Crowsnest Fishing Holes – Part I

It’s not unusual for popular trout streams to have stretches of their waters named by anglers. Alberta’s Bow River is a good example, with places like Must Be Nice, Policeman’s Flats, Far & Fine, and the Trico Hole.

The Crowsnest River also has stretches of water that have been named. Providing the anglers you are speaking with are familiar with these places, it’s a good way of letting them know where you were fishing, and which pool or run might have been productive – or not!

I like the idea of having names attached to some of the waters I fish. It evokes a sense of history, tradition, and lore, and provides a connection to those anglers who visited these places long before me.

Horseshoe Bend on the Crowsnest River – Oct., 1983

There’s always a reason why a fishing hole has been given a special name. Sometimes, it’s named in honor of a person – perhaps an angler who frequented the place at one time. It could be named after a landowner whose property adjoins the river. The name could also refer to an access point or a nearby landmark such as a bridge. It could describe the surrounding landscape or a unique feature in the river. Other times, the name may have been inspired by an interesting or unusual event that occurred while someone was fishing there.

1923 Bridge Pool on the Crowsnest River – July, 2005
Angler: Bill Young

Fishing Holes on the Crow

Like the Bow, the Crowsnest River has various reaches, runs, and pools that have been named by anglers over the years. There’s nothing official about any of these names, and the only maps you will find them listed on are those that are hastily-scribbled by someone on a scrap piece of paper or napkin. Some of these places have more than one name – it all depends on who you are conversing with. Anglers from another generation, or different circles of friends, may have a different name for the same stretch of water.

Some Crowsnest River names go back decades and remain in use to this day. There are names of fishing holes on the river that have been forgotten and lost over time, and there are places that will come to have new names in the future.

Rainbow Ridge – 1989
Angler: Blair Spence

While selecting the photos for this article, I thought it might be interesting to include some of my vintage ones – pictures dating to the early 1980s. Others were taken as recently as this year. The surroundings in some of the early photographs have changed since I took them, but in most cases, the locations should be recognizable to anyone fishing here today.

The photos and comments begin on the lower river, where it enters the Oldman Reservoir, and progress upstream. The majority of places shown can be reached by walking along the river from bridges and other public access points. Please respect private property and be sure to obtain permission from landowners, prior to crossing their land.

While working on this piece, I contacted a number of long-time Crowsnest River anglers for information on various places along the river. I thank everyone for their response and help with this.

The Corrals – 2001
Angler: Peter Amundsen

Oldman Reservoir to Lundbreck Falls

The Stone House (a.k.a. The Drewry House, Rener’s Farmhouse)
This historic home is located immediately downstream of the Todd Creek Day-Use Area. It was constructed in 1910 of locally quarried sandstone. The structure was spared during construction of the Oldman Dam. Upon completion of the dam in 1992, approximately 8 kilometers (5 miles) of the lower Crowsnest became flooded. Today, the Stone House stands next to where the river empties into the reservoir. At one time, the waters downstream of here produced some of the largest trout in the river. For those who remember watching Jim McLennan in his 1992 video, Fishing Southern Alberta Trout Streams, this is where he battles and lands a magnificent Crowsnest rainbow trout.

The Stone House – 1989

Eric’s Bend
Named by Bob Costa in remembrance of his friend, Eric Brown. They met on the Crow and enjoyed fishing the river together, until Eric’s passing in 2009.

Eric’s Bend – 2019
Angler: Bob Costa

Olson’s
The stretch of river flowing next to the ranch once owned by Dennis and Rose Olson. Connelly Creek joins the Crow here.

Olson’s – 2019

Horseshoe Bend
Named for its distinctive horseshoe-like shape. It’s one of the best-known stretches on the river.

I was introduced to the Crow in the early 1980s by Dan Paskuski of Lethbridge. Dan had been fishing the river with his father since the late 1950s, and I was excited about the opportunity to come fishing here with him. Horseshoe Bend was one of the first places we fished together. At the time, I referred to it simply as, Paskuski’s Corner.

Horseshoe Bend – 2019

Iron Bridge (a.k.a. Fisher’s Bridge)
A popular access point for anglers fishing the lower Crow.

Iron Bridge – 1992

Family Pool (a.k.a. Graham’s Bend)
When I asked Bruce Johnson of Pincher Creek why he gave it this name, he explained it was because he would sometimes visit this pool with his wife and family. They would picnic and fish here together.

Family Pool – 1995
Angler: Leigh Gibby

Highway 3 Bridge
A popular access point to the river.

Hwy. 3 Bridge, Lundbreck – 2019

Rat Hole
A deep pool located a short distance downstream of Lundbreck Falls Campground. Sometimes, it’s used as a swimming hole by local kids from Lundbreck.

Rat Hole – 2019

Lundbreck Falls (a.k.a. The Falls)
One of the most popular and photographed places on the river. A provincial campground is located immediately downstream of the falls.

Lundbreck Falls – July, 1990

Next time, I’ll continue with more fishing holes upstream of Lundbreck Falls.

You can read Part II here.

Article References & Credits will appear in Part III. There will also be a link where it will be possible to download this article in its entirety.

This entry was posted in On The Water and tagged , , , , .

8 Comments

  1. Terry Maurer September 8, 2019 at 7:42 pm #

    Vic :

    Good to see you last week.

    Fishing place names. Fascinating idea – and well worth the Crownest (Old Man, historic name)) chronicle. Look forward to the future epsiodes. If the Yellowstone has Buffalo Ford and there’s Railroad Ranch on the Henry’s Fork, the Crow must keep pace and needs its Boswell !

    Does that spot under the bridge at Hillcrest have a name?

    It has some fish, I know that.

    See you in the next year.

    BTW, others readers & anyone in the area. Encounters wine bar & small plates in (downtown/ old town) Coleman. Think you’ll like it.

    Terry

    • Vic Bergman September 8, 2019 at 11:01 pm #

      Hi Terry,

      It was nice to see you too! Sorry I couldn’t get away for some fishing. Next year. Yes, that spot at the Hillcrest Bridge has a name. You’ll have to wait until Part III to find out, though. I don’t want to spoil it. Sounds like you had some success there? Thanks for the recommendation on dining in Coleman. I’ve been to quite a few events catered by Dawn. The food is always excellent. Talk to you soon!

  2. Don Townsend September 5, 2019 at 6:55 pm #

    What a great way to emphasize what an important place this river held – and apparently still holds – in the hearts and minds of so many fishermen!!!! Thank you for your initiative in putting the project together. Seeing the names of some old friends and acquaintances attached to the photos brought back a lot of great memories, and your effort is much appreciated. Many thanks!!

    • Vic Bergman September 5, 2019 at 9:35 pm #

      Hi Don,

      Thank you for sharing your knowledge of the Crow with me over the years and for your help with this piece. In the past, we have had many great discussions about the river. I thought it would be a good idea to ask some of the long-time Crowsnest River anglers, like yourself, about these places before they are lost. Thanks again!

  3. Dan Paskuski September 5, 2019 at 4:33 pm #

    Brings back memories of a lifetime of fishing. The only river my dad and brother and I fished was the Crow until about 1965. Thanks for the article Vic. Looking forward to the next 2.

    • Vic Bergman September 5, 2019 at 4:50 pm #

      Hi Dan,

      I remember fishing the Crow with you in the early 1980s. You showed me some great spots. Horseshoe Bend, or as I called it, “Paskuski’s Corner,” was the first place we fished together. It has changed since then, but it still fishes pretty good. The biggest change here, of course, are the number of anglers, compared to back then. Thanks for commenting!

    • Bob Costa September 6, 2019 at 8:05 pm #

      Hey Vic.
      Great idea and great posting. Yep! Eric’s Bend. Last place he and I fished together. After all of his years living and fishing the Crow, he had no idea that spot was there. It only seemed appropriate to name it for him.
      Thanks. I enjoyed sharing that with you and now, everyone! Cheers!!

      • Vic Bergman September 6, 2019 at 9:57 pm #

        Hi Bob,

        It’s a great spot on the river. It was nice spending some time with you there a couple of weeks ago, taking some photos. It had been quite a few years since we last fished there together. I had the opportunity to talk with Eric a few times, when he came in the shop. He was a nice guy. Thanks for commenting!

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