Calgary Fly-Fishing

Calgary Fly-Fishing

Downtown Calgary Hook -Up  Photo Credit Angela Rankin

From a Calgary Fly-Fishing perspective the relationship between The Bow River and The City is extremely unique.The “famous” stretch of the Bow River referred to as The “lower” Bow River is where the action is.Depending on who you talk to  this section starts  at Fish Creek Provincial Park while some Calgary Fly-Fishers may contend that it starts just above the Calf Robe Bridge where the Bonny Brook Sewage Treatment Plant pumps  treated affluent into the river.This nutrient load is the reason why the Lower Bow River has a large biomass aiding in the obscene growth rate Bow River Trout are famous for.It’s also at Fish Creek Park where The Bow River begins to leave the urban sprawl of Calgary behind as menders through farm and ranch land, heading east to join the Oldman River where together they  form The South Saskatchewan River eventually flowing into Hudson’s Bay.

Bow River Fly-Fishing  Guide Gavin Stookes with a Lower Bow River Brown Trout and a very happy client

The 50 mile Lower Bow River setting is picture perfect for what Fly-Fishers from around the World seek,Serenity,wildlife,and large wild Trout.Guides and DIY Anglers for the most part stick to the lower Bow because the trout population seems to be more equally balanced between sometimes moody browns and easier to catch rainbows.Although anecdotal most anglers would agree the further up The Bow River you fish Brown Trout tend to dominate making for some slow days if the bite is not on.There is also the aesthetics of Fly-fishing through a city of million people,but when it’s on The Fly-fishing for large Brown Trout can be lights out.

Floating

“lower” Bow River peaceful setting.

Until recently the “City Stretch” above The Glenmore Trail Bridge was for the most part untouched from Drift Boat Anglers,however due to some forward thinking City Planners The Harvey Passage was created allowing floaters to bypass the Western Irrigation Dam at the same time Bow River User Groups petitioned the City to start opening up more access for launching boats.The result has been beneficial to both Anglers and Trout.

Bow River Brown Trout caught during a Green Drake hatch at the Glenmore Trail Bridge

This has given Drift Boat Anglers another two full day floating options starting in N.W. Calgary and taking out at the Calgary Zoo,or floating from the Zoo and taking out at Glenmore Trail.Floaters can also continue going all the way to Fish Creek Provincial Park.The benefit for the Trout is that more spawning habitat has been opened up via the passage around the Irrigation Dam and although there was a fish ladder for the trout to navigate the Dam,it was often clogged with debris making it difficult for pre spawning Bow River Brown Trout to navigate, thats now  changed with the passage.

Bow River Guide Angela Rankin launching at a City Stretch Commando Boat Ramp

This has been a long overdue game changer for The Calgary Fly-Fishing Scene.Although fishing can be tough it has taken some pressure off the more popular lower Bow River and given Anglers an alternative  if Bow River tributaries are pumping dirty water namely The Elbow River as a good portion of this float is above it.

 Planes,Trains,Automobiles and Fly-Fishing

Bow River Rainbow Trout and The Calgary downtown core

When I first moved to Calgary I always fished in the City as it was easy to access,close to home and with the time restraints I was dealing with I could easily fish for a few hours and call it good.My usual beat was below The Ogden Railway Yard down to the Calf Robe Bridge.I would start off fishing streamers swinging them “down and across” while wading and if a hatch materialized I would switch to Dry Flies.

Good Friend and Mentor Rick Harding working an Inner City Bow River side channel

These Fly-Fishing “quickies” helped develop my current love affair with this part of the river.As my guiding career progressed this area became my proving grounds on new files or tactics I was experimenting with.Now on my days off I’m quick to rekindle this relationship and float it.This stretch can be noisy and sometimes the Tubers can be a little distracting however The Bow River has a different character compared to further down river.It’s more “bouncy” due to the gradient, there are lots of rip rap banks, gravel bars  and Islands with side Channels making for some very interesting and “fishy” water.There are also fewer Drift  Boats and Jet Boats are not allowed.

Fishing Buddy Angie Rankin pulls one of a Inner City Bow River Rip Rap Bank

Given the nature of the River it’s not conducive to Nymph rides,It’s a Streamer or foam Dry Fly game, with Streamer fishing being the most effective.The fish population is not as dense as The lower Bow River consisting of mostly Brown Trout  with a few Rainbows thrown in,when its on you can get into plenty of 14-16 inch Browns with some tanks to keep you on your game.When its off, its off.

Coffee Minnows and other big Streamer Patterns get it done

Myself and my Calgary Fly-Fishing Guide Friends love it.On days off its our go-to as we can be on it early in the AM then off in the early afternoon allowing us to get it together for Bow River Guide Trips the the next day.There is also something to be said about catching trout as you float thru the downtown core of a City of over 1 million people! A very unique experience and a testament to the water quality of the Bow River.

Calgary Fishing Guide Mike Turnbull with a Bow River Brown Trout

When the stars align and various Mayflies and/or Caddis hatch you can also find yourself throwing Dry Flies to rising Trout or fishing foam Hopper or Stonefly Patterns from the Boat when thats going on.For Visitors to Calgary that may not have the time for a Guided Float Trip on the Lower Bow River, this stretch is worth considering as the travel time to the river is a lot quicker than driving out of the Calgary City Limits.

The Omaha Kid and a Hopper eating City Brown Trout

Some of our Bow River Fly-Fishing Clients have now tacked on an extra day just to get a taste of the City Stretch.Their fingers are crossed on every cast hoping for the chase  and an eat from a trophy Bow River Brown Trout.

Calgary Downtown Brown Trout

For More Information or to Book a Guided Bow River Fly-Fishing Trip or information on Calgary Fly-Fishing Contact Us ! We love to help you out and Our Bow River Fly-Fishing Guides are always “UP” for Floating the Bow River in Calgary Alberta.

 

City Chilling

 

 

John Rohmer’s Simi Seal Leech

John Rohmer’s Simi Seal Leech

A brown trout that ate a leach pattern

Small Stream Brown Trout with a Leech –Montana 

Leeches are an important food source for all things “fishy”  subsequently most Fly-Fishers have a go to pattern that they use.Mine has always been a very basic Mohair Leech as it’s simple to tie and fishes well.Fishing Leech Patterns on both Rivers and Lakes can be done in any number of ways and all methods are effective.You can hang underneath a Strike Indicator and Nymph them, trail a leach pattern behind a larger streamer and strip them back or fish a couple leeches in different of combinations and see which works.A popular method on Alberta’s Bow River is to tie a “light” Leech pattern and drop it off the bend of a Foam Stonefly or Hopper Pattern.Leach Patterns are  versatile,effective, and impressionistic,meaning your quarry might be eating them for a number of reasons on top of looking like leeches.

Bow River Brown Trout with the evidence.

Why The Simi Seal Leech ?

My fishing Clients from Arizona always raved about the Semi Seal Leech and we would fish them with excellent results.For whatever reason I did not completely embrace this pattern even after moving to Arizona.The Mohair Pattern seemed to work fine so I  just never bothered tying The Simin Seal Leech until this year. John Rohmer’s Simi Seal Leech is even easier which makes it faster to tie.It’s also just as effective as my old “go to” !Best of all it requires one Material which is Simi Seal Dubbing,throw a Bead on it and you are set.It is  just as effective as more elaborate patterns and with the variety of colors you can cover the whole gauntlet of what you can use it for.Normally we are tying it in sizes #8-#10  on a Mustad  9672  nymph hook. Colors I like are Black,Brown,Tan and white.These colors cover the gauntlet on which fly can represent which are Leeches,Baitfish,Crayfish,Damsel,Dragon and Stone fly nymphs.Checkout  JohnRohmer’s Video below have fun tying.Click Here for Materials.

 

Panfish love the Simi Seal in White

 

Saskatchewan Upland Bird and Waterfowl Hunting Guides

Saskatchewan Upland Bird and Waterfowl Hunting Guides

Saskatchewan Uland Bird and Waterfowl Guides

Covey Rise -Saskatchewan Upland Bird and Waterfowl Guide

In 2000 Licensed Saskatchewan Upland Bird and Waterfowl Guide and Outfitter Dave Brown made the decision to focus his Wingshooting Endeavors in The Province of Saskatchewan.The attraction was and still is,lack of hunting pressure,great habitat,LOTS of Huns and Sharptails,low population density and easy access from The United States.The “Off The  Charts” Duck hunting might also had something to do with his move.


covering a point

 

Slick and Lou Lou Pointing feeding Sharptails

Having hunted Huns across the Western States and Provinces Dave realized that Saskatchewan was the only North American Wingshooting destination where depending on habitats  Upland Bird Hunters could consistently see 5-12 Coveys of Huns,plus Sharptails per day.


Huns -Saskatchewan Upland Bird and Waterfowl Hunting Guides

Huns -Saskatchewan Upland Bird and Waterfowl Hunting Guides

With 10 Saskatchewan Wildlife Management Zones held via 2 Saskatchewan Upland Bird and Waterfowl Outfitter Licenses,Orvis Endorsed Dave Brown Outfitters operates within the entire S.W. Corner of the Province and we are the first and only Outfitter to utilize Pointing Dogs within our operation.


Idaho Bill pointing Sharptails

Our Saskatchewan Upland Bird Hunting takes place on Approx. 200,000 acres of Private Land scattered throughout our Area of Operation.The Habitat varies from rolling Prairre intersected by Coulees and Creek Bottoms,Old Farmsteads,Sand Hills and Slough Bottoms.The hunting is generally easy walking, Hunters still need to be in decent shape.

Sharptail Grouse and an AYA #2

Podcast: From the Fields of Saskatchewan, with Dave Brown

Dave Brown Outfitters featured on the Orvis Podcast


    Saskatchewan Waterfowl Hunting – Dave Brown Outfitters 

Mallards,Pintails and Happy Clients

Mallards,Pintails and Happy Clients

Saskatchewan is well known for it’s top shelf Waterfowl hunting for good reason as 70% of all Ducks in North America originate there.We take full advantage of that.Located within the staging area for the Central Fly Way  our Waterfowl hunts consist of either Pothole or Field shoots.We utilize a variety of Blinds and Decoys depending on what the situation calls for.

Avain A- Frame Blinds offer great concealment and comfort for our hunters

Avain A- Frame Blinds offer great concealment and comfort for our hunters

Waterfowl species consist of Lesser and Great Canada’s,Snow and Speckle Belly Geese.The ducks we see are Mallards,Pintails,Widgeon,Gadwell,Blue and Green Wing Teal,Canvas Backs and Golden Eye.

Josie Retrieves a Lesser Canada during a Pothole shoot

Josie Retrieves a Lesser Canada during a Pothole shoot


Capacity

3 -2 person parties(6 Hunters) or an intact party of 6-8 Hunters

Season Dates 

Our Season Runs from Sept.15 to October 31st.Prime Duck hunting starts the first week of October.

Rates

$600 per gun -Guide fees only

Lodging 

Lodging is at a motel in town which is also dog friendly.Meals are at 2 cafes in town.We can also do catering for larger parties.

Inclusions 

Guiding as indicated

Transportation to and from the field

use of equipment re. blinds ,decoys etc

Exclusions 

Shells

Bird Processing

Lodging

Gratuities

Booking with D.B.O.

Call us @ 800-453-3991

text us @520-6042729

email us @ dave@davebrownoutfitters.com

For more information on our Hunts,checkout or Saskatchewan Upland Bird and Waterfowl Guided Hunt Website  or Contact Us.

For Now  Fish Local

For Now Fish Local

Fishing local in Calgary Alberta

 

Let’s face it this Corona Virus has placed the World on “pause” until further notice.Fishing Trips requiring flying are being postponed or canceled severely impacting the Fy-Fishing Industry especially Destination Guides, Oufitters and Lodges as no one wants to risk travel and you cant blame them.I had high hopes of traveling north to Ontario to help a friend out with his Guide Service focusing on Great Lakes Steelhead,that would be a kick I thought but now the U.S. -Canada Border is closed.

Arizona LMB

So much for that great idea.A case of “Cabin Fever” has also set in and I am thinking I may have to continue to lay low and perhaps squash my guide season  in Montana and Alberta which would result in me staying right here in Patagonia Arizona which for all intensive purposes is not the Fly-Fishing Capitol of the World.If that scenario becomes reality Ill miss my northern fishing season however the main thing is stay healthy and limit contact with People.

Urban Brown Trout

Hopefully this situation that we are in sorts itself out sooner than later, but in the mean time I plan on fishing local.Checking out different Bass Lakes and perhaps some Small Arizona Trout Streams,places I have never been before but wanted to go.I’m sure a lot of you are having the same thoughts and want to make the best of a crappy situation.

Great Lakes Steelhead from a river thats 3 hours of Detroit and 2 hours from Toronto

If you live in the east or Midwest perhaps its time you checked out that Smallmouth Bass River you have heard about but never fished,or that little creek that via the rumor network you heard holds Brook Trout the further up you go.East Coasters have a myriad of Salt Water opportunities and if you live close to the Great Lakes their Tribs offer shots at some decent migratory rainbow and brown trout plus various Salmon Species.Farm Ponds stocked with Bass or Panfish can be a hoot ,sure its not Rocky Mountain Trout fishing but all this could be close to your home.Speaking of which, if you live in the West generally you don’t have to go far to find a Trout Stream,maybe this is the year you get into fly-fishing Alpine Lakes or getting off the Tailwaters and fishing back country streams for Cuttys.

Small Stream Brook Trout

Of course all of the above might require some tackle and Fly purchases and rather than order everything online give your friendly neighborhood Fly-Shop a call,Im sure they would love to hear from you and need the business.A suggestion to limit your contact with fly-shop staff would be to order your flies, leaders and hopefully that new rod and reel over the phone and have everything ready to roll for pick up or maybe delivery.

Panfish can be a riot on light tackle

The people that are really going to hurt while this pandemic carries on are Guides.If you enjoy fishing  with a local guide why not give him or her a call and see how they are doing ? Question them on what they have been doing to prevent the spread of this virus, most I’m sure have been laying low tying flies or fishing solo.If you are comfortable with their precautions and they are with yours perhaps book a trip.A few Caveats to add would be you would take your own vehicle and follow the guide, if you are floating have your rig shuttled also.I would suggest  providing your own lunch and drinks, finally consider tying your own flies on your tippet.This would give you a chance to get out with a Pro,help a fellow Human out while at the same time ensuring social distance is maintained.

Buddy Dan with a nice Arizona LMB

At the end of the day we will all get through this.Of course taking the necessary precautions to prevent the spread of and catching the Corona Virus is on everyone’s mind.However you still need to go fishing and I’m hoping these suggestions help.Stay Healthy and Safe Amigos !

Small stream Trout fishing

 

 

Get Email Updates from DBO!
Be the first to hear about Fly-Fishing and Wingshooting from us!
We respect your privacy.