Banff National Park

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Fishing in Banff National Park

If you want to reconnect with nature and explore some prolific waters at the same time, embark on a Banff National Park fishing adventure. Nestled in Alberta’s Rocky Mountains, the park’s 2,564 square miles are packed with mountains, lush forests, and plenty of incredible waterways, including Lake Minnewanka and the Bow River. You couldn’t pick a more picturesque place to cast a line!
 
This part of Canada is famous for its fantastic Trout-fishing opportunities. The most popular catch has to be Rainbow Trout, which you can find throughout the entire park. The Bow River is especially plentiful. You’ll be in good company, as plenty of local anglers come here to test out their fly fishing skills. You’re also likely to encounter Brown Trout, Brook Trout, Lake Trout, and Whitefish on your fishing excursion.
 
Local fishing guides run trips lasting anywhere from four hours to multi-day excursions. Shorter trips are a perfect way for newer anglers to take in the stunning scenery and hook some incredible fish. Meanwhile, longer trips afford more experienced visitors the chance to hook those supersized fish, as well as having the chance to mix up their angling style – wade fishing is popular here.  

Rules & Regulations

Anglers who want to cast a line here will need a valid National Park fishing license. The majority of fisheries here are subject to strict open seasons. Want to hook some 40 lb Lake Trout in Lake Minnewanka, for example? Plan your visit between mid-May and early September, when the lake is open. 
 
Casting off alongside a Banff National Park fishing guide will ensure you’re only exploring legally fishable waters. The majority of species here are strictly catch and release, too, and your fishing guide will be able to tell you more about your target fish.
 
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Banff National Park Fishing Seasons

January

The Bow River is open year-round for excellent fishing opportunities, so if the weather permits, start your year off in the best way by going after some monster Trout! 

February

Again, the Bow River is your best bet for some top angling action – the majority of other waterways are still closed at this point. If the river isn’t iced over, you’ll be able to hook both Rainbow and Brown Trout.

March

If the park’s waterways have frozen this is usually when they start to thaw! The Bow River is especially popular with fly fishermen during spring, so why not try battling some supersize Trout on the fly?

April

Spring has well and truly sprung! Head to the Bow River for some excellent Trout fishing, and make sure you bring along a camera, too. The views during this time of the year are some of the best around!

May

May heralds the true start of the fishing season! This is when the majority of the rivers and lakes open for business. Head to Lake Minnewanka for trophy-sized Brown Trout, as well as Rainbow and Lake varieties.

June

The weather is stunning, the scenery has never looked better, the fisheries are in full swing...why not come experience it all for yourself on a June fishing adventure? The lakes are bustling with Trout and Whitefish.

July

What could be better than cruising down the Trout-packed Bow River as the sun shines on you? It’s common to find supersize Rainbow varieties in July, and the temperature makes for some excellent wade fishing action!

August
It’s all about Trout in August! Hook huge Rainbows on the Bow River – fly fishing is especially popular, so give this technique a try. Elsewhere, head to one of the park’s lakes for Brown, Lake, and Cutthroat varieties.
September

Fly fishermen should take advantage of the Bow River’s excellent Trout population and come test their skills during this month. Anglers who prefer to use spinning gear will find plenty to whet their appetites, too!

October

Most of Banff National Park’s waterways shut down for the closed season at the end of this month, so venture out for one last hurrah! Brown, Rainbow, Lake, and Cutthroat Trout are abundant in Lake Minnewanka.

November

If the Bow River hasn’t iced over yet, it’s your best bet of indulging in top-quality angling action. Test your skills against huge Rainbow Trout, and make sure you wrap up warm – the temperature has really dropped!

December

The majority of the park’s waterways are closed or iced over. If the weather’s on your side, head to the Bow River for Trout action. Otherwise, explore nearby lakes outside the park, where ice fishing is allowed.

Banff National Park Fishing Calendar

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Top Targeted Species in Banff National Park