Discover Fly Fishing Lessons for Beginners in Alberta

By Scott Smith, Lead Fishing Guide 

Welcome to Fly Fishing!

Snake Oil and Magic Beans.

You’ll learn to wave the magic stick over the water and produce fish on every command. You will be flawless in your technique; always make the right fly choice and land every fish you encounter. Your skills will bring fish to your net every time you venture out to your favourite waters.

The truth lies somewhere in the pursuit of perfection, the peace it brings, the need to know what’s around the next corner.  At least that’s why I do it. Your reasons can be entirely something else. Somehow, that makes Fly Fishing a worthy pastime (read obsession) in my opinion.

There are some links included below, so you can explore some of the technical stuff. I can tell you, there is nothing like the real experience of a guided fly fishing excursion!

What Will I Learn on a Guided Trip?

Above all else, Have some fun! This is YOUR Day! Don’t take yourself, or us too seriously. Take lots of pictures.

learn how to tie flies for fly fishing on the Bow River in Alberta.

Fly Fishing Knots and Line

It seems obvious, but often overlooked by new fly fishers. Knots are critical.

Read this great blog post from about how to tie fly fishing knots.

You’ll need to have a few basic knots in your tool belt. We’ll show you a few basics to tie line together and attach your flies to your line. Yes, you will practice these on your trip.

You can learn about specific knots like the improved clinch knot, blood knot, overhand knot, surgeon’s knot and the albright knot.

Many a fine trout has been lost due to a poorly tied knot. It’s never happened to me, but I’ve heard stories.

There are several knots that have no name, but often have colourful adjectives associated with them. You will become an expert at these with a simple flick of your wrist! The line will be tangled so badly and quickly, you’ll be baffled that what’s before you is actually even real!

I find a sense of humour and a decent set of snippers are critical in these situations.

Learn Fly Casting

You must be able to place a fly well enough to fool your quarry. Yes, we can help you do this!

Your first few casts may appear you are trying to swat the fish away intentionally. However, with some practice and some easy-to-follow instruction, you will begin to present the fly with hypnotic precision! Well, maybe not hypnotic or even precise, but well enough to catch fish. That’s all we need on day one!

Where Are the Fish?

Yes, you are moving the line. It’s obeying and landing mostly where you want it to.  Well done! This is fantastic news and a boost to our confidence! Question, how come you’re not catching anything?

Other than seeing the fish you are casting to; you really need to know how to read the water. That is, you need to know where fish are likely to hold.

Fly casting into the water is an excellent start, but the fish are not actually everywhere in a river.

We will go through this process with you the entire trip and teach you the basics. You will be whispering in big trout in no time!

Bugs, So Many Bugs

Yes, Fly selection is important. Size, Colour, Profile, depth, season etc.

I have heard it or read somewhere that trout have an IQ of about 3.

I am not at all concerned that they fool me consistently. I like to believe I’m matching wits with Mother Nature and not just the small minded, single purposed trout. Yeah, Mother Nature is wise and I’m in sync with her.  Makes me feel better on those slow days.

You’re gonna need plenty of flies! I mean, the rainbow trout will eat one of them, right?

Learn more about which bugs Bow River Trout love and prefer throughout the season on our fly fishing resources page.

We will cover bug identification, selection and how to fish them in very basic terms. This will be enough to get you started on your journey.

fly fishing lessons for beginners

 Join Us this Fly Fishing Season near Calgary, Alberta!

Our goal is to introduce you to a pastime that has become a lifelong pursuit for us. We want you to learn to fish and then leave us and see for yourself what’s around the next corner. Oh, and take your fly rod with you.

Book your spot for one of our guided fly fishing trips including our Beginners Float! Get one-on-one fishing lessons from one of our experienced guides and enjoy access to some of the best fishing spots in Alberta.

learn how to fly fish with guide bow river

Fly Fishing Lessons and More!

We offer a variety of fly fishing packages from half day and evening adventures to full day excursions, private shoreline fishing lessons.

We can even put the flies aside and take you on a Bow River sight seeing adventure, where you can experience the beauty of the Bow Valley and Southern Alberta, for its majestic landscapes in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains and all of its wildlife.

Learning to Fly Fish on the Bow River could be your next adventure. If so, we’d love to see you. And as always, if you have any questions about our guide services, feel free to contact us here or on social media.

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