Do Trout Get Decision Fatigue? Bow River Report - Week Ending May 8th

Do Trout Get Decision Fatigue? Bow River Report - Week Ending May 8th

Things on the Bow River are looking up, even though the fish still mostly aren't. This week on the Bow we have seen improving conditions and more fish willing to eat a fly. Trees are starting to bud and there are as many beautiful days as nasty ones. Nymphing still seems to be the most effective technique for landing fish, though we have had a little success on hopper/dropper and streamers. Conditions like flow rates and weather seem to dictate what might work when, however most fish seem to be coming from deep troughs and buckets and few from froggy water. Be prepared to still be challenged by a number of factors.

Flood mitigation at the Ghost Dam has flows on the Bow River bumping up regularly. You could see the river come up or down 15% to 25% over the course of a day. This is causing the river to color up and a lot of small debris to be present in the water column. Do trout get decision fatigue? Seems like the flies that are getting eaten are ones that stand out from the rest of the chaff floating down the river. I wonder if the trout are just seeing so much small stuff that trying to discern what is food has become overwhelming? Fish the flies that stand out rather than trying to "matching the hatch" right now. Check the flows at or on the AB Rivers App.

Windy conditions Thursday and Friday made for some tough rowing and casting conditions. The forecast seems to be trending towards more wind and nastier weather going into the weekend but next week offers some nicer days. Limit nymph setups to two flies to avoid tangles and fish river right from shore to go with prevailing winds. Pike Lakes open this weekend.

We're seeing fewer bugs in the air, probably because of the wind, but the midge shucks at the boat launch could be scooped up by the handful. Throat-pumped fish have gorged on bloodworms and BWO emergers. This week we saw a lot of whitefish nymphing worm setups in the 10" to 14" range, as well as some smaller rainbows and a decent 18-incher. Rainbows should start returning from spawning to the main stem in a couple of weeks. This is good sign of things to come on the Bow. 

Flies to try

Streamers: Silver Kreelex, Eric's Excalibur, Crystal Bugger, Flesh Eating Sculpin. 

Dries: Watch for early and late in the day. BWO patterns, Griffith's Gnat, large and dark stonefly dries, dark stimulators.

Nymphs: tungsten beaded San Juan Worm in purple or pink, TB Peacock Leech, Pheasant Tail, BWO emergers.

Additional Info

Bow River boat launches are now open including McKinnon's Flats. 

Effective Saturday, May 1 we have switched to summer hours as follows: 

  • Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Saturday 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. 
  • Sunday 8 a.m. - 4 p.m. 

Covid Protocols have us limited to 5 customers in the store at one time. If the door is locked during these hours, know that we will serve you as soon as possible. Additionally, curb-side pick up is available through our online store and always by phone.

Tight Lines


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