Trout Fishing in the Elbow River

When one contemplates fishing in and around the city of Calgary, Alberta, Canada, one immediately thinks about the magnificent and dynamic Bow River that flows through the middle of the city. As we have discussed in the past, the Bow River is over a hundred yards across, interspersed with many tiny islands that are accessible only with a float boat. This can get very tiresome to your pocketbook as the daily rate for a boat and guide can get very expensive.

For the average fisherman who likes to hike around in hip or chest waders, it is highly recommended that he tour the tributary of the Bow River, called the Elbow River. Starting at the edge of K country (Kananaskis), this mighty stream, the water no more than fifteen, twenty-five yards across, has an adventurous journey zigzagging along the wooded terrain, has a sudden drop at the famous Elbow Falls, continues its way alongside the town of Bragg Creek and the Redwood Golf and Country Club and eventually pours into the Glenmore dam, Calgary’s water reservoir.

Outfitted with hip waders, you can start your journey fishing the waters along the Redwood Meadows golf course. The golf course is about twenty-seven miles west and slightly south of Calgary. The trout around here range about eight to fifteen inches long. The cold, rapid stream energizes the fish so that one really gets a bang for the bucks in reeling it in.

Several miles from the Redwood Meadows golf course and past Bragg Creek, the next target is at the Elbow Falls. For a “catch and release” fisherman like me, this is not an ideal place to fish. You drop your line about thirty feet down by casting the line towards the falling water and let it drift around. The idea is that you are hoping that the fly will end up where the trout are waiting. The problem is that once you catch one, you would hesitate to drop a twenty inch rainbow down over thirty feet for the damage it could cause the fish. Then you will have to walk downstream about thirty yards and let it go gently into the water. Not a good plan.

Above the falls, you could walk along the river bank for miles, looking for likely holding places for the trout. There is no lack of large rocks or sudden drops where you can easily visualize a large trout just waiting to be caught.

The entire trip can easily take a whole day, including a little lunch break sitting on the bank beside the babbling waters, or making it just a short drive from the city and spend a couple of hours, casting the line, as you see fit. The fishing will not disappoint.

A trip to the Kananaskis Country on the edge of the Rocky Mountains of Alberta and a fling at trout fishing the Elbow River is a must for all avid fly fishermen.