fly fishing in North America and our goal is to prove it every day.
The Elk River and all of the tributaries might be the best playground for anglers of every skill level. Young kids get a thrill from watching dozens of trout hit their dry fly in a day, some of our favorite clients are well into their eighties and they tell me they come back year after year for the simple ease and enjoyment of casting a huge floating hopper and watching the rise. The more experienced anglers seem to like the variety. Casting tiny ants to rising cutthroat one day to placing a caddis over a huge rainbow holding tight to the grass bank the next.
We know we have it all here in Fernie but we still strive to show you new waters each and every year. We currently have 30 streams that we guide on. This makes it exciting for the anglers and the guide and it keeps everyone fresh.
So what should you do for your first trip to Fernie and the Elk River? This is the one question I get quite often so after ten years I’m starting to get a good feel for what people are really looking for. First of all, no angler is the same and because our waters are so diverse we do have a return rate of close to 90% but I will still try and paint a picture of what an average 5 day trip might end up looking like.
You probably arrived in Fernie the night before and you are ready to fly fish the Elk River. This is exactly what we recommend. The first day is for shaking off the rust and hooking fish. Two anglers in the boat with a guide telling you where the fish are when needed. The Elk River is a gem for sure. Most days guides can get you doing everything you need to make your trip successful. We generally get on the water between 10 and 11 am, even though the river is right next to our fly shop there is no hurry. In fact most of your takes on the dry fly will be between 12pm and 7pm or as late as you want to stay out on the water. We fish the hours when the trout are rising and all of our hatches seem to come off in the afternoon and into evening. Your first day should be filled with trout missed, lost and landed. It sets the pace for the rest of your trip.
Feel up for a light hike? This is a great day to get out of the boat and walk and wade on one of our many streams for bull trout and cutthroat. One of our guides, Ken Colson, guided for us about 50 days last season on various streams near Fernie. He never had a single client that did not hook into a bull trout. Many of these monsters are 10 to 20 pounds. From the Wigwam River to the Skookumchuck River and all the small creeks in between there is a walk and wade for everyone. Aside from the bull trout that are in these small creeks, some of the largest cutthroat are found in our smallest streams. It’s very common for anglers to land 20 inch cutts on dry flies in creeks small enough to jump across.
After two days on the water you will really have a good idea of what you want to do for the rest of your trip. If you are up for something new we will gladly take you over to Alberta where you can walk and wade for rainbows on one of the many small streams or you could float the Oldman River. A tail water where every evening the surface explodes with big aggressive rainbows attacking caddis. This is not nearly as easy as the Elk River but the challenge makes it a worthy trip. Besides after two days of easy fishing you might be up for having a few rainbows on the end of your line. The Oldman River is a favorite for the guides as well. Many of them will be found out on the water late when they are lucky enough to have a day off.
River X. There is a stream in Alberta we won’t mention. It is just too good. We worked a deal with a farmer a couple years ago and he lets us on his land to access this unbelievable river. I have never seen a stream so good. It’s too small to float but the walking is very easy and the trout are legendary. You will have your best luck with dry flies, mainly hoppers and most of the trout here are over 20 inches. Many are closer to 30 inches. For such a small stream it is pretty much unheard of. If you like the big trout you will also have to ask me about fishing the Waterton River in Alberta for browns. These 2 streams really make me wonder why people bother flying all the way to New Zealand!
As with any day you book with us it is up to you as to where you fish. Maybe you want to go back to one of your favorites, maybe you want to float the Bull River or the St.Mary River. Like I said before, you can’t do it all in one trip. Many clients prefer to fish the Elk River for one last time. We have 7 different floats on the Elk River so you will never have to fish the same piece of water unless you really wanted too. One last day on a drift boat is a great way to end what will probably be one of the best fishing trips you have ever been on.
This is only a suggested trip, the options are endless and even in our tenth year I am still able to take clients to water they have never seen. Even the clients that have been fishing with me since day one. I’m sure you will have some questions, drop me a line anytime. Fishing is my life and I love it.
The Elk River originates from the melting ice off of the glaciers in Elk Lakes Provincial Park. As it makes its way down the mountains it flows into the Elk Lakes and down the Elk Valley, where it is joined by many tributaries that produce some amazing trout of their own. With over 90 miles of fishable water the Elk River is quite possibly the best dry fly fishing river in North America. Largely undiscovered and still only a three hour drive from Calgary and a two hour drive from Kalispell, the Elk River flows through one of the most picturesque valleys in British Columbia.
Whether you are a novice or expert, a trip to Fernie is something you’ll never forget. Casting to rising native Westslope cutthroat from our fully-appointed McKenzie style drift boats is one of the best ways to see the Elk but we also can arrange walk & wade trips to some of the smaller streams which are all located just a short distance from Fernie.