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Off-Season Fishing

The Oldman River

The Oldman River starts high in the Rocky Mountains and flows all the way out on to the prairies before finally joining the Bow River to form the South Saskatchewan River.
We guide on both the upper and lower Oldman, but the beauty and wildness of the upper draws us there most often. Up here the river is in a gorgeous mountain setting, and the fish are plentiful--and often big as well. It is easily accessed from Highway 22 and gravel roads for most of its length in this stretch. Fantastic boulder-filled pocket water, along with glassy runs, await you on this river. The fish are eager to take the dry fly in the faster pockets, and if you hit a good hatch your day of fishing will be second to none. Cutthroats, Rainbows, and Bull Trout are the quarry in the upper sections. Only a 1 hour and 45 minute drive from Calgary can put you on some of the best water this river has to offer.

The Oldman has a great population of cutthroat trout in it, and the fish average 13-17 inches (smaller in the upper reaches above the falls). Some larger cutthroats of 18 to 23 inches have been taken as well. There is also a good amount of rainbows, with the population getting thicker the farther downstream you go. They average 14-18 inches, with the odd fish of 22 or 23 inches as a nice surprise. Bull trout inhabit the reaches below the falls, and get quite large here. We have landed many 25 to 30 inchers from here, and the possibility of 30 - 35 inches does exist.

Oldman River Fish Species:
Rainbow trout
to 20-23 inches (larger ones present but less common)
Cutthroat trout
to 18-21 inches (larger ones present but very rare)
Cuttbow (Rainbow/Cutt hybrid)
to 18-21 inches
Bull trout
to 30 inches plus
Brown trout
to 23-25 inches but only below the Resevoir and still less common than the cutthroat and rainbows
Mountain whitefish
to 20 inches
Northern Pike
to 36+ inches but only below the Resevoir

Trip Information:
You may choose between full-day or half-day (if available) walk-and-wade trips for fishing the Oldman, or combined with other streams in the area for a full day of mountain trout madness. Please see our Trip Information page for what is involved in each and current rates.
The main attraction on the Oldman will be the cutts, the large bull trout, and the exceptional dry fly fishing. You can expect at least a few takes from every good run on a warm afternoon, and when there are hatches on the water the fishing can get absolutely phenomenal. In recent seasons the drake hatches saw fish jumping clear out of the river to get at the naturals...and our flies too!
On a typical day we will use nymphing rigs, strip streamers, and float dry flies for maximum success. One of the major attractions to fishing the Oldman is you never know what might be hunting your fly next.
But THE attraction to the Oldman is its pristine wilderness setting. The river is set in mountain valleys, with some canyon sections as well. We will guide you to easy access and wading, spectacular scenery, and beautiful wild trout.

God's Country - Oldman River in "The Gap"

Big, beautiful, and wild...the way it should be

Happy Oldman anglers with a fat cutt

Pristine water in the Upper Oldman

Yes, there are large pike in these waters! :)

Wild cutthroat are found in wild places

The Oldman produces dramatic backdrops

Massive Bull Trout from the Lower Oldman

Angler casting in "The Gap" section of the Oldman

Good place to record a memory

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 and reels with line as well as all flies and terminal tackle you require.
4-6wt fly rod with floating line for dries and nymphing
7-8wt fly rod with floating or sinking tip line for bull trout streamers
A 9ft 4-5X leader is usually all you need for dries and nymphs. Streamer set-ups require 0X or heavier.
See Our Flies and Hatch Charts for recommended flies (the Oldman most closely matches the Crowsnest hatches)
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 Oldman River Trips:
Click below to view a current Oldman River fishing report along with pictures from our recent trips.

Click here for Oldman River Reports & Pictures