Bow River & Southern Alberta July 12th Update

Bow River & Southern Alberta July 12th Update

Here's what's happening on the water in and around Calgary. 

Bow River

The Bow is getting to the end of runoff but is experiencing the typical early July thunderstorms which have the potential put the river off in any given section on any given day. Make sure you have a rain jacket with you for any Bow river floats during the coming week(s). River levels are fluctuating from the localized storms. If you have been watching the flow forecast reports on Bow River Trout Foundation's site you will notice that the flows are set to be very stable. A shout out to TransAlta and AEP for listening to anglers concerns and keeping things as stable as they can. Rain events will continue to be the primary cause for river fluctuation.

Fishing has been very good on streamers and hopper/dropper with leech and stone droppers. But only a few eating the foam so far! A day here and there where the dry stonefly fishing has been good but it has definitely been sporadic and spotty.  So far the fish have been very happy and are super strong thanks to lower over night air temps which is helping keep the water cooler. However, water temperatures on July 12 section were at 67F to 68F in the afternoon. As we continue to warm up please fish in the am and continue paying attention to water temperatures. A thermometer (like this Digital Thermometer) is extremely valuable when water temps are a concern. If we start to see Bow River water temps of 70F (21C) on a regular basis evaluate your other fishing options.

Flies to try: 

Nymphs: These continue to be your best bet: Leeches and stonefly's (#6-#10) are consistent producers. Or you could opt for other proven patterns like a beadhead prince, copper john, hare's ear, flash back pheasant tails, TJ Hookers, and lightning bugs. Jig versions of these flies work extremely well as droppers.

Dries: CDC & Elk or Swisher's Dancing Caddis, and #8 foam style Stoneflies as the stone hatch continues and we eventually transition into hoppers.

Streamers: Black and White clousers, skiddish smolt, Kreelex minnows, Bow River buggers, Dungeons, and Pishko's Loco (with a dragon tail).

Some beautiful Bow river fish have been being landed and released recently including this client-caught brown from the weekend. 

Eastern Slopes Open but use caution with temperatures.

Since the water has dropped and cleared the Green Drakes have started to hatch and so have stoneflies, the small sallies (yellow and green) as well as the goldens. 

Please use respect and if you are finding water temps in the mountain streams (16-17C 61F to 63F) please consider limiting your fishing or fishing only in the mornings. Cutthroat and Bull trout have lower temperature tolerances than rainbows and browns. There is lots of information on best practices to increase survivable of C&R fish on the Keep Fish Wet site. 


There are multiple reports of fish dying in central Alberta from high stream temperatures from the heat wave at the end of June. None from the south yet but it is very important to stay vigilant.

Flies to try (mountain streams): 

Nymphs: Copper johns, prince nymph, lightning bugs, tung stud, and small stones, and better-than-sex drake.

Dries: Lime trude, small stimulators, yellow sally, parachute adams, trigger belly stone, Real Stone, Micro Frank and micro chubbies.

Streamers: take your pick - depending on what you're going to target. Pink gartsides or buggers, white Clark's rat or Dungeon, Kreelex Minnow silver/black, or copper/gold. 

Happy Fishing. 

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