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This freestone river originates from the Petein Glacier of the Macdonald Range in the Canadian Rockies and flows into the Elk Lakes where much of the glacier silt deposits, leaving a very clear, emerald green river in the summer. As it journeys to the Kootenay River, the Elk River picks up nutrient rich and fertile waters from many of its tributaries such as Michel Creek
The Elk River thought by many to be the best dry fly river in North America for large West Slope Cutthroat Trout which average between 10 – 18 inches and countless Cutthroats grow large to 22 inches. The Elk River is also known to hold very large Bull Trout which can grow to 36 inches or 20 lbs.
The river offers such diversity for the angler as it is large enough for floating but has many braided sections that are similar in size to creeks. Upper sections of the Elk River are excellent for wading with the opportunity for wildlife viewing while the mid to lower sections are braided allowing for drift fishing and walk & wade trips.
The season begins in mid-June with excellent Golden Stone Fly Hatches followed by Western Green Drakes and progresses as the water drops through the summer and into the fall. By September the Elk River is low and very clear. This is when we have excellent Blue Wing Olive Hatches which carry right into October. With the mild climate of the western slopes of the Canadian Rockies there are many great angling opportunities through the winter months.
Anglers return each year for the exceptional dry fly-fishing and spectacular scenery. However, it is not just the dry fly-fishing that draws anglers to the Elk River many enjoy casting large streamers in hopes of hooking double digit Bull Trout. This is truly a magical place to fish as the Elk River carves its way through beautiful mountain valleys with the Rocky Mountains jutting up along either side.
The Bull River is a 117-km (73-mi) long tributary of the Kootenay River, and like the Elk River, migrates from the Macdonald Range of the Canadian Rockies. This fast flowing mid-size river has many boulder sections and lots of great structure. With scenery that is absolutely breathtaking, floating down the Bull River along the Steeples Range with towering peaks on either side is unsurpassed.
Fishing pressure is low with sections of the river having very high concentration of Wild Cutthroat Trout. The trout are smaller in size than those found in the Elk River, with the average ranging from 10 – 14 inches. The Bull River allows us to offer float trips or Walk and Wade trips with the best fishing to be found from late July through to the end of August with good hatches of May flies and Caddies.
The Wigwam River is located a short drive through the wilderness on logging roads where the crystal clear running waters lends the most incredible dry fly-fishing in North America. Along with the St. Mary’s River, the Wigwam is a fly-fishing only river.
A river like no other, the Wigwam is a pristine gem. The spring fed waters are ideal for spawning Bull Trout, members of the Char family, as they require extremely clean cold water to spawn making the Wigwam River an ideal location. In the spring of each year, the Bull Trout journey from the Kootenay River to the Elk River and then follow up to the Wigwam River where they spawn in late fall.
With such great water quality, the Western Green Drake hatches are some of the best found anywhere. The Wigwam River is the place where one can cast a fly to West Slope Cutthroat Trout that will literally tip the scales due to the abundance of insect life. With meadow sections to fast flowing runs with large boulders and deep clear holes, this river will have you believing that you are fishing in New Zealand.
Most of the rivers in the East Kootenays flow into the Kootenay River as it is a major water shed. As the Kootenay is a glacial river, It is best to fish in March, April and May and then again from mid-September to November.
Spring can be very rewarding for anglers who like to chase very large Bull Trout and once the glacier melt has slowed, around mid-September, the river becomes crystal clear again making this a fantastic time to cast a dry fly for Rainbow Trout and West Slope Cutthroat Trout as they have been enjoying a summer of “no anglers”!
The upper section of the Kootenay, which runs through Kootenay National Park and down through the logging community of Canal Flats, is truly a wilderness gem offering excellent river camping, stunning views and of course, great fly-fishing.
Originating from the Bow Glacier in Banff National Park, the Bow River flows through the Canadian Rockies to the prairie flatlands and has perhaps the best Rainbow and Brown Trout fishing in North America, or the World.
The Bow River is nutrient rich with an abundance of insect life which produces very large Wild Trout. Most of the fishing on this river takes place from the city of Calgary to Carsland. As it flows from Calgary the pace of the river slows and widens with numerous islands and braided sections. The long grassy bank sections and fast runs that fill deep channels and holes are perfect for trout habitat so “flip-a-fly” and hook into a Steelhead Strain Rainbow….aaahhhh…fishing at its best!
The mid-sized Crowsnest River begins at Crowsnest Lake which borders Alberta and British Columbia. This is one of the finest Rainbow Trout fisheries to wade fish with the average fish size being a healthy 14 inches and you may also find larger fish in the 20 inch range. The Crowsnest River has many excellent hatches allowing for superb dry fly opportunities.
The Oldman River, another excellent western Alberta prairie river, located below the Three Rivers dam is a tail water fishery consisting of Rainbow and Brown Trout.
This mid-size freestone river is a classic mountain stream with excellent wading opportunities throughout its length.
The Waterton River flows some 80 km north from the Waterton Lake located in Waterton Lakes National Park. It continues north and discharges in the Belly River, a tributary of the Oldman River. The scenery is full of incredible mountain views with diverse habitats including prairie grasslands and aspen parkland. This very cold mountain river is best fished early in the season from June through to the end of July before the river levels drop to their lower flow rates. During this time of the season the angler can experience excellent Golden Stone fly hatches in which the dry fly fishing can be spectacular. This river can surprise many anglers by giving up some very large Brown’s and Rainbows.