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.
Seasons of the Bow
Run off & 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 & 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.