A West Country bush trail in its late-spring splendour

A West Country bush trail in its late-spring splendour

Grab the fishing gear; aspens are leafing out

My late great friend, Dr. Bill Parsons, had a growly voice and eventually I got around to heeding when he advised “don’t go fishing until the aspens are rimed with green.” This year it was Mothers’ Day out West before the aspens were first frosted with that lime green of the first young leaves, a sight that always makes me feel like a boy again.

My late great friend, Dr. Bill Parsons, had a growly voice and eventually I got around to heeding when he advised “don’t go fishing until the aspens are rimed with green.”

This year it was Mothers’ Day out West before the aspens were first frosted with that lime green of the first young leaves, a sight that always makes me feel like a boy again. Obviously other “boys” feel the same, because the season’s first schools of anglers were out and about on a fine summer day, their rigs parked at all the usual places, even a flotilla fishing Ironside’s Pond. Nobody seemed to be catching anything, nor were any trout rising or insects hatching to bring the trout up.

But, back home, email reports were coming in announcing that farther south, the season was well and truly open, because anglers were spotting “bugs” and catching trout, notably on the Bow and Crowsnest Rivers.

As so often is the case, some of the earliest reports of “hot” fishing have come from far south and east, at Blood Indian Reservoir . . . whenever the winds wane sufficiently to allow fly casting to be accomplished.

True to the story from when I fished Blood Indian frequently 50 years ago, you still seldom catch two fish on the same fly pattern, and the stocked rainbows there are fabulous jumpers. What is new is how many of those rainbows you lose to “Ralphies,” when they throw the ex-Premier’s mandatory but useless barbless hooks on those jumps.

Premiers and their bright ideas aside, outdoors people are most interested in and dependent upon the minister of sustainable resource development. Within SRD is the fish and wildlife division, upon which so many of our outdoors recreations depend.

Thus, there is great interest in Diana McQueen, the new incumbent of the combined ministry of the environment and sustainable resource development, plus much frustration because, almost a month after the election, government websites are still saying “Biographies of returning and newly-elected Members will be posted at a later date.”

As best as I can discover, Mrs. McQueen will be 51 on June 7th, is married, has children, and worked in the energy industry for Amoco. She served as mayor of Drayton Valley from 2001 to 2008 when she was elected MLA for Drayton Valley Devon. After Alison Redford won the PC leadership, Ms. McQueen was sworn in as minister of the environment and water at the same time as Frank Oberle was sworn in as SRD minister.

Mr. Oberele was also re-elected, but is not in the new cabinet, much to the chagrin of many observers who liked what they saw and heard from him in February at the Alberta Fish and Game Annual Conference about rebuilding his gutted SRD ministry.

Nothing she has done or said leads anyone to think Ms. McQueen is remotely qualified for what some wags are calling “the ministry of conflict of interest.” Fear is being expressed that SRD, which has suffered near death by a thousand cuts since the Klein premiership, will be finished off and lost in the new combined ministry.

Many newspapers have noted Don Broder died on April 11th, mainly because he was famous for having gone to jail, at 75, for 11 days in 2004, for contempt of court for failing or refusing to produce in a family lawsuit, the mount of the Broder Buck. The Broder Buck, a monster non-typical mule deer taken by Don’s father, Ed, at Chip Lake in 1926, is the one North American big game trophy record so outstanding that it will probably never be surpassed. Eventually Don purged his contempt by admitting he could not produce the mount because he had previously sold it to a Montana collector.

In 2004, an Edmonton Journal column summed up the saga thus: “Greed. Vengeance. Betrayal. It’s the kind of primordial family feud that could have come right out of a TV soap opera — or right out of the Old Testament.” The finest, short account of the story, from Field & Stream magazine, The Finest Mule Deer Ever Shot, by Thomas McIntyre, starts: “For more than a generation, the elderly children of the late Ed Broder of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, scrapped shamelessly over the one material possession of great worth that their father had left them — maybe the finest set of mule deer antlers ever taken by a hunter in fair chase” . . . and the rest can be found at www.fieldandstream.com/node/57260.

Now, allegedly the voice of Don Broder comes to me from the grave on May 6th, Buck for Justice, emailed to me by Don’s son Craig, from the website www.broderbuck.com. It is lengthy, shocking, scandalous, and you can look for yourself, because I can’t repeat any of it for fear of being sued for defamation by people I know, respect and trust, or even charged with the rarely used libel provisions of the Criminal Code.

But, if you’re tempted, look quickly before someone gets the website “taken down.”

Bob Scammell is an award-winning outdoors writer living in Red Deer. He can be reached at bscam@telusplanet.net