18 December 2013


The changes we've seen on our streams, from the Oldman to the Castle after this years floods in July are turning into a blessing....yep lots of new holes ,pocket water and even the Crow has some completely new channels to explore.The open section of the Crow this winter has been fishing well,some of the newer runs are very productive and challenging! Best bet ,as always this time of year is to fish streamers and nymphs..but SLOWLY, and remember these low and clear waters require stealth. The fly shop has some exceptional sales ,up to 50% off ...for example the G.Loomis NRX 9' 5wt is now.just 550.00.Check out more info on the crowsnestcafeandflyshop facebook page. Wishing one and all a great and fun Christmas time and yep"tight lines in 2014. All the best, Susan

01 October 2013

catch and release

A friend from Michigan suggested I check this out ,originally posted by Anglers of the Au Sable it is an excellent article on Catch and Release. As you will see we have a lot to learn and much to pass along to other anglers..especially those just beginning to fish. The link is www.wildstreams.com/CatchRelease/catch and release review and guidelines.pdf. Hope everyone is enjoying the beautiful fall and making the most of open waters for this last month of fishing our spectacular trout streams. oh yeah it ain't easy!      Susan

21 September 2013

winding down

This summer has been more than a little wild,challenging and fun. The July floods played havoc with the Oldman system,essentially creating a whole new upper section thru the Livingstone and thru the Gap. Water levels were in constant flux until the end of July ,even the Crow stayed higher than normal. The Trout seemed to have their focus on the bottom and right from the beginning seemed leery of rising. Yep the 2013 season of finicky trout,yep even the piggy Cutthroats! This meant anglers had to to a lot more walking to find their missing sweet spots, focus on their casting/mending ,drifting, and generally rely on their intuition. August blossomed into full on dry's and the season returned to it's hot dry usual self. September has proved to be my favorite again with the challenge of Blue wing Olives ,few hatches (except the darned midges),but lo and behold Green Drakes continued to battle for position against the terrestrials.
The shop was also in full bloom with the distinguished minions running the show and going great guns! Lot's of high energy ,inventiveness  and hard work..I'm extremely proud of our Staff. Al and Johnny had their hands full with what continues to be a very busy guiding year..hard sluggin with so many testy trout! We met and guided so many really good people ,enjoyed their company on the river and chats in the shop..Thank you for your support and great attitude!
So all the very best ..we will be closed for part of October and early November..yep fishin'...then open Wed-Sun 8-5...thanks again! Susan

11 September 2013

Sept BWO

welcome BWO Boys...these crazy southerners have been flyfishing the Crowsnest area for what? 10 years?longer..thru sleet, hail ,snow..and now big full on fall blue skies.Will the Blue wings co-operate? Can Richard put away his nymphs ,droppers and stay one fly on the surface? Are the substantial changes in courses of the Oldman system going to see a lose of hair? All the best to all you fall fishermen! Susan

03 September 2013

Just a quick reminder Mill and Hidden creeks are now closed....Water levels are low in all systems (Oldman ,Crow and Castle) Watch for lingering Stones,Green Drakes and the determined BWO. Lots of midges ,so patience is a must. September is a perfect month to be fishing this area as many returning clients and friends are aware. Shop is open 7 days/week 8-5...look for end of season sales .....and tales! All the best, Susan

24 August 2013

Dog Days of August

    If my memory serves me correctly, the "dog days" of August during my childhood in Eastern Canada brought quite a slow pace to fishing and life in general. Early mornings on the river was the norm, and mid day was reserved for watching my uncles sip beer, tell fishing stories, while I plunged into the local swimming hole....

      Luckily that's not the case here in Southern Alberta! Clear skies and summer heat is waking our hoppers up from cool weather slumber, and the fish are partaking in the celebration! While some folks turn their nose up at the thought of casting foam flies to trout, I personally spend a good portion of my winter sleeping hours dreaming of this time of year! Hit those banks hard! Twitch.... Twitch... Slam!! and SET!!!

   After so much instability in temps, precipitation and insects we are welcoming the conditions we have experienced in the past week and a half with open arms down here! With more great weather on the horizon I'm very much looking forward to the next five days of guiding! On the topic of guiding I have to give a shout out to the fish gods, whom have been very kind to Al and I this year! We have had some terrific folks to share the water with, whom really have had some great days out there. One of the highlights of my season was watching a client hook and land a 21 inch brown that weighed out at a whopping 4 and 1/2 pounds! Further more what really impressed me was his reluctance to take this fish out of the water for a picture! He held the wise old brown just below the surface and angled the fish's belly so his pal could snap a picture that captured the brilliant; yellows, oranges, and reds that brought images of changing maple leaves in Autumn to my mind.

   As I prep for the next week of guiding I am readying my little pointing puppy and myself for the opening of partridge hunting season at the the end of this next stint! With hunting season just about on the doorstep, it also means our fishing season is almost halfway over! Yikes!!! So if you are considering making your way down to this beautiful part of the province, do it before it's too late and the leaves begin to fall, and wisps of Autumn snow warn that winter is just around the corner!

  Anyways, enough about fall and snow on the horizon! I'm off to go fish hoppers in the sun, and wet wade while it's still 25 degrees down here :)

Tight lines!


10 August 2013

Better Weather Happy Trout!!!

The rivers and weather are stabilizing after the precipitation we've received over the past couple of weeks. Consistent, warm daytime temps, with mixed sun, clouds, and scattered showers has created great conditions for the tail-end of the Drake hatch. Reports from the North and South Country of some pretty wicked fishing have all of us in the shop pretty itchy to get up there ourselves!

While I haven't made it up there myself, I have been spending my time guiding clients on the Crow. I haven't experienced any crazy drake hatches on the river myself, we have been pulling good fish on terrestrials, streamers, and nymphs. While my clients have been working the runs and pools, I have been sneaking through the tall stalks of grass looking for sippers!
Our efforts have been rewarded and translated into some absolutely awesome eats, and have produced some of the bigger fish I have come across this year!
Tender feet, a low profile, and patients will be rewarded on the Crow in Spades if you give it a try!

Additionally, last night as I admired the setting sun behind mighty Crowsnest mountain I was reminded of the tremendous beauty of the area, and how lucky I am to call this place home for the summer.

Come into the shop for pattern advice and local knowledge, and have some laughs with us! By the way, all G. Loomis rods and Fish Pond gear is 20% off!!!! Come and get it while you can!

Cheers to summer fishing and sunsets!


04 August 2013

Wild Weather Great Fishing!

   Mother Nature continues to throw us curve balls here in SW Alberta, and despite blasts of heavy rain and hail the fishing is great! Al and I have been busy guiding and our clients are walking away from the river; happy, tired, and smelling of fish :). The high country cutthroat have been very content on account of the drakes and BWO's popping off in the afternoon, providing them with some much needed nutrients after. No one can argue with watching a fat, orange belly cutty rise like a ghost off the bottom of an emerald green mountain stream to take a size 14 drake emerger.
  The Castle and Oldman are fishing well, the rains we received on Friday colored up the Oldman pretty good, but it is dropping and clearing quickly. Despite the cold and dreary conditions my clients and I stuck out the weather and were rewarded by a nice drake hatch. The fish didn't mind the lack of clarity, they had little trouble finding a tasty drake snack sticking to the surface.

 Bulls are beginning to move up the systems and a patient, keen eye peering into canyon stretches of the Oldman and Castle will be rewarded with opportunities to catch the big bull trout this area is known for! We certainly had fun going toe to toe with some ancient char last week!

 The Crow has been fishing fairly well through the day, searching with medium to small sized mayfly and caddis patterns may pull some fish up. Although the most reliable way to tie into those hard fighting Crowsnest Rainbow's has been nymphing in the runs and oxygenated riffles. Try fishing size 12-22 beadhead mayfly and midge patterns to fool those wily fish through the day. The evening hatches have provided some decent fishing, Blue Wings during cloudy showers around 6 or 7pm have provided us with our favorite way to fish rainbows on the Crow, small dries to sipping fish!

  I hope you, the reader, will have the opportunity to find yourself stream side, somewhere here in the Crowsnest, enjoying the same quality fishing I have been privy too! If you do, come into the shop, grab yourself a great cup of joe and share your adventures down here with us!We are also offering a Finicky Fish Clinic throughout this week and have our G.Loomis Rods on -20% off...check it out!

Tight lines!

20 July 2013

july 20

OK! Good to go...rivers all in really nice shape..Crow as lovely and finicky as she can be..waters dropping rapidly in the Castle system ,fishing very good,clear, crossable,hungry cutties1 Main oldman dropping, he still needs to settleinto the new channels ,so expect a bit colour to the water, viz approx. 3'...Livingstone same ,all tribs in excellent shape and fishing really well...yes the big guys have survived!!Elk getting slowly back to normal, still a bit of colour,Michelle fast ,clear ,totally new.....yep it's time to shake off the old and explore.....this is awesome! Susan

07 July 2013


We are so fortunate to have been missed by the flooding which took place to the north and east of us...and fishermen being fishermen are looking where to go..we are in very good shape here in the crowsnest pass....all waters in our nearby area are dropping quickly,Crow is in good shape, as is the upper Castle, and mid oldman....drop by the shop, Crowsnest Cafe and Flyshop for more info...gotta go! Susan

04 July 2013


Crow coming down quickly..upper still a bit green as Crowsnest lake is still churning...Racehorse, Dutch, Daisy all doing well..Oldman still high,but cleaning up, Castle is in good shape..look for lots of new water courses,new pools...Susan

27 June 2013

Oldman-Crowsnest-Castle-river report

Levels have dropped dramaticaly still lots of dirt in the system... Expect changes in all your rivers and streams .. if you float ..Bring A Chain Saw ! Clear water can be found in some head waters . Seek and Yee Shall Find  Brother .. Road Closures found on -line my be inaccurate.. Take a drive .. #40 from hwy #3 is not closed ..I drove it last night from the Oldman to our Fly Shop at 100 km per hr. in perfect shape ?? ..The bridge over the Oldman on the #40 might be closed  I don,t really know  what will be open for the weekend. The Oldman roared and peeked  the scale at 1000 cubic meters per second .. be carefull as some  new cut banks may just need your weight to collapse (nothing personal )..The Castle river is at normal level but holding some colour down stream . Crowsnest river is at OK levels (my basement is dry now)  but has some colour .. saw some PMD,s ... Herd from a T.U. guy that Hidden Creek may have colapsed after the clear cut logging done just before it probably been protected by the feds as a special Bull Trout spawning zone ? we will all see after the water clears. The lake fishing is all good down here ..we had some great pike fishing in the area recently .... Al B.

25 June 2013

Waters going down steadily to normal run off levels. Crow still on the high side...no roads blocked thru north forestry Oldman drainage. Road to Castle falls damaged with some shifting in the Castle ..new braids..Below the Oldman Dam is damaged at the bridge below the dam,and the campground is closed. Weather turning to lots of sunshine so we hope the Crow and Oldman drainage will improve quickly by the weekend.......hang in there!! Susan

07 June 2013

Salmon Fly time on the Crows Nest River

June 6 th.... CrowsNest River report ... I didn,t get out until 2:oo pm .. and the trout must have had full bellies by then ... the Salmon Fly hatch was full on after all this rain lately.. a little sun was all it took .. I must say I have not seen a Salmon Fly Hatch like that for about a decade ... even the birds must have had full bellies , because , I didn,t even see one bird swoop across the river and hit one mid air in the next 4 hours ..Didn,t see one trout rise , which is not unusual during a Crows Nest river Salmon fly hatch... Fishing a big dry patterns only hooked me two fish . Nymphing took the rest .. no pictures of the big one as the camera battery and charger were last seen plugged into wall of a ocean side cabana in Belize .. the Crow also had smaller stones popping off the water as well as the usual Mayfly and caddis species ..The river it self is running clear and fast and beautiful ... don,t expect to find many safe crossing spots and dont step in those trout redds in the shallows .. Don,t miss this unique oportunity to fish this Salmon Fly hatch in clear water ( not mud ) tight lines Al B..
June!! 9 more sleeps till opening day..meanwhile a steady run off is providing viz at about 21/2 ft on the Crow..not bad eh?...salmon flies taken on the surface and golds showing their faces..Big Al did well yesterday on some of our cool patterns on the river. Don't forget to check the new regs some BIG changes on the Oldman system and the Castle....all the best, Susan

23 March 2013


Spring is most definately here ! Midgey, occasional slurps , clear low water...and warm sunny  long days. Al and I were out testing the new Zenith rods.These are made with Hardy-Greys new sintrix material. Allowing the rods to be incredibly light and stronger than anything else on the market. The 65% more compression of the "graphite" gives the rod far more casting and landing power. Needless to say we had a blast ! I used the 4, 5 and 6 wt's . Al used the 6 and 7. and yes I landed more fish....but Al was really testing the rods, and I was fishing!
  Ok , new regulations on sections of the Castle, Oldman ,  and Waterton watersheds.Catch and release in place ...also check for changes in the Kananaskis tribs. Please pass this along...thanks! Susan

17 February 2013

feb 2013

well it's dumping the fat fluffy white stuff and I believe this is tempting the BWO'S out...crazy winter with such mild temps and little in the way of snow in the Valley. an excellent day to be on the river ,alas I am in the shop today..and yes fishermen have been out there! The trout have been fat and greedy lately ,definately not hibernating.Warm weather has opened up most of the Crow ...one more sleep and I'll be hoping for risers!!...Susan