Policeman’s Flats – A Proposal for Improved Access

Although it is possible for the entire Bow River to be accessed by foot, river boat use is restricted by boat ramp access. Within Calgary, the  city’s River Access Strategy has addressed the public access boat ramp issue with new boat ramps scheduled for Inglewood and Ogden Bridge, an upgrade at West Baker Park and Harvie Passage the fishing community will have boat access to the entire city reach of the Bow River.

Below Calgary, The Government of Alberta has developed 5 public boat access ramps all of which were devastated by the 2013 flood. Remediation of boat ramps has taken place, but further improvements are needed.

Alberta Environment and Parks commissioned The Bow River Access Plan to identify access site needs, engaged with the general public and stakeholder groups to develop a timeline for improvements. It is understood that improvements will be made to McKinnon’s Flats and Johnson’s Island. Fish Creek Provincial Park meets immediate needs and Legacy Island will be maintained within the terms of the TU – Bow River Chapter lease agreement.
What is unclear is the future of Policeman’s Flats. Discussions are ongoing for a replacement site less vulnerable to flooding but no definitive decision is expected for two or more years.

A Proposal for Short-Term Improvements to Policeman’s Flats:

Bow River Trout Foundation with a mandate to advocate and support for the Bow River fishery puts us in a position where we can contribute to river access improvements and new site developments. We appreciate that until the final Bow River Access Plan is approved and released to the public, it will be difficult to engage with what stakeholder contributions and support would be appropriate discussion points.
Furthermore, no decisions on a new site development to replace Policeman’s Flats are expected for two or more years. This would indicate that Policeman’s Flats will continue to be one of the major river access points on the Bow River for the foreseeable future.

Bow River Trout’s position that is shared by other river user organizations, river guides, outfitters and the fishing community at large is that the current disposition of Policeman’s Flats is unacceptable as a safe boat launch and takeout point. We appreciate that to totally redevelop the site is problematic given the ownership questions, suitability of further development and new site development at better sites.

Therefore, Bow River Trout Foundation has made a commitment of $5,000 to kick start the revitalization of Policeman’s Flats. The three phase development will see rocks removed that interfere with river access, a clean up and grading of the parking area and possibly an amenities module with a total cost $ 37,525. Grant applications and fundraising activities will contribute a considerable amount of the funding needed to complete the project before the fall of 2018.

Your support by way of BRT membership or a donation will assist with the development. Go to the following link to support our initiates:

Blue Ribbon Bow Silent Auction

The BRT Blue Ribbon Bow Dinner Silent Auction consists of 42 items for a value of $48,432!

Tickets available at the following link

by now

  1. Dave Brown Bow River Float Trip – Two Boats, 4 people – $1,200
  2. “Brown Cruising” by Derek DeYoung Giclee Print – $ 385
  3. “Teton Risers”, by Derek DeYoung Giclee Print – $ 385
  4. Dave Sewell Selection of Bow River Flies – $ 250
  5. “Striking Silver” by Fred Boyer Bronze Limited Edition $ 9,000
  6. “The Challenger” by Bruce Miller, Print on Canvas – $ 1,250
  7. “Edge of the Forest”, by Bruce Miller Print on Canvas – $ 2,500
  8. “Lords of the Big Skies” by Trevor Swanson Print on Canvas – $ 1000
  9. Renegade Guide Service– Bow River Float Trip – S 600
  10. BRT Engraved BRT Hunting Knife  – $ 200
  11. SA Amplitude MAX Fly Line WF-5-F – $ 170
  12. SA Amplitude TROUT Fly Line WF-5-F – $ 170
  13. Trout Chasers Bow River Float Trip One Day– Two Anglers –– $600
  14. Missouri River Float Fishing – Two Days / Nights – $ 2,000
  15. The Presidents Bow River Float – 4 boats / 8 anglers – $ 5,000
  16. Private Two-Hour Fly Casting Clinic for Six – $500
  17. Aaron Caldwell Selection of Steelhead and Bow River Flies– $ 250
  18. Bass Pro Hobbs Creek – 9 ft 5 wt. rod reel combination – $190
  1. Cabela’s RLS+ 9 ft. – 6 wt. Fly Rod & Reel Combo  – $200
  2. Hand Sewn Queen/ Double Bed Quilt. – $ 500
  3. Scott Radian Fly Rod – 9 ft. 6 wt. – $1,100
  4. “Trout Confetti” by Derek DeYoung Print on Canvas –  $ 525
  5. Patagonia Men’s Rio Gallegos Waders – $590
  6. Patagonia Ultralight Wading Boots – $ 230
  7. Patagonia Stealth Atom Sling Bag – $ 100
  8. Sage X 9 ft.–4 wt. Fly Rod ans Spectrum LT Reel + Rio Fly Line  -$ 1,700
  9. “Sanctuary”, by Glenn Olson, Gilsee Print – $300
  10. “Standing Room Only: Watercolor by Paul Rasporich – $2,000
  11. “Feeding Lane” Watercolor, by Paul Rasporich – $2,000
  12. “Lightning Rod” Watercolor By Paul Rasporich -$3,500
  13. “Green Highlander” Steelhead Fly Print $ 250
  14. Hardy Zephrus FWS Fly Rod – 8ft. 6ins – 5 Wt. – $ 850
  15. Out Fly-Fishing Bow River Float Trip One Day – $600
  16. “Crystal Clear” By Curtis Golomb, – $ 2000
  17. “Cutthroat Trout”, by Bavin Glassware – $ 2,750
  18. Temple Fork “The Drift” Fly Rod – $540
  19. Sean Britt Selection of Pike Flies – $ 250
  20. Arcteryx Carry-on Duffle Bag – $ 230
  21. Portrait Session by Nathalie Boisvert – $1,000
  22. Two Nights in Tinhorn Vineyard Cottage – $750
  23. Hook & Hackle Assorted Flies for Alberta Waters – $ 250
  24. Red Deer River Float Trip – $ 600
  25. Rising Lunker Net – 24″ – $190




Calgary River Access Strategy – Update January 2018

When City Council approved the Calgary River Access Strategy in February, 2017, five river access sites were given priority development:

West Baker Park Concept

West Baker Park – A new parking lot & upgrades to the boat ramp and hand launch sites with additional improvements to amenities.

Sunnyside Improved access off Memorial Drive to the river edge.

Inglewood  and Ogden Bridge – New full service river access sites with boat ramp, parking, toilets and amenities

 Graves Bridge – Barrier installed to limit vehicle access to the upstream gravel bar. 



In Addition a Signage & Education Program was to be rolled out to inform the public of river access use.


Calgary Parks has recently released the River Access Update that details the progress made to date. The fishing community will benefit from public trailers boat access at West Baker Park once Harvie Passage to opened to the public in June 2018. But unfortunately the new boat ramps at Inglewood and Ogden Bridge will not be completed until 2019 at the earliest. Without a public boat ramp in the general vicinity of Harvie Passage, a float fishing trip from West Baker Park to Graves Bridge is the only option.

20170726_142806Bow River Trout Foundation has made a proposal to Councillor Carra who has been supportive of both the River Access Strategy and Harvie Passage development to consider public access to a new boat ramp built into the Low Water Channel of Harvie Passage. The proposal A Boat Ramp to Nowhere  would see a new roadway from the Bow Habitat parking lot in Pearce Estate Park to the rivers edge. This development would not only give trailered boat access to the river, but also improve the paddle communities accessibility to Harvie Passage.



The Blue Ribbon Bow Dinner – An Evening of Celebration

The Bow River Trout Foundation – Blue Ribbon Bow Dinner will be held at The Calgary Petroleum Club on Wednesday, February 21, 2018 . The event will focus on:

” A Celebration of the Bow River Fishery”

The evening will open with a display of Paul Rasporich paintings, silent auction items and a cash bar at 5:00 pm. A full list of merchandise can be found at the following link. BRT Silent Auction Merchandise

A three-course dinner will be served at 6:30 pm  consisting of a salad, a choice the main plate and desserts with coffee or tea.

At the conclusion of dinner service, Peter Crowe-Swords, President, Bow River Trout Foundation will outline BRT accomplishments  and future plans, followed by the introduction of our keynote speaker Ross Purnell by local fly fishing celebrity, Jim McLennan.

Ross Purnell, Editor, Fly Fisherman Magazine brings a unique perspective to the audience. Born and raised in Calgary, Ross started his love of fishing on the banks of the Bow River. His journalist career has taken him around the world to many great sport fisheries. We will receive a picture of how the Blue Ribbon Bow fits into world class fisheries.

The evening will conclude with the announcement of the silent auctions successful bid.

Tickets available at local fly fishing shops and online for $125.00




A Boat Ramp to Nowhere – A Proposal for Access to Harvie Passage

The redevelopment of Harvie Passage on the Bow River at the Western Irrigation District weir in the heart of Calgary will be complete and open to the public later in the spring of 2018. The Low Flow Channel has been designed as a safe passage through the weir for all paddle sports and offers a destination water park for kayak and canoe use.


By all accounts the recreation and competitive paddle community are happy with what has been developed by the Government of Alberta. What is unfortunate is that the Government of Alberta and the City of Calgary have been unable to resolve convenient access to Harvie Passage. As it stands now, no improvements to access infrastructure will be made for the foreseeable future.

For Bow River Trout Foundation as a member of Calgary River Users’ Alliance a further frustration is that a boat ramp has been built into the tail-out of the Harvie Passage Low Flow Channel without any consideration for how to access the site with a truck and trailered drift boat.

The document   A Boat Ramp to Nowhere – A Proposal for Access to Harvie Passage was sent to Councillor Gian-Carlo Carra who represent the ward adjacent to Harvie Passage on December 18, 2017 outlining two proposals that we believe are feasible to resolve the access issue. It was hoped that our initiative would kick start dialogue within City Council to find a resolution to river access at this site.  Unfortunately there appears to be little appetite to engage in the process to achieve a satisfactory river access outcome for all river users.

Once Harvie Passage is opened, the paddle community will be limited to parking at the Bow Habitat Station and carrying their water craft across Pearce Estate Park.

For the fishing community we will only be able to look at the “Boat Ramp to Nowhere” and wonder just what could have been done with a more creative thought process.