Bow River Fishing Report by Bow River Troutfitters 5.20.21
By angelamontana

Posted: May 21, 2021

Flows on the Bow have been increasing over the past week and despite the higher water, conditions are still quite good (until you get below the Highwood!). We are currently sitting at ~160 m3/s in town and as such the streamer fishing has picked up and nymph fishing is always consistent. Caddis have been hatching for a while now and there are still some blue-winged olives so fish have been looking up when the weather cooperates. There will likely be a window of good fishing before runoff picks up, so get out there when you can!

For streamers, try larger, contrasting patterns such as Galloup’s Silk Kitty, Fathead, and Dungeon. On bright days, flashy flies can be effective. If you are fishing a floating line, consider heavy flies weighted with coneheads or lead eyes. If using a sink-tip or full-sink line, you can experiment with unweighted and lightly weighted patterns.

For nymphs, staple patterns such as stoneflies, leeches, and worms will continue to produce. It will be key to ensure your flies are getting down deep enough, using tungsten beads or sufficient split shot.

While the cooler temperatures of the past few days have slowed caddis activity, it is still possible to find rising fish in softer pockets and riffles. We are still a way out from stonefly season, but there a few golden stones starting to show up, a glimmer of hope for all of us patiently waiting for summer dry fly action! Don’t be afraid to try stoneflies, however. Consider running a small dropper nymph beneath one of the stoneflies mentioned below.

Flows can fluctuate greatly at this time of year, so be prepared to try different techniques and adapt to conditions.

Flies that we recommend:

Streamers: Galloup’s Silk Kitty (black, olive), Galloup’s Fathead (black), Mini Dungeon (black, olive), Muddy Buddy and bugger variants, Kreelex Minnow

Nymphs: Girdle Bug, Peacock Bugger, Beaded Worms, Tungsten PT

Dry Flies: Tilt Wing BWO. Parachute BWO, Elk Hair Caddis, X-Caddis, Blackout Stone, Chubby Chernobyl

Remember, there are other fishing opportunities to be had right now besides the Bow, pike fishing on lakes and reservoirs has been good and the streams north of Calgary have been fishing well with stable flows so it may be worthwhile to do some exploring. Keep a keen eye on the weather, flows, and as always, know the regulations! A reminder, please watch out for rainbow trout on spawning redds, do not disturb them as they are busy ensuring our fishery’s future. Good luck to everyone getting out, and we look forward to hearing your fishing stories! As always, stop by the shop or give us a call if you have any further questions.

Tight lines

Check out Bow River Troutfitters online at bowrivertroutfitters.com.