Mid-May Bow River Report - May 18th

Mid-May Bow River Report - May 18th

Versatility is the name of the game right now on the Bow as we come into the May long weekend. Spring is always a transitional time for fish, flows and bugs, and we are seeing a lot of variation in all three. Be prepared to switch up your approach throughout the day.

Start looking for fish nudged up along the banks, on inside corners and in soft, flat water. As the flows come up fish are looking for the comfortable lie in these areas. Buckets and drop offs can still fish well while flows are reasonable. Try your dry/dropper rigs in these areas and streamers along the banks. Look for fish rising for caddis in flat water in the evenings. 

With runoff approaching we are seeing color come into the Bow from Fish Creek and the Highwood River. Visibility decreases as you head down stream, with the best visibility in the city and the worst from Mackinnon Flats and down. Flood mitigation at the Ghost Dam has flows on the Bow River changing rapidly and daily. Check the flows at https://rivers.alberta.ca/ or on the AB Rivers App. Switch to streamer fishing when the water gets dirty.

Rainbows have started returning to the main stem and they are hungry. Nymphing is still the most effective technique for numbers of fish through out the day, but watch for rising fish and dry fly opportunities later in the day. Not a ton of streamer grabs happening yet, but those will increase as runoff progresses. With the sucker spawn on, egg sucking leeches have been a great choice for actively retrieved or dead drifted streamers.

If you are headed out for the first time of the season this May Long weekend, remember to renew your fishing license before you head out. 

Flies to try

Streamers: Olive Wooly Bugger, Eric's Jealousy, Yellow Dungeon, Flesh Eating Sculpin, Egg Sucking Leech.

Dries: BWO patterns, Bloom's Parachute Caddis, large and dark stonefly dries, dark stimulators.

Nymphs: Excelsior Olive Jimmy Legs, TB Peacock Leech, TJ Hooker, Bead Head Pheasant Tail, Hare's Ear.

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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