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Learn how to tie a perfect Doc Spratley Wing in Guy Woods latest Book:


“Streaming Wet Flies and a Fly Angler’s Full Season”


Available at

Other titles by Guy Woods that are also

available at are:

“Fishing These Parts”


“Fly Fishing and Other Stuff”



Some Bank Stabilization Sites are Set to Receive More Planting in 2018

    So far, I am very pleased with the results of our stream bank stabilization planting projects on the streams included in the “Bow Valley Riparian Recovery and Enhancement Program”. Plantings on eroding stream banks in 2014 are showing very positive results.

    Streams are constantly changing in course, so to deal with this natural phenomenon, additional plantings are required on oxbows and outside stream banks on meanders. It has been noted that a number of stabilization sites are now eroding on the lower and upper end of previous planting areas. This was anticipated to happen over time.

    In 2018, additional plantings will be necessary to deal with this issue. Most of the sites have very small areas where ongoing erosion is still occurring. Most of the previous silt loading has been halted by our past plantings. This final stage of stream bank stabilization signals the near completion of stabilization work on streams such as the Bighill Creek, in the Town of Cochrane.

    Looking back, it has taken only four years of planting to get to this stage of completion in our riparian program on the Bighill Creek. The next big challenge will be on West Nose Creek, in the City of Calgary. West Nose has a lot more stream bank and bank erosion sites to deal with, so a number of additional years of riparian plantings are in the plans for the stream.

    This year, some new stream bank stabilization sites were planted on the upper reach of West Nose Creek, in the City of Calgary. It feels good to get the first treatment of plants on some new locations on this creek. Many more plantings will follow in the years ahead. Over time, it is expected that noticeable improvements in the water quality will be observed as some problem erosion sites are stabilized with new native willow and tree plants.

    On Bighill Creek, in the Town of Cochrane, this improved water quality has been one of the first results of our past stream bank

Above: This stream bank stabilization site was previously planted with native willow plants. However, on the lower end of the bend, more planting is necessary in the 2018 riparian planting program.

Above: This is a photo of the same stream bank erosion site, prior to the first plantings. You can see how silt loading has been reduced in the photo to the left. The stream channel geometry has also changed slightly.

stabilization work. More improvements in the clarity of water in the lower reach of Bighill Creek are expected in the future.

    On the lower reach of Bighill Creek there has been a noticeable reduction of large sheath pond weed on the streambed. Gravels, cobble and boulders are showing on the bottom of the streambed, where they haven’t in the past. This will substantially increase the invertebrate populations on the lower reach and improve the abundance of food in the chain, for resident trout.

    The next noticeable difference in the Bighill Creek riparian planting program will be the improvement of fish habitat. Plantings that were completed in 2014 are now starting to grow out over the stream channel. In the next few years, some of the limbs of these willows will be submerged, where they will help to constrict the flow in the channel and increase the velocity of flow. This will help further clean the streambed and provide excellent fish habitat for the resident trout.

New Seeds For Future Riparian Growth

Above: New seed catkins on native willow plants that were planted a few years earlier, along the Bighill Creek, Cochrane.


    One of the bonuses of planting native willow and tree plants in our riparian recovery program, is the amount of seed production that you see only a few years after they are planted. In riparian planting restoration work, there will be natural reproduction of new native plants by establishing a good crop of seed producing plants along the stream channel. By having a good crop located right along the water’s edge, seed distribution on the ground surrounding the plants and further downstream in the stream channel, is part of the natural process.

    As the catkins disperse the seeds into the water in the channel, they will be transported down the system, where a small percentage of them will germinate. High flow events in the creek will enhance the chances of germination, by providing a thin layer of silt over the seeds, when they are washed up onto the stream bank downstream. This is the natural process for starting new willow and tree plants on a creek’s riparian zone.

    Plenty of rain during the spring and summer will help to get newly germinated seeds started during their first growing season. Native willows and trees need good soil moisture to make it thru the first year of growth.

    Natural recruitment of new willows and trees is one of the many things that I look forward to, in riparian restoration planting. On some of the creeks that we plant on, there is very little seed recruitment from upstream, because there just isn’t enough native plants to provide abundant seeding.

Late Summer Terrestrial Dry Fly Patterns

    Late in the summer, when some of the caddis, midge and mayfly hatches have slowed down, many experienced fly fishers will turn to proven terrestrial dry fly patterns. Terrestrial dry flies basically imitate insects that do not hatch in the water. Bugs like grass hoppers, ants and beetles, to name some the primary insects.

    Grass hoppers are the most widely imitated terrestrial dry flies used. Ants and beetles are sometimes overlooked for their importance as late summer dry flies. Mainly, because both ants and beetle imitations are small and hard to see. However, the trout do not have any problem in seeing them.

    When cast onto the water, small dry fly imitations like ants and beetles will vanish from the fly fishers sight, so they rely on watching for any rise forms that indicate a take. Then an instant hook set is required. I usually watch the speed of the flow to imagine where my dry fly is, based on the speed of the current. I find that this helps keep track of where your fly might be in the drift. Then watch for any disturbance on the surface of the water.

    Some well known fly tiers, like Dave Whitlock, like to tie a small piece of light or bright color foam or poly to their ant and beetle dry flies, to assist in keeping track of where the dry flies are. I have also done this in the past, but most of my patterns are just plain and hard to see when on the drift. It is extremely exciting when you hook a trout on a tiny beetle or ant dry fly, when you are casting blind. It is kind of a surprise, when you can’t actually see the imitation.

    Grass hoppers are great fun to fish as well. There is no problem seeing these larger sized fly patterns on the surface of any stream. Most of the hopper patterns float high in the water, making them very visible. Deer hair or foam imitations float well. The need for applying floatant to a foam pattern is not required, so these imitations have become very popular.

    If you are planning a late summer dry fly fishing trip, make sure that you have a good selection of terrestrial dry flies in your fly box. These variations of dry flies can help make your summer day’s fly fishing, really memorable.




Grass Hopper

“Uncover Your Creeks Program” — Fall Planting

    This fall, in October, BVHD will be partnering with Evergreen and HSBC, to complete a fall planting on West Nose Creek. The program is part of Evergreen’s “Uncover your Creeks Program” and it fits in nicely with the ongoing “Bow Valley Riparian Recovery and Enhancement Program”.

    The planting event will see another 700 native willows and trees planted along the stream banks of West Nose Creek, in Calgary. This will be the final planting for the 2017 season, which has been a great year.

    Evergreen Canada has been a long time partner for Bow Valley Habitat Development’s riparian restoration program and this will mark the sixth year that Evergreen and its partners have been involved.

    The plants will be in a dormant state, but next spring they will get a head start on the growing season. Hopefully, there will be good moisture in the soil, to make planting a little easier and also get the plants bedded in for the winter months. We will be planting close to the creek, using a team of volunteers.

Ongoing Stream Maintenance Program — Important

    Annually, there are always small projects on the Bighill Creek that demand some time to deal with. Primarily small rock dams that kids have built on the creek channel, while playing in the summer heat. With the creek flowing thru the heart of the community of Cochrane, this is quite common and these small dams need to be cleared to allow trout migration up the stream.

    More often, nowadays, some one else, besides me, will take the time to remove them, which is very thoughtful of them. The Town of Cochrane, Parks Department Staff has also been very good at taking care of this issue. I think that the community as a whole is becoming more aware of the importance of the streams wellbeing, especially the trout fishery.

    This is what education about the eco-system of a trout stream does over time. As the residents of the community become more aware of what we have happening in our home waters, they tend to feel the importance of taking care of it. It is a comforting thought.

    The Town of Cochrane, for its size, is blest with a river and three streams within the town limits, not  including the two small tributaries that have gained a name over the past ten or so years. That is a lot of flowing water in a relatively small area on the map.

    Hopefully, this interest in our creeks and the Bow River will continue into the future and the trout populations will thrive over time. It is a good mission to follow these days. A little effort can make a huge difference.


“Left Alone, trout streams will take care of themselves. However;   

human impacts on trout streams

can also create the necessity for



Thank You - Fellow Stream Tenders

    In the later part of August, I decided to take some time and inspect the lower reach of the Jumpingpound Creek, to see how many rock dams there were. The rock dams are built by kids playing in the stream during the hot summer months and I like to open them up in the fall, so that spawning rainbow trout can make their way up the creek in the following spring, to spawn.

    Last year, when I did my inspection, I found that someone else had beat me to it and the rock dams had already been opened up. Well, this August I found the same result during my inspection, someone else had already completed the task. This made me feel really good, knowing that other stream tenders know the importance of keeping the stream free for trout migration.

    In recent years there has been a dramatic decline in the number of rainbow trout in our reach of the Bow River, between the Ghost Dam and Bearspaw Dam. It is my belief that prior to when the rock dam removal program started, the rainbow trout could not migrate up the system in the spawning season, when the water levels in the creek were low, a result of the many rock dams that had been constructed. Hopefully, we will see an increase in rainbow trout, when a number of successful spawning seasons have been recruiting new generations of trout.

    Something as simple as small rock dams can have such a major impact on our local fishery. Now that more people are becoming aware of this problem, I am seeing some change, which is great. This year there were a lot more juvenile rainbow trout in the Bow River. These trout were from the 2016 spawning and hatch on the Jumpingpound Creek. I believe that the success of that spawning season had a lot to do with our local rock dam removal program.

    We will see what happens over the next few years, but I am very optimistic about the future of the rainbow trout fishery, when local friends of the Jumpingpound Creek, start to chip in and help out.

Opened Up Rock Dams on the Jumpingpound Creek

Opened up rock dams allow spawning rainbow trout free passage up the JP Creek to  spawn in the spring of the year.. It only takes a few minutes of time to open up these blockages on the lower reach of the creek.