We have had a long cold winter here in Calgary and I am confident in speaking for all Albertans and saying that the snow and cold weather has overstayed its welcome. Even with being said, cheers to the first fishing report of the season.
Don’t forget to renew your fishing license as of April 1st.
ES2 – AKA Central Alberta
These rivers opened April 1 but all reports say that most moving and still water are still iced over.
Until we get some warmer days and nights the fish in this region will remain safe under the ice. Once these rivers start to see some melt you can expect some off coloured water for some time. When the water is dirty it is important to try to trigger the trout’s lateral line with movement by using streamers or larger nymphs. In times like this think about flash or dark profiles.
Bugs to expect in the coming weeks are – BWO’s, Midges, March Browns and Skwalas.
Regardless of our cold harsh winter we have seen some beautiful and healthy fish caught this winter (when the weather permitted) and this bodes well for another good year on this world class river that we get to call home.
The Bow valley throughout Calgary and SE of the city still has plenty of snow on the banks but the river itself is generally free of ice. Keep this in mind on warmer days because the river will often start the day clear but by mid-afternoon gain quite a bit of colour. This will be the cycle until most the city and valley snow has melted.
Things to consider when you are approaching the river and fishing in these conditions:
- The ice can drastically alter the river throughout the winter months so if you have not been out since the fall, your familiar run may have morphed into something very different. Be careful when wading and if visibility is restricted consider a wading staff to help gauge depths.
- Remember to continuously look up river to stay away from large ice chunks.
- The bank and ice can be unstable. One miss step can result in many different and unfortunate scenarios.
If you are looking to get the boat in you are restricted to float from Glenmore to Policemen’s Flats.
As we get through this cold snap you can expect to see large numbers of midges and even some BWO’s starting to pop. For numbers, you will want to stick to nymphing but the streamer game should start picking up as the river temps slowly rise. Aaron made it out on the 1st day of spring and landed this beauty brown. This is a reminder that the streamer thing isn’t always a numbers game but it can produce some quality fish.
Recommended flies are:
Nymphs – Zebra Midges (Red,Black) Sz 16,18, San Juan Worms, Copper Johns (Various Colours) Girdle Bugs, Kaufmans Golden Stone
Dries – Grifiths Gnat, Midge Clusters
Streamers – Woolley Buggers (Black, Olive, Brown) Muddler Minnows, Sculpzillas, Sex Dungeons, Pretty much anything in Olive or Black 3 to 6 inches long.
The only reports that we have received from the south country are that if you plan on walking into somewhere more remote you might want to bring your snow shoes.
The Crow and Lower Oldman do experience some great midge and BWO hatches this time of the year so if you are searching for that first dry fly fish of 2018 you should be closely watching the forecast and hoping that the big “W” doesn’t show its ugly head.
Because we have not yet fished these waters this season we will go on past knowledge for flies that we would be sure to have if headed down.
Nymphs – Zebra Midge (Black,Red) Sz – 16,18,20, San Juan Worm, Copper John (Black,Red) Sz - 16,18, Kaufmans Golden Stone, Girdle Bug
Streamers – Wooley Bugger (Black,Olive) Sculpzilla, Muddy Buddy Black, Jaw Breaker
Dries – Grifiths Gnat Sz 18, Midge Cluster Sz 18, Parachute BWO Sz 16, 18, Traditional BWO Sz 16, 18
Nymphing - A standard 3X leader with different tippets to give you the option to go lighter is recommended. The water may be clear but the fish should not be leader shy this time of the year.
- Many of our customers have been enjoying the use of tippet rings so if you have yet to try them you may want to give them a shot.
- Dries – Because the bugs this time of the year are small you should make sure you are equipped to go as light as 5X but 4 should do the trick and hopefully help you land a few more fish.
- Streamers – For streamers we say no lighter than 10lb and remember that fluorocarbon is much more abrasion resistant.
- Waders this time of year are a must. If you would like some tips on layering, you can check out our layering blog here.
- We have some new Alpaca socks at the shop to keep your feet warm and some great layering pieces from Simms to help make your days on the water longer and more comfortable.
If you make it out and feel like sharing a story or photo, we always like hearing what you are getting up to.
We are currently booking guided trips for the 2018 season! Don't miss out this year. Trips can be booked here on the BRT site.
Also, don't miss our FREE Casting Clave on May 26th and 27th to try out some new gear and get some tips from the pros!