The Cure

There’s a famous saying in Crowsnest Pass in regards to the weather. It’s quite simple and it goes like this. “If you don’t like the weather, just wait a few minutes.”
I know there are lots of places that use the same expression, but with the rate and frequency in which things can change in the Pass, it describes our weather to a “Tee.”

In last week’s post, I spoke of the winter-like conditions we have been experiencing this spring and how it’s been causing an increase in cases of cabin fever. Since then, we’ve been on a wild roller coaster ride. Thursday’s snow event was followed by three days of warm, sunny, spring-like weather. By Sunday evening, we were under yet another snowfall advisory. By noon on Monday, 10 centimeters of fresh snow covered the ground. Tuesday’s weather was a complete turnaround. The sun was shining once again and the snow was melting. There’s never a dull moment this time of year. The good news is the weather forecast is calling for warm temperatures to stick around for at least the next 7-10 days. After that, who knows?

View of Crowsnest River last Thursday

View of Crowsnest River last Thursday

Same location - yesterday

Same location – yesterday

Crowsnest River Regulation Changes

New fishing regulations came into effect on April 1st, allowing anglers to fish the full length of the Crowsnest River, year-round. Previously, there were seasonal closures on certain stretches of the river. Now, you can fish anywhere on the Crow, any time of the year. Fish retention of any kind is not permitted and the entire river is strictly catch-and-release fishing only. In addition, there is a total bait ban in place. The regulations have been simplified, making them easier to understand. In the past, locations and landmarks along the river with similar names made it difficult to decipher and follow the regulations. The sizes of fish you were allowed to keep, dates you could keep fish, and areas where you could keep fish, were confusing.

Crowsnest River open to fishing year-round

Crowsnest River open to fishing year-round

There are a lot more opportunities and places available for anglers wanting to fish the river now, compared to before. This will help spread everyone out and the water won’t be as congested as it was in the past, particularly this time of year. I think these changes are great and will ensure the fishery remains healthy and productive for future generations to enjoy.

Medicine for the Mind and Spirit

I was able to get out fishing on the Crowsnest River for a few hours last weekend. It was my first time on the river since October. I had a nice outing and was able to shoot a few photos at the same time. It was just what the doctor prescribed. Fishing and photography are the perfect cures for cabin fever.

I decided to try a section of the Crow that in past years was not open to fishing until mid-June. It felt different wading and casting into water I normally don’t get to see until the summer months. On my way down to the river, I could see day-old footprints in the crusty snow. Someone had beat me to it! Oh well – that was okay. Just being on the water after a 5-1/2 month hiatus was good enough medicine for me.

Now that I have one treatment under my belt, I feel like I’m on the road to recovery. One or two more visits to the river and I should be back to normal. Of course, follow-up appointments will be required at regular intervals throughout the coming months. Doctor’s orders!


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  1. Bob Costa April 24, 2018 at 8:08 pm #

    I too think the changes are good, although I have yet to actually read them in the regs. My only concern with year-round access is within the section below the falls through the campground. I recall years ago in the spring our concerns with the redds in that spawning area right there. I should think that still begs to be a very sensitive piece of the river. Having said that however, I haven’t seen it in years and perhaps it no longer exists after past flooding.

    • Vic Bergman April 25, 2018 at 1:56 pm #

      Hi Bob,

      I agree. The new regs on the Crow are a good thing. Good point about the spawning activity through the campground section downstream of Lundbreck Falls. I remember seeing hundreds of rainbow trout in the early 1990s, stacked up at the base of the falls this time of year, trying to jump like salmon. Some were as large as salmon, too. The vast majority of these fish had come from the Oldman Reservoir, five miles downstream. The falls were a barrier and prevented them from continuing any further. The trout didn’t seem to mind and spawned in the river immediately downstream of the falls.

      Things have changed quite a bit since then and there are not the same numbers of trout moving up from the reservoir to spawn in this part of the Crow, at least not like before. From what I understand, their numbers are way down, compared to the early 1990s when the dam was constructed. Once the rivers became flooded, a lot of rainbow trout suddenly found themselves living in a reservoir. When spring arrived, they migrated into the Crowsnest, Castle, and Oldman rivers to find places to spawn. There would have been a lot of trout inhabiting the 25-30 miles of rivers that became flooded. Over time, the trout population has decreased in the reservoir and there are not nearly as many of them living there now. As a result, spawning activity in the lower Crow has tapered off significantly. I don’t think there are many trout traveling from the reservoir into the lower Crow anymore and suspect most of the spawning nowadays is by resident fish.

      In the early ‘90s, I was able to work on a number of Crowsnest River spawning surveys for an environmental consulting company. This was when spawning by reservoir fish was at its peak in the lower Crow. By the mid-90s, there was a large reduction in the number of fish spawning through the campground section, largely because most of the reservoir fish had completed their life cycle and weren’t around anymore. Thanks for commenting!

  2. Terry Maurer April 19, 2018 at 11:43 am #


    Ah, that’s more like it !

    Sounds like those reg. changes make a lot of sense.

    Be sure you don’t train the fish so well they’ll ignore all our flies when we get out !


    • Vic Bergman April 19, 2018 at 12:23 pm #

      Hi Terry,

      The new regs on the Crow are going to make a huge difference.

      I’ll do my best to educate/train the fish before you get here, but I suspect it will be them who educate me. You don’t have to worry. Over the years I’ve learned that trout only eat when they’re good and ready! If you’re on the river long enough, you will eventually be in the right place at the right time. That’s my biggest problem … being there when it counts!

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