scott. kevin, luke fly fishing guide calgary blog june 2021

Fly Fishing on the Bow River – It’s All About Perspective

scott. kevin, luke fly fishing guide calgary blog june 2021

Perspective

by Luke Russell, Fly Fishing Guide

I truly enjoy taking clients out on the Bow River. For clients, often times their main goal is to catch a fish and have a good time. That’s a great objective but I see an opportunity for so much more. I like to think of the Bow River as a space to catch my breath.

It’s astonishing to look up and see an eagle soaring in the clear blue sky or watch a deer quench its thirst on the riverbank. Close your eyes and hear the crashing of the waves on the rocks. Catch a glimpse of a mink that’s come out from the rocks. Run your fingers through the water. Mistakenly think a moose resting is a tree stump. Smell the sweet aroma distinctive to the Bow River.  Feel a drop of water from a potential rainstorm and you have to pull over to hang out in the trees while you wait for it to pass. People often forget that we’re in a valley surrounded by other animals as well.

When I go fishing, I like to take a few moments to just breathe and take in my surroundings. These moments make me forget about everything going on in the world, all my problems or worries seem to disappear. I feel a sense of being at home, a sense of belonging…a level of carefree that can’t be found anywhere else. That’s why I go fly-fishing a lot…because it takes my stress away. If a client happens to lose a fish and feels disappointed, I like to remind them that it’s not only about the fishing…it’s about so much more.

So just remember when you’re on your fly fishing trip with Scott, Kevin or myself, to take a look around you and take it all in because you’re in a pretty special place and don’t forget to breathe.

fly fishing 2021

Bow River Fly Fishing Company Launches into Spring 2021

by Scott Smith, Lead Guide

The 2021 Bow River fly fishing guiding season is upon us. We are very excited for relaxing drifts, tight lines and plenty of excitement hooking our world class trout!

It was a pleasure to have so many local Calgary area, new and experienced fly fishers in our drift boats last season. I know 2021 will introduce many more to the sport of fly fishing.

bow river fly fishing guides

The Adventure Begins

Kevin, Luke and I are well into this year’s adventures. Spring has already been pretty good, with several floats and days on the water under our belts already. The old Hyde Drift Boat has been getting a workout and I just can’t seem to part with her, while Luke and Kevin have both invested in new rides.

As far as I’m concerned, they are not real river boats until we bounce them off a few rocks and scrape up the bottom…..Now that’s drift boat fishing!

I enjoy fishing with these two guys on the Bow whenever we get the chance. Always a lot of laughs and we learn from each other. We also show no mercy. I can tell you when one of us hooks up, it’s like all three of us caught that wild trout.

If you happen to lose a fish though, you’re on your own and it’s always your own bloody fault. As we say in the boat, “Fish Better”. We should all have those kinds of fishing buddies.

bow river fly fishing trips calgary

Guiding on the Bow River

We often get asked why we guide this fly fishing destination. The first thing you need to know is we love to fish. We’re obsessed with this sport! Secondly, we particularly love the Bow River.

Every time we dip the oars in the water, it’s a different experience. Sometimes you’re a hero on this river and sometimes it’s like you’ve never fished it before.

We love sharing the Bow River and Fly fishing, with anyone that shows an interest. We know many great fishing spots that offer some of the best fishing near Calgary.

We also have great relationships with our local fly shops and local fly makers, which will further enrich your excursions on the Bow. Having the right gear and the right guide can make all the difference in the world!

If you start talking fishing with one of us, you’re going to be in for a long conversation that could include such words as caddis, ferrule, fingerling, floatant, monofilament, nymphing and tippet. You will probably have to somehow, politely excuse yourself. Sorry in advance.

While experiencing the beauty of the Bow River and its surrounding Rocky Mountain landscapes and riparian wildlife firsthand is ideal, you can get introduced on our “About the Bow River” page.

Before You Book Your Guided Fly Fishing Trips

If you’re thinking of planning a trip, you should know a few things before you book with us:

  1. We don’t take ourselves very seriously. This is about having fun and relaxing.
  2. You can learn to make a simple fly cast in 10 minutes. Good enough to hook a fish.
  3. We lose track of time while we’re out there. Sometimes you need to nudge us to get you off the water.

If you’re interested in learning this sport, fishing with an experienced guide is a great place to start. We would love to have you in our Boats and show you the Bow River we get to enjoy.

Check out our Fly Fishing Trips & Boat Tours and see if we have a package that fits.

Fish species found in the Bow include brown trout, rainbow trout, bull trout and cutthroat trout. We offer a seasonal feeding schedule for the major trout food groups and our favourite flies for each. Check out our important fly fishing resources to keep informed about the weather forecast and Bow River flow rate.

We offer many options for half day and full day trips, unique adventures, private shoreline lessons and even family float trips!

These are great options for day trips from Calgary, where you can gain invaluable knowledge with our fly fishing lessons, tips and tricks. No matter what your skill level, we can accommodate.

We are also happy to look at customizing your day to suit special requests such as multi day float fishing trips for those eager to make the most of their time on the water.

There is no losing in fishing. You either catch or you learn. Either way it’s always better than work!

July 2018

From The Guide Seat

 

I am happy when local fly fishers want to fish the Bow. Most want to know more about the river, how to fish it and mostly which flies to use.

The first thing I like to ask clients when we head out is “Are you confident with your casting and presentation skills?” If not, we are always happy to provide lessons along the way.

I clearly remember the first fish I ever caught on the Bow, after several failed attempts. I was using a #4 Black Wooly Bugger. After I caught that fish, I continued to use that pattern every time I went out, stubbornly not changing the fly for the conditions I was fishing. After all, I caught a fish on it once! I did this for a whole summer, only occasionally changing my fly. And when I did change my fly, I didn’t really know why, other than I wasn’t catching fish on my tried and true magical streamer.

Eventually, through the grace of other Fly Fishers on the river, some books and some advice from local fly shops, I started to learn about the bugs, when they hatch, how to read the water and where fish likely hold during different times of the year.

The very first thing I noticed as I tried new methods and different set ups, was I could cast! I could lay a fly anywhere I wanted. I could perform a roll cast while in tight situations, I could shoot line across the seam, or I could lay a dry fly nice and easy above a rising fish. All those days of casting, getting hooked on the bottom, losing precious Wooly Buggers in trees and grass, and catching myself in the back, actually did me a world of good.

If you are one of the many new to the sport, getting tangled and messed up, keep at it. Soon enough you will find that confidence and the fish will follow.

Summer 2017

I suppose I take it for granted, getting to experience our river in every season. The fishing can be spectacular, but the scenic valley where it all happens is often even more stunning.  While moving to likely holding water and the next seam or riffle, keeping an eye out for willing Browns and Rainbows to stalk, and watching strike indicators for subtle eats, I often forget to look up.

As we get into fall and my favourite time to fish the Bow, here are some moments that stand out:

-The 70+ year old senior lady that landed a giant Brown, even though her line somehow wrapped around the anchor rope. Her comment after landing the fish? “The water is such a beautiful green.”  Her husband cheering us on was priceless!

-Rowing within 5 Feet of a Huge Golden Eagle and the client sending me the slow motion Video. I was re-tying a leader and didn’t even see it until it moved.  (Posted on the website)

-The little Mink who caught a nice rainbow and hid it in the rocks before I could get a good picture.

-The veteran Fly Fisher, 1st time on the Bow River, telling me the 16” rainbow he had on was the hardest fighting trout he had ever experienced. Later on he hooked a 20” fish and the surprise on his face made the whole trip!

-All the first timers that saw their confidence in their casting stroke build throughout the day and the smiles on their faces when they fooled a trout!

I learn something every time I head down the river. So far this season, a big thank you to all those moments that made me look up.

Tight Lines to all.

 

A Blog About Our Fly Fishing Adventures on the Bow

So it begins, or continues…

This pastime turned obsession has given me more than I ever imagined. So many great moments over the years that are now precious memories and ever growing Fish Stories.

I am extremely lucky to get out on the River whenever it suits me and cannot imagine a life without fly fishing. For me this sport is “The One Thing” (City Slickers 1991)

I am very grateful and excited to begin a new chapter in my fly fishing journey. Looking back I can now see the connections that have brought me here.

Thank you:

To my folks for moving me out of the city to the banks of the Elbow River and a bike ride away from the Bragg Creek!

To Dave Williams for putting an old bamboo pole in my hands

To Royce Williams for bushwhacking with me all those years ago

To Tara Smith for getting it (or at least pretending you do) and the encouragement to explore my passion

To Kevin Hawes for the Crow’s Nest fishing trip, helping me purchase my first flyrod, showing me the ropes, countless trips down the bow, and for rowing the “Captain Morgan” when it’s your turn

So I encourage all of you to get out there, give this a go. It just might be “The One Thing.”