Headwater Streams

One of the great things about fly-fishing for trout is that these fish often live in some of the most picturesque places you will ever visit. The headwaters of some of the trout streams in southwest Alberta are a good example of this.

It’s here where you will find crystal-clear waters, winding through scenic mountains and dense forests, where swift-flowing riffles and runs pass over colorful pebbles and stones covering the stream bottom. Small seeps, springs, and tributaries provide cool water and flow, allowing the stream to grow and increase in size with each passing mile. It’s where submerged rock ledges and shelves give way to deep, dark corner pools, and where streamside stands of lodgepole pine provide shade, cooling the water during hot summer days. Log jams and other woody debris, pushed up against the stream bank by previous spring floods, provide perfect cover and habitat for trout. It’s an idyllic setting for the fly angler.

Last week, I visited one of my favorite headwater streams. Here are some photos of the day.

Corner pool and log jam
A run with rising trout
Trout heading for cover
Trout that rose to a foam ant
Back safely into the stream
Three-flowered Avens (a.k.a. Old Man’s Whiskers)
Small spring
Another spring
Great streamside cover
Shaded stretch of water
Last trout of the day
This entry was posted in On The Water and tagged , , , , , .


  1. Kurt Lindberg March 1, 2021 at 7:19 am #

    Enjoyed the read and the truly picturesque captures of those places…I too enjoy the headwater streams and have spent many a day on them. Amazing what you can find for scenery and trout in these more remote sections. Thanks Vic!

    • Vic Bergman March 2, 2021 at 10:14 am #

      Hi Kurt,

      I love visiting these headwater streams. They are amazing places to visit. Thanks for commenting!

  2. robert garnier September 11, 2020 at 10:21 am #

    Vic: Nice outing and photos. Great looking Cutts! Must have been nice to be out of the shop and back on the water…

    • Vic Bergman September 12, 2020 at 11:10 am #

      Hi Bob,

      I had a great day up there. I didn’t get there last year, so it was nice to check out some of the spots I like to fish. I enjoyed your Shallow Flats blog post last week. It’s amazing how many times anglers will walk through these places to fish the deeper water, nearby. I’ve done this myself. I only realized there were fish there when I saw the wakes of big trout as they darted from the skinny water. Live and learn! Dry-fly fishing doesn’t get any better than when you can sight-fish and hook a large trout in this type of water. Thanks for commenting!

  3. Terry Maurer September 8, 2020 at 1:16 pm #

    Vic :

    Simply beautiful ! Some of those views look at least familiar, to me.

    I’ll be up along the St. Joe in N. Idaho in a couple of weeks. Too early for the October Caddis & probably too late for the late blue wings … but there’ll maybe be a few hoppers still around. We shall see. Just a couple of days there. And it’ll probably test freezing while we’re at it – brrrr.

    Stay well – stay safe there … everybody

    • Vic Bergman September 9, 2020 at 4:14 pm #

      Hi Terry,

      Autumn is quickly approaching in the Pass. We had our first dusting of snow on the weekend. Most of it has already melted. It won’t be long, though, before we will have to get our snow shovels ready. Hopefully, not for another two months – at least! There’s still time to get out fishing before winter arrives. Hope you have a good time on the St. Joe. You won’t be too far from here. Stay safe, as well. Thanks for commenting!

  4. Linder Armitage September 7, 2020 at 6:22 am #

    Your photographs are beautiful and definitely capture the essence of where we live and our favorite pastime. The Grassy Mountain proposal is a direct and very long term threat to our sport and our health. The ill effects will last for a very long time; the benefits for what is really a very short time. We must stop the Grassy Mountain Mountain coal mine development.

    • Vic Bergman September 7, 2020 at 8:51 am #

      Hi Linder,

      I appreciate your comments and I’m glad you like the photos. There are many people who are concerned about the coal mine developments proposed for Crowsnest Pass. I’m worried about the impact they will have on the environment and wildlife, including our fisheries. The implications will be long-term, that’s for sure. Thanks!

  5. Walter Hildenbrandt September 2, 2020 at 4:08 pm #

    Thanks Vic for sharing via Headwater Streams. Beautiful photos as well as healthy, beautiful trout.

    • Vic Bergman September 3, 2020 at 4:57 pm #

      Hi Walter,

      You’re welcome. Glad you enjoyed the post. Headwater streams are some of my favorite places to fish, especially this time of year.

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *