About The Mighty Bow River
The section of the Bow River flowing between Calgary and the Carsland weir supports one of the world's greatest trout fisheries. The fishery is a self sustaining population of truly exceptional WILD Rainbow and Brown trout. The fact that this trout river runs directly through the center of a city with a population over one million, amazes most Calgary visitors.
Trout Chasers operates on the "blue ribbon" section of the river which begins as the Bow bids farewell to the City of Calgary. Here our guests are presented with 50 miles of unsurpassed fly fishing. We do our best to ensure that encounters with other boats and anglers are kept to a minimum, enhancing your Bow River experience.
The primary fly fishing season on the Bow occurs from mid April to mid October. Spring run-off from the nearby Rocky Mountains will sometimes temporarily interrupt the fishing around mid June. Be sure to contact us as we will have a better idea of when run-off will occur as the time approaches and can help you plan your trip accordingly.
Over the past few years the Bow has consistently produced trout averaging 16-18 inches. Hooking fish 20 - 24 inches is a common occurrence. Anglers who spend several days on the river have a realistic opportunity to land trout in the 24 - 28 inch range.
At Trout Chasers River Company Ltd. our priority is you, the customer. Our service is second to none. Let us help you discover the river that legends are made of. Let Trout Chasers be your fly fishing outfitter of choice and join us for your Bow River Experience. Please give us a call at 403-616-3741 or send us an email.
Whatever your ability or preferences, our professional, seasoned guides will make your Bow River Experience the trip of a lifetime. We are certain you will go home with fantastic memories. In the winter, when the fever is at its worst, the recollections of your time spent with us will have you longing for more.
Seasons of the Bow
Early Season: April - May
Spring on the Bow can vary drastically year to year, be sure to contact us for the latest updates on fishing conditions. On a "good" spring year, Fishing can be productive all through April. The banks of the Bow become largely ice free by late April, yielding scattered Skwala stonefly hatches, good numbers of BWO's, and steady streamer fishing.
On a cooler than average April the river fishes more similarly to winter, in this case we opt for low and slow presentations that can still produce great days on the Bow. The fishing becomes more exciting as fish begin to find their way out of wintering holes. There's still some dry fly potential for midging fish and sporadic BWO hatches.
By the end of April most of the localized snow has melted and low land run-off has passed. Baring any Late spring snow storms or heavy rains, the Bow fishes fairly consistent through the month of May. water levels are typically on a slow and steady rise. We usually expect decent streamer fishing all month, and a hit or miss "Mothers Day" caddis hatch towards the end of May. We've seen plenty of 24" plus Brown trout caught this time of year, with a good number on caddis dries.
Run-off and High Water: June
Historically, June is when the Bow will experience it's highest flows of the season. Run-off is hard to predict, but typically the Bow is unfishable for around 7-10 days during the peak of run-off. Because of this, many of our guided trips are booked on a tentative basis this time of year. be sure to contact us for up to date river reports.
Early June is much like the later weeks of May. Caddis, and steady streamer fishing as the water begins to colour in the preliminary stages of run-off. When run-off peaks it might temporarily halt fishing on the Bow, but Trout Chasers guides are comfortable in the stained water and confident to resume guiding with at least a little bit of visibility. Anglers willing to brave the unstable water conditions have a realistic chance of encountering a 24" plus trout. Although these are often days of few fish, the ones that eat, are true Apex Predators. As the water begins to drop and flows stabilize, fishing becomes more consistent, this can be some of the most user friendly streamer fishing of the season. Years with low snowpack and light rain might even see fishable hatches of PMD's and an early start to the famous Bow River, Golden Stonefly hatch. Typically water levels by the end of June have dropped but are still quite high relative to the rest of the season, and a "streamer green" tint to the water remains until mid July.
Peak Season: July
With normal run-off conditions, The Bow's water levels are usually on a slow, steady drop through July. Transitioning from high water, large flies, and heavy tippet. Down to more of a spring creek feel as we enter August.
July is one of the most sought after times to fish the Bow. The push of high-water in June sees many of our spawned out rainbow trout return to the river, eager to put on a few pounds after their rigorous journey. Golden Stones, PMD's and Caddis are prolific in the early stages of July. With the higher flows and off colour water "hiding" a lot of newer anglers mistakes, this time of year can make for successful days for fishermen of all skill levels and is a great time to hone a new skill or technique. The Stonefly action will taper off by the 3rd week of July. The odd fish may still be looking up at foam bugs, but a majority of our fish are caught on streamers and droppers beneath a dry, before the hoppers appear. By the last week of July, the water is quite clear, big brown trout encounters still occur but begin to happen less frequently during the day. Trout Chasers guides, shift focus to more technical styles of fishing at this point. Sight fishing sub surface to nymphing fish and searching for trout rising on caddis, ants, and beetles.
Peak Season: August
August features the most consistent weather and our dry grassy river banks are crawling with terrestrials. We fish hoppers, ants, beetles, caddis and tricos fairly reliably at this time of the year. What feels like never ending blue skies and sunny days can make the streamer fishing a little more complicated, but still viable for anglers willing to adapt their fishing style. A perk of the long, bright days for Trout Chasers guides, is ample opportunity for sight fishing. We've had many lights out days throwing streamers in August, A single dark cloud in the sky can be that trigger the fish have been waiting for all month. If the Trico spinner fall is a good one, it's possible to fish to rising fish in a foot of water or less for a large portion of your day. Much like the tail end of July most of our days will consist of dry/dropper or preferably just dry fly fishing and sight fishing when applicable.
Peak Season: September
This is a fun month on the Bow and the favourite time to fish for many anglers. Early September will follow the trend of August, with steady hopper and dry/dropper fishing, streamer fishing can be quite effective as well. Cool overnight temperatures slows the hopper activity and drop water temps, activating Water Boatman, Backswimmers, BWO's, October Caddis and some incredible streamer fishing. A good BWO hatch on the Bow is hard to beat and potentially our favourite hatch. The cooler water temps seem to rejuvenate fish as they put on weight knowing winter is edging closer. They're world class fighters all year long but Bow river rainbows fight like none other in the fall. There's been many instances of fish heading upstream into the backing making 6 or 7 jumps along the way.
Large pods of fish chase water boatman and and other aquatic nymphs in the shallows making for some of the best sight fishing opportunities of the year, most similarly described as fishing to bonefish cruising the Caribbean flats. Overcast days can make for some of the most mouth watering, blanket BWO hatches. Gin clear, low flows will promise to challenge even the most experienced angler in those sight fishing and head hunting situations. But with some of the more "summery" dry/dropper and streamer type fishing still happening, you can truly make September on the Bow as challenging as you want it to be.
Fall: October and November
October can be a very weather dependant month. It's not uncommon to have an early sprinkle of snow before halloween. If weather cooperates, The first few weeks of October see fishing that is similar to September, just with fewer and fewer fish eating big foam flies as fall progresses. Streamer fishing can be good. Our Brown Trout are well on the migration to spawn now and become pretty aggressive while Rainbows continue to fatten up before winter. Most of the dry fly activity will still be fish up on BWO's and the emergence of Midges will bring fish to the surface late in the month and into November.
Like early in the spring, a degree or two change in water temp can be a drastic change to the fish, because of this, fishing in late October is mostly done during the heat of the day. Less fish will make their way into shallow, sight fishing locations, riffles and other off the beaten path spots. They'll tend to stay in larger runs in preparation for winter.
About Trout Chasers
Trout Chasers River Company Ltd. is owned and operated by Dee, Sherri and Matt Chatani. We are based in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, and offer guided fly fishing float trips on the lower Bow. In 1998 we officially incorporated the company, although our experience on the Bow dates back to the early 80's. Dee began fly fishing the Bow River in 1978 and in 1988 he began guiding anglers full time.
You can be certain to not find Dee, Matt, or our other guides at home during the season, every spare moment is spent fishing the Bow. Our guides intimate knowledge of the river's constantly changing moods helps to ensure that each and every day spent on the Bow is truly a memorable one.
Dee is Trout Chasers owner/operator. With more than 35 years of experience as a guide, you'll be hard pressed to find a better guide on the Bow River. Dee pioneered multiple fishing tactics, and introduced trout flies that are now common on the Bow. During his long career in the industry, Dee worked as the western Canada sales representative for Sage, Rio, Redington, Loon, Waterworks Lamson, and Scientific Anglers just to name a few. He's also been featured on numerous fly fishing TV shows that visit the Bow. As a certified fly casting instructor, Dee taught Sage's fly fishing schools through the early 2000's, and now represents Sage as a member of their Elite Pro Staff. He stood as the Vice President of the Angling Outfitters and Guides Association of Alberta, and was a founding member of the Bow River Trout Foundation.
Born in Calgary and raised on the banks of the Bow, it was a matter of time before Matt followed in his Dad's footsteps. After a long soccer career ending with the University of Calgary Dinos, Matt shifted all focus to the Bow River. A successful first five seasons have established him as one of the busiest guides on the water. Matt represents Sage on their Elite Pro Staff. He co-teaches an intro to fly fishing course and worked with Alberta Environment and Parks, where he had a key roll in monitoring fish populations. He has also been featured on podcasts, T.V. segments and presented fly fishing seminars. Matt spends the off season working in Fish Tales Fly Shop, where he stays up to date with all new developments in the fly fishing world. Matt has a passion for the visual aspects of fly fishing, rising fish, sight fishing, and fishing big streamers close to the surface. At 24 years of age, he is looking forward to a long career as a full time Bow River guide.