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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The stretch of river flowing next to the ranch once owned by Dennis and Rose Olson. Connelly Creek joins the Crow here.
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.
Iron Bridge (a.k.a. Fisher’s Bridge)
A popular access point for anglers fishing the lower Crow.
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.
Highway 3 Bridge
A popular access point to the river.
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.
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.
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.