Bow River Fly Fishing|
Nymph, dry fly and streamer fly fishing
There are three fly fishing methods that can be used to generally describe Bow River fly fishing tactics: nymphing, chucking dry flies and stripping streamers. Each involves distinct and individual techniques and each will effectively catch trout on the Bow River.
Nymphing is by far the most common and most effective method of the three. Nymph fishing on the Bow River is predominantly done using a strike indicator and one, two or three suspended flies. The concept behind the setup and use of a nymph rig is to suspend the flies at the water level where the fish are feeding. The suspension distance can be anywhere from inches to several feet. The variety of flies that can be used on a nymph rod is endless.
The Bow River is extremely fertile. So fertile in fact that the trout don't need to come to the surface to feed. There are millions of pieces of food floating by them every day. On any given day, the depth of water the trout will be feeding at is dictated by the depth in the water at which their preferred food is active. This is the advantage a nymph rod provides. A nymph rod allows you to suspend the flies at whatever water depth you want.
Because the Bow River is so fertile and the trout don't need to come to the surface to feed (and generally don't) a nymph rod gives the fisher the advantage of getting his flies down to where the fish are. On days or part days where there is no surface activity, bugs or fish, the nymph rod allows you to continue to catch fish where a dry fly rod won't.
Fly fishing dry flies is entirely different than nymph fishing. Your fly sits on the top of the water and the trout must come to the surface to take it. On the Bow River there are two scenarios where dry fly fishing is effective. One, you are casting to a surface feeding trout or pod and two, you are chucking a fly attractive enough to the trout that he comes to the surface to take it. We are always on the watch for a surface feeding trout and, when casting abilities allow, always stop to chuck dry flies to them. Coaxing a trout that is not surface feeding to come to the surface to take a fly is not particularly productive except during the Golden Stone Fly hatch and the hopper season. (See our Fishing Seasons page.) Blind casting dry flies on the Bow River is akin to winning the 649 Lottery ... there is always a chance but it's mighty slim.
Stripping streamers on the Bow River has its moments although those moments may be fleeting and far and few between. There is no doubt that stripping streamers can be extremely productive on given days but it is generally inconsistent. Those looking to improve their distance casting and strengthen their casting arm will be happy stripping streamers.
Of course there are hybrids that bridge these fly fishing methods. A hopper-dropper setup is a combination of dry fly and nymph fly fishing. Nymphing streamers involves presenting streamers on a nymph rod setup. Both hybrids can be very effective on Bow River trout and preferred fly fishing methods at certain times of the year. (See our Fishing Seasons page.)