Fishing for Better Recreation on the Bow River

A new plan will support Calgary’s angling community by boosting river access while ensuring the future health and sustainability of the Bow River fishery.

Anglers and water recreation enthusiasts will benefit from the government’s Bow River Access Plan.

The province is investing $2 million in the recently released Bow River Access Plan to make it easier for people to enjoy the river downstream of Calgary. The plan creates a safe and user-friendly network of five access points along a 52-kilometre stretch of the river from Calgary’s Fish Creek Provincial Park downstream to Wyndam-Carseland Provincial Park.

“The Bow River is a world-famous fly fishing destination and a popular waterway for rafting, tubing, swimming and canoeing. I’m proud our government is supporting Calgary’s angling community by providing long-term, sustainable and enjoyable water-based recreation opportunities. This plan will increase tourism in what is already one of Alberta’s premier regional destinations.”

~Shannon Phillips, Minister of Environment and Parks

A number of upgrades have already been completed, including kiosks and signage, and a new washroom facility at McKinnon Flats. Additional enhancements include rebuilding the access road to McKinnon Flats, better parking at Johnson’s Island and working with the leaseholder to improve access at Legacy Island.

“This plan shows that the government recognizes the value of the Bow River and is prepared to invest in infrastructure to support its status as an angling destination. We’re very happy that the Bow River Access plan is moving forward and look forward to continuing the process toward improved river access.”

~Nancy Storwick, president, Angling Outfitter & Guide Association of Alberta

The plan represents the government’s commitment to supporting recreation on the Bow River. Improvements will benefit local guiding and outfitting businesses as well as fish and tackle shops.

“People from all over the world travel to experience the world-class fishery of the Bow River. For this reason, we strongly feel that the access plan is a step forward in managing and protecting what the river has to offer. The Bow River Access Plan is a great opportunity to expand the offering to visitors and locals alike.”

~Aaron Feltham, general manager, Bow River Troutfitters

“Investment in infrastructure on the Bow River has been overlooked for far too long. Calgary has a world-class fishery that deserves better access. The Bow River Access Plan is the first step in giving Albertans and tourists a more accessible way to utilize this exceptional resource, while also protecting our national treasure for future generations.”

~Josh Nugent, owner, Out Fly Fishing Outfitters

“As a business that relies heavily on public access to the Bow River we are extremely happy to see the Bow River Access Plan be adopted. The Bow is one of the most unique trout fisheries on the planet and it is great to finally see some investment into its future. Let’s make sure the trout population stays healthy as well, and we will have a winning combination.”

~David Blair, co-owner, Fish Tales Fly Shop

The plan balances recreation opportunities with environmental protection by including measures to ensure the health and sustainability of the Bow River fishery and ecosystems through invasive species monitoring and working with river users on the long-term stewardship of the Bow River. It also commits to exploring additional future access points along the river.

The Bow River Access Plan was developed in consultation with the public, First Nations, Métis and local recreation and conservation organizations. The plan complements the City of Calgary’s Bow River Access Strategy. To read the plan in full, visit Bow River Access Plan.