Testimonials from Satisfied Customers
Good Humour, Great Fishing, Spectacular Scenery
Tom, my day on the Bow was terrific. I have fished with a number of guides on many different types of water and Bill was right up there with my favorites. His knowledge of the river was top notch and I appreciated his mixing up presentations to find the right recipe for that particular time of the day. As you know, the rain storm the day before muddied up the water but that challenge was NO big deal for Bill.
Bill loves to fish and loves to watch people catch fish. That combination was evident in his work ethic. The flows were high but that did not stop him from hitting certain runs and even going back a few times on those he knew had to have fish. We worked hard together and caught a lot of nice fish. A better angler would have netted more for sure, but I feel great about the day.
It was a real hoot fishing the "hopper-dropper". We hooked four and landed two in one run. I could have done that all day. The value was exceptional. We were on the water about 12 hours and I think Bill would have stayed out longer if I had not indicated we should move on. For crying out loud, he still had an hour drive north after he dropped me off and he was ready to hit a few more runs. The entire experience was excellent and I will fish with him again for sure.
Your wife's meal was impressive. Pork chops, potatoes and salad AND a homemade apple strudel thing. Delish!
Mark McCoy (July 23, 2011)
Tom, Bill made the trip great.
Like you, he really wanted to take me on the Bow River, but I could tell when I flew in, there was just no way, it was too muddy. Bill tried to talk me out of it, but I insisted we go fishing and so he suggested Beaver Lake. I am so glad we did it.
I drove up to his home, he met me on the overpass, dropped off my car at his house and headed to the lake. I knew within the first few minutes in his truck that he was going to be a great guy to go fishing with that day. We met a little before 9am, and he got me back to my car at about 10pm. I was exhausted, but in a great way. Most guides operate on a clock and work an eight hour shift, but not Bill, he was in it for the long run to make sure it was a great experience.
I can't say enough good things about Bill. Seriously, I have been with hundreds of guides, and Bill ranks up there with the best I have ever fished with as a fly fisherman. He was fun to be with, gave great instruction, was accommodating and clearly had one goal in mind, that was to make my experience special. He picked up on my love of wildlife and pointed out all the details of the beauty around Beaver Lake. In the time I spent with him one thing I learned is that I absolutely have to come back and fish the Bow River. He clearly loves that water. I sent him an email today in reply to his
sending me his pictures saying that I am right now trying to come up with a business reason to return to Calgary. Absent that, I will make a point of just doing it on my own.
You asked for one thing that I could suggest to improve service. All I can think of is an email or return phone call from you saying I did not need to bring my waders and wading boots, since I was going to be fishing still water out of a boat. But that is really a minor deal since the airline did not charge extra for my second bag (I'm a premier member of Continental's frequent flyer program). I like to hear from a guide before I leave town just to make sure the trip is still on.
Like I told Bill on more than one occasion, I will remember this trip the rest of my life. It was that special.
Your web site drew me to your service verses Brand X, and I am so glad it did. But given all the good things mentioned above and the details I left out, one thing is certain, I will be back. Clearly I need to fish the Bow River.
Thanks for asking for my input Tom. That is a sign of good service, so even after the trip, you just confirmed it for me, you run a first class operation.
Jim Aylsworth (June 22, 2011)
Tom, Rick and I had a great fishing experience with your brother. He was wonderful to be with and went beyond to call of duty, allowing us to fish until dark. Bill's planning for the trip was excellent and he is very fun and excellent instructor. I cannot come up with anything to change and Rick and I are planning to fish with your company again. Tell Bill "Thanks for a great trip". Brad Messner and Rick Snelgrooes (September 14, 2010)
Tom ... We had a great time. Good guides, lots of good fish as well as a good dose of good luck. We would certainly recommend your outfit and I will pass on your name at my local sporting goods store. Thanks again, Linda and Alan Shultz (September 7/8, 2010)
OnX Corporate (September 24, 2009)
Hi Tom. My good friend Len Stevens and I were fortunate enough to go fishing with Bill on September 13, 2009. The trip was a 50th Birthday present from Len's wife, Susan. Needless to say it was great present for Len and I feel pretty lucky that I was able to share it with him.
What can I say. Well I'll start out by thanking Bill once again. Not only a great guy and an awesome guide ... he's not a bad cook either (the shore lunch hit the spot). Len and I are very much newbies at the fly fishing game and it showed! Bill had a tremendous amount of patience with us and gave us great advice and ideas all day long. He also "tuned us in" when needed "set the hook!". I'm still a bit amazed at how well he knows the river. More than once he would tell us to get ready as we rounded a corner or came up on a roll - and he was usually right as we would get a hit just as he had warned.
We caught our share of fish - though we both tended to do the "long distance release" more often than bringing them up to the boat. Anyhow, we had a great time and I don't doubt that we'll be back again. You run a first class outfit. Thanks again. Warren Werle (September 13, 2009)
Bill & Tom, just wanted to let you fellows know what a great time I had out on the river Sept. 18/10. Despite the cold weather and apparently slow fishing (even though our boat had no problems catching fish), a great time was had by all. We almost felt sorry for making you guys guide for us on such a cold day but you did insist this is what you live for, ha ha ... As a first time fly fisher I wasn’t sure what to expect out of this trip but with the exceptional knowledge and help from Bill I fared quite well and hopefully his lessons will stick until next time! You guys made sure everyone in the group caught fish and made the trip one to remember. We talked about the day the entire trip back to Edmonton. I will absolutely be back for another trip with you guys (hopefully a little warmer) and would recommend this trip to anyone. Thanks and see you soon! Joe Chamulke (September 18, 2010)
Tom ... We had a fantastic time ... Bill and Jason were excellent; friendly, helpful and very knowledgable ... great to be with.
Weather was so-so ... windy and a bit cool on the Sunday, but not a lot you guys can do about that. We had some great fishing. I don't know if Bill told you, but Jessica had one of those days we get fishing every blue moon. Line in the water, fish on. I think on the Sunday she had over 16 fish ... rest of us combined only about 8 or so. At one point we were just resting at the side of the river, she had one fly dangling in the water (not fishing, just resting) and all of a sudden she goes "heh, I have a fish on". Guy in the boat with her just shrugged and said "been like that all day" ... pretty neat.
Again, thanks to all for a great trip ... and looking forward to seeing you next year. Tony van der Vooren (September 19/20, 2009)
Tom ... I would like to thank Bill for a wonderful day and a great learning experience while floating down the Bow River. I have never really had any kind of experience fly fishing before, but after spending a full day with Bill I feel confident enought to keep practicing the skills he taught me. My friend Darren and I will be back next year to try our luck again, this time I think we will book in the spring time. I would like to say the boat and the equipment that Bill had us use was top notch and the shore lunch really hit the spot. O Ya and the 20 or so fish that Darren and I caught was dam exciting as well.
Thanks again and I hope to see Bill in the spring of 2010. Jamie Kammer (September 11, 2009)
I had the privilege to join Bill Windsor from Bow River Hookers out on the River Saturday, July 25th! Bill had a free day to take his wife out on the river, and luckily for me I was offered the extra spot!
Where do I start?! What an amazing day to say the least! I have grown up fishing with an open reel that Bill refers to as "hardware chucking", so I couldn't wait to learn how to Fly fish! Although it's embarrassing to admit, I have owned a fly rod for 5 years and had never caught a fish with it! Bills expertise and patience were an unbelievable combination that created a win win situation to ensure MANY fish were caught and the day was full of fun!! His great sense of humor and relaxed personality will make anyone feel at ease in the boat within seconds! It doesn't mater what level of fishing knowledge you have or what type of learning style you use, Bill's experience allows him to adapt easily to each individual and within minutes, you will be bringing fish into the boat!! We brought over 20 fish into the boat that day and I was exhausted by the time we stopped for lunch! Not bad for NEVER catching a fish on a fly rod before!! Bill's incredible knowledge of both the river and the fish was proved each time we had a bite .. not to mention all the jealous onlookers that had yet to land a fish! I would have to admit that part of the enjoyment that day, was hearing everyone else on the river comment about how slow the fishing was when we had bent rods all day!!
I would like to encourage any "hardware chuckers" out there to embrace an arguably better type of fishing! After a day on the river with Bill, you will wonder why you never took up fly fishing sooner! There are many people out there that can teach you how to fly fish, but I think there are few that are as knowledgeable and few that enjoy it as much as Bill does! I got the sense that his passion for fishing matched his passion for teaching .. in my books, you can't get a better guide than that! It was both a pleasure and a privilege to spend the day with Bill and his wife Kathleen on the river and I can guarantee it will never be forgotten!
Thanks Bill!! Shawntel Graybill (July 25, 2009)
Hi, Pete and I would like to thank Bill once again for a great day afloat on the Bow River. Thanks to him we caught 30 plus fish between us mostly Rainbow Trout. I hope to be back in Calgary next year, this time I hope to have my fishing buddy's over for a fishing holiday as I know they would love to do a float trip on the Bow River with the best guides in Calgary. By the way Bill, the stew was great!!!
Best Regards Archie Thomson (September 16, 2008)
Josh & Bill,
Thanks again for the amazing day last week. I've been having withdrawal symptoms ever since. As promised here are some of the pics we took. It's not all of them because the file sizes are quite large, and I may need to break them up over a couple emails anyway. Thanks again, I hope to float again with you both some day. Dean Blahut (September 18, 2008)
Bill ... You have no idea how much I enjoyed our day. Your sense of humour was just what the "doctor" ordered. As you know I've had a stressful and challenging time recently, and it was so nice to have a break from all of that. Each time I "set" a fish there was nothing else I could think about but that little fish coming in for the net!
I had no expectations coming in and had never caught a fish in my 44 years!! What a thrill to hook that first one and the second and third ... all the way to my ninth fish. It was very exciting for me! I particularly like the fact that you were so respectful of the fish and ensured they were well before letting them go.
I've emailed the link to several friends already and found out a few are fly fisherman ... who'd have known???? They all have your website now and know to ask for you by name.
You have a great website. Please pass that along to Kathleen.
Thanks again "B" we couldn't have asked for a better day or a better guide. I truly have been converted! "C"
Claudette, The Fly Fisherwoman from St. Albert, Alberta (September 20, 2008)
I had a wonderful day with Bill. I was just competent enough to follow his instructions as he put me onto some great fish and rowed me all over the river, all day! He even laughed at some of my jokes and turned the camera off when I swore too much.
What did I like? Bill's easy authorative manner. His knowledge, good humour and company. The great river. The boat (ace). And of course the fishing - it wasn't particlulary easy fishing but they were there if you were good enough (Bill was) and I am still bragging about the 24inch pig (and not forgetting the hot lunch - nice touch).
What did I not like? Not much. I had a great day. If and when I can get back to Alberta, you will be on my calling list.
Very best wishes. Ned Pankhurst (June 24, 2008)
After our final fishing trip for Steelhead near Nippigon (Jack Pine, Ciprus,....) we are back in Austria. We immediatly checked your homepage and were very impressed by the nice pictures and journal stories.
Thank you once more Tom, for the good and uncomplicated organization and Bill, for the two gorgeous days on the Bow. It was just perfect inspite of the cold weather conditions on the first day!
If I have the chance to be once more in the area I will contact you - to join you again for a float trip or fishing in the rocky mountain area.
Thanks again. Fred & Fred Sr. (May 7, 2008)
Sharon and I both enjoyed our experience on the Bow with Bill. We found him to be very knowledgable about the river. He led us to wonderful Browns the first day and Rainbows the next when we had heavy rain and wind. The warm meals were appreciated.
He changed flies when the action slowed and patiently worked with us when we needed help. You and Bill run a professional operation. We will be back with friends. Bill and Sharon Gould (August 10, 2007)
Well I'm back home now but my head is still buzzing from our trip down the mighty Bow!!
I cannot tell you how much I appreciate the effort you put in to make our day as incredible as it was. I can't imagine how it could have been any better than it was, considering the early season and all. But then you had to go and spoil it by telling me that the Bow is even better later in the season, so now that's all I'm thinking about!!
I will most definitely be coming back as soon as I can, and your number will be the only call I'll make when I do!
All the very best and have a great season! Morey Benton (May 5, 2007)
Thanks for showing me such a good day yesterday. I really had a blast and had no idea fishing on the Bow could be so good. Hope to get out with you again this year if possible. I am out of the country a lot in August and September, so might have to wait. Anyway, just wanted to let you know that your guiding is tops - your expertise, equipment, food, and 12 hours of fishing is an incredible package for the money. Most guides I have been with are like clock work - 3pm and they are off the water. It seems you really like to do this and have a passion for it. Obviously, you must really enjoy it or it would be difficult to continually offer that much effort. Clay Roark (August 5, 2007)
Thanks again for everything. We had an excellent trip this past week. I can't say enough about Bill and how great of a job he did for us. I knew we were with the right guide service when we saw other groups go past and catch nothing and we would follow behind and pull in 20 plus inch rainbows.
We would like to come back next spring to catch some browns. I would love to come during prime time for the browns. I was thinking about a long weekend trip. Getting to Calgary on a Thursday night and fishing on a Friday and Saturday and coming home on Sunday. Could we float two different rivers or two different segments of the Bow?
Thanks again for everything. Dierick Sparks (July 17, 2007)
[Excerpts from an article in the Sonoma (California) Tribune on Friday August 18, 2006]
I have a confession to make. I spent part of my recent vacation with the "Bow River Hooker". And now that I have your attention, I will add that the name refers to fly fishing, an old profession, but not the oldest.
"Bow River Hookers" is the name that owner, operator Tom Windsor has given his company, which offers guided fly fishing trips in southern Alberta, Canada. As the name implies, Tom and his associates concentrate most of their efforts on the Bow River, and, after spending a couple of days with him, I understand why.
The city of Calgary is interesting, clean, safe and entertaining in its own right, so I felt less guilty leaving Dottie to explore, while my friend Mike Brown and I took off with Tom for some truly serious fly fishing on the Bow. When I say serious, I mean an all day trip that finds you still fishing at 9:30 at night (it stays daylight longer up there).
The land around Calgary is similar to that in California's Central Valley. It is more or less flat, and most of it dedicated to agriculture. The Bow zigzags through the region in a canyon that looks to be about a half-mile wide and several hundred feet deep. Once you're down in it, you think you are in the mountains again.
The river is similar in size to the Sacramento River as it flows through Redding. It is cold, clear and teeming with big trout. Shortly after launching the drift boat, Mike hooked what I thought was a very nice rainbow, which appeared to be between 12 and 14 inches long. As he brought it toward the boat Tom said, "It's just a little one."
On the upper Sac, where I usually fling my fly, that would be the fish of the day. It took us a while (the fishing got better later in the afternoon) but it turned out that Tom wasn't exaggerating. The trout kept getting bigger and bigger. We stopped for supp er around 6:30, and while Tom was cooking our stew, I tried a riffle nearby. With my second cast I was into an electrically charged Bow trout that spent more time in the air than I did getting to Calgary.
After about 10 minutes I brought a 21-inch beauty to shore. It qualified as a nice fish, but nowhere close to the monsters that are often brought in by Tom's clients (check out his Web site www.bowriverhookers.com or www.flyfishingcalgary.com).
Mike and I lost count of the number of fish we caught and released, but all were well over a foot long, and many approached 20 inches, and they were all prone to great leaps and long, fast, reel screaming runs. As the sun set and the shadows hit the water the bugs came out and the fishing got even more exciting.
Contact Tom ahead of time, book at least two trips, count on being out all day and not back to your hotel until late, if for no other reason than you won't want to leave the water.
You can reach Tom at (403) 481-8116 or (866) 974-8522. Bill Lynch, California
I want to thank you so much for all the arrangements you made for us. We had an amazing time. We thoroughly enjoyed our trip. We caught a good number of trout, a lot of big ones, and succeeded in getting a trout of every species. We had never caught cutthroat or bull trout before. The west slope cutthroat are incredibly beautiful fish as you know. The Bow River trout are incredibly strong hard fighting trout. I will send pictures as soon as I download them from my camera. Included will be the picture of the brook trout which was a complete shock to Jamie. I also want to thank you for setting us up with such a great guide!!! You said he was your number one guide and I believe it. He worked tirelessly to get us into the best positions and to coach us as to how we could catch more fish. His experience as a photographer also was a great bonus as he pointed out and took many great shots with my camera. Jamie really connected with my Dad. It greatly enhanced the trip. Jamie's enthusiasm was infectious. Several of my friends take fishing trips and I will definitely recommend they contact you. I hope to return one day and would like to have Jamie as my guide again. Best of luck to you and thank you again! I cannot begin to describe how much we enjoyed the trip! Andrew K, Pennsylvania
I was the guy who said hi at McKinnon Flats yesterday and asked your advice on where to go if wading. Your tip paid off by consecutively bringing me a pile of missed strikes and the 4 biggest rainbows I have ever caught. They were 22, 24, 25, and 30! The 30 incher was absolutely beautiful and around 10 lbs. Thx again. I'll be looking you guys up this fall or next spring for a tour. I need the expert help and want to see the river from a drift boat. Oh, I'll spread the word of your knowledge and kindness to my friends who are also in the angling community. Thx again. Kevin G
Thanks again to you Jason and Lyle for the two memorable days on the Bow - stubborn trout notwithstanding. I can still taste your stream side moose burgers. Sherman, Texas
As the subject says "thanks" for all your hard work, good humor, and sharing your hard earned game meals. Your crew is special in ways other than just guiding. Joe, Midland Park, NJ
Mike and I had a great time with you fishing the area last spring. The fish we caught were nice size and in good shape, the weather was great and the scenery spectacular. Larry, Washington
I enjoyed our day together and we are already talking about returning next July. I will be in touch regarding that trip. Please tell Marty thanks; his knowledge of the pike and walleye was amazing keeping us in the fish all day long. Jay, Texas
Thanks for everything, the lunches, fishing and especially your hospitality were terrific "eh". Give Lyle special thanks from me. We'll be back again next year and wanting more boats. Steve, California
It was great meeting you; I passed on several recommendations for your guiding service. Thanks for putting up with my Dad; I look forward to coming up again. Mike S., Arizona