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Crowsnest River Flyfishing | Alberta, Canada

Recreational Fishing Area
A fly fisher on the Crowsnest River, near the base of Turtle Mountain and the Frank Slide – Vic Bergman/Crowsnest Angler

Shallow riffles, deep pools, and runs too rocky for drift boats make the Crowsnest River above Lundbreck Falls a treasured preserve for traditional dry fly anglers who prefer to walk and wade, sometimes casting with rods hand-crafted from Chinese bamboo and silk lines braided in France.

Accessibility Notes

The Crowsnest River parallels southwest Alberta's Highway 3 (Crowsnest Highway) along its entire length, from its source in Crowsnest Lake to its confluence with the Oldman River at the Oldman River Dam. Highway 3 crosses the Crowsnest River near Crowsnest Lake, at Blairmore, at Frank and below Lundbreck Falls. Although private property does prohibit access in some locations, there is ample public access to the river's long stretches of fishable water.

Best Access and Parking Areas

The Crowsnest River is regarded by avid fly fishers as one of western Canada's premier trout streams. The river is born in the cold waters of Crowsnest Lake, which is located amid the peaks of the continental divide only two kilometres east of the Alberta-British Columbia border. The river flows eastward through the Crowsnest Valley and Municipality of Crowsnest Pass, passing through the communities of Coleman, Blairmore, Frank and Bellevue, before leaving the mountains and foothills to join the Oldman River at the Oldman River Dam. The river's feisty rainbow trout are the main attraction to anglers, although cutthroat and bull trout are also present. The pools and riffles of the Crowsnest are a haven for both novice and expert fly fishers. Although fish can be taken from the entire length of the Crowsnest River, the stretch of river downstream from the bridge on the Hillcrest East Access to the crossing of Highway 3 (Crowsnest Highway) below Lundbreck Falls is the most popular run.

Hints and Tips for Fishing this Area

In general, the fishing season opens mid-June, which coincides with the end of the spring runoff. The river usually clears quickly and remains crystal clear through the summer and fall. Special catch-and-release and slot size regulations are in effect in different stretches of the river, and anglers must be aware of the regulations. Fishing is great throughout the season and success is more directly affected by day-to-day weather and insect hatches than major seasonal changes.

Rules and Regulations for Fishing Area

An Alberta fishing license is required to fish the river. Anyone planning to fish the Crowsnest River must check provincial regulations, as they often change from year to year.

Nearby Places