The Rainbows and Brown trout reach 29 & 30 inches! Their average size is said to be ~19 inches, and their “Blue-Ribbon” distribution throughout the watershed is estimated at 3000 fish per mile!
Just doing a quick google image search for Bow River fly fishing will make anyone worth their trendiest over-priced Simms costume drool.
When I got the word on Friday that I needed to visit a customer in Calgary on Monday, I immediately began making all the necessary arrangements, plane tickets, hotel reservations, local fly shop driving directions, river reports, etc… though, not necessarily in that order.
The Little Red Rental that could…
On the day before my return trip I finally had a few afternoon hours to tend to the important stuff. I started out by making the 10 minute drive from my hotel to the West Winds Fly Shop where I picked up a license, some flies, some local access info, and a really interesting conversation about fly fishing Cuba of all things (yet another fishery our neighbors to the north have over us).
In another 10 minutes I was wadering-up on the banks of a very colored-up Bow River.
I was a little shocked at just how off color the water was, but I was in Canada, on The Bow River, with a 5 weight in my hand. I was going to fish.
It helped also that once I got down to the water I saw a number of others fly fishing as well.
I bob-icatored a disgustingly heavy rig through a few seams for about an hour or so without so much as a nudge.
Soon there was a pretty decent BWO hatch coming off that the birds wasted no time getting involved in. They’d fly up river a few hundred feet and then float down in the current picking the little mayflies off the surface as they drifted.
The birds were all over it! But where were the “3000 fish per mile”? Another 30 minutes passed and the hatch was in full swing, where were the rises?
How could they be ignoring all these tasty little morsels helplessly drifting overhead?
But then again, how could they even see them with such limited visibilty?
While taking a seat in the grass to contemplate this barrage of questions another fly fisher made his way from the parking lot and asked what they were taking (eh)? I humbly responded that I was probably the wrong person to be asking. After introducing myself as an out-of-towner he invited me to fish through his favorite stretch with him, commenting that he’d love to see me get into a fish (eh). I was relieved when he showed me his setup to find that it was the exact same as mine, right down to the same 2 flies.
I followed him through his 100 yard stretch of some pretty sweet water, but neither of us touched a fish. I’d admitted to myself earlier that my trout game was about as rusty as it could get, without forgetting how to cast all together, but I didn’t feel too bad knowing that even the locals were having a tough time this afternoon.
Bow River: 1