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Reelin’ In the Fun: Fly-Fishing on the Bow River

By IAN DOIG

Out Fly Fishing guide Naoto Aoki prepares to release a freshly caught Bow River brown trout. (Photo: courtesy Josh Nugent)

Out Fly Fishing guide Naoto Aoki prepares to release a freshly caught Bow River brown trout. (Photo: courtesy Josh Nugent)

Fly-fishing outfitter and guide Josh Nugent loves his work. A day at the office involves wading and/or floating along the Bow River. Practicing catch-and-release fishing, Nugent and his team of seasoned guides help clients match wits with the river’s world-famous trout.

What kind of fishing experience do you offer clients?
We offer a really large variety of trips. The first question our guides ask customers in the morning is what do you want out of this day?

“It’s one of the top three trout rivers in the world.”

Do you take both novice and experienced fishers? 
Absolutely. We take every level from beginners up. Thirty to 35 per cent of our clients have never touched a fly fishing rod in their life. It’s a misconception that you need to know what you are doing before you go get a guide. It’s the opposite. You are far better to start with a guide, so that you don’t develop bad habits before you get into it.

What does a day of guided fly-fishing on the Bow look like?
We pick people up right from their hotel. If they are from Calgary, we typically meet them at one of the fishing shops in town and take them to the boat launch. At the mid-point of the day we stop and have a hot lunch on the side of the river. Everybody’s day can look so different depending on what they are after.

What stretches of the river do you visit?
The world-famous 89 km (55 mi) Blue Ribbon stretch of the river begins just downstream from downtown. It’s also cool to float through the downtown skyscrapers, and there’s good fishing there.

What is the Bow’s reputation as a fly-fishing river?
Conservatively, it’s one of the top three trout rivers in the world for a river that has rainbow and brown trout.

How catchable are the fish?
The rainbow and brown trout and white fish are very catchable. Typically, you would have a dozen to three dozen hooked in a day on a normal day. The thing about Bow River trout, is that they are all wild fish and have a reputation for fighting hard.

What should a person get out of a day spent fishing on the Bow River?
The first thing they have to get out of it is enjoyment whether it was a banner day where you caught fish all day, or you had to work really hard to put three fish in the boat.

For more information on Out Fly Fishing, visit www.bowrivercanada.com.
For Alberta sport fishing information and regulations, call 1-877-944-0313 (toll free), or visit www.albertaregulations.ca/fishingregs.

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