Suggested Itenaries/Seasonal Conditions

 

West Kootenays
 

West Kootenay Redbanded Rainbow

Late May/ June

This is the time when the Kootenay and Columbia River tailwaters begin to warm up bringing on some big hatches along with big rainbows. The enormous caddis hatch on this river provides some of the best dry fly fishing of the year and there is always a good chance of hooking some fish over 25”. As the weather can vary a little at this time of year we recommend spending three days floating the river. Castlegar airport is 10 minutes from one of the Columbia’s boat launches. Spokane WA airport is approximately 3 hours away.

On June 15th the smaller tribs of the west Kootenay open up and could be added into the trip as well.

 

July

 
The smaller tribs are all open and the Kootenay and Columbia River tailwaters are dropping and still abundant in caddis. This is the best time to sample all our waters from a drift boat although walk and wades are available. At this time the fishing is generally best on the tailwaters in the evening so we will often spend the first half of the day on a smaller stream before heading over to the big water and casting to large rising rainbows. After spending 3 days fishing these waters you could head east to sample the Elk River for some more incredible dry fly fishing (4 hour drive).
 

 Late August-mid October
 
 

 

Columbia River Rainbow Heading For Home After the Battle

 

It is around this time we return to the West Kootenay to cast big Hopper patterns at huge rainbows in the lower and more defined Columbia River. It is also time to float and walk and wade some of the smaller tributaries using a variety of hopper, stonefly and caddis patterns. October Caddis appear in good numbers on all our guiding rivers here and fishing remains good up until mid-October.

 

 

 

East Kootenays

The Fernie area of the East Kootenay’s can be accessed in a variety of ways. If flying into Kalispell MT guests can then drive 2 hours north to the town of Fernie. Cranbrook BC’s airport is only an hour away from Fernie and also sits close to the banks of a blue ribbon trout stream called the St. Mary’s. The other option is to fly into Calgary and fish the Bow River and some of the Crowsnest streams on your way in and out of Fernie. The drive from Fernie to the Calgary airport is about 3 hours.

Mid June/Early July

The rivers of the East Kootenay open in mid June and their fishability depends on the spring runoff. Generally the river is a little too high and coloured to fish but if snow pack is low or if a cool spring allows a moderate release the fishing can be stellar. Stay posted to our blog for updates and when we give you the thumbs up, you should try to get up here for some ridiculously good dry fly fishing. We suggest floating the Elk for 2 days and then heading over to the southwestern AB for 2 days of the salmonfly hatch on the Crowsnest, Oldman and other rivers.

Mid July-September

Small Freestone Trib

The tribs have fallen and are in prime condition, often featuring hatches that have long dried up on the Elk. There are countless walk and wade options for both cutthroats and huge bull trout that begin their migratory spawning runs into these headwaters. PMD’s are the dominant hatch on the Elk at this time and as we get deeper into the month of August terrestrials such as hoppers and ants are often what guides tie on the tippet.  This is historically the busiest time of year but due to the abundance of fishable water in the area it is easy to find solace on the many small tribs that feed into the Elk. We recommend at least three days of fishing at this time due to the availability of fishable water and the variance in hatches. A combination of drifting and walk and wading is the best method to sample the summer fishery of the East Kootenay.

September-Early October

Many of tributaries are closed at this point in order to protect the large numbers of spawning bull trout although a few remain open and are excellent dry fly cutthroat fisheries. The water in the Elk is lower and crystal clear providing anglers with ample sight fishing opportunities. BWO’s (blue winged olives) and October caddis are the primary bugs hatching at this point and during these hatch periods angling can be intense as trout feed more aggressively due to the approaching cold weather. The scenery at this time can only be described as majestic as leaves and needles (larch trees) turn yellow and contrast beautifully with the deep blue sky and snow kissed mountain peaks. This is a favourite time of year for many repeat guests as crowds lessen and fishing intensifies. By mid-October temperatures have cooled and the guiding season is put to rest until the return of summer.
 

Southwest Alberta

The Calgary International Airport is perhaps the best point of arrival for fishing this area particularly if the Bow River is on your agenda. It takes one and a half hours to get to the Crowsnest and Oldman Rivers after departing the city of Calgary.
 

 Early June-mid July

The Fording River and the Rockies

Generally the rivers on the east slope of the Rockies clear up a bit earlier as runoff tends to be less severe. For a good sample of what Alberta has to offer we suggest flying into Calgary and spending two days on the Bow River before driving two hours south and hooking up with “no name guide” for a Crowsnest sampler….rainbows, cutts, browns, good company and salmonflies…..a complete angling experience.
 

 

Mid July-September

  The fishing can vary greatly here depending on conditions and location. The headwaters are often cooler and provide consistent fishing throughout the warmer months. As these rivers leave the mountains and begin snaking through the rolling hills of the prairies, high temperatures can affect certain sections of river. Due to the amazing number of options here there is always good fishing available and your guide will be in tune with local conditions and the best available angling options. There is such great diversity here that we recommend three + days of angling to get a small taste of this fly fishing “mecca”

September & October

As the water begins to cool the trout become more active in their search for prey and prey comes in a variety of forms. BWO’s are the predominant mayfly here but the abundance of prairie grasses along the riverbanks has many of the bigger trout sucked into the shallows waiting for the big leggy hoppers to bounce into their sight. There are hundreds of miles of these grassy banks holding both rainbows and browns and a few days of stalking giant trout in this fashion will provide many ‘legendary’ moments.

Conditions will obviously vary from year to year or from month to month. The Rockies are prone to sudden and severe weather changes and occasionally heavy rainfall can temporarily ‘blow out’ a river. We always adjust to these variances to provide you with the best angling experience available at that time. Our blog which can be accessed through our fish report section of the site will provide a seasonal and daily synopsis of what is happening in our fishery.