Our last full day we were once again to fish from Upper Oxbow Lodge with Brett. Brett wanted to take us quite a long way up the river, so we left Country Haven Lodge with Axel bright and early at 0600. Again, after some coffee and much chuntering about Ford trucks we unloaded into Brett’s Chevy and headed off. The light was just beginning to make it over the tops of the trees as we drove up the course of the Little Southwest. We left the main track and began to again crash through trees and undergrowth along a forgotten track than eventually popped us out on the banks of one of the most picturesque pools I have ever fished.
The pool is called Clelands, and is one of the most northerly pools on the river before the tributaries such as the North Pole Stream, and although it is a bit of struggle to reach is therefore not fished too much. To arrive on the fishing side we had to wade across the main river, which is a reasonably tough wade. This was made more so as we had to carry Axel’s Dog Jake across the river. We took it slowly, crossing as a group before starting fishing on the upper pool. There are some huge boulders strewn along the river, and like the Little Sevogle it has a mountainous surrounding which make it stunning. They also make the topography of the river bed full of large boulders, swirling water and lovely looking lies. Almost as soon as we arrived a couple of fish jumped near the main lie.
Axel and I both fished own the upper pool a couple of times with various patterns, but could not get a touch. Axel took Jake (his dog) and headed down to the lower section to try his luck with a bomber as I fished the upper pool once more with something a little larger. There was a yell from down stream that Axel had rolled a fish on the bomber, and he took up station like a heron in the middle of the river continuing to persevere with various sizes and colours of bomber. Brett took his leave and said he would start lunch up by the truck. He had a real treat for us, a moose fillet which he was going to cook on the BBQ. As the meat sizzled on the open flames the smell wafted down the river and had both Henry and I salivating.
Finally after another couple of swirls and a hairy moment by the beach the fish came to hand and I grabbed the wrist and hand tailed it. Not a huge fish, but a very welcome grilse, and a good scrap on a single hander. We got a few photos and then quickly revived the fish in the current before carefully returning him. Nothing gives me more pleasure than watching them swim away, hopefully to go and add to his race. At that moment the car horn sounded and lunch was ready. The smell of moose was too much to take and we all made the wade across the stream…. including Jake.