Fishing Report - Late Spring


After a slow and snowy start, spring rolled up on us without warning like a lifted RAM with a F*ck Trudeau sticker doing a buck-forty-five down the middle lane on Deerfoot. A couple warm days in early May brought the plants to life quickly, and sneezing and itchy eyes to local allergy sufferers. Since then, it has been a picture perfect spring here in Calgary, a drastic difference from the desperately dry & hot conditions of last year. There's water in the river, snow in the mountains, the sun in shining, and the trout are starting to look up for dry flies. Things are looking pretty sweet as the fishing season gets underway here in Southern Alberta.
 
Early season cutties can be found before June 16th, if you know where to look. 

Bow River in it's happy place.

Let's fill this sucker back up, boys!

It's melting at Skoki, but there was lots of it.

Kananaskis is still holding, and looking great!

On The Bow River 
  • The Bow is in great shape. It's "streamer green" and about 4 feet of visibility. The Highwood is still spitting a bit of dirt so consider sticking to river left after the junction.
  • Strap on a black streamer if the water gets dirty, they will see the contrast better than with light flies.
  • Generally, we fish articulated streamers solo, and single hook streamers for tandem rigs. Try a small light or unweighted leech as your trailer. 
  • Bow River rainbows are now wrapping up the annual spawn and will be making their way back into the mainstem of the Bow.
  • Fish are finally tuning into the caddis bite on top. The action really starts to heat up around 8 PM and lasts well into the evening. Too much wind will keep the caddis from going about their daily activities so check the forecast for gusty conditions.
  • You will see some splashy mid-river rises, but the real action is just off the bank. Take a minute and look for fish doing sustained pushup sets just off the bank and making subtle riseforms. 
  • As night falls, consider fishing a black caddis, as the silhouette will actually be easier to see on the water vs. a lighter pattern.
  • Water Boatmen (or maybe Water Boatpersons, if you don't want to risk mis-gendering an insect & offending someone in 2024), are swimming. Strip 'em, swing 'em, or nymph 'em up.
  • Golden Stoneflies will make their big debut shortly, get your boxes loaded with foam and keep your eyes peeled for skittering critters! There's the odd one around here and there already, so ahead and start prospecting with dries or nymphs, why the heck not?
  • If it's time to do some nymphing but you don't want to be seen with a bobber on your fly pole, you can retain credibility by fishing a dry dropper with a Stonefly or Chubby Chernobyl pattern up top & something like a Girdle Bug or a greasy Perdigon underneath. Then you can say "But I was fishing the dry, bro!"
  • As always, report anyone you see keeping fish out of the Bow, or anywhere fish harvest is not allowed - Alberta Report A Poacher line 1-800-642-3800.
  • Don't know if it's legal to keep fish in a given body of water? That's on you, bud. It's your responsibility to know the regulations in the areas you fish. The Alberta government is late getting the '24 regs out, so use what's currently here online.

Elsewhere

 

In 2024, fishing in this area could cost you 25 grand.

  • Parks Canada has announced special closures in national parks for the entire 2024 season, due to detection of whirling disease in October 2023. Parks Canada is hoping to limit the spread while they assess the situation further. 
  • All waterbodies in BC's Kootenay & Yoho national parks are now closed to fishing & boating until 2025.
  • All rivers, creeks, & streams in Alberta's Waterton National Park are closed for the 2024 season. Lakes will be open under existing fishing regulations. All non-motorized watercraft originating from outside the park will be banned, but some rental craft will be available (likely for a pretty penny).
  • Banff National Park - As of April 1, 2024, to March 31, 2025, the area in the above graphic is closed to all activities as part of a temporary wildlife spot closure as mandated by Parks Canada. A mistake here could result in a fine of up to $25,000.
  • Bring your Salmonfly patterns when heading to the southernmost waters of the province.
  • Watch out for bears in ES2! They are everywhere.
  • Mountain stream season for ES1 opens June 16! Many anglers are chomping at the bit to go flog the water for cutties & bulls.

Flies For The Bow

Dries 

Flexi-Girdle Bug, Dark Brown, #6-10

Prince Nymph Jig TB, Peacock, #12-16

RIO's Super Pupa TB, #14-16

Partridge Soft Hackle, Peacock or Pheasant, #14-18

Rubberlegs Stonefly Bead, Gold, #6-8

Photo Roundup

The crocus means spring has arrived in Alberta. It might still dump 2 feet of snow though.
Obstacle course. So many options to lose a fly!
Size 22 BWO.
Headed home after working the night shift.
From the winter that wasn't to the winter that wouldn't quit.
Prospecting for gold.
The next generation of winged psychos biding their time.
Flamin' Hot Cheetos for trout. First one to lose a fly has to stick a finger in there!
Hungry for the Muddler.
Out & about.
Swisher finds himself a spring creek streamer eater.
Mountain morning.
Streamer slurpin' whitey on the swing.
A bunch of empties after the big party.
Frosty start to the day.
Dude, there's a midge on your leg.
Healthy & hungry. 
A Skwala navigating spring snow on the banks of the Bow.
The Air 2 Max 790 is happy to chuck even the ugliest of flies without complaint.

Trevor G. with a perfect hen.
The Bow can be pretty, it can also be grim.

Ashley chucks one into the howling wind.


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