Our experienced Bow River fly fishing guides possess a deep knowledge of the structures and seasonal complexities of this famous and technical river. We are very fortunate to have very experienced guides who have not only put in their time on these systems but also many other regions across Canada. Fly fishing instruction and this industry is a part of our lives, not just our livelihood, and we have some of the hardest working and most enjoyable guides around. We've fished all over the world and know what it's like to be the guest as well as the guide, something we believe helps us serve each of our guests better. Guided fly fishing trips should be the experience of a lifetime and Out Fly Fishing Outfitters strives to make sure that each of our guests feels this way after a day O.F.F with us!
Our primary fishery is the Lower Bow River but we also guide on the Crowsnest, Oldman, Livingstone, other small mountain streams and alpine lakes in Southwestern Alberta.
The blue ribbon stretch, or "Lower Bow", is the section of the Bow River downstream of Calgary. The Upper Bow located near Banff, Alberta, is known as the "Jewel of the Rockies" and is exceptionally beautiful, however the fishery there does not compare to that of the lower Bow. We have compiled a very detailed description of the different sections and stretches of the river on our website.
Additionally, a full break down of all the trips and fisheries outside of the Bow that we offer can be found on our website, but here is a brief description of some of the main fisheries we guide on in addition to the Bow River.
Because Calgary is situated so close to the Rocky mountains we are fortunate to be able to slip out to the mountains for day trips, or stay at cabins and B&B's right in the heart of the mountains. Our mountain streams are exceptionally cold and rugged, although several of them still provide remarkably easy access for how unspoiled, remote and breathtaking they are.
The alpine lakes we fish are right in the heart of the Rockies. Some of them, such as where we fish for golden trout, are at high enough elevations to be above the tree line. Many of these lakes are absolutely breathtaking. Both hike-in and heli-fishing options are available for our alpine lake trips.
The lakes and reservoirs we guide for pike on are prairie reservoirs that are typically shallow, fertile and not heavily treed. These reservoirs are here for agriculture irrigation purposes but happen to provide prime habitat for suckers, perch, whitefish and other coarse fish that are all food sources of large predatory pike.
During winter we experience Chinooks (warm winter winds) due to our proximity to the mountains. During a Chinook temperatures can get well above freezing and the river becomes viable to fish. Outside of the Chinooks it's typically too cold to fish at this time of year.
The weather can be unpredictable this time of year. It's possible to still get snow and have freezing weather, but it's also possible to have 70F degree days. May can be a wet month as this is when our early season rains typically start. It's not uncommon to have days in May reach high 70's and low 80's but mid 60's are the norm. April May can bring beautiful weather or very unpredictable weather.
June is typically when we get much of our rain, but it's also when days get longer and start getting warmer. Mid 70's and days into the 80's are possible.
This is the time of year to travel to Calgary. We are very fortunate to have nice and reliable weather during the summer. We see mid-day temps in the high 70's and low to mid 80's but it's not uncommon to have 90F days. It cools off enough at night and the climate is dry enough that the hot days are still very bearable.
Fall marks the changing of the leaves and the return of frost at night. October can be very nice still with mid-day temps hitting the 70's but it gets cold at night and snowstorms are possible. As we move into November the fishing becomes very weather dependent as it will typically be below freezing at night and not all days will get above freezing as the month progresses.
Out Fly Fishing Outfitters is open year round, with a peak season from July through September.
Winter Season: December - February (Fishable if we have Chinooks ie: weather above freezing)
Spring Season: March - May (Feast or famine time of year, we wouldn't recommend planning travel for this season but if you're here visiting or working it could be well worth your while)
June: Runoff for rivers, but this is when we guide lakes and pike on the fly
Peak Season: July - September (Prime time and best time to book your holiday)
Fall Season: October - November (Can fish extremely well but becomes more weather dependent)
For a detailed description of our fishing seasons please visit our website.
We can supply everything for you, so you don't have to worry about bringing any gear, unless you wish to use some of your personal gear. We have breathable waders, boots, rods, reels, and all the leaders, tippet and flies you require. We've learned over the years that providing the flies makes our guests far less gun shy when it comes to delivering the fly tight to the structure the big fish hang out around. If you have personal waders, a fly rod or flies you've tied that you'd like to bring, you're welcome to bring your gear and your guide will help you set it up for here.
We work very hard to make sure a typical day on the water with us is anything but typical. From the beginning we have always believed that it's your day O.F.F. and not ours, which is why we don't count the hours and why we don't have specific start or end times. On our full day trips you're on the water for as long as you want to be, whether that’s 6 hours or 14. When the golden stone hatch is going off we'll sometimes start as early as 3:00 am and when evening caddis hatches have fish sipping long after sunset it's not uncommon for us to not get off the water until after midnight. We've yet to meet a fish that only feeds from 9-5, so why run our trips only during those hours? We'll work with you and your schedule to make your day O.F.F. as enjoyable as possible.
Winter Season: Bow river Rainbows & Browns
Spring Season: Bow river Rainbows & Browns
June: Pike, Arctic Grayling, Rainbows, Browns, Brook trout
Peak Season: Rainbows, Browns, Brook, Cutthroat, Bull and Golden Trout. Cutbows and Arctic Grayling
Fall: Rainbows, Browns, Cutthroat, Bull, and Brook Trout. Cutbows and pike
$475 for half day trips and $600 for full day trips with completely customizable packages of any trip duration. All prices are in Canadian funds and do not include licenses, gratuities or taxes. Refer to our website for specific pricing of special trips.
Where do we fly into?
You fly into Calgary International Airport (YYC)
Where do we stay?
Calgary is full of hotels at every price range and you are welcome to stay wherever best suits your needs. We have a preferred guest rate at the Delta Calgary South located on Mcleod Trail South that we can offer you for the duration of your stay. Simply contact us to book your dates and we can assist you with your reservation.
What if I've never fly fished before?
We cater to all experience levels and we estimate about 1/3 of our guests are new to fly fishing. Our guides are all patient and experienced instructors that are always happy to see new people introduced to this great sport.
How long are your guided trips?
We pride ourselves on the fact that we do not count hours on our full day trips. Out Fly Fishing Outfitters believes that it's your holiday, not ours, so you tell us when you're ready to get off the water. Whether it's after 6 hours or 16, it's your day. O.F.F. Half day trips are approximately 5 hours from start to finish.
What if I'm in town for work and don't have a full day?
We are very accustomed to working with the schedules of business travelers or those trying to sneak away for some fishing during a family vacation. We do offer half day trips to take advantage early morning or evening trips if you only have a few hours, however one thing to keep in mind is how many daylight hours we get during the summer. In July it's light enough to fish around 4 am and does not get dark until after 11 pm. You could have meetings until 4:00 pm, get picked up and fish from 5 - 11pm if you'd like. We don’t have any set start time and we work around your schedule.
What type of equipment do we need to bring?
We can supply everything for you, so you don't have to worry about bringing any gear, unless you wish to use some of your personal gear. We have breathable waders, boots, rods, reels, and all the leaders, tippet & flies you require. We've learned over the years that providing the flies makes our guests far less gun shy when it comes to delivering the fly tight to the structure the big fish hang out around. If you have personal waders, a fly rod or flies you’ve tied that you’d like to bring, you're welcome to bring your gear and your guide will help you set it up for here. Please bring layerable clothing appropriate for the time of year.
What form of payments do you accept?
Visa, Mastercard, Amex, cash, certified check, Interac Email Money Transfers, or Paypal
What is the standard guide gratuity there?
This is always one of the more difficult questions for guests to ask, and equally so for guides to answer, so hopefully this will avoid an awkward conversation for you. Typical gratuities on our fisheries range from 12% to 18% for your standard 8 hour day with deli sandwich lunch. Your guide is being paid for his or her time and so gratuities should reflect how hard your guide worked for you - a well prepared shore side lunch, extra shots at productive runs, new techniques learned, personal best fish or any other extra care and attention that made your day special should all be considered.
What is the best time of year to fish?
The blue ribbon stretch of the Bow river is open year round, although the best months for fishing, weather, insect hatches, and consistent fishing are the months of July, August and September.
What fishing techniques will we be utilizing?
It's common for us to have a dry fly rod, nymph rod, and streamer rod rigged and ready for use each day in the boat. We're happy to teach guests new techniques but tend to let our guests dictate what type of technique they'd prefer to fish. There's nothing more enjoyable than rowing a boat for someone who loves to bomb the banks with streamers, or stalking a bank searching for snouts with a guest who wants to hunt that one big fish on a dry. Your favorite technique might not always be the most effective way to catch fish on any given trip, but we're here to let you know that we’ll still make sure your trip is the best holiday and day O.F.F. you could possibly have.
What are the size of fish we should expect to catch?
We are very fortunate to have such trophy fish both in the Bow and in many of our mountain streams. The average trout on the Bow is 17-18" with 20+" fish being daily commonalities. On the Bow most of us consider big fish to be those that exceed 24" and on any given cast you have a legitimate shot at landing a fish of this quality. With 2000-2500 fish per mile we have no shortage of trophy fish. 27-28" fish are the size of some of the larger fish landed each year, yet there are always much larger fish hooked and not landed, which is exactly why they're that large. Our trophy cutthroat streams have legitimate 18-22" cutties that are targeted and hooked daily, with the odd 24+" fish being landed. Often, these extremely large cutthroat have some rainbow in them, the infamous “cutbow”. These rivers are also home to many exceptionally large bull trout. 27-30" fish are common and true trophies in the 32-36" range are commonly targeted and a few lucky anglers are fortunate enough to land a few fish this size each season.
How many guides are available if we have a larger group?
Out Fly Fishing Outfitters is able to accommodate groups from just two anglers to many. We commonly coordinate and guide groups with 10-12 boats and have run trips up to 20 boats. We have multiple guides and boats on the water and available throughout the season. For large group bookings, please call us well in advance to reserve your preferred dates.
How crowded are your rivers?
A busy day on the Bow will look like a very slow day on many Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming rivers. The Bow is a big river and boats spread out quickly. It's very common for us to only see one or two other boats all day, even though there may have been 10 or more boats on that stretch. We typically float stretches of river 8-18 miles long in one day so it's very easy to space boats out. Whenever possible we also coordinate our trips to start at different times compared to most of the fly shops and boat traffic. We haven't found too many fish that feed on a 9-5 schedule so we don’t see the validity in only fishing you at those times, unless of course your schedule dictates that a necessity.
Can we fish in Banff or Waterton?
This is a question we hear a lot – many guests are staying in Banff and Canmore or down in Waterton and want to fish within the national park. Unfortunately, regulations and fishing conditions limit the opportunities to guide in the parks and so for a guided trip with us some travel is required to meet your guide here in Calgary or at a Southern Alberta mountain stream. You are able to fish in the national park on your own with a Parks Canada fishing license, available at the visitor's centers within the parks.