Fishing around Calgary and Southern Alberta

Fishing Around Calgary

Fishing around Calgary can be a little annoying without a vehicle, but it’s certainly possible via Calgary Transit, and with friends that do have vehicles and don’t mind being seen with you.

I’m really not enjoying this -30’C weather, and really miss fishing and camping, so I thought I’d toss together a quick fun post to help me get through it. Can’t waaaait for the 2017 season!

Huge fan of fishing here. Huge fan! I’ve been fishing since I was 3? 4?, starting on the Shuswap and the Thompson rivers in BC, to getting to fish the Irish Sea while in Wales in my 20’s, to almost every lake in southern Alberta, I’ve done it whenever and wherever I had the chance. Even ice fishing, which was very cold but I still had fun, and I would absolutely head out and do that again.

I thought it might be fun to list some of the places I regularly go fishing around Calgary at, even though they aren’t exactly super amazing hotspots. I wouldn’t give out any decent hotspots I’ve found anyway 😉

I’m a traditional reel caster fisherman. I’d really love to get into fly fishing, just haven’t got around to it yet. I’ve heard fly fishing is way more fun and fulfilling than using a reel. It sure looks fun. Maybe next season I’ll pick up a fly rod.

 

Fishing Around Calgary

Fishing with my buddy Louis near Spray Lakes Reservoir

Glenmore Reservoir

My favourite place to fish in Calgary, it’s easily accessible by transit or by automobile, has lots of fish, and is gorgeous.  You can even rent a canoe for the whole day, which takes fishing to whole nother level. The cost to rent a canoe is $35 for the day, and includes life jackets and oars and use of the dock. Check out CalgaryCanoeClub.com for info.

Highly recommend doing this in the summer, canoeing and fishing is a great way to spend a day out.

you can watch Trout (Rainbow/Brown), Pike, Whitefish, and Perch. (full info)

I’ve only pulled trout and pike out of small to medium size, but I’ve seen people land huge brown and rainbow trout by trawling.

Pretty much any area of the lake from shore is decent, though some have more depth and deeper drop off, which is where some of the bigger fish hang out, so look for that.

Fishing Around Calgary, Glenmore Reservoir Fishing

Fishing Around Calgary, Glenmore Reservoir

My favourite area of the Glenmore Reservoir, is just beside Glenmore trail, which runs down the middle of. It’s pretty deep, easy to get to by bus, and is far enough away from the Heritage Park tourists that you won’t really be bothered by anyone.

Most of the fish I’ve caught from the reservoir were done so using spoons.

Fishing Around Calgary: brown trout and whitefish

Brown trout (top) and whitefish.

The first trout I ever caught at the Glenmore Reservoir, a nice brown trout (top). The other one is a Whitefish I had caught at Travers Reservoir in southern Alberta. Both were caught using a 5 of diamonds spoon. Fish sure love that lure for some reason.

Fishing Around Calgary, Pike fish

Pike fish!

This is a pike fish. I caught it after a long day of canoeing around the Glenmore Reservoir with a couple friends. We were out there from like 8am until 4:30pm. Just as we were about to pack up and paddle back to the canoe club, this guy snapped up my lure. It was caught using a black grub, which sort of looked like a leech. They’re kind of difficult to clean, but it can be done. Check YouTube for tutorials.

The Bow River

There are multiple places along the Bow River to fish, and each one has their own set of rules and limits. Make sure you know the regulations for the particular stretch you’re thinking of casting into!

My favourite place to go fishing along the Bow River is right under the bridge, beside Prince’s Island Park.

The water here has a really nice current, which keeps the lure out there longer. Using spinners, I’ve caught some nice brown trout from this spot. This portion of the Bow River is closed October 1st – November 30th.

I have to say, it’s pretty awesome to be able to just go fishing while living downtown.

Fishing Around Calgary, Bow River Downtown Calgary

The Bow River is actually kind of tough to catch fish in, I’ve found. Many of my lures are permanently stuck between rocks and caught up in debris.

Fishing Around Calgary, Rainbow Trout

Rainbow Trout from the Policemans Flats area

Caught the above guy using a small spinner. I forget which one exactly.

Spray Lakes Reservoir

Ah, Spray Lakes. I’ve fished here so many times, been skunked 95% of them. Even without catching anything, one of my favourite places for fishing around Calgary. Last time I was there, hooked two small lake trout, but threw them back. Not sure if it’s just bad luck, or shore fishing is just difficult here. If you can get into a boat, the reservoir can run really deep, and there’s some huge lunkers just waiting for you. There is no boat rental place on the reservoir, so you’ll need to bring your own.

Fishing Around Calgary, Spray Lakes Reservoir

 

Fishing Around Calgary, Spray Lakes Reservoir Panorama

Spray Lakes campground is a pretty nice place to camp. It’s not huge, though. In addition there are bears in the area quite often. It might not be the BEST place to go fishing around Calgary, but it’s one of the most beautiful, and not that far away. We’re so lucky to live where we do.

This picture is from a few years ago, a couple friends and I headed out to Spray Lakes to ice fish. It was like 7am and -30’C. We didn’t have any shelter. We’re dumb.

Fishing Around Calgary, Ice Fishing Spray Lakes

And this one is my buddy Louis (who has since moved away, boo). He caught a nice pair of Calvin Kleins. Lucky duck.

Fishing Around Calgary, Spray Lakes

Calvin Kleins, fairly worn and enjoyed.

 

 

Grotto Pond

Just beyond Exshaw Alberta is Grotto Pond. It’s a stocked body of water, which is home to small-medium sized Rainbow Trout. It’s not very big and you won’t pull any record breakers out of it, but the area is just amazing and it’s a wonderful place to fish. Also, it’s the trail head for a beginner trail called Grotto Canyon. Other than fishing, it’s a great place to stop by and have lunch, if you’re passing through the area or heading back from Banff/Canmore for some reason.

Fishing Around Calgary, Grotto Pond Walkway

One of the downsides is, people tend to take more than their limit of fish. At least from what I’ve seen. Yes I did call report a poacher.

I’ve never actually caught anything out of this pond myself, but hey I told you these spots might not be the BEST. Fishing around Calgary is something I really enjoy, whether I catch anything or not.

Fishing Around Calgary, Grotto Pond

 

Pine Coulee Reservoir

This is a weird one. The fishing here is OMG FANTASTIC, but, you can’t keep any of them. Pine Coulee Reservoir is a little ways south of Calgary, and has a ton of Walleye. So many. People have mentioned catching 50+ in a day here. Problem is, they’re smaller and the regulations state you can keep ZERO of them.

Update! Times have changed! The regulations now say you can harvest Walleye from Pine Coulee.

The reservoir is kind of ugly and not surrounded by mountains, but the fishing is just great. A really good place to take kids, especially if you’re in a boat. In addition to Walleye, there’s pike in these waters, but I’ve never seen one myself.

Fishing Around Calgary, Pine Coulee Reservoir

I made a video of my time here. Only time I’ve fished Pine Coulee. Would love to go back.

 

McGregor Lake

A bit of a drive, McGregor lake is south east of Calgary, just past Vulcan, but is one of the better pike fishing holes I’ve ever been to. At the north end of the waterway is a rock wall, which seems to have a really deep drop off, and there are plenty of fish to go around. One time we pulled a pike out of here that had a baby duck in it’s stomach. Pike fish fight so hard.

Update! The regulations have changed, and you cannot keep any Pike from McGregor Lake.

 

 

a pike from Fishing Around Calgary

 

I’ve caught more pike out of Lake McGregor than anywhere. They’re all fairly big, and fight like hell. There are also Whitefish, Burbot and Yellow Perch, and Walleye as well. Note: at present time, you are not allowed to keep Pike or Walleye. You can catch them of course, but they must be released. The pike I’ve caught (and kept) were from prior to the regulations changing the limit to zero.

Always always always check the regs before dropping your line!

Here’s a video of my buddy cleaning one. She’s way better at it than I am. They have a lot of bones and need to be cleaned a certain way if you want to eat them. Personally, I don’t like pike myself, she loves it.

 

 

My 2016 season is pretty much done, but I’ll keep adding to this fishing around Calgary list as I get out there more 🙂

Where do you enjoy fishing around Calgary?

Drop in a comment below!

Authored by: Crackmacs

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There are 10 comments for this article
  1. GTWYC at 4:41 pm

    Sweet article! What sort of setup do you most often use? I want to get into fishing, but I haven’t been since I was a kid. Any gear recommendations for a beginner?

    • Crackmacs Author at 12:17 am

      Honestly just a basic rod with a basic spinner. I literally JUST bought a new one from Canadian Tire, for $32. You don’t need to spend much at all to get started. Hit Wal-mart or CT, or Bass Pro if you have the money to spend on something brand name (worth it). Then just some tackle and a license, and that’s about it. $50-$60 I’d say to get started? Not too bad.

      Bass Pro Shops is the best place ever. If you’re feeling totally clueless, their sales staff are extremely knowledgeable.

  2. Tim at 1:08 am

    You are not able to keep either. Both species are catch and discharge as it were. McGregor is additionally not some portion of the unique walleye permit program either, so by no means can Walleye be gathered.

    • Crackmacs Author at 12:32 am

      A few years ago McGregor had a 3x limit for Pike (I think any size? can’t remember). Camped there once, fished all day and night, loved it.

      Have yet to ever watch a Walleye from there though.

  3. Nathan at 8:55 pm

    I won’t give a way a spot but I feel like saying a lake is safe. Chain Lakes down past Longview is amazing!

  4. James at 2:06 pm

    Just a note on McGregor: you may catch both Pike and Walleye, but you cannot keep either. Both species are catch and release only. McGregor is also not part of the special walleye licence program either, so under no circumstances can Walleye be harvested.

  5. Rebecca Roberts at 9:28 am

    Awesome! I love fishing but didn’t get to do any last summer. Good ole 5 of diamonds I my go to lure!

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