There is a reason why so many folks love to fish in Calgary – the region has it all, whether you’re an experienced angler or a first-timer.
Think picturesque rivers and lakes abundant with trout, pike and walleye; or standing knee-deep in the cool water of the Bow River as you cast for trophy trout. Pure bliss.
The beauty of fishing in this area is that you can make a day of it, but still spend your evening enjoying Calgary’s restaurant scene and relaxing in comfort in one of the city’s best hotels.
Quick tip – you’ll need to obtain a fishing licence and read up on the local regulations before setting out in the morning.
Here are some of the most breathtaking spots in and around Calgary where the fishing is excellent:
The Bow River
This is about as good as it gets. If you want to cast your line right smack in the city, the Blue Ribbon section of the Bow that runs along the northeast edge of Calgary is about 55 kilometres long and bursting with trophy-sized brown and rainbow trout. This world-renowned fishing location is ideal for fly fishing, especially from mid-May to late October, but die-hard locals will fish the river just about any time of year (as long as it’s not frozen).
After a day of fishing, reward yourself with dinner at River Café, a local favourite specializing in fish sourced directly from the Bow River. The restaurant feels like an old time Rocky Mountain fishing lodge with its open-hearth fieldstone fireplace and sweeping views. Fly-fishing artifacts make you feel like these are indeed your people. We recommend staying at the nearby Kensington Riverside Inn, a charming boutique property situated on the banks of the Bow, or The Westin Calgary downtown.
Pine Coulee Reservoir
About an hour-and-a-half drive south of Calgary takes you to an angling spot where northern pike and walleye are readily fished from a public dock. This is the first summer in many years that anglers have been permitted to take home walleye from Pine Coulee Reservoir, so expect to meet many fellow fishermen on its shores.
To simplify any early morning fishing excursions you embark on the next day, book a room at the Courtyard Marriott in the vibrant Seton Urban District in South Calgary. For locally sourced ingredients and community-inspired plates, stop by Starbelly and indulge in miso maple prawns or tuna poke. After a day on the water, you’ll be more than ready to taste the bounty of Calgary’s local lakes and rivers.
Chain Lakes Reservoir
Want a slightly shorter drive from downtown Calgary? Chain Lakes Reservoir is only one-hour south of the city and hosts a bounty of trout and char. You can also try ice fishing for rainbow trout in the winter — the stunning views of the Livingstone Mountain Range are breathtaking in any season.
Stay at one of Calgary’s favourite properties, the Fairmont Palliser. This charming hotel is located just steps away from Arts Commons, the Glenbow Museum and Stephen Avenue Walk where you’ll find pubs, cafes and shopping. We recommend you stop in for some charcuterie or pasta at Cucina.
Dickson Trout Pond
Fishing restrictions are pretty relaxed here, allowing you to take home five trout and three northern pike per day. Dickson Trout Pond is two hours north of Calgary, so you’ll be happy to return to a hotel like Acclaim, which is located on the northern tip of the city. This sophisticated spot offers access to a rooftop deck with heated jetted spas for ultimate relaxation. For something more low-key, grab a slice and a cold one at Minhas Pizza Brew.
Want some expert advice or a guided fishing experience that takes care of everything? Foot & Chain Fly Fishing Exchange Inc. hosts full-day Bow River drift-boat fishing and canoe trips that leave from within the city limits. You can also enlist the help of expert guides at Fish Tales Fly Shop or Out Fly Fishing Outfitters Ltd. to make your next fishing adventure a real catch.