Fishing Report - July 1

It's Looking Fishy Out There

The month of June was largely uncooperative for river and creek anglers with heavy rains muddying the waters. Many who headed to the hills for the mountain stream season opener found conditions less than ideal for a lazy afternoon spent chucking dry flies to hungry cutthroat. Instead, raging creeks and swollen rivers dared fly anglers to do their worst. Some folks who opted to fish the lakes during high water were handsomely rewarded with solid fishing across Alberta and interior BC. 

Luckily, flows across the province are slowly settling down although there is plenty of snow left in the mountains, as evidenced by the fact that Sunshine Village was able to reopen for late-late season skiing this week. Hopefully some of that snow will help bring our reservoirs back up to capacity and keep water flowing at adequate levels through the hottest part of the season. Ghost reservoir is sitting close to 50% of capacity and Glenmore reservoir is currently near 65%. There may be hope for water in Southern Alberta at the end of the season after all. These days, when it rains, it pours. 

The Bow River has been dipping a toe under 200 cms in the city section this week, and the emerald green water we love is starting to shine through the silt. Streamers and nymphs are still the most effective way to target fish but a golden stone dry-dropper rig should be close by. Some impressive brown trout have been caught in the last few days.

Isolated thunderstorms are a prevalent feature of our weather these days and the rain shell never leaves the pack as these behemoths traverse the foothills and prairies. Some of these fast moving storms can offload a lot of water in a hurry causing smaller rivers to cloud up and then clear in an hour or so. The Bow is less likely to be affected unless a larger storm has deposited rain upstream as well as on top of the local area. Be aware of flash flooding risk if you're caught in a big downpour while fishing in tight Foothills canyons. More of the same weather forecast for the next 7 days. 
You would be doing yourself a favour to carry a stream thermometer. Snowmelt in the water is keeping temperatures low. 55 degrees Fahrenheit is when insect life really begins to jump off and dry fly action is more likely. Just a few degrees difference in either direction will have a large effect on the fishing. 

General high water fishing tactics still apply:

  • Use flies that are larger in profile than normal.
  • Consider fly materials that create vibration or displace water, like the deer hair head on a Bow River Bugger.
  • Fish see the contrast of a dark colored fly against dirty water more clearly than a light colored fly.
  • Get flies deep quickly and target soft water.
  • Use the heaviest tackle you can get away with. This makes landing fish easier as you can "horse" them into a net quickly, but also results in fewer nymphs and streamers lost to unseen obstructions under the water. That being said you will lose more flies to high water if you're fishing deep enough. 

Primetime golden stonefly season is just around the corner, a little later than last year and likely coinciding with the opening of the Calgary Stampede. Golden stone nymphs have been fishing well for some time now but everyone is looking forward to throwing some big foam bugs. 

Now that visibility has improved somewhat, wading is less dangerous and swinging a tandem streamer setup on a trout spey rod is possible again. As summer shows up, some anglers like to take advantage of reliably warmer nights to get out and target large predatory brown trout well after the sun has done down. Caddis have been present all along during the high water, but low temperatures have kept them small, #16's-14's. PMDs are coming into play now and fish will be found rising like clockwork, following a sustained surface feeding pattern.

The temporary berm along Memorial Drive is now fully removed. 

 Good Luck

Nymphs

 BH Rubberlegs Stonefly, Golden #6

RIO's Worm Farm TB, Red #12

Flexi Girdle Bug, Black/Coffee #6

Tungsten Squirmy Worm, Black #14

RIO's Puparazzi, Chartreuse #12

Streamers

 Galloups Flatliner, Olive/White #2

 Galloup's Dungeon, Black #2

 Kraft's Kreelex, Purple/Silver #2

Peacock Bugger, Black #6

 Galloup's Bangtail, Black #2

Dries

City Worker, Tan #6

Emma's Stone, Golden, #6

The Creeper, Tan/Red #6

X-Caddis, Olive #16

Hi-Vis PMD, #14