Angling the Crowsnest River

Casting about for Difficult Trout

The Crowsnest River enjoys a continent-wide reputation for classical dry-fly fishing. Too shallow for navigation, the river remains a preserve for the purist angler who prefer to walk and wade.

The Crowsnest rapidly changes character as it descends from the outlet of Crowsnest Lake to a premature end at the Oldman River Reservoir. Starting amid open wetlands and beaver ponds, the Crowsnest ducks into shaded woodlands, slides against sharp-walled canyons, and meanders through rolling ranchlands.

In their wisdom, early settlers stocked the Crowsnest water system with rainbow and brown trout. Few browns are caught nowadays, but the rainbow transplants thrived, displacing the native cutthroat as the dominant species. Naturally skeptical of insect imitations, rainbow trout are consequently more difficult to catch than the more credulous cutthroat. Crowsnest rainbow are particulary well-educated. Delicate casts must deposit convincing flies at just the right spot to produce a credible drift. If you miss on the first try, move on. Crowsnest Rainbow don't allow do-overs.