With last weekend’s decent weather (finally!!) and a bit more time on our hands, some of us were able to get out on the river. We have also been hearing from our customers during our curb-side pick-up service. Lots of folks have been spending more time outdoors – physical distancing from each other, while getting closer to nature.
It’s a new season, so get your fishing licence and a copy of the regulations at the shop or online. We are happy to help with your licence purchase.
Bow River flows are normally low this time of year, in the range of 50 m3/sec in the city. The water is slowly starting to warm up a little too. On warmer days runoff will make for some dirty water conditions – prime for streamers and worms. We have seen massive chunks of ice floating down the river, some covered in boulders…so keep an eye out when wading.
Generally, the Bow has been fishing great. Obviously with this period of colder weather, we need to chill a bit before we get back on the water. We are pumped for some warmer days. As always at this time of year, some effort is required to cover water and find fish. We have been swinging various patterns with our trout spey rods, doing some classic Bow river indicator nymphing, and perfecting Euro-style nymphing on the Bow while keeping an eye out for rising fish. Watch for snouts when the midge hatches get going!
Big healthy rainbows are stacking up in the usual areas as they get ready to spawn. Be nice to these fish – they are feeding hard because they have a challenging job to do when conditions are right. While we often throw smaller streamers, leeches (swing, twitch and strip) and nymph, we also target feisty browns with some big flies. Browns tend to extend their territory while the rainbows are away doing their thing. We have hooked some outstanding bows and a few spectacular browns, particularly on the spey rod, over the last couple of weeks.
There are a few bugs popping at this early time of year and you can always count on midges to pop if the temperatures rise. Watch for winter-small black/brown stoneflies as well.
Below we have listed a few fly selections that are typically in the shop. Of course, we also like to tie a lot of flies ourselves. Let us know if you need any help tying or selecting flies for the Bow.
Streamers: Peacock Leech, Simi-Seal Leech, Geek Leech, Gartside Leech, Kreelex Minnow, Bow River Bugger, Wiggle Bugger, Coffee’s Sparkle Minnow, Galloup’s Mini Dungeon, Dungeon, Skiddish Smolt
Spey: Spey Leech, Mini Intruder, Mini Sculpin
Nymphs: Wire San Juan Worm, Reese’s Pieces, Copper John, Jimmy Legs, Hare’s Ear Nymph, Prince Nymph, PT, Zebra Midge, Brassie, G’s Red Shop Dip
Euro Style Nymphs: TJ Hooker, Keller’s Matt Demon’s Stone, Jig Copper John, Jig Prince, Jig PT, Czech Nymph, Jig Hares Ear
Dries: Griffith's Gnat, Klinkhammer Midge, Palamino Midge, Smoke Jumper Midge, UV2 CDC Emerger, Montana Christaen’s GT Adult, Goober Midge
Fisherman tend to be pretty good planners…often aware of potential hazards, risks, etc. However, please don’t forget to keep social distancing on the river. Skip the fist bumps and high fives – celebrate your success with a touch down boogie or a quiet whisper to thank the fish gods.
This year we are trying especially hard to release fish quickly, handle fish minimally to protect their slime, and keep fish in the water for pictures. We hope you do too.
PS, many streams and rivers in Eastern Slopes Region (ES2) are now open, but most are covered with ice. Wait a bit before making the trek. The Crowsnest River is fishing well too. The usual flies including stonefly nymphs are working well and even stonefly dries are catching fish when the conditions are right.