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Bow River, Alberta, Canada

By Kurt Lindberg

The Bow River starts from a sparkling aqua glacier lake in the Banff National Park of the Canadian Rocky Mountains and flows southeast, providing over 100 miles of trout fishing. The upper section winds its way through mountain valleys with peaks glistening on the horizon, while the lower portions meander through ranching foothills and prairie farmland. Both are highly scenic and provide enough reason to visit the area without even casting line through the rod guides.

Rainbow and brown trout are the main inhabitants of the lower section. They were introduced to the river by humans. The upper section, near the town of Banff, also provides some of the native fish; cutthroat, bull trout and Rocky Mountain Whitefish as well as the introduced brook trout.

The main attraction to this renowned river is the high number of larger sized fish that will eagerly take dry flies. The average size of the rainbows and browns for a day of fishing on the Bow River below Calgary will likely be pushing 20 inches. The rainbows are feisty and extremely acrobatic and the browns are long distance runners and deep head shakers.

For flies, the locals will typically recommend; San Juan Worms, Clouser Minnows, Bow River Buggers (modified Woolly Bugger), Prince nymphs, Elk Hair Caddis, and white mayfly dries as their favorites depending on the time of year and the hatches present.

The Bow is well worth a visit and once you catch a 24 inch brown on a size 18 Pale Morning Dun imitation, you will see why it is classified as one of the best fly fishing rivers in North America.

Main tributaries are Kananaskis River, Ghost River, Jumping Pound Creek, and the Elbow and Highwood Rivers.

For more information, contact us:
Flyfish Ventures Alberta

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Rivers and Lakes

The Bow River
The Crowsnest River
Eutsuk Lake
Oldman River
Raven River
Prairie Creek
Barnaby Lakes
Dutch Creek
Racehorse Creek
Sheep River


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