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Off-Season Fishing

The Livingstone River

Nestled between two mountain ranges and surrounded by tall pine trees lies the Livingstone River, one of Alberta's premier Cutthroat streams. The river itself is over 25 miles long, and good fishing can be had thoughout most of its length. A beautiful canyon section is easily accessed and produces outstanding fishing in its emerald pools.
The Livingstone River is a catch and release regulated fishery, and the fish are very abundant and willing to take the dry fly. Lots of Cutthroat Trout in the 10-16 inch range are present, along with a few predatory Bull Trout lurking in the deeper pools. Almost any large, high-floating dry fly will work for these trout at times, and a day out here can be the best dry fly fishing of a lifetime. The more experienced residents of the river can also challenge the most expert anglers, so there truly is something for everyone here.
The scenery is stunning, right from the drive to the river to every corner pool and rock cut. The Livingstone River is one of our personal favorite streams, and you will find us here often.

The Livingstone River has a good number of cutthroats that average 13-16 inches, with the odd specimen of 18 and even up to 20 inches. There are reported to be a few rainbows closer to the Oldman confluence, though I have never seen one yet. The bull trout that lurk in the deep pools are commonly in the 18-25 inch range with some larger ones prowling about as well. There are mountain whitefish in the river, but we don't catch too many of those due to the fact that we are almost always fishing dry flies! ;)

Livingstone River Fish Species:
Cutthroat trout
to about 18 inches (larger ones present but less common)
Bull trout
to 26 inches plus
Rainbow trout
to 17 inches - only present in the lowest reaches above the confluence with the Oldman but are very rarely caught 
Mountain whitefish
to 17 inches - mainly found in the lowest reaches above the confluence with the Oldman but are not common

Trip Information:
The Livingstone may be fished for a full-day walk-and-wade trip on its own, or combined with one of the other rivers in the area for a full-day trip. Please see our Trip Information page for what is involved in each and current rates.
Your day will start and end in Calgary, Pincher Creek,  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.
Our favourite section of the Livingstone to introduce clients to is the canyon region. In fact, after about one hour on the river one of our 2006 clients commented "I don't think I have ever caught this many fish of this quality in such a short period of time!" It was a good day, but to be honest not an unusual one on the Livingstone.
You can expect cutthroat in the 12-18 inch range to come inspect (and hopefully take!) your dry fly almost anytime a hatch is in process...and frankly most times one isn't. If times are desperate, we'll resort to nymphing, but those times are pretty rare on this river.
It's not unusual to witness a mid-20in-class bull trout appear out of the depths and chase your cutt as you do battle. Such events are incredible to watch, and if we manage to not feed the would-be-murderer, the next cast will invariably direct a large streamer to the pool depths.
One of the nicest things about the Livingstone is it's extremely well-sheltered from the winds that are so prevalent in the SW corner of Alberta...but that doesn't mean it's immune to the dramatic weather changes, so be prepared for anything.
Also be prepared to make comments about spectacular fishing and stunning, golden-coloured, hefty cutthroat.

A horseshoe bend in the canyon stretch

Returning the treasure

Early summer on the 'stone

Catch and release is working well!

Drop-dead gorgeous Livingstone cutthroat

Angler approaching an emerald pool of cutts

Autumn colours

Slipping the net under another fiesty cutt

Doing battle in the canyon stretch

They come pretty in this stream

What You Need to Bring:
Please see our Trip Information page for what we provide during your trip. This speaks to those incidentals that help make your trip more enjoyable.
- hat
- headlamp or small clip-on flashlight
- camera
- sunscreen
- bug spray
- polarized glasses
- wind/rain/wading jacket
- hydration pack

Recommended Gear:
You are welcome to bring your own rod(s) and reel(s), flies, vest, etc. but keep in mind that we are pleased to offer the use of Loop flyrods with matching reels and line as well as all flies and terminal tackle you require.
3-5wt fly rod with floating line for dries and nymphing
A 9ft 5X leader is usually all you need for dries and nymphs, though there are times in the slower pools you must use longer leaders of 6X or finer.
See Our Flies and Hatch Charts for recommended flies (the Crowsnest River hatches are very close to those of the Livingstone)
Waders & Boots:
Breathable CHEST waders are highly recommended coupled with supportive, felt-soled wading boots. If you do not own such they can be rented reasonably here.

Reports and Pictures from Recent Livingstone River Trips:
Click below to view a current Livingstone River fishing report along with pictures from our recent trips.

Click for Livingstone River Reports & Pictures