|Fly Fishing Reports and Conditions|
Reports on Bow River fly fishing, the trout and the river
We will be posting photos and talking about the river conditions and fish activity we are seeing on the various waters we visit. With this, you are able to read about the water you're coming to fly fish before you even get here! Journal entries each year will start in mid-April and continue right through to late fall. Updates will be posted fairly regularly as time permits. Check back again or call Tom at 1-866-974-8522 for a personal report.
Bow River Hookers Journal Archives
Watson Top-water Brown|
July 30, 2012
Posted by Bill on Saturday, August 11, 2012
Greg Watson and Darin Choquotte joined us for two days of fishing at the end of July. With water levels and flow still very high for this time of year under cloudless, sunny skies and limited success nymphing on day one, the decision was made to make an early start on day two and try our hands at enticing the trout with dry flies. Launching before sunrise and fishing the first few hours in the morning shadows on the banks of the Bow produced many top-water eats, the highlight of which was Greg's beautiful, 24 inch Brown (pictured). Darin also took a beautiful Brown Trout (inset) and even though it was somewhat smaller than Greg's Brown, it too was a beautiful trout taken on a dry.
Father's Day Fishing|
June 17, 2012
Posted by Bill on Monday, June 18, 2012
David Stover (PA) and his 16 year-old son Jason joined us for a day flyfishing Beaver Lake. With the river blown out, still water fishing was our only option. Although the skies around us were filled with electricity, fishing could hardly be described the same way. Offers were several minutes apart and, more often than not, so gentle they were difficult to detect. Highlights on the day were David's biggest Rainbow ever, a beautifully coloured 20 incher (pictured), Jason's improvement handling the fly rod over the course of the day, the two trout Jason brought to hand and Jason's antics every time he missed a trout. After a wet and windy morning, the clouds broke up and the wind subsided to present a picture perfect late afternoon and evening with sunny skies and glass-like water. It was a wonderful way to spend Father's Day, a day I thoroughly enjoyed. Thanks David and Jason.
Friends and Family|
July 31, 2011
Posted by Bill on Monday, August 1, 2011
It is a rare occasion when we get to just go fishing with friends and family so this day was to be particularly special for me. Doug Sawka, a great friend from way back in high school, travelled from Spruce Grove to join me and my son Paul on the river. On first glance at the river, very high and very coloured, I was skeptical about our chances. After two bends and nothing in the way of eats, I resigned myself to the notion that this would be a very tough day of fishing. With the landing of Paul's first Brown Trout action took an abrupt turn and although not fast and furious, we consistently turned trout the rest of the way down the river. With hookups numbering in the low thirties by day's end, one would have to admit we had a pretty good day of fishing. But more important than the trout was the opportunity to spend the day with Doug and Paul. It was a great day in great company.
Starr on Fire|
July 30, 2011
Posted by Tom on Monday, August 1, 2011
I have created a monster and all to the credit of my father. He was the one who had a fly rod in my hand at the age of 6 and instilled a passion in me equal to nothing else. Because of this passion I have found my better half and have seemed to instill the same passion in her. We floated a somewhat high and dirty Bow River today and she did what some people spend a life time trying to achieve. And not only did she do it once, she did it twice. Sandy landed the first 24 inch brown which she holds for the photo and amazingly, not 100 yards later landed another which she allowed me to hold. I actual fact, she was able to handle the first Brown two-handed but the second Brown, much thicker and heavier, was too much for her to handle. Great day on the river with an amazing partner.
(This is the second year of fly fishing the Bow River for Sandy and although she only stands 5 feet with heels on, she is any thing but small when it comes to putting quality trout in the net.)
Browns on Rainbows|
July 29, 2011
Posted by Bill on Monday, August 1, 2011
In waters more likely found late in June, Randy and Jason Brown and I hit the water in anything but favourable river conditions. Flows continue to be extremely high with visibility in the 18 to 30 inch range. As a result of a power plant turbine failure upstream of Calgary, run-off conditions challenge the abilities and patience of Bow River fly fishers. Nonetheless, our trio had a reasonably good day of fishing, not in numbers but certainly in quality. Due to the water conditions it was decided that we would pound the banks in search of trout. Although not constant, at times it was a long way between hits, action came periodically from our launch at 22X to the Highwood confluence. As evidence by one of the larger Rainbows brought to net (pictured), our outing was very successful.
McCoy takes Bow by Storm|
July 23, 2011
Posted by Bill on Monday, July 25, 2011
Mark McCoy (CA) is an accomplished fly caster, eager and willing to try just about any fly fishing technique, hard on the set, a quick study and an absolute pleasure to have in the boat. Joining us on the river after a 12 hour downpour, Mark and I launch into cloudy, high water. He turned his first trout within 100 yards of launch as he adeptly, repeatedly placed a weighted streamer within inches of the bank. His first highlight of the day came on the same setup 15 minutes into the float, a tremendous 21 1/2 inch Brown (pictured). Next was to master the art of and tricks of nymphing which he did successfully many, many times thoughout the day. He mastered the presentation of the Stone Fly nymph, brought a dozen or more trout to the net with a hopper-dropper rig and even enjoyed the excitement of surface action with an adult stone imitation. This turned out to be one of those day a fly fishing guide dreams of ... trout on the feed, a caster willing an able to master a variety of presentations and nothing but flinging flies all day long. Thanks for a wonder day Mark. Hope to see you back soon.
Margola back on the Bow|
July 20, 2011
Posted by Bill on Sunday, July 24, 2011
Ed Margola (MA) joined us again this year for 5 days of fly fishing the Bow River. It is always a pleasure to escort Ed on the river. As a repeat client he already knows the river to a degree, knows what it takes to catch the trout and is just plain pleasant company chucking flies. The 5 days of fishing covered just about every variation one could expect on the Bow from smaller trout on day one to a 23 1/2 inch magnificent Brown (pictured) on day three. From a dead calm under sunny, cloudless skies to monsoon-like conditions with soaking downpours and gale force winds, thunder and lightning. It was a typical series of days for Ed's visit to the Bow. Day one produced smaller trout. Although we had many, many hookups, oddly the larger trout eluded on day one. Day two saw a entirely different spectrum with very little in the way of smaller trout, every trout caught was in the quality-class. Day three saw a mixed bag with some smaller trout but lots in the 18 plus inch class. Day four was one of those days then either the trout or Ed were off and although we turned some lovely trout, there was a lot of water covered between them. Day five, a half-day session, was back to the quality trout and a great way to round out the 5-day excursion. The highlight of the trip had to be the 23 1/2 inch Brown Ed brought to net on day three. Pictured is Ed with the trout, the lower portion of the image showing the Brown in the measuring trough. Each year I look forward to Ed joining us and with great memories for 2011, look forward to his visit again next year. Thanks for a great week Ed.
Bruce and Jim|
July 14, 2011
Posted by Bill on Saturday, July 16, 2011
Bruce Galloway (AB) and Jim (Scotland) joined us on the river for a picture perfect day of fly fishing. The weather couldn't have been better and although there were some slow stretches in the fishing, these two managed to pick fish all the way down the river (pictured a double-header mid-afternoon). Bruce a neophyte to fly fishing mastered the casting very quickly. Jim and experienced dry fly fisher at home, quickly adapted to nymphing. Jim corrected me on the proper pronounciation of the Loch Leven Brown Trout midway through the day as Jim boated a beautiful specimen. Both boated an number of trout and refused to count those released in the distance. Of note aside from the fishing, the Stones are here. Thanks for a great day Bruce and Jim.
NiteFlite Siberians go Fly Fishing|
July 12, 2011
Posted by Bill on Saturday, July 16, 2011
Much to my delight I was able to spend a day on the river with good friends Pam Barker and Craig Conklin (BC) of NiteFlite Siberians. While both had done some fly fishing before, it took a little bit for them to adapt to chucking a Bow River nymph rig but once they got a handle on dealing with the weight, they were away. Pam was responsible for producing the catch of the day, a 21 inch, heavy Rainbow (pictured) although Craig might disagree as he boated his first ever Brown Trout (inset). Not to my particular liking and certainly not our focus for the day, Pam and Craig boated a record number of Rocky Mountain Whitefish, 7 which is a bit unusual on a trout seeking trip. We were to spend two days on the river but due to muddy water and a downpour on Wednesday morning, we decided to count our blessings and pass on the second day. The fly fishing excursion was a gift for Pam's birthday and a treat for all of us. Fly fishing, great weather, wonderful company and the Bow River. Thanks for a great trip Pam and Craig. Happy birthday Pam.
Monsoon for Grants|
July 11, 2011
Posted by Bill on Saturday, July 16, 2011
Gary and Sherri Grant (AZ) joined us for a mixed bag of weather and fly fishing. Although the day started out lovely weather-wise, the clouds rolled in as the day progressed and shortly after mid-day the skies opened up dumping a couple of inches of rain on us over a 45 minute period. It was the first time I recall having to bail out the boat twice in one day. Undaunted by the weather, Gary and Sherri worked hard and persistently throughout the day even though the fishing was tough and generally slow. Both are pleasant and eager fishermen and enjoyed the excursion and what it had to offer. Thanks Gary and Sherri for a very enjoyable day.
Olson et. al.|
July 10, 2011
Posted by Bill on Saturday, July 16, 2011
Gord Olson and five buddies joined us on the river under beautiful, cloudless skies for a great day of fishing. Although all boats and fishermen got into some quality trout, one of the highlights of the day was a beautiful Brown Trout (pictured) Gord took early in the float on a size 16 Evil Weevil. The day was riddled with various offerings on the menu with trout being taken on many of them ranging from very small nymphs to semi-large streamers. Although we looked hard for snouts along rocky and grassy banks, no trout were seen coming to the surface sipping flies. The Caddis are becoming more plentiful although Mayflies are still the major insect life on the water. It was a great day of fly fishing with a great bunch of guys.
July 8, 2011
Posted by Bill on Saturday, July 16, 2011
What would be expected in a normal year, the Golden Stone Fly hatch would be well underway either at or just on the ebb of the peak activity. However, this is not a normal year and we are still waiting for the stones to start appearing in numbers. Bill Tyler (BC) joined us for a trip in cleaning water but still very high level and flows at the spring runoff extends well beyond what we normally expect. Bill shows a very pretty Brown Trout (pictured) in very good condition even though the water has been very dirty for the past month and a half. Although we did a fair amount of testing for stones in the water, not a single trout came on that immitation.
July 1, 2011
Posted by Bill on Sunday, July 3, 2011
If there is one thing consistent about the Bow River it would be that you cannot predict fishing her waters. Randy Brown and Dan Thompson joined me for the day where what one would expect to happen, did not. With the river severely coloured we expected trout to come from the banks, few did. With visibility in the 2 foot range we expected streamers to be very effective, they were not. With extremely fast river flow we expected the trout to be in the calmer water, most trout came from the seams. There appeared to be 3 separate and totally different menus, the first applying above the Deerfoot extension, the second from the Deerfoot to Cottonwood and the third taking over below Cottonwood. Nonetheless we had a great day of fly fishing landing some very nice trout and exploring the new topography carved by the run-off ice and water.
Aylsworth to Beaver|
June 22, 2011
Posted by Bill on Thursday, June 23, 2011
Jim Aylsworth (TX) is intensely keen about fly fishing and with the Bow River totally blown out, his attention and our destination changed, his fishing excursion would not be thwarted by the poor fishing condition of the Bow. Eager to just go fishing, against my better judgement, Jim insisted we go fishing somewhere so plans were set to make the journey to Beaver Lake. Jim is the kind of person who enjoys the entire experience of a trip. Although fishing was the excuse and Rainbow Trout the target, he is interested and eager to enjoy everything associated with the trip. Through the course of the day we were treated to the longing call of the Loon, mastery fishing of the Osprey, a Red Fox mousing at dinner and 18 or so beautifully coloured Rainbow Trout. Amid cloudless skies and tranquil surroundings we enjoyed a great day of fishing. Thanks for the terrific fishing trip Jim, next time we'll get you on the Bow.
Spring has Sprung|
April 24, 2011
Posted by Bill on Monday, April 25, 2011
With the cool spring weather everything is a little later than usual. Although we would normally have been on the river several times by now in a normal year, this was our maiden float of the 2011 fishing season. Joining me was son Joel and brother-in-law John for what turned out to be the warmest day of the year so far, by far. As was expected, fishing was a little slow to start after launching at Glenmore. The first 3 fish, all Rocky Mountain Whitefish, kept the casters keen throughout several bends until John tied into the first trout, a dark but colourful 20 1/2 inch Brown. Action picked up from there down to Fish Creek which was dumping pure mud into the Bow. Downstream of Fish Creek the mud mixed quickly across the breadth of the river reducing visibility significantly and impacting the catch in a negative way. In spite of this, it was a wonderful day on the river, the birds are back, the sky was cloudless and the osprey were fishing. There can be nothing more tranquil than a day in good company fly fishing the Bow. Final count on the day approached the twenty mark. It was a great way to start the 2011 season.
Andal and Sawchyn|
October 2, 2010
Posted by Bill on Sunday, October 3, 2010
On the best day weather wise in 2 weeks, John Andal (AB) and Richard Sawchyn (SK) joined us on the river to enjoy a spectacular day of autumn fishing. The weather was picture perfect with sunny skies, warm and not a breath of wind all day long. Although fishing didn't quite match the weather conditions, it was a pretty darn good day of fishing. John caught his first trout on a fly rod, his first Brown Trout ever and trout on both a nymph rod and a hopper-dropper rod. Richard, with some fly casting experience, caught his first Brown Trout, the largest Rainbow he's ever caught and was effective with both nymphs and hopper-droppers. Although samples taken from trout didn't give much in the way of clues as to the menu, these two picked trout fairly consistently from launch to takeout. There were certainly slow stretches but the quality of trout made up for lags in the action. Water level and flow is very high for this time of year and the debris carried by the water fouled hooks a lot. Both John and Rickard are good fly fishers and a pleasure to have in the boat. Thanks for a great day guys.
Dynamic Risk Fishing|
September 29, 2010
Posted by Bill on Thursday, September 30, 2010
Darren, Scott, Wes, John, Pauline and Kevin joined us on the river for a day of fly fishing courtesy of Dynamic Risk. The day started out picture perfect with a hint of fall in the air, colours of autumn all around, a cloudless blue sky and personalities to match. The tone of the day was pretty well set as Aaron conducted the dry-land training and the heckling started. Both the weather and good nature held throughout the day and although all fishers were pretty well worn out by day's end, every face was wearing a smile. Highlights of the day were the Bow and her bounty on this day, the light-hearted laughter from all boats and Pauline 'unleashing the fury' on every hook set. It has been a long time since I've laughted so hard I cried. The upper stretch of the float produced better quality trout and samples taken from caught trout in the lower stretch showed BWO nymphs in the size 20 class on the menu. This was a most enjoyable day ... one that will carry me through the winter.
Bill Sr. and Bill|
September 27, 2010
Posted by Bill on Tuesday, September 28, 2010
It had been quite a spell since the last time Dad and I had been fishing the river together and with the shorter days and cooler temperatures, this may have been our last trip of the season. The morning was glorious with sunny skies and the trees and shrubs lining the river valley in full fall dress. The vibrance, brilliance and spectrum of colours is absolutely spectacular. Afternoon gave way to a gale force wind that challenged casting, fishing and managing the float. Nonetheless, it was a wonderful day. Fishing was a little slow out of the gate and Dad experienced spotty fishing with nymph and hopper-dropper rigs from start to finish. I fished exclusively with a hopper-dropper setup and had an exceptionally good day. Fishing highlights of the day were Dad's dark coloured Brown (pictured), his thick, heavy Rainbow taken toward the end of the day and the quality of trout that came on the hopper-dropper. And although we took some wonderful trout, the real highlight of the day was simply being out with Dad ... enjoying fly fishing (an activity we both love) ... enjoying the river (we are so fortunate to live so close to her) ... enjoying each others company.
Watson et. al.|
September 18, 2010
Posted by Bill on Sunday, September 19, 2010
Greg Watson (AB) brought another 3 first-time fly fishers with him on his second trip of the year, brother Jim, Cam Schoepp and Joe Chamulke. The conditions were anything but ideal, brutally cold and wet with a bitter southeast breeze. Fishing throughout the day was a bit on the slow side although all four anglers had opportunities and landed trout. Samples taken from netted trout showed little in the way of food preference and little in the way of anything at all. The trout, quite simply, were not on the feed. Undaunted by the cold, all four fishers were in good spirits and fished throughout the day, bantering back and forth and appreciating each catch. This was a great bunch of guys to have in the boats. The horrid conditions didn't dampen their enthusiasm which always makes it a great day of fishing.
The Bow at her Finest|
September 14, 2010
Posted by Bill on Wednesday, September 15, 2010
There are some days on the Bow that simply defy adequate description. This was to be one of those days. Following 3 days of rain and drizzle, Brad Messner and Rick (CA) joined us for a day of fishing with elevated levels and flows resulting from all the precipitation. Although Brad was skeptical about our fishing chances, his concern quickly vanished with the first trout of the day, a tremendous 22 inch Brown less than a 100 yards from launch. Both Brad and Rick are experienced fly casters and took to presentation techniques very quickly. Surpassing their proficiency with a fly rod was their character and personalities, just happy to be on the water enjoying their day. And enjoy their day they did. By the fourth hour on the water only covering about 4 miles of river they had already netted well over two dozen quailty trout ranging in size from 17 inches to 23 inches. And the fishing only got better as the day wore on. While nymphing light and nymphing heavy produced trout on the float, the hopper-dropper out of the boat was by far the most productive. With sore arms from fighting trout and smiles you could see a mile away, Rick closed out the day with a 23 inch Rainbow at last light with 8 miles of river yet to cover to reach take out. This was an incredible day on the Bow. Although the temperatures were anything but tropical, it's amazing how little you notice the conditions when you're constantly into big fish. While big trout are always a highlight of a day, there were so many big trout this day that the highlight of the day had to be the attitude and enthusiasm of these two fishers. Thanks for a great day fishing Brad and Rick ... hope to see you back again soon.
Cold and Wet for First-timers|
September 13, 2010
Posted by Bill on Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Although mid-day is supposed to be the warmest part of the day, on this day the mercury never rose. Amid clouds, rain and very cold temperatures, Barry Leinweber and Jeremy (AB) joined us for a half-day float, their first ever chucking flies and their first ever on the Bow. In thermal gloves and attire more customarily seen in January, these two novices braved the elements to experience the Bow and fly fish her waters. Under horrid conditions they took a while to master the elements of casting, presentation, hooking up and fighting trout. Both of these gentlemen were tenacious and never complained about the conditions, casting and fishing throughout the day only uttering a negative word when they missed setting on a trout. With 9 trout and 2 Whitties brought to hand by day's end, one would have to say they had a darn good day of fishing. It was certainly a pleasure Barry and Jeremy and hopefully our next trip will be under hot, sunny, blue skies.
Happy Birthday Jeff|
September 11, 2010
Posted by Bill on Sunday, September 12, 2010
As a special birthday present for her husband Jeff, Shelly Fleming (AB) booked us for this fly fishing float trip. Jeff, a very capable fly caster, hadn't been fly fishing for a couple of years due to job related demands on his time. Shelly, 3 months pregnant, had never held a fly rod in her hands before let alone done any fly fishing. Shelly took like a fish to water in mastering casting, presentation and setting the hook landing 2 trout, one a very nice rainbow, before we cleared the 22X bridge after launching at Fish Creek Park. Jeff took a little longer to warm up to the presentation technique and didn't take his first trout until about half way down the flat below the bridge. In terms of eats, trout activity was pretty much constant all the way down to the Highwood confluence ... the only glitch that limited the catch was the setting of the hooks. At the end of the day 16 trout were brought to net, 8 each, and Jeff estimated they had missed or lost at least 50 more. The upper end of the float on this day was by far the most productive although the Mansion Run was kind to us again producing 7 hook ups the last of which, a heavy and strong trout in fast water, Shelly lost in a tug-of-war battle. Shelly and Jeff are some of the nicest people you're ever going to meet on or off the water. It was a thoroughly enjoyable day fishing the Bow with two people just happy to be out on the water. Thanks Shelly and Jeff.
Jacobsen and Anderson|
September 10, 2010
Posted by Bill on Sunday, September 12, 2010
Doug Jacobsen (CA) and Chip Anderson (CA) joined us on the river for what started out being a cold, wet day of fishing the Bow. However, as the morning wore on, the rain stopped falling and the sky began to clear. By mid-afternoon scattered clouds floated in a background of blue and the sun was hot, compared to the last few days, on the water. This was one of those days that keeps us coming back to fly fish the Bow. Highlights of the day were the three heavy Browns taken at spaced out intervals of the float. This was Doug's second trip with us on the Bow and was a more productive day of fishing than his maiden voyage a year ago. Chip's introduction to the Bow and its trout will be a tough one to match in the future. I have no idea exactly how many trout these two turned and/or landed but at the end of the day, Chip was 5 up on Doug. Any day fishing with Doug is an entirely enjoyable day and with Chip having virtually the same attitude and character as Doug, there were few dull moments throughout the float. Thanks guys for a great day ... see you next year.
Wilson and Graham|
September 8, 2010
Posted by Bill on Sunday, September 12, 2010
Jamie Wilson (WA) and Randy Graham (AB) joined us on the river for a cold, wet day of fishing. As can be seen by the Jamie's apparel as he poses with his 21 inch Rainbow (pictured), it wasn't a particularly pleasant weather day for fly fishing the Bow. In spite of the less than ideal weather conditions, Jamie and Randy were into about 20 trout on the day landing 14 of them. The trout menu remains unchanged and although some fish were seen coming to the surface, the surface activity was inconsistent and likely a result of the trout chasing emergers rather than actually feeding on surface insects. With the recent rains and subsequent runoff, the river level was up slightly and colouring late in the day. The Highwood is flowing chocolate making the right bank below her confluence vitually unfishable.
Shultz and Moss|
September 7, 2010
Posted by Bill on Sunday, September 12, 2010
Alan and Linda Shultz (NM) and Jim and Marilyn Moss (NM) joined us on the river for two days of fly fishing. Although debatable, Jim and Marilyn owned day one while Alan and Linda owned day two. Highlights of the trip included Jim's terrific Brown and Linda's thick Rainbow (pictured) on day one of the trip. The weather wasn't exactly tropical on either day with all four fishers bundled up like mummy's to start the float on both days. Although cool, the wind wasn't a factor and what little rain fell during fishing hours wasn't a detriment. Samples taken from caught trout indicate the table fare was predominantly microscopic in nature, size 28 or smaller nymphs. Regardless this foursome touched well over 100 trout during the two days of fishing. Following our days fishing the group was headed to the mountains to enjoy the Rockies.
Annual Mintz Visit|
September 3, 2010
Posted by Bill on Sunday, September 5, 2010
Devin and Don Mintz joined us for their annual trip fly fishing the Bow and drug along friends Lynn and John. Activity started pretty quickly out of the gate, highlighted by Devin's 20 inch Brown (pictured) early in the float. In keeping with the fishing, the day started out beautiful with sunny skies and no wind. Half way through the morning the wind started picking up and the fishing activity went downhill. Although we had a respectable first half of the morning, the second half was a lot of tough fishing. Activity picked up after the lunch break in spite of the gale force wind and takes were fairly consistent down to the Highwood. Beyond the mouth of the Highwood fishing was dismal as it has been for the last while. Samples taken from netted trout suggested that the trout weren't on this day and although we netted 29 trout, it was generally a tough day of fishing ... partly due to the conditions. The wind made it tough casting, tough obtaining proper presentation and tough getting a decent drift. Nonetheless, it was great to be on the water with Devin, Don et. al., some nice trout were caught and the day was thoroughly enjoyable.
August Fly Fishing|
August 18, 2010
Posted by Bill on Thursday, August 19, 2010
Although the morning was foggy as Dad, Tom and I headed to the river, the day was to be a blistering hot day full of sunshine and only the occasional hint of a breeze. There was very little insect activity on the water, however, downstream of the Highwood confluence the grassland was alive with grasshoppers ... a good sign for the weeks ahead. Fishing was a little slow out of the gate with the first trout coming a couple of hundred yards from the launch. Fishing never really did get particularly hot although it was consitent down to the Highwood. From there on, as is usual of late, the trout were small and a long way apart. The Honey Hole and Mansion Run were the best producers on the day and although we hit the shelf at the tail of the Mansion Run hard with hopper-dropper, nymphs and streamers, it was not up to its usual standard. With several very respectable trout brought to hand and a day fly fishing the Bow as a trio, we are tremenously fortunate to be able to enjoy a day, river and fishing like this together.
Keeping in Touch|
August 15, 2010
Posted by Bill on Tuesday, August 17, 2010
Tom, Jason Brown and I put on the river to do a little fishing and test the effectiveness of some different techinques. Jason was bound and determined he was going to nymph streamers for the day, Tom started out stripping streamers and switched to nymphing after a couple of hours of precious little action, I was to chuck a hopper-dropper set. If Jason's nymphing streamers and my chucking the hooper-dropper is an accurate gauge of the trout activity, the trout were not on the banks. Jason turned several fish but nothing of any notable size, I turned fewer trout the best of which was a thick 19 inch Brown (pictured), Tom schooled us on fishing on this day with a fair amount of success on his nymph rod. The day was hot and sunny with only a hint of a breeze from time to time which may have had something to do with the lack of trout on the banks. There was a lot of debris floating in the river from garbage and weeds to branches and shrubs requiring constant hook cleaning. Although fishing productivity wasn't what we're used to, it was a great day on the river with terrific fishing partners, a bunch of trout and the Bow River.
Watson et. al.|
August 14, 2010
Posted by Bill on Tuesday, August 17, 2010
Greg Watson, Cam, Marcel and Ken joined us on the river from Edmonton for a day of fly fishing. Neither Cam nor Marcel had fly fished before, Greg and Ken had some experience chucking flies although not on the Bow and not from a drift boat. Although Cam nailed a Rainbow right out of the gate, fishing was a little slow for the first couple of hours on the river. Action made an abrupt turn with Cam hooking up on and landing a 20 1/2 Brown (pictured lower-left). From that point on eats were fairly consistent and all four anglers had many opportunities to tie into trout. Samples taken from landed trout showed little change in the menu over the last week or so. Although we tried a number of different flies, those that produced were the same as have been producing for days. Greg's highlight of the trip, a 19 1/2 inch Brown (pictured lower-right), came late in the day from a shallow, fast run on a hopper-dropper setup on his own 5 weight rod. Marcel had some difficulty mastering the hook setting technique throughout the day and Ken found the presentation to be a challenge. Nonetheless, all fishers took trout and enjoyed a wonderful day on the Bow River. All four were very enjoyable company in the boats and all four will be better prepared for their next float down the river. All in all it was a great day. Thanks guys.
Elite Atheletes/Trainers Chuck Flies|
August 10, 2010
Posted by Bill on Friday, August 13, 2010
Bryan Davies booked this trip for a group of elite athetes and their trainers as an escape from the rigours of off-season training. The morning was cool with the threat of rain that never materialized. Scattered clouds, no wind and active trout made for a very enjoyable day fly fishing the Bow. Some of the fishers were brand new to fly fishing while others had varying degrees of experience. Zach Boychuk (AB), a first time fly fisher, was quick to master fly fishing techniques, was adequately back casting within a half-hour of launch and outfished most of the experienced fly casters. Zach is pictured with his best trout of the day, a 19 1/2 inch Rainbow. This wasn't the catch of the day but for a first time fly fisher, he demonstrated poise and control casting, presenting the flies and fighting trout ... he is a natural fly fisher. Doug Crashey (AB) let his best two trout of the day, both Browns, escape in the distance. Samples taken from caught trout confirmed little change in the fish menu even though a huge Midge hatch mid-day blanketed the river. This was a thoroughly enjoyable day with a group of fellows just happy to be on the river catching fish and away from the pressures of off-season training.
A Day of Browns|
August 3, 2010
Posted by Bill on Wednesday, August 4, 2010
Dad and I headed for the river under questionable weather conditions but determined to fish nonetheless. As we approached city center, Jason texted indicating that visibility at Policeman's Flats was less than a foot (Jason and Randy Brown were also intending to float the river). A quick switch in plans had us heading to Fish Creek Park to check out water conditions there. Fish Creek was flowing mud and visibility at the launch site was disheartening, only about a foot. As Dad and I crossed over the Calf Robe Bridge earlier, the river at that point looked much cleaner so we headed back to the Glenmore launch to check it out. With 3 or more feet of visibility we launched at Glenmore, Jason and Randy joining us. This was a Brown day, both in trout and anglers. Jason and Randy (Brown) netted a dozen Browns 20 inches or better. Dad and I did not fair as well although we caught some lovely fish including the 21 inch and 19 1/2 inch Browns pictured. The lower image in the picture is the 19 1/2 inch Brown laying in our newly devised measuring trough. I am very pleased with this new measuring device; it allows us to keep the trout in the water, allows the trout to continue to ventilate, presents a safe means of measuring the trout without fear of hurting or overhandling them, gives highly visible measurements, and makes the release easy and smooth without further stress on the trout (the trout and trough are out of the water for picture purposes). Samples taken from caught trout showed Caddis larvae and other small nymphs on the menu. Insect activity was entirely absent until takeout when Caddis were coming off the water in clouds. All in all this was a wonderful day on the river, one of those rare days when virtually all the trout moved were Brown Trout.
Gals Day on the Bow|
July 30, 2010
Posted by Bill on Saturday, July 31, 2010
"They've got another one!", the audible comment from a fisher in another boat anchored along our float path pretty much summed up the day of fly fishing for my wife Kathleen and friend Shawntel. Even though both Kathleen and Shawntel are virtual beginners, the success they were enjoying fly fishing the Bow was being noticed by other anglers along the river. The day started out with a bang as Kathleen took the first trout just a couple of hundred feet out of the gate. Fighting fish from that point on was pretty well non-stop with either the rod in the front of the boat or the rod in the back of the boat bent for the majority of the day. We did have one slow stretch just above the Cottonwood where both rods were straight for a time but a quick switch of offerings and the bent rods were back in action again. Highlights of the day were the tug-of-wars Shawntel lost versus the trout, the quality of trout both gals brought to net, and the sheer enjoyment of just being out on the river. Samples taken from caught trout suggested the fish weren't really on the feed even though we had continuous action throughout the day. A severe thunder storm late in the day forced us to row out from the Highwood confluence, a relief to the girls whose arms were worn out fighting fish. The estrogen edge (girls seem to just have that touch) was most certainly evident this day and I'm looking forward to the next time I have these two gals out fly fishing the Bow.
July 27, 2010
Posted by Bill on Thursday, July 29, 2010
This was one of those rare days during the season when schedules allow Tom, Dad and me to get on the river together to do a little fishing. Following the deluge of rain in Calgary the night before, the river was markedly coloured, the excuse we're using for the abrupt change in the fish menu. Fishing action could hardly be described as fast and although we had some slow stretches, it couldn't be described as slow either. Dad had the upper hand in number of trout caught which has been the situation for the last few trips we have had together. Although the river was cleaning as the day wore on, it did not recover to the clarity we were seeing prior to the deluge. The Highwood is crystal clear and although it improved visibility downstream of her confluence, fishing below the Highwood is dreadful. Samples taken from caught trout showed very little in the way of feeding choice; samples rendered a couple of caddis nymphs or nothing at all. It is always special when we three get to go fishing together, great company, lots of laughs and the trout that augment the excursion.
Bow River Good to Ed|
July 23, 2010
Posted by Bill on Sunday, July 25, 2010
After a slow day on the river on day 3, we delayed launch by an hour on day 4 of Ed Margola's 4-day trip because of clouds, rain and a ferocious wind. As it turned out, our decision to delay was a good one. Ed decided he was going keep count on the catch this day so there would be no question as to how effective he was with his fishing. Action started pretty much right out of the gate and was steady all the way down to the Highwood confluence at which point Ed put his rod away and enjoyed the scenery from there to takeout. The catch count at the end of the day was 27 to the net and 14 long distance releases ... he did not keep track of the missed takes. The highlight of the day and the trip was the thick, 23 inch Brown Trout Ed landed (pictured) after a mid-afternoon, nerve racking fight. The 2010 edition of Ed's visit to the Bow concluded under calm, cloudless skies with a host of memories of fishing success. I thoroughly enjoy Ed's trips with us and look forward to his return in 2011. Thanks Ed.
2 of 4 with Margola|
July 21, 2010
Posted by Bill on Thursday, July 22, 2010
Ed Margola (MA) joined us again this year for another 4 days of fly fishing the Bow. This entry covers the first two days of his trip. The first day could only be considered to be a bit tough in the fishing department. The trout were pretty picky about what they would take and Ed had to work for hookups. With only a dozen or so fish touched on day 1 we left the river with optimism for day 2. Day 2 was a complete reversal of day 1. With a little presentation coaching, Ed had an incredible second day of his trip. Launching at Fish Creek Park, Ed had two hookups on trout before we cleared the 22X bridge, one a beautiful 19 inch Brown. Action was fairly steady down to Policeman's Flats and from that point on the river lit up. There were stretches where Ed had a take on every third cast or less, several times the first cast after having just completed a battle with a trout. With trout to the net numbering in the neighbourhood of 30 and touched trout numbering somewhere around double that, both the Bow and Ed did themselves proud on day 2. Samples taken from caught trout both days showed caddis larvae, small May Fly nymphs, leeches and small stone fly nymphs on the menu. The trout menu hadn't changed from the first day but Ed's presentation technique had. Highlights on the first two days of Ed's trip had to be the 21 inch Brown he took late in the day 2 float, the heavy Rainbow just before lunch on day 2, the beautiful rainbow taken on a hopper-dropper set on day 1, the gorgeous weather and the non-stop bent rod on day 2. Hopefully Ed's next two days will be replicas of his second day fly fishing the Bow.
Courtesy of Larry|
July 17, 2010
Posted by Bill on Monday, July 19, 2010
Larry, Scott, Ben and Shane joined us on a client appreciation float Larry provided as a different kind of team building exercise. All four anglers were brand new to fly fishing and the Bow River. Although Larry took the longest to get the hang of chucking flies with a fly rod, he was the first to bring a trout to hand. In contrast, Ben took to chucking flies very quickly and although he had many, many hookups, had considerable difficulty bringing one to the net. Scott mastered casting very early in the trip and Shane was just plain scary flinging flies throughout the day. All fishers netted a number of trout (except Ben) and all four had lots of takes on the day. In contrast to the day before, the anglers enjoyed a good day of fishing. Samples taken from trout showed no change in the fish menu and although evidence of a current stone fly hatch was obvious, not a fish was taken on a stone, nymph or adult. Only a slight breeze blew through in the afternoon, so insignificant that it didn't give the anglers any difficulty whatsoever. This was a terrific day on the river with a group of fellas just happy to be out on the water.
July 16, 2010
Posted by Bill on Monday, July 19, 2010
Ken, Gregg, Glenn, and Nick Fyles joined us on the river to do a little fishing during Stampede week. Because of the monsoon we had the weekend before, the river was still a little coloured although with visibility in the 4 foot range, the river was certainly fishable. Unlike the preceding few days, fishing was a little tough with many slow sections, lots of casting with little to show for the effort. Samples taken from the caught trout suggested the fish were feeding sporadically on a variety of aquatic life. Caddis nymphs appeared to be the most prevalent item on the menu although even those were found in limited numbers. On a shelf, in a pocket behind a boulder, Gregg took a lovely Brown (pictured) early in the float. Other quality trout were taken on the day but the Bow didn't show herself particularly well. Anglers battled a harsh wind in the afternoon adding to the challenge of chucking flies and hooking up. Regardless, it was a good day to be on the river.
Ducks Unlimited Appreciation Trip|
July 9, 2010
Posted by Bill on Sunday, July 11, 2010
In appreciation for years of service, Robert Wigg was provided a float trip on the Bow and took his buddy Doug Scratch along for the fun. Both virtual neophytes to fly fishing and the Bow River, Robert was the first to get the hang of casting, presenting the bugs and setting the hook. Although Doug took a little longer to warm up to the techniques, Robert didn't get much of an edge in catching trout. It was a sunny, hot day on the river with only the occasional breeze to give relief from the blistering heat. Fishing action was steady, a bit slow in some sections, one after the other in other sections. The pair figured they brought trout numbering in the mid twenties to hand ranging from small pan fry size to 21 or 22 inches. The entire catch, save one brown, on this day was Rainbow Trout. The Brown Trout, Doug's first, wasn't a monster but was a real treat for a fisher looking to catch as wide array of species as he can. All in all it was a great day ... two fishers who were just happy to be out experiencing the Bow and what she has to offer, sunny skies, warm temperatures and catching trout on a fly.
July 7, 2010
Posted by Bill on Wednesday, July 7, 2010
There is something very special about days spent on the river with family. My oldest son Joel was my companion and fishing partner on today's float from Policeman's to McKinnon's. Fishing could only be described as tough on this day as it was a long way between hook ups. Even so, Joel and I managed to get in to twenty or so trout, a pretty good day by most standards. Fish were taken on pretty well every fly we tied on the line indicating there was nothing specific on the menu this day. The photo, courtesy of Todd Clarke on lunch break, is of one of Joel's better Rainbows on the day. In spite of the tough fishing, it was a pleasure to watch my son as his casting and line management skills improved throughout the day. It is a treat to just sit back and watch him cast. He even did a darn good job of rowing on his first time in the pilot seat. He is eager and tenacious, a younger version of the ol' man. I look forward to the next time we put to the water together. Thanks Joel.
The Stones are Advancing|
July 2, 2010
Posted by Bill on Saturday, July 3, 2010
With the river cleaning after being blown out from spring runoff, Tom and I floated from Fish Creek Park to McKinnon Flats. The river is still high with lots of flow and visibility from launch to takeout was about 4 feet, plenty for a good day of fishing. A small streamer was the fly of choice for the first few hours of the float and although action wasn't fast and furious, it was consistent. As action tapered off, a few bends past Policeman's Flat, the fish menu had changed and a switch to nymphs produced good success from there on. Lower down we noticed adult Stones on the water, rocks and bank vegetation and although we tried a dry imitation, it produced nothing. Although in the early stages, I believe it fair to say the Stone Fly hatch has started and has advanced well past the Highwood confluence. It was a terrific day on the river with over 60 trout and 2 Rockies brought to hand. One can only imagine what the day would have been like with two rods in the boat. It is always special to spend a day fishing with my brother and this day was no exception.
Josh Dubin (NY)|
June 12, 2010
Posted by Bill on Sunday, June 13, 2010
Although Josh was scheduled to float the Bow on Thursday, the rains through the preceding three days blew the river out forcing us to reschedule the trip to Saturday. With the river clearing we put on the river early Saturday morning. Visibility at launch was about 3 or so feet which was pretty well constant down to the Highwood confluence. The Highwood was pure chocolate but the muddy contamination stayed on the south bank all the way to takeout where visibility on the north bank was about 2 feet. Although water conditions weren't the best, the weather was absolutely picture perfect with sunny skies all day long and only a couple of 15 minute breezy bursts in the afternoon. Having been with us twice before, Josh was fairly familiar with the river, the trout and what to expect. In terms of fishing this was hardly a stellar day although with Josh being into well over 20 trout, a dozen or more to the net, it wasn't a poor day either. Highlights of the day were the incredible weather, Josh's first German Brown, the biggest Rainbow he's ever caught, the ones he fought but didn't bring to hand, those he did bring to hand and another thoroughly enjoyable day on the river with Josh. His utter enjoyment of the day with and without fish makes this annual outing one of my favourite trips of the year.
Parks and Newman|
June 6, 2010
Posted by Bill on Monday, June 7, 2010
Dave Parks and Greg Newman (Calgary) booked this trip to kick off their 2010 fishing season. Having purchased their fly fishing equipment in 2009 and having no success on the Bow, they wanted to learn about fly fishing the river; access points, reading the water, fishing techniques and the trout so they would be able to successfully fish the river on their own. It took a few bends for them to get the hang of casting a nymph rig and presenting the bugs but once they started getting into fish, action was fairly consistent all the way to take-out. There were several highlights on this day of fly fishing; the wonderful weather through the morning, Dave's and Greg's first trout on a fly rod, the improvement in their casting as the day wore on and many, many trout brought to the net. With three or more double-headers and a number of trout pushing the tape beyond 18 inches, the most notable trout of the day was Greg's heavy, thick 24 inch Brown landed late in the day (see the Photo Gallery). Both Dave and Greg were eager students, quick studies and a pleasure to have in the boat. Thanks for a great day guys. I hope this trip is just the start of your continued success and enjoyment of the river for years to come.
Dad's Day on the Bow|
June 2, 2010
Posted by Bill on Friday, June 4, 2010
Following a week of horrid spring weather, Tom, Dad and I picked the first day with a forecast for warm and dry conditions to get back onto the Bow. Although it didn't turn out to be all that warm, it didn't rain and we only had to fight the wind through occasional bursts. The river was slightly coloured at Policeman's launch with about 3 to 4 feet of visibility. The Highwood was chocolate reducing visibility below her confluence significantly, especially on the south bank. Although water and weather conditions weren't perfect, fishing was very good. There can be only one way to describe this day ... Dad's day. Fishing started out a little slow out of the gate but after the first couple of bends Dad started getting into trout. Once he started he never let up, even below the muddy mix contributed by the Highwood. The Brown Trout pictured was one of 30 or more of his catches on the day. Samples taken from trout suggested they weren't on the feed although many small risers were spotted throughout the float. An insignificant Caddis hatch took place mid-afternoon and otherwise there was very little bug life on the water. It was a terrific day on the river with great fishing partners.
Gelfant and Bows are Back|
May 22, 2010
Posted by Bill on Sunday, May 23, 2010
In spite of a less than favourable weather forecast, Ben Gelfant joined me on the river for an early season fly fishing float down the Bow. Although the forecast was for cold (which it was), windy (challenged us late in the day) and precipitation (we saw none), it was a terrific day of fly fishing. Having been with us on the Bow before, Ben was fairly well prepared for fly fishing Bow River trout. Even so, many trout on the line received a long-distance-release, a sacrifice fly fishers make using barbless hooks. It took a couple of bends and sampling a few trout to zero in on the trout table-fare but once we identified suitable imitations, eats were fairly consistent throughout the day. With trout brought to hand numbering close to 20, long-distance-releases exceeding the catch and missed takes surpassing both, one would have to concede that, under less than perfect conditions, this was a great day of fly fishing. Visibility was about 3 feet at launch reduced to about 8 inches below the confluence of the muddy Highwood. Highlights of the day had to be the big Brown that exploded in shallow water, spitting the hook several inches above the surface and the run tail that produced 7 catches, 7 LDRs and several misses. The predominance of spawn spent mature Rainbows in the catch marks the return of the Rainbows to the river. Ben is an accomplished fly caster and enjoyable company in the boat. His enjoyment of the river, the float and the trout is a reminder of how fortunate we are to have the Bow River in our backyard.
Bows Not Back Yet|
May 17, 2010
Posted by Bill on Tuesday, May 18, 2010
On the hottest day so far this year Dad, Jason and I floated from Police to Mac. Until the sun was hidden by clouds, it was a very hot day with only the occasional slight breeze. Later in the afternoon clouds rolled in and gave us a break from the blazing sun. Fishing started out fairly hot with 5 trout on the line in the first half hour of the float. However, from that point on the fishing was spotty, not entirely unexpected at this time of the year. Samples taken from landed trout suggested that the flies we were using were part of the day's fish menu but the action was anything but fast and furious. The beautifully coloured Brown (pictured) was taken early in the trip. Surprisingly, the majority of the catch this day was Rainbows of the non-mature variety ... the Bows aren't back from spawning yet. The Highwood was flowing mud as it dumped into the Bow severely colouring the water on the south bank from its confluence to take-out. It was a beautiful spring day to be on the river enjoying the water, the valley and its inhabitants.
May 8, 2010
Posted by Bill on Sunday, May 9, 2010
Planning float trips early in the year has its upsides and downsides. The upsides are many. It's wonderful to be on the river. The catch is predominately Brown Trout with the mature Rainbows on their spawn run. Signs of renewing life is everywhere; budding trees, a massive mayfly hatch and the first set of goslings of the year. The downside is Alberta's unpredictable spring weather. This day the temperature above the water was colder than the temperature in the water and gale force winds hammered the valley. Randy Brown and brother-in-law John McCormack joined me on this float trip to endure the cold, battle the wind and hunt for Bow River browns. By early May standards we had a pretty darn good day. Four very respectable Brown Trout were brought to hand, John completed his maiden voyage of the Bow River and the overall catch numbered in the high teens. The river was slightly coloured although the contribution from the Highwood was crystal clear. With rain and snow in the forecast, it may be a few days before we're back on the river.
Spring has Sprung|
April 20, 2010
Posted by Bill on Wednesday, April 21, 2010
The first float of the year is always special, there are so many things on the river to check out. Have the eagles returned to their nest? Are the osprey and herons back yet? How well did the trout winter? What changes in the river did the ice pack carve out? Dad, Jason and I have been planning this float for days with new recipes from the fly tying bench and eager anticipation. Under clear blue skies, Dad was the first to hook-up on, what appeared to be, a spawn spent Rainbow (pictured) a short distance into the float. Fishing was spotty which is expected on early season floats. What wasn't expected was the predominance of Rainbows in the catch. Although expected but not welcome, the wind picked up in the afternoon making fishing and piloting the boat difficult. The midge hatch throughout the day was incredible and the Franklin's Gulls, a common sight on the river, took full advantage of the easy pickings they presented. Chucking streamers was entirely unproductive, nymphing produced some trout and a hopper-dropper setup was effective at times. All in all it was a great day on the Bow.