Bow River Report – April 16, 2015

Anglers wanting to hit the Bow over the next week are in for a treat. The bug life is prolific, the water’s low and clear, and the fish are continuing to hold in deeper and faster water. The forecast for the next few days is promising with a forecast high on Friday of 20 celsius and remaining highs for the weekend ranging from 8 – 14.

Fish food of note these days include midges, BWO’s, stoneflies, aquatic worms, boatmen, and leeches.

The midge activity has been insane with millions of midges being the norm over the last couple weeks. Check out the shoreline for a blanket of midge shucks the next time you’re out. It is a sight to behold.

On average these guys are pretty little (#16-#20). Some good midge patterns include the hi-vis griffith’s gnat (hi-vis is for your sake not the fishes – you may actually be able to see it when your size #18 or #20 fly is sucked in by a rainbow or brown if the bright orange post disappears….), midge magic, Trina’s hi-vis sprout, small Adams.

Check out this link featuring a “The Life Cycle of Midges” video clip – part of the video series Bugs of the Underworld.

More recently BWO’s have started making appearances. No reports of crazy numbers yet but there are definitely some around. These guys are a bit larger on average (#12-16.) Flies to try include parachute Adams, Keller’s Peppermints, Carlson’s purple haze.

We all like to fish dry flies; there’s nothing quite as rewarding as watching that elusive trout sip your perfectly placed fly. But the reality is nymphing will generally catch you more fish. We always talk about the San Juan worm when we talk about the Bow. It’s almost always listed as a fly to try because it works. If you’re comfortable fishing a two-fly nymphing rig try using a heavier wire worm on top. It’s weight will serve double duty and help get your smaller (trailing) nymph down to where it needs to be. Generally speaking fish that top fly – whether you opt for a SJW or a heavier stonefly – at about twice the depth of the water you’re fishing (for simplicity sake start at 8 or 9 feet which is essentially the length of a standard leader) – trail your second fly about 12-18″ behind your top fly. Some good nymphs to try: San Juan Worm, rubber leg squirrel, jimmy legs, Nakota boatman, BH hare’s ear, prince nymph, evil weevils, pheasant tails, black copper johns, the new “Evo” princes or stones from American Fly Outfitters have lots of weight and will get your nymphs to the bottom.

We are hearing a few reports of decent streamer activity. Often this time of year folks will fish a peacock leech behind a SJW and let it deaddrift. You can also try actively fishing black and white clousers, black or white dungeons, skiddish smolts, muddy buddy, white bunny leeches.

Current river flow rates are on the lower side of average (about 45 m3s at the time of writing.) We are hoping for some snowfall over the next few weeks – which is actually pretty normal for this time of year – if not we could be in for a low water year.

Since some folks may be venturing out on the water for the first time in 2015 here are a couple of suggestions to help improve your experience.

  • Check your leaders and tippet materials. Believe it or not these products do deteriorate. If the tippet breaks when you give it a hard pull  toss it or risk losing the first trout of the season (like I did on Thursday.)
  • Run through your mental checklist prior to leaving home – nippers, hemostats, leaders, tippets, flies, split shot, floatant…. There’s nothing more frustrating than getting to your fishing spot without all the necessities.
  • Be sure your fishing licence is current. 2015 licences became available in March and last year’s licence expired at the end of March.
  • Exercise caution when wading. We have yet to experience runoff in 2015. The rocks are slippery. Be sure to get one foot well-placed before lifting the other.

A week ago I was fortunate enough to be sight fishing to bonefish on pristine flats in Las Salinas, Cuba. I spent the day joking with my guide, cursing my inability to cast in to the 35km/hr wind, and catching some bonefish.

Today I enjoyed a couple of hours walking and wading along the banks of the Bow river. It was my first in-stream adventure for 2015 and the first time the dog we adopted in January fished with us. As shop owners most of our fishing time actually (sadly) happens when we leave the city. We become so easily wrapped up in orders that need to be placed or received, the seemingly endless paperwork, the demands of a family and household that we forget to carve out a few hours to wet a line.  That said, I hope everyone can cherish the moments you carve out to explore the water close to home whether fish are landed or not.

It’s not always about the fishing. NS