The Oldman River
A Foothills Fly Fishing Treasure!
Nestled deep within the beauty of rolling foothills and the granite of Alberta's Rocky Mountains lies a river system of intrigue and treasures. It's the Crowsnest, Castle and Oldman rivers that contribute to what is collectively the Oldman Drainage. Its intrigue lies in the Indian Spirit, Na'pi, geological formations known as, The Gap, Whaleback and the fault-famous, Lundbreck falls.
Its treasures are its spectacular scenery, its clear flowing waters, its diversity in aquatic fauna, fly-fishing experience and agricultural use. Located some 100 miles southwest of Calgary these rivers and their tributaries afford the fisher exposure to fast gravel runs, swirling pocket waters and seemingly bottomless pools.
Within these 'holds' feeding Bows, Cutties, Browns and Bulls can test one's angling technique.
All of these species are receptive to dries and nymphs of stone, caddis and mayflies as well as the frustrating midges. The waters also have an abundance of Whities (Rocky Mountain Whitefish). It is on these cold-water species that fishers 'break new ground' in learning nymphing skills.
The Livingstone River, a tributary to the upper Oldman, yields excellent cutthroats. Here it is legislated catch-and-release: another treasure for the partaking.
In 1993/94 a controversial irrigation dam was constructed at the confluence of the Crowsnest, Castle and Oldman Rivers. The cold tail-waters bodes well for a future fishery. The lower section is a tailrace that is floatable with drift boats and while there is always the possibility of a brown trout or bull trout encounter, is mainly a rainbow trout fishery.