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bigriver444 01-28-2009 04:19 PM

Banff - Bow River in February
I'm heading to Banff for skiing with my brothers at the end of February and want to get some time in on the Bow below town. I'm an Eastern guy, mainly fish in Maine during summer and Va the rest of the year.

Any specific patterns work well? I'm assuming it's all sink tip with beadheads and streamers right now. Also, 9' 4 weight? 8'6" 5 weight? Bigger? Just ordered "Blue Ribbon Bow" and hope it helps. Thanks for any advice.

Drew Sanz

shouldofbeenhereyesterday 01-29-2009 12:37 PM

Re: Banff - Bow River in February
Drew, great trip. I have fished the Bow downstream from the city, however not in the winter. As you say, sinking tips, streamers, mostly. My 6 wt. worked fine. On the skiing side hope you are planning to hit both Lake Louise and Sunshine. Great places. Good luck on the Bow. Stay warm!

bigriver444 01-30-2009 07:36 AM

Re: Banff - Bow River in February
Thanks for the confirmation. This is a dream trip for me. I'll definitely hit both Mountains too.


doc 01-31-2009 12:10 AM

Re: Banff - Bow River in February
Dude, you do know it's winter here right? I don't think you'll find any open water around Banff, it should be frozen solid. However, if you can make it downstream of highway 22X in Calgary on a day when the day time temp is above 4c and the night before didn't drop below -5c, you'll be able to fish the Bow for some trophy trout. If there are ice chunks, they'll burn off by the afternoon letting you get your presentation down. A good access point is Policeman Flats (head downstream).


bigriver444 02-01-2009 09:35 AM

Re: Banff - Bow River in February
Thanks Doc -

I had heard that the hot springs and water treatment plant kept the river open right below Banff - but that was just one informal source. I'll definitely check Calgary area out (weather allowing) when I land there.

Best Regards,


bigriver444 02-02-2009 08:57 AM

Re: Banff - Bow River in February
This article in Fly Fisherman indicates that the river should be open below Banff...

Alberta's Upper Bow River, by Jim McLennan

"Seasons on the Bow
Because so much of the river remains open through the winter, and because the river upstream of the Highway 1 Bridge below Canmore remains open to angling, a surprising amount of fly fishing is available in what is normally considered the off-season. On the right day it is possible to ski at one of Banff's resorts in the morning and fish the upper Bow in the afternoon."

I also says that the river in this area "isn't generous" & I might need a guide to make it worth my while.


doc 02-07-2009 10:39 AM

Re: Banff - Bow River in February
I stand corrected. I've only fished the upper Bow in the summer and forgot all about the hot springs. If I'm in Banff in the winter, I'm skiing. Maybe now though I could do a half and half. I still think down stream of Calgary is your best bet. You can stop by any of Calgary's fly shops and get a Bow River map that shows runs and access points.

Here's a nice Bow River rainbow I landed in the winter downstream of Calgary.


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