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

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