Mid-August River Report

Mid-August River Report


This means no fishing between 2 p.m. and midnight until the end of the month.

Time of day restriction applies to: 

  • all rivers and streams (flowing waters) in fisheries management zone ES1, including the Bow River downstream of Banff National Park to Bassano Dam (this includes Ghost Reservoir, Bearspaw Reservoir and Bassano Reservoir)
  • St. Mary's River mainstem (including tributaries) below the St. Mary's Reservoir in fisheries management zone PP1

The Bow is flowing on the low side of average in the Banff to Carseland section and outside of the graph on the low side below Carseland. Low flow rate is one of the triggers for the Time of Day (Hoot Owl) closures announced Thursday, August 18. Temperatures in our rivers have also been high enough to trigger this “first for Alberta” time of day restriction. Full details regarding the afternoon closure can be found here:


Areas of Montana are also on Hoot Owl restrictions if you are traveling.

We have had extended hot weather but luckily for the fish (and us) the overnight lows have been low enough to make for happy feeding fish in the morning. There have been some small fly surface-eaters if you are up to the challenge! The longer term forecast looks promising for some cooler weather which will make for happy fish. Those first cooler cloudy days may call for a “sick day” to take advantage of what could be exceptional fishing.


Hatches of trico mayflies are prolific in the morning. They look like smoke coming off the water but it’s ALL bugs! Very good to see. There are caddis and craneflies hatching as well. And of course this is the time of year for hoppers! There is something special about watching a good sized trout slowly rise from the bottom, or move from the shadowy edge, circle your fly then come in under it and flare its gills and suck in the hopper. Sight fishing at its finest! It is 100% worth the effort and remember its not a numbers game.

We're also seeing lots of small minnows everywhere. A small streamer can work well once the clouds come back.

Hopper dropper with a #14 to #18 bead head dropper is also very effective. For many this is their favourite technique especially in the faster choppy water.

Please try to “fight fish” aggressively to help with landing them quickly. And to increase the chances of good recovery, please forego any pictures with fish “out of the water” particularly during this hotter weather. 

Flies To Try:

Nymphs:   Caddis Sparkle Pupa, Prince Nymph, Copper Johns in #14-#16, Perdigon Jig style flies in 14-18. Lightning bugs 16-18, Tung Dart’s in 16 are all great droppers

Dries: Bloom's Para Caddis, Swisher's Dancing Caddis, Trico Spinners (18-22), Heneberry Hopper, Fat Frank, More Or Less Hopper, Yeti Hoppers, Juicy Hopper - In peach, light green, tan and purple are all working. Size 8-10 if you are fishing a dropper and a 10-12 if you are fishing a hopper on its own.

Streamers: Kreelex Minnows, Coffee’s Sparkle Minnow, Clouser Minnows, BH or Conehead Wooly Buggers

Happy Fishing and remember flies out of the water at 2pm!


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