Join Bow River Trout – Support the Bow River Fishery

The Future of the Bow River Fishery:

The Bow River fishery is recognized around the world for the quality of  Brown and Rainbow Trout.  The Bow River needs support from the angling community to assure a sustainable fishery not only for ourselves, but future generations.

We are excited to launch a new organization for the fishing community that is totally committed to the Bow River fishery. Bow River Trout Foundation wPCS10as formed by a group of like-minded local fishermen who volunteered to give back to the world renowned Bow River for years of angling pleasure.

11760268_10153417527286224_2165762554962684058_nBow River Trout Foundation is registered as a Not-for-Profit Alberta Society with a mandate to “Advocate and Support for the Bow River Fishery”. Our founding directors have developed 8 objectives that will serve to protect the interests of Bow River anglers and to sustain a viable fishery. Our primary focus is to support responsible use and enhancement of the fishery while assuring public access and protection of riparian habitat that benefits the Bow River ecosystem.

There is also a need to engage the public and cooperate with all levels of government and organization or stakeholders with similar interests as our own. In other word;

Bow River Trout will advocate for the interest of  the fishing community.

Recent Developments:

 Bow River Trout (BRT) has been an active participant in the stakeholder consultation with the Calgary River Access Strategy. Two new boat ramps will be commissioned within Calgary over the next two years.Ogden Bridge, downstream of Harvie Passage will be developed in 2017 followed by Inglewood in 2018. The City of Calgary has committed $7.6 million to new and enhanced river access over the next 5 years. BRT as a member of the Calgary River Users Alliance has been asked by the City of Calgary to financially support river access developments. BRT will contribute through our fundraising activities. Alberta Environment & Parks has started stakeholder consultation to improve river access outside of the City of Calgary. The Bow River Access Plan will be made public later in the spring.

More details can be found in  BRT Newsletter Spring 2017

Your Opportunity To Support Our Initiatives:

Bow River Trout Foundation membership is available on our website

Membership will give you a voice in advocacy for the Bow River fishery, support new and improved river access within the Bow River basin and keep you updated on progress with initiatives through a quarterly newsletter.

Brown Trout cut out 2


Peter Crowe-Swords

President, Bow River Trout Foundation.


Ghost Reservoir Draw Down Started

As part of an agreement between TransAlta and Alberta Environment & Parks, Ghost Reservoir is drawn down to a minimal operating level in May of each year to develop a buffer to protect from increase Bow River flows during spring run off.

The forecast is for flows to increase in Calgary from  76 CMS today to 120 CMS tomorrow and into the weekend. Details of the TransAlta agreement can be found on the BRT website by following the link  Bow River Flow Forecast

Bow River Trout Spring 2017 Newsletter

The BRT Newsletter Spring 2017 covers a wide variety of topics that lay the foundation for our vision for the future of the Bow River Fishery.

  • We have registered BRT as an Alberta Society by the name of Bow River Trout Foundation with a clear mandate to ” Protect and Support the Bow River Fishery”.
  • Our stakeholder consultation with Calgary’s River Access Strategy and Alberta Environment & Parks, Bow River Access Plan will see two new Calgary boat ramps within two years and upgrades to river access further downstream.
  • Please give some consideration to joining Bow River Trout. For $25 your membership will allow you to work closely with like-minded individuals to advocate and give back to one of North America’s greatest fisheries.


Bow River Instream Work -2017 Update

The following is an updated list of instream work that will take place in the Bow River during 2017. Instream work can only be conducted from April 06 to May 01 and July 15 to September each year to protect spawning fish. It is important to recognize that any instream work is covered by extensive Provincial and Federal legislation to protect the fishery. Containment of instream work is mandated in the legislature.

Calgary Bow River Instream Work Updates May 05 2017

Calgary Bow River Instream Work Sites

The 2013 Flood caused considerable damaged to the Bow River banks, instream infrastructure and changes to the footprint of the river. Over the past four years and into the future river banks will be stabilized and infrastructure redeveloped or replaced. In addition new bridges and river access will be built to support the ever increasing diversity of the city.

Each year there are two ” Windows of Opportunity” for instream work to be completed. April 6 to April 30 and July 15 to September 15. The main purpose of these restriction is to protect the spring spawning Rainbow Trout and fall spawning Brown Trout and restrict instream work during spring run-off. Each instream project is governed by Federal and Provincial statutes whereby there are policies and procedures that must be met to receive project approval. Although precautions are put in place to reduce the movement in sediment downstream, reduced viability can be expected over the duration of the work schedule. The following are a list of project that are planned for 2017:

Harvie Passage:

 This project managed by Alberta Transportation is a redevelopment of the high and low flow channels destroyed by the 2013 flood. Details of the project and timelines for instream work can be found at the following link Harvie Passage Redevelopment. The consulting engineers have indicated that the spring window of instream work will be completed on time:

“Instream work started today. The Contractor is working towards removing the cofferdams in the next week or so but the temporary diversion channel may not be blocked off till later. We are allowed to work instream till April 30th. The river will definitely be diverted back to the High Water Channel prior to April 30th

12 Street SE Bridge:

The New 12 Street S.E. Bridge spans the Bow River on the south side of St. George’s Island. It is an important link for vehicles and people, which provides access to and from 9 Avenue S.E. and Memorial Drive and access to the Calgary Zoo. The majority of the instream work is complete. The new bridge is scheduled to be completed in 2017. Project details can be found at the following link 12 Street SE Bridge. The old bridge footprint has been proposed as a new boat ramp in the Calgary River Access Strategy. Work on the boat ramp is planned to start in 2018.

17 Avenue SE  Bridge:

The City will be starting work on the bridge structures for the new 17 Avenue SE BRT Bridge adjacent to Cushing Bridge in early April. The first pieces of instream work will be the construction of a berm on the east side of the Bow River so the bridge structures can be built. Project details can be found at the following link 17 Avenue SE Bridge

Graves / Glenmore Bridge – Bank Stabilization 

Phase Two of this riverbank stabilization is taking place in 2017. To further stabilize the riverbank upstrem of the bridge, 110 meters of the bank will be shored up. Project details can be found at the following link Glenmore Bridge

Quarry Park – Fish Compensation Program

After the 2013 flood, The City completed several riverbank stabilization and rehabilitation projects at various locations along the Bow and Elbow Rivers. While necessary, these projects resulted in the loss of fish habitat which is now being replaced. Reestablishing the Quarry Park back channel will take place in 2017. Project details can be found at the following link Quarry Park – FCP

Elbow River – Bank Stabilization:

A stretch of the Elbow River bank at Riverdale Avenue will be stabilized in 2017. Project details can be found at the following link Riverdale

Calgary River Access Site Developments:

The Calgary River Access Strategy has identified six river access sites that will be developed in the next two years. A new boat ramp at Ogden Bridge and upgrades to Graves Bridge and West Baker Park access sites will start in 2017. Details of the site developments are detailed at the following link CRA Priority Sites


Not all construction sites will impact the Bow River all the time during the spring and summer instream work windows. Every precaution to protect the environment can be expected.

The referenced instream work sites will be updated as information become available.

More in-depth information can be obtained at the following City of Calgary website 

Calgary Water Resources Web Link

Calgary Transportation Web Link



Bow River Access Plan

Alberta Environment and Parks has consulted with Bow River Trout as a stakeholder in recreational river use with a proposed AEP Bow River Access Plan (BRAP). The scope of the consultation is from Ghost Reservoir to Carseland, with a priority on river access below Calgary.  BRAP will align closely with Calgary’s River Access Strategy (RAS) to give the fishing community a variety  of opportunities to float and fish the entire Bow River below Harvie Passage.

Increasing the number of river access points on the Bow River will alleviate the concentration of drift boat traffic on the Policeman’s Flats to McKinnon’s Flats reach of the Bow River.

The Bow River Google Map lists all existing and proposed boat ramps in and below Calgary


What we would like to know are the current use patterns and when new sites are made available will they get used. Please complete the following poll  to assist our engagement with government agencies.

Catch & Release Handling Techniques – Ways to Improve Survival

It may be time to review how we handle  our Catch & Release (CnR) techniques.

We cast a fly and once in a while catch a beautiful trout. Our passion for the sport of fly fishing has finally been rewarded. We use barbless hooks, strong leaders and fight fish with vigilance to bring them into a rubber-meshed landing net as quickly as possible. Quick, where is my camera, I’ll keep the fish in the net and in the water until I get organized for the shot. Finally the photo is taken and the fish is released.

After the normal run of self congratulation we need to ask ourselves just how long was that fish out of water and equally important out of running water where the fish can replenish its oxygen supply. Just how many of these fish swim away to die at the bottom of the river? More than most of us would believe!

Continue reading Catch & Release Handling Techniques – Ways to Improve Survival