The Highwood River is located 25 to 60 minutes southwest of Calgary (depending
on what stretch you have chosen to fish!) and provides the angler with good fishing and superb scenery. This is truly
one of the most stunning places I have ever fished. Deep emerald pools combined with crystal clear water make it an amazing
place to spend the day. A canyon stretch runs from the Kananaskis Country border down to Longview and a little bit past, and
then it stays in a deep valley right up until it meets the Bow. Access can be found at a wide number of places, from Kananaskis
Country picnic areas right through to Nature's Hideaway near the Bow. The smaller fish are quite abundant, and enough
Bow River rainbows stay in the river after spawning is done to make the chance of hooking into a 23+ inch rainbow here
a definite possibility. Some of the deepest pools hold immense bull trout, which will chase and strike at a hooked rainbow
or cutthroat--sometimes stealing your catch right off your line!
The Highwood river has many fish species for us to chase. Predominantly
we hunt rainbows, cutthroats, and bull trout, but this river does have brown and brook trout in it as well. The cutthroats
can reach about 18-20 inches, though more commonly they run between 12-16 inches. The Bull trout in this river are massive,
and some fish of 30 inches plus have been landed. The odd brown trout does make its way into the river here, though they are
few and far between they usually end up being very large fish! They are more common the closer you get to the Bow. And of
course there are the rainbows--both native to the stream and those that came up from the Bow to spawn...which means you can
expect just about any size right up to the mid-20 inch class.
Highwood River Fish Species:
to around 20 inches (larger ones present but less common)
to about 18-20 inches (larger ones present but very rare)
to 30 inches plus
mainly in upper sections
to 23+ inches but
a rare catch here
to 20 inches
With its close proximity to Calgary, you may choose between full-day or
half-day (if available) walk-and-wade trips for your guided trip to the Highwood. Please see our Trip Information page for what is involved in each and current rates.
Your day will start and end in Calgary, or a meeting
place en route to the river. If you do not have your own transportation, we can arrange to pick you up at the Calgary
airport or your hotel--call for availability.
Probably the single most important thing to expect in fishing the Highwood
is to be blown away by the beauty and wildness of the river. The water is staggeringly clear and deceptively deep. The insect
hatches can be intense and are usually some of the largest bugs we encounter. And the fish are fat, hard-fighting, and not
always easy to catch--but always worth the effort. Most days we see 10-20 fish to hand averaging in the mid-teens, with one
or two really exceptional fish whether they be rainbow, cutthroat or bull trout. That being said, days of 50+ fish are not
uncommon. Our clients would probably catch more if they could keep their eyes on their fly instead of being distracted by
the surrounding beauty!