View Full Version : Bow River in Canada

01-14-2009, 07:19 PM
Anyone fished the Bow River in the Calgary area?
Thinking of going there late August or early September.
Have looked on the internet but any first hand information/suggestions appreciated.

01-15-2009, 10:02 AM
I have never fished it in that area. I did take a day break during a mountaineering trip and fished it up hight where it was mostly glacial run off. It was gorgeous terrain. I do a know of a guide up in the area. I don't know him personally but have chatted on another forum with him a time or two. Let me know if you want me to get his info.

01-15-2009, 12:17 PM
I would be interested in the information on the guide.

01-15-2009, 06:33 PM
I haven't fished the Bow River...looks like a great river...post if you find any useful info.

01-16-2009, 10:06 AM
Here is his website:


He posts a lot over on the Clark's Classic Fly Rod Forum. Everyone that fishes with him has nothing but great things to say about him, his wife, and their hospitality. He seemss to really know the river and is helpful to the people that are interested in the Bow.

01-16-2009, 12:52 PM
Thanks for the web address and the forum where he posts.
I will contact him and discuss the fishing, etc.
If you are willing to share the information, where did you fish and how was it?

01-16-2009, 05:48 PM
This was probably about 8 or 9 years ago and it was north of Banff. If I remember correctly the river runs parrallell to the road that goes from Banff to Calgary. Anyway above Banff, it is more of a big glacial runoff river through the mountains. I can't recall if I caught anything or not. I do remember that it was very pretty country and very fishy but it was not like the bow through Calgary. From what I have sean (a video) of the main fishery, it is nice big relatively flat water through farm land or pastures with big undercut banks and large fish hiding below them.

01-17-2009, 11:13 AM
Thanks again for the information.
Contacted Richard about fishing with him. Looks very promising.
We were thinking about driving to Banff to see the area. May have to stop and wet a line.

01-20-2009, 02:34 PM
Our Western trip is scheduled for Ft. Macleod and environs, late August. There are six rivers in the area, and I am not sure which we will be fishing, but do plan for at least one float trip. Any information on this area greatly appreciated. Skip Watson

02-01-2009, 01:15 PM
The Bow river in September is probably one of the best bets you can make for that time of year. If I could get a day off in September, thats where I would want to be. Very big, very strong trout in big water. You are going to want to have a boat to be able to fish this river best. I do not have any experience with any particular guide, but would hire one if I did not have a boat of my own. This will be a trip of a lifetime catching 20+ inch wild fish. Monster browns in that water.

02-06-2009, 05:41 PM
We took our vacation up there in 2003, stayed in the little town of Canmore, east of Banff. An absolutely beautiful area, the Canadian Rockies are breathtaking. We rented a house there in a neighorbood. It overlooked Canmore and the surrounding mountians; the Three sisters sticks in my mind. We fished the Bow almost every day for a week. As was said earlier it is a glacial runoff river from Banff to Canmore, then it becomes more of a wide flat river. Still a big river at this point and not a lot of wadeable water. The current is strong, the bottom loose scree, it washes out from under your feet while you are standing there. The upper river is a brown trout fishery, and can be tough. I would have thought it would be a cutthroat stream, but evidently the mining in the early to mid 20th century decimated the cuts, it is all browns. We caught fish around the bridge in Canmore and the shrewd man would have himself positioned on the south side of the river above the bridge in Canmore an hour before dark ............. and sit on it. The last 30 minutes before dark (10:00 pm or so, gets dark around 10:45 - 11:00 pm) they would start rising and you could catch a few nice fish. If you weren't in that spot you were watching someone else catch the fish. They were 16-20" browns on dries. We didn't fish up in Banff National Park, wish we had. Our guide didn't have much good to say about it, but I still wish we had tried it. It is a beautiful aquamarine blue from the glacial runoff.
The lower Bow (1.5 -2 hours from Canmore) is below the dam in Calgary, it is a trophy rainbow fishery and you will catch 16+" fish with broad shoulders down there. Big River, they fish a nasty rig up there, and it is not fun to fish (indicator rig with 2 nymphs ~12' below a big indicator) but the catching was pretty fun because the fish are thick and strong. Another way to fish that lower section is to pound the banks with a large double bugger rig on a sinking line, of cours that was 2003 they may be doing thing differently lately, and we were there in July. We landed lots of nice fish in this section and would call it a pretty safe bet for a good day. Lost a realy trophy there as well swinging the buggers in a strong tailout or a riffle, the fish made two smoking runs across the river and got off 10' from me (heard that before, haven't you!).
There are other rivers in the area as well, the Oldman and another river a little further north in Alberta (Red Dear I think; known for big browns caught by site casting!) If I ever get back that way I will fish it at least one day!
We fished with a guide named Jeff Perodeau, a good guy 866 678-2486. We fished with him the second from 8 am to 10pm (no sh__!) I would be leary of the upper bow unless he says it is fishing really good, all I caught up there were whitefish!..... though my brother in law did stick and lose a huge brown. The scenery up there is breathtaking........... better than Yellowstone! But not the fishing..........
Any specific questions let me know, I will do my best to answer.

02-06-2009, 05:52 PM
Sorry I addressed the first note to MG by mistake. The other river I mentioned is the Red Deer. You might google or even try internet video site. There was a video out the several years ago about fishing the Red Deer, they were catching some huge browns on drys by site!

02-06-2009, 10:03 PM
No problem. Enjoyed your post. Thanks for the info.

Also, thanks MontanaGriz for your post.

Have scheduled a guide for the third week of August.
Hope the fish roll out a great big welcome!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

02-19-2009, 09:28 PM
A few years ago I attended a July professional meeting in Bannf. The Bow R. and surroundings is so beautiful it was necessary to schedule a float trip. Not much opportunity to wade.
Landed whitefish, brookies, and browns. My guide (Jeff Perodeau) was gifted and patient. He put me on several nice browns in the 17 to 20 inch range. I have caught more and larger trout but have seldom fished an more beautiful surroundings except every day spent in the GSMNP.

"No one descends twice into the same river." Heraclitus 500BC

03-01-2009, 02:53 PM

My sister moved to Calgary last summer and lives right on the bank of the Bow. I'm going to visit the first chance I get, which should be early Sept.

Have a good trip and post some photos when you get back.

03-01-2009, 09:13 PM
Skip, since you will be in the Macleod area I also suggest the Crowsnest river. It's been about 6 years since my last trip so the information may be dated. Anyway, the river is about 60 miles west of Macleod. It's beautiful and the trout are eager. Most of the water is wadeable. Good fly shop in town. Excellent B&B run by Beckie Burmis that caters to fisherman and hunters. The locals in the area are some of the most hospitable I seen anywhere. Have a great trip.

03-04-2009, 05:05 PM
You will be awestruck by the scenery up there. If money were not an issue we would probably spend time there most summers! Take a lot of film! If I can dig out my photos of the trip I will post a few. Give us a report when you get home as well.

03-04-2009, 05:09 PM
Rather than film, guess I should have said memory cards! Dating myself with that remark!
Tight lines,