Trout Town – Crowsnest Pass, Alberta

Trout fishing has long been a popular activity in Crowsnest Pass. Numerous rivers and streams in the area have been attracting anglers from near and far for decades. Perhaps the best known of these waters is our very own Crowsnest River. When it comes to trout streams, the Crow is one of the most user-friendly places to fish in the province. It’s almost as if it was created with anglers in mind, particularly those who like to fly-fish.

Upper Crowsnest River

The River

The river flows from Crowsnest Lake, located along the Alberta – British Columbia border. The upper reaches are very scenic, with awesome views of the High Rock and Flathead mountain ranges.

A short distance downstream from here, the river travels through the heart of Crowsnest Pass, as it winds its way by the small, historic communities of Coleman, Blairmore, Frank, Hillcrest, and Bellevue. Once the river leaves these towns, it continues eastward across foothills and ranching country before flowing into the Oldman Dam reservoir. In total, there are about twenty-five miles of productive trout waters to explore.

Crowsnest River passing through Blairmore


There are plenty of public access points available on the Crow, making it one of the most accessible streams in the area. Its smaller size makes it ideally suited to wade fishing.

Great access to the river


A variety of trout species inhabit the river. Rainbow, cutthroat, and brown trout, are present throughout its length. If you’re looking for brook trout, try the upper reaches. Lake trout sometimes venture from Crowsnest Lake into this part of the river, so you never know what you might catch here. If you’re chasing bull trout, head downstream of Lundbreck Falls. Mountain whitefish are also present in the river.

Rainbow trout are present throughout the river

Lundbreck Falls


The best fishing of the season usually occurs after the spring runoff subsides (mid-to-late June), through late September or early October. The river is rich in insect life, which in turn provides an ample food supply for its trout. Fly fishers can do well using nymph and dry-fly patterns throughout the summer months.

Trout Town

Each year, anglers travel from all corners of the world to fish our local rivers and streams. Like every trout town in the country, the economy of Crowsnest Pass benefits greatly from these visitors. While fishing in the area, these folks also patronize our gas stations, motels, B&Bs, campgrounds, restaurants, grocery, and other retail stores.

The fishing opportunities available in Crowsnest Pass have been promoted and publicized across Canada and elsewhere for many years. Below is an example of this, as seen in a 1949 novelty, or exaggeration, postcard from Blairmore. It’s a neat postcard, but I’m not too sure about the fish species depicted in the photo. There are some big fish to be caught around here, but pike and bass? I don’t think so!

1949 exaggeration postcard
(click image for larger view)


Article References & Credits

Blairmore Exaggeration Postcard: VB Collection

Fly Angler (image #1, 8): Austin Rose

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


  1. Jason Gray July 8, 2023 at 4:37 pm #

    Never been to Crowsnest. Rode our motorcycles through Alberta, BC, Yukon into Alaska last year. Now, looking forward to spend some time fishing in July.

    J. Gray

  2. J Walter February 23, 2020 at 1:26 pm #

    Great blog Vic and kudos to you for sharing. Anyone going to fish the Crowsnest River, visit Vic at The Crowsnest Angler Fly Shop.

    • Vic Bergman February 23, 2020 at 1:33 pm #

      Glad you liked the post. Thanks for commenting!

  3. Kurt Lindberg August 3, 2017 at 7:22 am #

    The Crowsnest holds a special place in my heart as I cut my teeth learning flyfishing about 25 years ago on that river. It is a wonderful river and the area has many other great pieces of water to fish! An excellent blog and photos!!! Thanks for sharing.

    • Vic Bergman August 3, 2017 at 1:30 pm #

      Hi Kurt,

      The Crow is near and dear to my heart, too. Of all the trout streams in the area, it’s still my favourite river to fish. I’m glad you enjoy the blog and photos. I appreciate your comments!

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