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Off-Season Fishing

Our Mountain Streams:

Our "Mountain Streams" include such gems as Racehorse Creek and Cataract Creek, as well as numerous other streams (that will go unnamed) that flow into the Highwood, Oldman, Crowsnest, and Castle rivers.
These streams may have not gained the notoriety their bigger siblings have, but they are no less wonderful fisheries, and in many ways provide the "ultimate" fly fishing experience. Most of these streams are perfect places to get started in fly fishing, as there's no shortage of hungry trout. At the same time, the older and larger residents have been around enough to challenge even the most advanced angler, so whether you're just starting out or looking back on a few decades of fly fishing, SW Alberta's mountain streams are about the closest thing to perfection as you'll find. Another bonus is nearly all these streams are easily wadeable even in hip waders.

Racehorse Creek has excellent fishing throughout for cutthroat, bull, and the odd rainbow trout.
Cataract Creek is most widely known for its plentiful population of willing brook trout, but provides good cutthroat fishing in its lower reaches.
Other streams have managed to "stay below the radar" and have virtually no pressure, which is a treasure to be carefully guarded...so we won't name them here. We fish streams where the average size runs from 6-14 inches, and we fish streams you can step across where larger cutthroats to 20+ inches rise willingly. In almost all these streams Alberta's native predator, the bull trout, prowls the pools and rocky walls.  
Days of 100 or more fish are a fairly regular occurance on many of our mountain streams, but of course each fishery and experience is unique so be sure to communicate to us if you prefer quantity or fewer but larger fish. 

Mountain Streams Fish Species:
Cutthroat trout
to about 18-20 inches (larger ones present but very rare)
Rainbow trout
to 12-16 inches (only present in a select few streams--occasionally you may encounter a Bow River spawner over 20in)
Bull trout
to 26 inches plus
Brook trout (Cataract Creek and some Oldman tributaries)
to 12-14 inches 
Mountain whitefish
to 14-16 inches

Trip Information:
You may choose between full-day trips or all-inclusive multi-day mountain stream tours. Please see our Trip Information page for what is involved in each and current rates.
Your day will start and end in Pincher Creek or 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.
After arriving at our stream of choice, we'll walk a ways before starting our fishing, and spend the rest of the day plying the structure, banks, runs and pools with our flies. Most days we will fish with dry flies only or a dry/dropper tandem rig. Of course, stripping a wooly bugger or other streamer through the pools can result in a lot of excitement with larger predatory cutts or bull trout.
What to Expect:
Mountain stream trips usually mean a day spent walking in and along small, easily-crossable rivers. There are abundant, wild cutthroat in most of these streams, and it's quite easy to lose yourself in presenting dry flies and landing scrappy cutts. Days of 50 to 100 fish are common, though 25-50 is probably more "normal".
Expect beautiful forest settings and spectacular vistas. And in some of our unnamed streams, expect to be blown away by the size of the fish. The image on the header of this page is an example of a nice but only average-sized cutthroat from one of these SW Alberta lesser-known streams.
Mountain stream trips are my (John) favourite trips to guide...mainly because they are often remote, filled with eye-candy, and our clients always leave with this permanent joy-induced grin on their faces after a day of playing in paradise.



Angler casting to rising cutt on Racehorse Cr

Typical mountain cutthroat returning to his home

Presenting a dry on Racehorse Creek

Striking cutthroat recuperating in net

One of the waterfalls that grace Cataract Creek



A small but beautiful Cataract Brook trout




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 fly rods with matching reels and line as well as all flies and terminal tackle you require.
4-5wt fly rod with floating line for dries and nymphing
6-8wt 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, though there are times in the slower pools you must use longer leaders of 6X or finer.
Streamer set-ups require 2X-0X.
See Our Flies and Hatch Charts for recommended flies (see the Bow River and Tributaries info)
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 Mountain Streams Recent Trips:
Click below to view a current fishing report from some of our mountain streams, along with pictures from our recent trips.

Click here for Mountain Streams reports & pictures