Beyond the Frontline: James Rackl fly fishing a-fish-ionado

SALT LAKE CITY — James Rackl is a Utah native born and raised in Salt Lake City. He learned the truth of the old fisherman’s adage ‘the tug is the drug’ at a young age.

On his fourteenth birthday, he went fishing with a casting rod and a lure; he caught heaps of fish. You’d think the 14-year-old Rackl would be stoked, but it was just too easy.

Rackl (left) and Spencer (right) in Fernie, BC, with a Westslope Cutthroat Trout.

“My dad was like, ‘well, let me teach you a way that’s much harder to fish; you probably won’t catch any fish for a long time.’ He took me to this little tiny creek in the area, and we started fly fishing. I had one fish come up, look at my fly and get scared. Ever since then, I’ve been attracted [to fly fishing,]” said Rackl.

In August, Rackl and fellow fly fishing guide at All Seasons Adventures, Tyler Spencer, decided to do some bucket-list fishing up in British Columbia (BC), Canada. Rackl and Spencer spent 14 unforgettable days in BC. In the wintertime, Rackl works with Black Tie Ski Rentals in Park City.

Tyler Spencer and his should-be-prize-winning 26-inch bull trout in Fernie, BC.

From Fernie, they went to Banff and Jasper. One day Rackl and Spencer booked a helicopter to drop them at an alpine lake to fish all day. On another day, they caught over 100 fish between them. They also found time to hike and explore around British Columbia, including a visit to Banff National Park, which held Rackl’s “biggest highlight of the trip,” Moraine Lake. All in all, he estimates they drove around 3,200 miles that trip.

One of the highlights of Rackl’s trip was Moraine Lake in Banff National Park.

The pair drove 12 hours straight to Fernie, BC, where they spent a week fishing for bull trout and Westslope Cutthroat Trout, which are not found in Utah. On their first day fishing, Spencer caught a 26-inch bull trout. Some days, they fished with local guides like themselves, and Spencer’s 26-inch trout was “the biggest fish that they’ve ever caught on a guided trip.”

Rackl has more exploring and fishing to do in Canada, especially in the northern BC area. Time to save up for his next trip north.

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