Calgary’s River Access Strategy A Game Changer

Monday, February 13, 2017 was a game changer for the Bow River fishing community. The Calgary River Access Strategy was approved by City Council giving the fishing community two new boat ramps at Ogden Bridge and Inglewood and an upgrade at West Baker Park and Graves Bridge (Glenmore). Once the High Priority Access Points are completed by the fall of 2018, the drift boat angler will be able to fish the entire lower Bow River from West Baker Park in the North-West of Calgary downstream to Carsland. Continue reading Calgary’s River Access Strategy A Game Changer

Calgary’s River Access Strategy Released to the Public

 January 24, 2017

Calgary’s River Access Strategy will be presented to Community & Protective Services Committee Meetings on February, 01, 2017. The River Access Strategy is an all encompassing document that addresses the needs of recreational river users for more boat and hand launch sites. From a review of more than 25 potential sites, 12 new or improved sites have been selected.

Continue reading Calgary’s River Access Strategy Released to the Public

The Bow River Needs Your Support


The Bow River is considered a “Blue Ribbon Trout Stream” and is recognized around the world as one of the best destinations for an opportunity to catch a “Once in a Lifetime” Brown or Rainbow Trout.  

A recent report generated by Bow River Trout for the Calgary River Access Strategy summarized data from angling surveys conducted across Alberta:

  • These data support our (CRUA) belief that in excess of 12,000 anglers fish the Bow River on average 14.8 days a year. This accounts for more than 177,600 fishing day per year contributing more than $24.5 million to the local economy.
  • In addition, the Sports Fishing in Alberta, 2010 Survey indicates that the Alberta’s Eastern Slopes Zone supports 56,519 anglers each spending on average $2,018 /year to support their recreational activity, for a total $114 million annually. 

Where are all these anglers when assistance is needed to improve recreational fishing opportunities in the region?

Continue reading The Bow River Needs Your Support

River Access Strategy Presented to Community & Protective Services February 1, 2017


The Calgary  River Access Strategy will be presented to the City of Calgary’s Community & Protective Services Committee(CPS) on February 1, 2017 for discussion, public input and hopefully approval before being presented to City Council for approval in March. From a list of 25 sites given consideration for development, the list is now down to 12 potential boat ramps. Of which Stoney Trail, 12 Street SE (new), Refinery Park (new), Graves Bridge and Fish Creek are considered high priority for the fishing community.

After considerable debate 17 Ave SE / Cushing Bridge has been taken off the table as a public access point. Ogden Road was considered as a realistic alternative, but the Bonnybrook Permanent Flood Barrier eliminated this site. A new boat ramp site at the top end of the Old Refinery Park has been identified as the most appropriate location to meet recreation fishing boat access to replace the 17 Ave SE boat ramp. The rationale for this boat ramp site selection can be seen in the following  Report

What is important at this stage in the River Access Strategy approval process is for all river user groups, businesses and individuals to support the proposals with appropriate comments that will assist approval by City Council. 

Needless to say the fishing community needs to get behind this project.

 BRT Presentation to Community& Protective Service Committee in February details the needs for recreational fishing boat access . If you feel a change in direction is needed please contact me ASAP. We would be pleased to add your support to the document, but if you wish to submit input yourself, please forward an email to the Project Manager for the River Access Strategy at  Calgary Parks.

If you wish to speak to the CPS committee,  please contact me and I will fill you in on the details.

 Peter Crowe-Swords


Old Refinery Park Proposed as Replacement for 17 Ave SE / Cushing Bridge Boat Ramp

orp-1As part of the stakeholder consultation with Calgary’s River Access Strategy, Calgary River Users Alliance has been negotiating with Calgary Parks to open 17 Ave./Cushing Bridge Boat Ramp to public access.

Unfortunately, the Calgary Fire Department could not grant public access to trailered drift boat and rafts. The following Report documents the reasoning behind the decision and recommends Old Refinery Park to be a public boat launch replacement.

It is refinary-park-boat-ramphoped that the new boat ramp, located on the west side on Ogden Road SE, upstream of Calf Rope Bridge will be completed in 2017.

Although it is disappointing to see the 17 Ave SE boat ramp closed to the public, the Old Refinery Park site will offer excellent access to the river, a large parking lot close to the ramp, toilets as well as other amenities that will forge the way for new river access points in the city.

 The complete list of proposed boat ramps and hand launch sites can be found in Calgary’s River Access Strategy

Your support for the strategy is welcome by posting your comments below or by email


Calgary’s River Access Strategy goes to City Council in March 2017

Calgary’s RIVER ACCESS STRATEGY addresses the Notice of Motion to Calgary City Council approved in June 2016 with the intention of providing easier, safer, legal, and environmentally sustainable river access along the Bow and Elbow rivers. 

This strategy aims to:

  • Provide increased user access to the Bow and Elbow rivers, so that Calgarians can enjoy a healthy and active lifestyle.

    Promote appropriate access points to access recreation opportunities on the river, while also protecting the riparian environment.

  • Provide better information around bylaws, safety, river conditions and more.

  • Create more economic opportunities for various businesses who provide services to help users access the river.

The River Access Strategy Draft Report will be submitted to Calgary’s Community Services Committee on February 1, 2017, followed by presentation to City Council for approval in March 2017. Calgary River Users Alliance as a principal stakeholder in recreation river use and Bow River Trout as a member of CRUA  were consulted extensively by Calgary’s Parks Department to develop the strategy.

We are very pleased with the  outcome. But at this stage, it is important to get feedback  on the draft report from the river user community at large. Therefore please respond by posting your comments below or by email

Future Looks Good For The Bow River’s Brown Trout

The Bow River’s Brown Trout are recognized worldwide as truly an  exceptional example of the species. It is not uncommon to catch one in excess of 24″ in length. Unfortunately there appeared to be a decline in the population in recent years. The Elbow River is used by the Bow River’s resident brown trout population as a spawning destination.  Calgary River Valleys a local environmental stewardship organization has been conducting annual Brown Trout Redd Counts on the Elbow River as an indicator of spawning success dating back as far as 1982. After years of decline, the 2015 survey showed marked increases in Redd Counts .

In addition to the Elbow River, the Calgary reach of the Bow River is also a spawning destination for Brown Trout. Trout Unlimited Canada – Bow River Chapter conducted a Redd Count Survey between Graves Bridge and Policeman’s Flats  in the fall of 2015 that showed impressive number of redds that were considerably higher than a previous survey conducted in 2005. The Bow River Chapter Data documents spawning locations within the scope of the survey with the highest concentrations in the Mallard Point back channel and adjacent to Popular Island. The survey will be repeated in 2016.

These surveys speak well for the future of the Bow Rivers Brown Trout Population