Fishing in the Canadian Rockies: Altitude adjusts Attitude

An electrifying jolt courses through you as a trophy fish strikes. Your line sings, vibrating, flying off your reel. Suddenly a blinding flash of silver explodes through the surface, sparkling in the morning sun. Just when you think it can’t get any better than this, you catch a glimpse of your surroundings. The glassy stillness of the lake. The doe emerging from the forest along the water’s edge. The snow-capped peaks standing sentinel in the distance.

Your attitude shifts with the altitude when you’re in the Rocky Mountains. Crystal clear streams flow through pristine river valleys. Unspoiled wilderness flanks the riverbanks. Big game is never far away. The fragrance of sun-warmed pines is carried on the fresh alpine breeze. And there’s rarely another soul in sight.

Wilderness Fishing

In Alberta, the Canadian Rockies run in one continuous spine from Jasper in the north down to the Crowsnest Pass near the U.S. border. Throughout the entire range, rivers and streams are plentiful and population sparse. The whole region is home to waterfowl, ospreys, eagles, bear, moose, elk, deer, coyotes, wolves, bighorn sheep and mountain goats.

The protected waterways of Banff and Jasper national parks are teeming with cutthroat, bull, rainbow, brown and brook trout, as well as whitefish. Dolly Varden and splake can be found in select lakes and rivers. There are also plenty of rainbow, cutthroat and bull trout in Kananaskis Country, the front ranges of the Rockies, less than an hour’s drive from the gateway city of Calgary. Species vary by location but local guides will ensure you get what you came for.

Untamed Beauty

Seasoned anglers will argue the Upper Bow is the most beautiful stream in the world, but others such as the isolated Ram River are equally beautiful. Heading south, the Rockies look different than the soaring peaks of Jasper, but they remain just as wild and spectacular.

Crowsnest Pass, located in the southernmost Rockies, is situated in a windy valley just before the mountain range crosses the border into the United States. There are more than 500 miles of trout streams to explore. Experience unparalleled walk and wade angling on the Crowsnest River. Go with a guide on relaxing float trip and drift quietly through the spectacular scenery of the Oldman, Castle, Waterton and Elk rivers. Try a day trip getaway and fish from a boat or right from shore.

Fly and Fish

Time for a major expedition? Getting there is half the fun when you take a float plane to a remote alpine lake where the fish practically jump into your boat. Sleep in a shoreline cabin or an authentic mountain lodge with all the comforts of civilization.

All these facets of fishing the Canadian Rockies ensure an unequalled angling experience. If you’re looking to fish in wide open spaces where there are no crowds, only fish, where spectacular scenery remains big even when you’ve hooked something that makes you feel a million feet tall, then fishing in Alberta is tailor-made for you.

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