Tribute to Tom

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Tom Windsor Tribute

In Loving Memory of My Husband and the Creator of the Original “Boats with the Bent Rods” Company, Bow River Hookers Fly Fishing Adventures, Tom Windsor

Tom A. Windsor 1965-2024

Tom Windsor, Owner/Operator of Bow River Hookers, Tom had been fly fishing since he was 5 years old. Spending over 100 days each year on the Bow River has given him knowledge of the river that was unmatched. 

The tricks he had developed consistently put his guests into quality fish. His experience, along with his enthusiasm in seeing someone catch their first Bow River trout, made him one of the best at what he did. 

Unfortunately, after a long battle with cancer, Tom passed away January 5th, 2024. This website and his company is a tribute to him , so his legacy on the Bow River will never be forgotten!

Tribute from Sandy Windsor

When I met Tom in 2006, i never realized how much of a passion fly fishing was to him, until he said one day to me, “Sandy we are going to go fishing, I’m going to teach you how to fly fish and YOUR GOING TO LIKE IT.” 

Yup, that was Tom! He was right except, I LOVED IT!, after that, I also developed a passion for fly fishing too, wanting to go with him every chance we could go fishing. 

I soon became quite efficient as the “office manager” for Bow River Hookers, booking trips, guides, and of course making the lunches for the trips. Together we were a great team! So I found myself wondering, what am I to do now that, unfortunately, my husband and fly fishing mentor Tom Windsor, is gone. Now what? Do I just let his legacy on the Bow River be forgotten? I decided NO! This website is dedicated to Tom Windsor Owner/Operator of Bow River Hookers Fly Fishing Adventures. “ THE BOATS WITH THE BENT RODS”

In Loving memory of my husband, Tom Windsor, 1965-2024

He Had a Heart of Gold

“#4 in our #Top23of2023 is the hardest to share. My dear friend Tom Windsor’s battle with cancer ended yesterday morning. I was able to see him at the hospice hours before he passed & even that, was a gift I’ll treasure. The last pic I took of Tom, from this spring, was when we floated together for the first time in several years. Tom & I met on this river, we started our guide services the same year on this river & we forged our friendship on this river.

We used to fish & work together so much back in the day, so to hear his voice over the phone say one of the things he needed to do before the cancer won, was float together again, just about brought me to my knees. That day we floated the city stretch, which Tom had never done before. To share a new stretch of a very familiar river with my dear friend was special. 

When I started this company, I was a 21-year-old kid trying to pay for my undergraduate & graduate degrees, with guiding. Back then it was an old boy’s club & most of them wouldn’t give me the time of day. If they did it was to try & make sure I understood they saw me as some kid in diapers, that had no place on the river without a grey beard or white hair. Tom was never like that. 

Tom & I were technically direct competitors, yet after the first float we ever did together (down on the Reserve) we were instant friends. Tom wanted everyone to think he was gruff and grumpy, & he did his best to show that, but it was just a show. He had a heart of gold. Tom was the kind of guy that would give you the shirt off his back in a snowstorm, and if you then found a 2nd shirt, but were still cold, he’d give that 1 to you too. Now if you came upon another person & they inquired as to why you had 2 shirts while Tom was shirtless, he would without hesitation tell them you’d stolen his shirt & try to convince them to help Tom forcefully recover said shirts from you! 

From Day 1 he was the most loyal man I’d met on this river. While supposed “friends” tried to undermine & steal clients, Tom hung up on clients trying to book his services when he found out they’d also called me. He did that after only our 1st meeting.”

May your soul Rest in Peace my friend,
(Josh Nugent-Owner/Outfitter & Guide at Out Fly-Fishing Outfitters)

One of the Greatest Friends You Could Have

“I had known Tom for years but had very little interaction except an occasional smile and nod on the river. Then one particularly busy fall day I had the four-wheel drive go on my truck and was unable to pull my boat out of the water. Boat after boat unloaded and left as my tires spun and my clients looked on after a long day in the hot sun. 

Luckily for me one of the last boats on the water to pull in was Tom. He, without any prompting or asking got his truck, took off his own trailer, helped me unhook mine and drug my boat out of the water all before helping me push free my stuck vehicle. That was Tom in a nutshell, always there when you needed him. I will be forever grateful to my faulty four-wheel drive as from that moment on I had one of the greatest friends you could have.

The river will be short, a great one from now on. Tom was everything you could have asked for in a fly-fishing guide and more importantly in a friend.”

Blair Yerxa-Head Guide

He Was One of Us

“It is with a heavy heart that I share this little tribute to Tom. You see, we weren’t great friends, or even good friends. However, we walked the same path of life – tough! We speak our mind and don’t stand for people’s crap.

We both worked at CEDA and chatted a little now and then. I will miss seeing Tom on the water and the tilt of his hat or the wave of his arm – what I’m trying to say as tears fill my eyes – he was one of us – A Bow River Fly Fishing Guide! If I only knew that about Tom it would be enough. However, I do know more and appreciate his contributions to Bow River Hookers and so much more.”

Paul Morrell
“Damn Fine Guide”
Renegade Guide Service (1983)

One of the Kindest and Generous People

“I first met Tom when I was a teenager filming a tv show and at first glance he seemed rather gruff and intimidating, Tom, and a few others were “guides” (pros)”, “the real deal”, to me, a young angler who never thought I would ever get a chance to make a living doing what I love. Little did I know he would become one of my biggest mentors and close friends on the river. Tom was one of the kindest and most informative guides I have met in my life.

He took me under his wing shortly after that weekend, he said to me, “Get yourself a boat and I will teach you how to guide”. Over the next number of years, I learned a lot about Tom and guiding/outfitting. He was one of the kindest and generous people on the water. Sharing flies, cooking meals, introducing me to the other pros/friends and making sure I was always learning, progressing, and maintaining his standard.

Over the last 15+ years when we got to spend time together was always a highlight for me. He was always happy to keep the mood light and joke around, but always focused on how we can do best for our clients at the same time.

I will always remember Tom and could never thank him enough for what he has done for me on and off the water.”

Maxwell Dean Robinson

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The Bow River in southern Alberta stands out as a top destination for fly fishers worldwide, offering a mix of trophy trout fishing, diverse angling methods, and stunning natural beauty. As a fishing guide company, we are dedicated to providing unforgettable fishing adventures on the Bow River, ensuring every angler leaves with lasting memories and stories of their catch.

Read more about our Bow River Fly Fishing Trips and book your trip today!