Oldman River Fly-Fishing Guides

The Oldman River

The Oldman River is the major drainage in S.W. Alberta. Our clients that spend a day or two fly-fishing with our  Oldman River Fly-Fishing Guides.Our clients are amazed at this scenic river that starts in the mountains, spills out of the foothills then flows over the prairies before eventually joining the Bow River. The Lower Oldman River Tailwater stretch is home to brown, rainbow, cutthroat and bull trout, and has superb hatches resulting in some outstanding dry-fly fishing for anglers fly-fishing the Oldman River.

Fly Fishing The Oldman River in Alberta

Oldman River Fly-Fishing

The Oldman’s major tributaries are all notable fisheries in their own right, including the Crowsnest, Livingstone and Waterton Rivers. The Oldman river itself features three distinct sections and offers a multitude of angling possibilities – from tumbling pocket water to classic tailwater. They fish differently enough from one another that we’ll discuss them separately.

Oldman River Cutthroat Trout

Upper Oldman River Cutty

Fly-Fishing The Upper Oldman and Livingstone Rivers

The upper reaches of the Oldman River and its tributaries are classic high country cutthroat streams – rugged and remote. Due to special regulations they offer the best west slope cutthroat trout fly fishing in Alberta.

Oldman River Fly-Fishing Upper Oldman River offers great scenery and fishing

Dry-fly fishing is the norm on these waters, but working the deep pools with streamers can result in hooking-up large bull trout. Adventurous small stream aficionados will love the many feeder creeks and the remarkable cutthroat fishing to be had.

The Middle Stretch of The Oldman River

Nutrient load and water temperature increase as the Oldman River leaves the mountains, and the river sees a change in trout species as rainbows and cuttbows replace cutthroats. From late June to mid-July – while the Salmon- and Golden Stoneflies are hatching – we float the river using rafts. As summer progresses and flows drop, walk & wade trips are the norm.

Fly-Fishing The Oldman River with Dave Brown Outfitters

Walk &Wade on The Oldman River davebrownoutfitters.com


During this time anglers can experience some fantastic hopper fishing – especially on warm, windy days. In short, the middle Oldman offers the visiting angler non-stop dry-fly fishing with large attractor patterns.

Oldman River Fly-Fishing Fly-Fishing The Middle Stretch of The Oldman River

The Lower Oldman River Tailwater

The Lower Oldman River below Three Rivers Dam is best described as a blend of the Bow, Bighorn and Missouri Rivers. Like all tailwaters, it can test your piscatorial skills. This floatable stretch of river is home to a self-sustaining population of cutthroat, rainbow, brown and bull trout. In fact,the Alberta record brown trout of 16+ pounds was caught in The Lower Oldman River Tailwater fishery. Count on lots of action while you fish streamers, hopper-dropper and double hopper rigs from a drift boat. Then, when the PMDs, caddis or Blue-wings start to hatch, we change tactics and stalk large hot trout that run and fight spectacularly.

Floating The Oldman River Tailwater

Floating The Oldman River

Oldman River Fly-Fishing Season

The season on the Upper Oldman River opens in late June, while the middle and Lower Oldman River tailwater stretches are open year-round. We suggest fishing the tailwater and middle stretches in May or after run-off, which usually ends in late June. D.B.O. guides on this river until mid-October.

Oldman River Flyfishing guides
Oldman River Rainbow Trout

Trip Duration

An Angler can easily spend 1-4 days Fly-Fishing The Oldman River and it’s Tributaries.This is a great option or add-on to either a Bow River trip, or an Elk River Trip,as the Oldman River is only 2 hours from Calgary and 1 hour from Fernie.

Oldman River Brown Trout

Oldman River Brown Trout

The other options in the area are the Crowsnest, Castle and Waterton Rivers. as mentioned S.E. British Columbia’s Elk River is an hour away,a fly-fishing trip on The Oldman River is very easy for you accomplish.

Oldman River Fly-Fishing Guides
Hopper Fishing on the Oldman River Tailwater

P.M.D. caught rainbow

The Dave Brown Outfitter’s Advantage

We have been guiding on the Oldman River since 1995, and are one of the original guide services on the Lower Oldman River tailwater . We are the only guide service that uses drift boats on this stretch. D.B.O. also makes use of private access on The Lower Oldman River Tailwater enabling you to extend your float.

Oldman River Fly-Fishing Guides

Tailwater Cutthroat

If the river or fly fishing conditions deteriorate on this stream, D.B.O. has the flexibility and capability to move you to another river with a fully capable guide. The advantage to you is no lost fishing time!

The Oldman River has intense P.M.D. Hatches


Fly-Fishers that want to spend more than one day on the Oldman River should stay in Pincher Creek, AB, at The Ramada Inn. Clients that are fishing the Bow River should remain in Calgary, AB. Elk River guests stay in Fernie, B.C.

Fly-Fishing The Oldman River with Dave Brown Outfitters Oldman River Fly-Fishing

Fly-Fishing The Oldman River