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New to Calgary fishing - need advice


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Hi anglers! I'm new to Calgary and I'd like to take on fishing, I will probably start when the temperatures rise again. I live in front of Shouldice park where there are nice curves in the Bow river and the bank is accessible. I don't own a car yet so I'll have to wait before I can fish further. I saw that I can buy my license online. What I need help for is :

  • Understanding the regulation: According to this website, Calgary is in a zone called ES1, and I have trouble understanding what is/isn't allowed in the Bow river. If I understood right, baits are banned and no fish can be kept, is that correct? I wanted to fish for food, so that would just mean I can't.
  • Knowing what fish can be found here: I have a list of the species that can be found in the Bow river in general, but that does not tell me what is usually caught by amateur fisher on these banks, and I need to know what species I am aiming for to get the right equipment.
  • Choosing my beginner's outfit: I fished with my grand-father a couple of time and in different bodies of water in France, and last summer I fished in a lake in Sweden, but I'm still a beginner. I am reading some literature about selecting a good versatile beginner outfit, they give me all the specs of the medium sized, medium action rod/reel that I should search for, telling me it's not very expensive, but I would love to have the advice of a local angler. Also, I am unsure what is the right complete basic equipment I should buy. One websites suggests rod/reel, line, hooks, bait, lures, bobbers, sinkers, swivels, pincers, line cutter, but that list forgets obvious stuff like a bucket for the fish, and a landing net I guess… So again, I wonder what a local angler would suggest.

Any advice is welcome, again, I'm a beginner, and I'm just looking forward to have a good relaxing time on the banks of the river and hopefully meet some fellow anglers.

Thank you!

Sacha

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Welcome to Calgary. The bow is your best bet. Where you are is ok in terms of fishing. I find the more south in the city is better on my opinion. If you are looking for a outfit and on a budget some good ones are the orvis encounter (what I started off with and loved it) echo has a few good outfits and Tfo as well. Check out a local fly shop and they’ll help out tones. In your case iron bow fly shop is closest to you or bow river troutfitters. Pm me and can show you what to look for fishing the bow in the spring as she can be a mystery sometimes. 

hope this helps

duke 

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Thanks for confirming, lorney. I have done my homework and studied the regulation better. I think I'll go to Glenmore reservoir in the summer so I can keep the fish, and in the meantime I'll order my license and train with catch and release in the Bow river by my house. I have found two good second-hand spin/cast sets, that'll be better for a beginner like me before I take on fly fishing. I bet spin casting in the Bow won't give me much and I'll struggle a lot with the Brown trouts but I need to practice anyway. Now I need to figure out which spinners will give the best results.

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If you eventually want to fly fish. Might as well dive In head first. My dog can run a spin casting reel and decide if she wants to run a spoon or a rapala. You will thank yourself if you get the learning curve out of the way and start getting into fish on the fly. I did not pick up a fly rod till I was 27 and have kicked myself for not getting one sooner. 
 

thats not to say gear fishing docent have a place, but if your focus is going to be river/stream targeting trout, fly fishing is the golden fun ticket

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Sacha,

The Bow can be a tough river to figure out. Consider hiring a guide. It will make things easier, lessen the learning curve and you will learn much faster then figuring out things on your own...

Cheers,

Peter

The Alpine Experience

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  • 2 weeks later...

Sacha,

   Welcome to Alberta, the Calgary area and fishing! Whether you fly fish or cast with gear, (a spinning type rod with a lure, possibly with a float or weights as well), as my learned friend above says, you are off to a good start by desiring to know the regulations. Frankly, I have seen too many "new Canadians" (I am not saying you are one, I am referring to new residents of Canada) who fish without knowing the rules or, in some ways even more importantly the customs and courtesies or etiquette of fishing. Good for you.

   The recommendation from Peter above is wise. A professional guide will start you off very nicely and will likely take you somewhere he/she is nearly 100% sure you will actually catch fish which is a positive reinforcement when starting out. Visit some shops, don't buy anything yet, but browse around and ask questions. Some shops have beginner fishing classes, mostly for fly fishing as it is more challenging and difficult to master.

   Talk to friends and colleagues at your place of employment or education. Try and find an experienced fisherperson who is willing to answer questions and maybe take you along for an introductory outing. This website occasionally has people who post their desire to fish with someone from the area. Until you gain enough experience in fishing, finding your way around and water safety I recommend you treat fishing like SCUBA divers treat their activity: going solo is a no-no. Fish with a buddy - keep them in sight at all times.

   Another great source of information in addition to the interweb are books. Go to your library, and read as much as you can. The interweb has thousands of videos about just about every possible aspect of fishing I can think of. A great way to while away the non fishing hours of winter.

   Finally, within the fishing regulations guide you will find reference to stocked waters. These are places where a portion of your annual license fee are used by the province to place fish in waters where you are allowed to harvest them for food. A lot of these places are easily accessible, quite safe (if crowded at times), and have amenities like close parking, an outdoor toilet, picnic areas and so forth. It is a good place to start and develop your skill level.

   I wish you good luck and many happy hours on the water.

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