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Oldman River, Alberta, Canada

By Kurt Lindberg

The Oldman River system originates on the eastern slopes of Southern Alberta's Rocky Mountains about 2 hours southwest of Calgary. Its course takes it east to its eventual confluence with the Bow River to form the South Saskatchewan River miles away on the prairies of eastern Alberta.

The portion most frequented for fly-fishing starts in the mountains and extends nearly to the town of Fort McLeod. The upper section that flows through the foothills contains mainly eager native cutthroat trout and the territorial bull trout with a few whitefish scattered throughout. There are many tributaries that can provide hours of solitude and dry-fly fishing for the relatively small sized cutthroat that live there.

The main river contains the larger fish, very eager to come up for large attractor dry flies. This is also the case with its main tributary, the Livingston River, which is all catch and release. These regulations have proven successful as the Livingston produces cutthroats in the 14-18 inch range, which is about maximum for this high altitude, pristine water resident. For the most part, the upper section is easily wade-able and has a variety of water types, from splashing riffles and deeply gouged runs to slow crystal-clear pools.

The Oldman turns east at the Livingston Gap, a mass of rugged rock that towers over the river on both sides, and this is where you start catching predominately feisty rainbows. Here, the scenery changes from spruce covered hillsides to rolling grassy ranchlands.

The lower portion of the river is an up and coming tail-water fishery, which is starting to produce good numbers of acrobatic, hard fighting rainbows. The dam was completed just over ten years ago and the fishery has recently become known as a worth-while destination.

Access to the upper and middle sections is via the Forestry Trunk Road and Highway 22, while access for the lower portion is from Highway 3 and the various rural roads in the area. This is my personal favorite river system. It is quickly becoming a destination for people from outside of the immediate area to fish the miles and miles of trout filled waters.

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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