Best Fly Fishing in Canada

A fisherman casts a fly into a pristine Canadian river, surrounded by lush forests and snow-capped mountains
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Canada offers an expansive mosaic of fly fishing spots, each teeming with a variety of fish species and set against breath-taking natural backdrops. From the crystal-clear lakes of British Columbia to the serene waters of Ontario, we are spoiled for choice with destinations that promise an excellent fly fishing experience. Whether we seek the solitude of remote waterways or the accessibility of nearby rivers, our options are as diverse as the landscapes themselves.

Bow River

When discussing premier fly fishing destinations in Canada, we cannot overlook Alberta’s renowned Bow River. This river originates in the Canadian Rockies, flowing from Bow Lake and enriching the waterways with cold, nutrient-rich conditions favorable for various trout species.

Trout Species and Sizes

Average Size

  • Rainbow Trout: 19 inches
  • Brown Trout: 19 inches

These impressive sizes might be why many anglers hold the Bow River in such high esteem. We specifically target both rainbows and browns here, with brown trout offering a particularly robust fight.

Fishing Locations

  • Near Banff
  • Downstream of Calgary

The Bow River flows through several picturesque landscapes, which offer more than just a remarkable fishing experience but also a visually stunning environment. Fishing spots near Calgary are prime for drift boat excursions, taking advantage of the steady flows of the river.

Seasons and Techniques

  • Spring to Fall: Prime fishing seasons.
  • Fly Fishing Techniques:
    • Dry flies
    • Nymphs
    • Streamers

We often adapt our techniques to the Bow River’s varying conditions. From tranquil stretches ideal for perfecting our dry fly presentations to more turbulent waters where streamers and nymphs are effective, our approach is as dynamic as the river itself.

Guided Tours

For novices and seasoned pros alike, guided tours are available. Expert guides with years of experience on the Bow River enhance the trip, whether you’re looking to learn the ropes or after that trophy catch. Bow River Fly Fishing Adventures is noted for its guided service that caters to all skill levels.

In our interactions with this Eastern Rocky Mountain River, we uphold respectful fishing practices to maintain the Bow River’s vibrant ecosystem and ensure it remains a world-class fly fishing destination for years to come.

Miramichi River

In the world of fly fishing, the Miramichi River in New Brunswick stands as a premier destination. We take pride in this river for offering some of the most sought-after Atlantic salmon fishing experiences.

  • Prime Seasons:
    • May: Streamer flies from boats in faster waters.
    • June to early July: Dry flies, using 4-7 wt. fly rods.

During May, we often find ourselves in the midst of robust trout and salmon fishing, typically from boats. As we glide over the faster water stretches, sinking tip streamer flies are our tools of choice. Come June and into early July, the Cains river tributary demands our attention. Here, lighter gear is key, so we arm ourselves with 4-7 wt. fly rods paired with floating lines, and the use of dry flies becomes crucial.

Moreover, the Miramichi River is not just about Atlantic salmon. Though lesser known, it also provides ample opportunities to catch trout and occasionally shad. Annually, the river banks become a convergence point as we join enthusiasts from across the globe in pursuit of the ultimate fly fishing experience.

We recommend checking out lodges like Country Haven and The Ledges Inn, which underscore the region’s reputation with their exceptional hospitality and immersive fishing adventures. For those seeking comprehensive packages, including licenses and guides, Ted Williams Lodge is a popular choice within our community.

Bulkley River

The Bulkley River is renowned for its exceptional fly fishing, particularly for steelhead. We find that this river, a major tributary of the Skeena River system in British Columbia, consistently draws anglers from around the globe. With its wild steelhead runs that rank among the largest globally, the Bulkley River offers a fishing experience characterized by both quality and quantity.

  • Location: Smithers, British Columbia
  • Fish Species: Primarily Steelhead
  • Best Season: August through October

With easy wading and ideal conditions for spey casting, the Bulkley River is a haven for fly fishers. Our experience has shown that the fish here, which can range from 5 to 30 pounds, are especially receptive to surface presentations throughout the season. The river’s over ninety miles of classic fly water provide diverse and ample opportunities to test our skills and hopefully land a trophy fish.

The fishing lodges along the Bulkley River offer tailored packages that include guided fishing, food, and accommodation, ensuring our stays are comfortable and focused entirely on fishing. Options such as Bulkley River Lodge and Frontier Steelhead Experience Lodge ensure we are well-positioned to make the most of the river’s offerings.

  • Guided Fishing: Available for a full experience
  • Accommodation Options: Range from rustic to luxurious
  • Access: Jet boats utilized for optimal reach

Grand River

The Grand River offers a premium fly fishing experience in Ontario, Canada. As fly fishing enthusiasts, we appreciate rivers that cater to a range of skills from beginners to seasoned anglers. The Grand River fits this bill perfectly with its gentle currents and abundant brown trout. Notably, it is renowned as one of Ontario’s best brown trout rivers.

The Upper Grand River
The upper sections of the Grand River provide an idyllic setting where large brown trout readily rise for small dry flies, with sizes typically ranging from 18 to 22. The river’s stocking program ensures that the fish are less likely to be spooked, creating an inviting environment for those just starting out in fly fishing. Learn more about this section at A Perfect Drift.

Hatches and Conditions
Our fly boxes are carefully equipped to match the hatches on the Grand River, which include caddis, cahills, and march browns, particularly vigorous through the months of May, June, and July. For those who enjoy the subtle art of presenting small flies, late summer can be a peaceful and prolific time on the river. Detailed maps and conditions can be found at Grand River: Fly-fishing Maps.

Fishing Reports
It is crucial to stay informed about the latest fishing conditions. We rely on current reports to understand what fly patterns are working best and keep up with water conditions. For updated fly fishing reports for the Grand River, see Orvis Fishing Reports.

Credit River

We find the Credit River to be a premium destination for fly fishing enthusiasts in Ontario, Canada. The river flows through a diverse landscape, from the rolling hills of the Niagara Escarpment down to the shores of Lake Ontario, offering a variety of fishing experiences.

When discussing the best spots for trout, we suggest the stretch between Inglewood and Alton. This area is known for its abundance of trout and serene fishing environment. We also recommend exploring the river both upstream and downstream from Orangeville for additional opportunities.

The lower sections of the Credit River are acclaimed for steelhead fishing, particularly from October to May. Due to its proximity to the large city of Mississauga, this segment can be rather bustling, but the promise of a fruitful catch remains high during the prime fishing months.

Here’s what we consider when selecting areas on the Credit River:

  • Time of year: Some sections are more productive in specific seasons.
  • Type of fish: The river is home to trout, salmon, and steelhead.
  • Accessibility: Ranges from urban settings to more secluded rural areas.

We maintain that conservation is key; hence, we practice catch and release to preserve the aquatic life for future generations. For those keen on the fly fishing experience, details on the specific access points along the Credit River can be instrumental in planning your trip.

Note: Local regulations and seasonal closures may affect access and fishing conditions. Always check the most recent guidelines before planning your fishing adventure on the Credit River.

Thompson River

The Thompson River in British Columbia is one of our top picks for fly fishing in Canada. Geographically, it is a tributary of the Mid Fraser River and offers a diverse fishing experience along its stretch.

Trout and Salmon Fishing:

  • The river is known for its robust trout and salmon populations.
  • Angling for rainbow trout usually involves using a 5/6wt single hand or switch fly fishing rod, particularly effective for Rainbow trout typically landing between 1 and 2lb.

Conditions and Regulations:
Before planning our fishing trip, we always check the latest B.C. Freshwater Fishing Regulations and contact local authorities if needed. Strong winds and big water can challenge even seasoned fly fishermen, and the seasons can affect access and fish activity.

SeasonsFish TypesFly Types
Spring-SummerRainbow Trout, SalmonNymphs, Dry Flies

Elk River

Regarded as a premier fly fishing destination, the Elk River in British Columbia, offers superb cutthroat trout fishing. The river, most easterly in BC, flows majestically from the Elk Lakes and extends through the Rocky Mountains, sculpting a scenic valley before joining the Kootenay River.

Here’s what we know about this river:

  • Geography
    • Begins at Elk Lakes
    • Flows for 110 miles
    • Enters Kootenay River
  • Features
    • Mid-sized freestone river
    • Nutrient-rich from tributaries
    • Deep pools, riffles, and back channels
  • Fishing Seasons
    • Rivers/Streams: June 15 – March 30
    • Lakes: Open Year-Round

Guided trips are an excellent way to maximize the potential of fishing in the Elk River. Whether it is through the professional outfitters offering float trips or the more intimate walk-and-wade experiences, the Elk River drainage is consistently praised for its world-class dry fly fishing opportunities. We advise those interested in fishing the Elk River to consider eco-friendly practices to keep the river thriving for generations.

Skeena River

The Skeena River in British Columbia, Canada, is a premier destination for fly fishing aficionados. We recognize this river for its rich population of salmon and steelhead, making it a highly sought-after fishing spot.

Accessibility & Location:

  • Terrace, BC: The city of Terrace is a convenient base for accessing the Skeena River, offering simplicity in arranging fishing expeditions.
  • Wild Rivers Lodge: Situated directly on the banks of the Skeena River, it presents a strategic location for excellent fishing opportunities.

Fish Species:

  • Salmon: The river hosts numerous salmon species, including Chinook, Coho, and Sockeye.
  • Steelhead: Known for their size and strength, steelhead in the Skeena are a challenge for even experienced fishermen.

Fishing Experience:

Best Time to Visit:
The prime time to visit for steelhead is between August and October, while you can catch different salmon species from July through September.

Niagara River

The Niagara River flows gently, surrounded by lush greenery and rocky outcrops. A lone fly fisherman casts his line into the clear, rushing waters, seeking the prized catch beneath the surface

The Niagara River is a highly esteemed destination for fly fishing enthusiasts. We find this river creates an international border between Canada and the United States, each side offering unique fishing experiences.

  • Fly Fishing from Shore: On the Canadian side, we can enjoy shore fishing, which requires us to cast upstream and allow our lines to drift downstream naturally. If fishing from the shore is our preference, this technique proves effective in these waters.
  • Boat Fishing: The best fly fishing in the Niagara River often involves setting out on a boat. By using a boat, we gain access to diverse water depths and currents, potentially leading to a more fruitful fishing experience.

For those of us new to Niagara River fishing, or looking to enhance our experience, professional guiding services, like those provided by Niagara Fishing Adventures, are available. These experts are familiar with the year-round opportunities the river provides.

Essential Gear:

  • Rods: Medium-heavy with flexibility
  • Reels: Centerpin or spinning reels for strong runs

The Niagara River is not only abundant with Steelhead, but also boasts a vibrant population of Lake Trout and Brown Trout. Additionally, summer brings excellent opportunities for bass fishing.

SeasonTarget Species
SpringSteelhead, Brown Trout
WinterLake Trout

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