Fly Fishing Getaway - Bow River – Fins and Feathers Bozeman
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Fly Fishing Getaway - Bow River

Suffering from wanderlust and heat-fatigue here in the Bozeman (of all places), I looked north for a quick escape with one of my favorite fishing companions – my youngest son Matthew.

Together, he and I have crisscrossed the west and mid-west the last year -trying to escape the confines and madness of the COVID world. Through it all, we have managed to find some birds, pigs, fish, and, at times, a little but closer connection as well.

Listening to Bloomberg one day, while driving to work, I heard that the Canada was going to start to reopen their borders for non-essential travel. After a quick internet search and a few texts to those “in the know” (Yellow Dog Fly Fishing), I realized that all we needed was a quick COVID Test (negative), our vaccine cards (got ‘em), and permission from my wife to start planning a quick getaway to the Bow River in Calgary (one of my favorite trout rivers). We checked the boxes, hired a guide through Dave Brown Outfitters, booked a hotel room in Calgary, fueled up the truck, and headed north with the full Waylon catalog loaded for 8 hours of driving entertainment.

Crossing the border, getting settled into our hotel, and lining up the fishing logistics were all simple and stress-free.

Matthew had heard me talk about the Bow River over the years – much like I had heard stories of the Bow from my father and his friends – but hadn’t really put it together that it’s actually a trout river running through a big city, not too far from where we live. It is in Canada, after all. Needless to say, he was excited to fish new water, in a new country and I was excited to be with him on another adventure.

We fished two days, one right through the city and the next downstream of town, quite away. Cool, wet weather had arrived there as it did here in Bozeman too late last week. Although we were hoping for some hopper fishing, we are never ones to turn our nose up at fishing sinking lines and streamers. So, we spent a couple days stripping streamers and fishing hoppers when the sun came out. I don’t know how many fish we caught, the count was more than we could keep up with and Matthew was pretty stoked with a handful of 18-20” fish to round it out. It was a great trip, just what the “doctor” ordered for both of us.

While I don’t know what will happen in terms of keeping the border open and the near future of travel, I do know that it is SO nice to be able to stretch my legs and wander around the west with a fly rod in my hand and my kids at my side.


If you do want to look at booking a fly fishing trip to Canada this fall, email Shaun at Yellow Dog for some pro-insights and logistical planning assistance. There is so much amazing fishing just across the border and the pressure – as you can imagine – has been light, to say the least.

If you make it to the Bow River, here is the gear that Matthew and I were fishing (the sinking line recommendation here is spot-on).

Matthew fished his Sage X 590 with a Sage Trout reel and a RIO Elite Gold line as his dry fly setup. His streamer setup for this trip was a Sage Igniter 691 fly rod paired with a Ross Evolution LTX loaded with a RIO Predator Line (F/S5/S7).

Toby fished with a GLoomis NRX+ 590 paired with an Abel Vaya and a Scientific Anglers Amplitude Smooth Infinity fly line for dries. For streamers, he fished an Orvis Helios 3D 906 fly rod paired with an Abel Vaya loaded with the RIO Predator Line (F/S5/S7).