There is nothing better than getting out on to the Prairies in the Fall and chase Birds.Normally we would be in Saskatchewan however thats not the case for this season, we are in Eastern Montana.
The Landscape is vast and full of opportunities for the Dogs and Hunters.Native Birds include Sharptail Grouse and Sage Grouse,the imports are Hungarian Partridge and Pheasants, most times when covering points you never know what to expect.
Sunny Points a Covey of Huns
Our older Dogs have pointed most of the wild birds found on the Northern Plains however the Sage Grouse is a new species.It seem the dogs are very surprised at the size of the Sage Grouse that are flushed over their point,several Sage Grouse points later they are still bewildered.
Crush and Bill pointing Sage Grouse
The Sharptails are numerous and have been fun for both dogs and Hunters alike.We have picked up our Dog Training game and have been busy scouting knew grounds so we are seeing a lot of fresh or un pressured birds.The terrain ranges from big open C.R.P. Fields to rolling hills covered in native Grass.Sage Brush Flats and Creek bottoms round out the mix which never gets old.
Millie points Sharptails
The beauty of the area,the friendly people and now that Fall is in the air is a great distraction from everything else that going on in the world. Peace Out.
Last Year Mark Peterson and his Father set out to hunt all the Upland Species in North America.We helped Mark out on The Desert Bird Front and he was able to shoot an Arizona Quail Slam.Mark owns World Trophy Adventures and you can book your Arizona Quail Hunt with them.
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.
“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.
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.
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.
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
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.
Dave Brown Outfitters featured on the Orvis Podcast
Saskatchewan Waterfowl Hunting – Dave Brown Outfitters
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
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
3 -2 person parties(6 Hunters) or an intact party of 6-8 Hunters
Our Season Runs from Sept.15 to October 31st.Prime Duck hunting starts the first week of October.
$600 per gun -Guide fees only
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.