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Alberta’s Bow River is justifiably famous as one of the great North American trout fisheries for large rainbows and browns. Less well known is that portion of the Bow that flows through the (Siksika) Blackfoot Indian Reserve. Eric Grinnells' Silvertip Outfitters pioneered fishing “the Bow Nobody Knows” in the mid 80’s and is still the only outfitting service regularly operating on this highly productive and under fished prairie section. Imagine floating and fishing this large river, through valley floor cottonwood flats, short grass prairie hillsides and stunning rock cliffs with few other anglers. Imagine large hard fighting silvery rainbows, with occasional big browns. Imagine a deluxe streamside camp with private access and mooring, gourmet meals and the Bow River’s most experienced guides - all within an hour of a Calgary, Alberta.
Trip packages of any length can be arranged, although typically anglers fish from 3-4 days, staying in the Silvertip Outfitters riverside camp.
The Silvertip Camp on the banks of the Bow River is located on a private ranch near Carsland, 35 miles east of Calgary - several miles downstream from the Carsland Weir. Each guest will have their own stand up tent, topped by a rain fly, with a comfortable cot, foam mattress, and a pillow with bedding provided. The Dining tent is a large wood floored soft sided structure, with picnic tables and a wood burning stove. Cooking is done in a roofed building beside the dining structure. The camp has solar electricity and also a rustic “camp style” shower tent. Guides stay on site and usually join the guests around the fire pit in the evening. Ssome great fish have been hooked during these night time sessions in the glow of the fire. This is “camping” at its best!
The chefs, Sheila and Kelly, are proud of their gourmet cuisine that features prime Alberta beef and other fine dishes. Guests are welcome to enjoy their favorite wines and spirits with supper. A full and varied breakfast starts the day, and lunch is provided riverside. All non alcoholic beverages are provided by Silvertip Outfitters.
The Bow river’s rainbow trout are silver bodied, and many anglers argue that they are the hardest fighting strain in North America. Fish average about 17 inches and have been caught to up to 28 inches from camp! Brown trout make up only about 10 percent of the catch, but they too can reach lengths approaching 30 inches. Silvertip Outfitters offers a unique opportunity to fish for these great fish on a piece of river that receives very little pressure. The river also has a population of pike and fishing for them can be very good depending on conditions.
Silvertip Outfitters specializes in fishing “The Bow Nobody Knows , a section of the Bow River unknown to most anglers, with almost negligible fishing pressure. This 35 mile stretch of the Bow from Calgary downstream to the weir at Carsland is well known and heavily used by guides and local anglers. Downstream of the weir, the Bow flows through private property for about 5 miles then enters the Blackfoot (Siksika) Indian Reserve - remaining within the Reserve boundaries for nearly 100 river miles. There is one public boat access just below the weir, but no public access downstream of that. Silvertip Outfitters uses jetdrive equipped jon and drift boats to access this area of the Bow, returning each evening to their private mooring and camp. Using the jet boats allow for much flexibility and typically anglers are fishing different water each day.The key to success is always a great guide and Silvertip has some of the most experienced guides on the river. Eric Grinnell has been guiding the Bow full time since 1981, and all of his guides bring the best in maturity and professionalism.
The season usually starts in early July after runoff and continues through September. July offers great fishing on streamers and stoneflies, with evening caddis hatches. Hopper patterns and hoppers with nymph droppers work well in August through September. The fall months bring very good hatched of Blue Winged Olives and tricos, bringing up some very nice fish! The river offers good consistent dry fly fishing throughout the summer with the potential to take a 20 inch fish on a dry most days. Nymphing and streamer fishing is productive at any time. Fishing is a mix of fishing from the boat and wading, usually depending on the client’s preference.
Silvertip Outfitters guides utilize 16 foot drift or jon boats equipped with jet drive motors. These boats are roomy and comfortable - fully set up for drift fishing. The use of power boats allows anglers to drift as little or as much as they wish during the day. Guides can provide high quality rods and reels if needed at no charge. Although guides are happy to share their favorite flies, Silvertip Outfitters encourages a visit to one of the fly shops in Calgary to ensure that anglers have a supply of the right flies. They also recommend that anglers bring several rods -- a 6 or 7 weight with a 10 foot sink tip for streamers, a 5 or 6 weight for hoppers and nymphs, and a 4 or 5 weight for light dries
Although this is a dedicated fishing camp, non-angling family members and children usually enjoy exploring the river by jet boat through the Blackfoot Reserve, stopping to swim or perhaps to pick up the many ancient bison bones that occur along the shoreline. Other points of interest are Calgary (40 miles away), the famous Stampede, and the nearby Canadian Rockies - site of Banff Park and Lake Louise.
Calgary International Airport is served by most major airlines with easy and often direct flights from many American cities. Great Falls, MT is the nearest US city, about 5 hours by vehicle. The Silvertip Outfitters river camp is located 40 minutes east of Calgary.
Most anglers arrive the day before their first day of fishing and overnight in Calgary at the Delta Calgary South Hotel in south Calgary. The hotel is on the way to the river camp, and close to three fly shops. Guests are responsible for taxi or shuttle to the hotel, if needed. Silvertip guides meet the clients at their hotel in the morning, make a quick stop at a nearby fly shop, and then drive to the camp for a full days fishing. In the evening of the last day of fishing, clients are returned to the hotel by their guides. Alternate arrangements can certainly be made for clients who are driving, please call Yellow Dog for details and directions to the camp.
Clients who arrive in Calgary early enough may choose to spend their first night in camp. This option would include pickup at the Calgary airport, stop at fly shop and evening meal in camp. This option gives guests the opportunity for some self-guided fishing in front of camp (it stays light until around 9:30 p.m. during the season). Clients may also spend the night of their last days fishing at the camp, have breakfast and be returned to the airport (or other Calgary destination).
All prices are per person and based on double occupancy in the boat. A trip of any length of stay can be arranged. Please Call Yellow Dog for details and custom package pricing.
|Length of Stay||
2 Per Boat
1 Per Tent
|1 Nights / 2 Fishing Days||$895|
|2 Nights / 3 Fishing Days||$1,295|
|3 Nights / 4 Fishing Days||$1,695|
|4 Nights / 5 Fishing Days||$2,095|
* Remember that Yellow Dog's services are completely free! When you book a trip with Yellow Dog, you never pay more than when you book directly with the lodge or outfitter.
Yellow Dog has a full in-house travel and reservations system, and can assist with airline tickets, hotels, transfers, and all travel logistics for every destination that we offer. Contact us at 888-777-5060 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more details on airfare ticketing, travel services and trip insurance.
The Bow River is a river in the Canadian province of Alberta. It begins in the Rocky Mountains and winds through the Albertan foothills onto the prairies. The confluence of the Bow River and Old man River form the South Saskatchewan River. These waters ultimately flow through the Nelson River into Hudson Bay. The river runs through the city of Calgary. The Bow River pathway developed along the river's banks in Calgary is considered a part of the city's self-image.
First Nations peoples made varied use of the river for sustenance before settlers of European origin arrived, such as using its valleys in the buffalo hunt. The name "Bow" refers to the reeds that grew along its banks and were used by the local First Nations peoples to make bows; the Peigan name for the river is "Makhabn", meaning "river where bow reeds grow".