Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year to everyone!

"Views from the shuttle van 2010" - Bow River Shuttles
(Please click directly on collage for larger image)

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Canucks Fly Fishing in the Land of the Kiwi

Dave and Amelia Jensen are about midway through a 12 week fly fishing holiday in New Zealand.

They’ve experienced drought conditions, a vehicle needing replacement, torrential rains (600 mm in 24 hours a couple days ago), and many more adventures.

You can follow their exploits on their blog here, or you can find that same link by scrolling down this page, on the right, to Fly Fish Alberta under “Alberta Fly Fishing Blogs”.

Photo: Courtesy Dave & Amelia Jensen

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Dam Removals Open Way for Cultural and Habitat Restoration

As dams come down in different parts of the world, exciting opportunities are opened to restore lost habitats and cultural sites sacred to indigenous peoples.

This article is part of a special National Geographic news series on global water issues.

Mark Angelo (foreground) and BCIT colleague with midsize Harrison chinook (spring) salmon. Elwha fish were historically bigger. Photo by Danny Catt

By Mark Angelo

As a river advocate and paddler for several decades, I've seen many of my favorite rivers lost to the building of large dams.

In my youth, I saw the completion of the Glen Canyon Dam in Arizona that flooded one of the most impressive gorges in the United States. In later years, I participated in perhaps the very last raft trip down part of the Bio Bio River in Chile before the completion of the controversial Pangue Dam.

And today, new dams threaten fabled stretches of the Coruh River in Turkey and the "great bend" of the Yangtze in China, both of which I've thoroughly enjoyed as a rafter and kayaker.

Read article here

Mark Angelo is the chair of the Rivers Institute at the British Columbia Institute of Technology and an internationally acclaimed river conservationist. He has received the Order of Canada, his country's highest honor, in recognition of his river conservation efforts both at home and abroad.

Read more about Mark Angelo at the end of his article.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Tides Canada "Top 10 for 2010"

Tides Canada recently chose their "Top 10 for 2010". A couple of our personal favourites made the list: Watter Matters and Skeena Watershed Conservation Coalition

Water Matters

Protecting Alberta’s watersheds, inspiring people to action

Issue Area: Water, Watershed Protection
Geographical Footprint: Alberta

We chose them for:

• an exceptional track record of success in their first three years of advancing progressive water management solutions for Alberta’s environment and economy.
• being the only province-wide organization in Alberta dedicated exclusively to water issues, with a focus on protecting water for the basic needs and health of aquatic ecosystems and people.
• building public awareness and concern about the future of Alberta’s water through the strategic use of media, e-newsletters and in-depth publications and reports. Water Matters’ outreach to the public is unique, timely, relevant and engaging.
• Share the Water — a campaign that proposes blueprints for addressing the growing challenges of water supply and demand as well as impacts to people, industry and the environment.

Skeena Watershed Conservation Coalition

Kick-ass conservation for a wild Skeena

Issue Area: Watershed Protection, Wild Salmon
Geographical Footprint: Northern British Columbia and Sacred Headwaters

We chose them for:

• working effectively as a coalition of diverse communities united in their pursuit of environmental and cultural sustainability for British Columbia’s Skeena Watershed and Sacred Headwaters.
• unique school programs and a summer conservation camp for the region’s children and youth that teach about fish and wildlife, First Nations culture and the importance of the Skeena watershed.
• getting people focused on solutions over problems and working closely with First Nations to teach the cultural components of their projects and programs.
• Awakening the Skeena, a film which follows Ali Howard on her historic swim of the 610-kilometre Skeena River, uniting communities with each other and with their shared watershed, and raising awareness of the threats to the Skeena’s health; it has premiered in film festivals across North America.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Monitoring mess

Province has done a disservice to all Albertans with improper oilsands oversight

Calgary Herald Editorial
Mon Dec 27 2010

The province is not doing Albertans, Canadians and the oilsands industry any favours by failing so miserably in its environmental monitoring of the impacts of such an important part of our economy and oil security. Only science will silence critics or assuage fears that the environment, especially water quality, is being properly protected.

Unfortunately, it's science that's most lacking in the monitoring process, according to a third independent report in a month, to review Alberta's oversight framework, and concluded it is woefully inadequate.

The Oilsands Advisory Panel, a high-level scientific group of experts convened by former federal Environment Minister Jim Prentice, slammed the piecemeal monitoring process in the province. It found "no evidence of science leadership to ensure that monitoring and research activities are planned and performed in a co-ordinated way, and no evidence that the vast quantities of data are analyzed and interpreted in an integrated manner."

Read more here

Sunday, December 26, 2010

The Big Picture - 2010 in Photos

As the year 2010 approaches its last few days, it's time to look back on the previous 12 months.

This is a multi-entry story, 120 photographs, in three parts, over three days.

In this aerial photo taken in the Gulf of Mexico more than 50 miles southeast of Venice on Louisiana's tip, the Deepwater Horizon oil rig is seen burning Wednesday, April 21, 2010. Eleven men working on the platform were killed, and 17 others injured. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert) #

Part 1 of 3

Pilot Capt. Brian Bews parachutes to safety just as his CF-18 fighter jet plummets to the ground during a practice flight at the Lethbridge County Airport for the weekend airshow in Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada on July 23, 2010. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Lethbridge Herald, Ian Martens) #

Part 2 of 3

A dragonfish with teeth on both jaws and tongue is pictured in this image provided by the Census for Marine Life. even has teeth on its tongue. Though terrifying in appearance, the fish are only about the size of a banana. (AP Photo/Dr. Julian Finn, Museum Victoria, Census for Marine Life) #

Part 3 of 3

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Friday, December 24, 2010

Seasons Greetings from Bow River Shuttles

Bow River, Calgary - Bow River Shuttles

Merry Christmas to everyone!

Thank you to my shuttle clients for another great year. I appreciate your business.

I'd like to wish you all the very best new year ever.

Kindest regards,

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Water License Issue Threatens Bow River

CALGARY - Ecojustice is appealing recent amendments to the Eastern Irrigation District (EID) water licence that would give the District power to function as a water broker and supplier without accountability to the environmental health of the region's water quality and ecosystems.

Ecojustice filed the appeals with the Alberta Environmental Appeals Board on behalf of Water Matters, the Alberta Wilderness Association, Trout Unlimited Canada and three individuals.

"The EID water licence was issued for irrigation purposes, not industrial and commercial activity," said Ecojustice staff lawyer Barry Robinson. "By allowing the Irrigation District to supply water to new developments, Alberta Environment has circumvented their own regulations that closed the Bow River basin to new water licences back in 2007."

The Eastern Irrigation District applied in March to amend its existing licence to allow the District to supply water to new municipal, agricultural, commercial and industrial users within the District. Previously, the District was limited to supplying water for irrigation purposes only.

Alberta Environment approved the amendment in mid-November despite opposition from environmental groups, First Nations, the Town of Cochrane and concerned landowners.

"The intent of the basin closure was to protect the aquatic environment of the Bow River, which is already degraded downstream of Calgary from existing uses", said Carolyn Campbell, Conservation Specialist with the Alberta Wilderness Association. "This amendment allows the Irrigation District to supply water to whomever it wishes without any further environmental review."

The groups also argue that the amendment is an attempt to avoid the hold-back of 10 per cent of the water for conservation purposes that is required when a water licence is transferred. By avoiding a water licence transfer, the Irrigation District also avoids having to obtain the consent of the irrigators in the District to supply water to other users.

Alberta Environment is currently considering similar applications by the Western Irrigation District and the Bow River Irrigation District.

"Alberta Environment should put all of these applications on hold until the Environmental Appeals Board has an opportunity to deal with this matter", said Robinson.

For contact info, go to Trout Unlimited Canada

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Put a Bow on the Bow this Holiday Season!

The holiday season is fast approaching. Looking for a gift that is long-lasting?

The Bow River is a precious natural feature in the Calgary region and one of the foundations of our sense of place. It is also an important resource for drinking water, wildlife habitat, scenic values, recreational opportunities, and agricultural and industrial activity.

Western Sky is the only land conservation organization that is focused on the reach of the Bow from Calgary to Siksika. Our Bow and Beyond Initiative is a three year focus. The goals of this initiative is to reach to every land owner to determine their interest in partnering with Western Sky to conserve and restore natural areas; increase watershed awareness; and develop community-based watershed stewardship. The success of this initiative is dependent on wide ranging support from the community.

Your gift to Western Sky will help support these efforts along this reach. Western Sky will provide a gift certificate and, of course, a charitable receipt for these donations.

Western Sky Land Trust

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Good stuff in fly fishing's "coffee table" mag

We picked up a copy of The Flyfish Journal over the weekend. There is enough reading there to keep us occupied for a month or two.

Top notch photography throughout, including three special segments: Rises, Underwater Perspectives and Subtle Investigations of Light and Water.

Available at your favourite Calgary fly shop.

The Flyfish Journal

Monday, December 20, 2010

Life along the Livingstone

Life Along the Livingstone from Glen Crawford on Vimeo.

The Livingstone Range is part of the Front Ranges of the Canadian Rockies in southwestern Alberta. It's a spectacular landscape and one of the key watershed headwaters for the South Saskatchewan River.

The area is currently threatened by a proposed open pit mine. This video looks at the potential impact the mine would have on the land and the people who live in the area.

Livingstone Landowners Group

Letter from Alberta Wilderness Association to the Alberta Gov't

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Gifts That Keep On Giving…

What gifts can you get for those special fly fishers in your life who don’t really need any more gear?

I know, such a person probably does not exist. But just in case... here are a couple of ideas.

No bad ties

Boycott - Bad ties, silly gadgets, fad toys -- at some point we have all been guilty of buying a lame Christmas gift. But you don't have to be haunted by the ghosts of needless gifts past.

People across the country are pledging to buy only meaningful holiday gifts this season by joining the Nature Conservancy of Canada's Bad Tie Boycott. Give a "Gift of Canadian Nature" ( instead to help the NCC protect habitat for some of Canada's most threatened species.

Symbolic gifts include an acre of Canadian land, Canadian lynx habitat, burrowing owl habitat or grizzly bear habitat.

For more details or to make the pledge, visit
Bad Tie Boycott

Trent Edwards, Calgary Herald, Eco Buzz

"What gift do you give to someone who has it all? A chance to help someone who doesn't.

We Let You Loan to Low Income Entrepreneurs

Kiva's mission is to connect people through lending for the sake of alleviating poverty.

Kiva is the world's first person-to-person micro-lending website, empowering individuals to lend to unique entrepreneurs around the globe."

Learn more here…

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Hook & Hackle Club spreads some Yuletide cheer

The Christmas party was a grand way for the Calgary Hook & Hackle Club to wrap up 2010.

More than one hundred members and guests enjoyed some very good food and service, thanks to the owner and staff of Amici Italian Grill.

There were gifts for everyone, as well as a number special awards and presentations.

Thanks to Club President Daniel Young and to everyone who was involved in putting this special event together.

Friday, December 17, 2010

David Brower’s Fight For Wild America

Why are the wild places worth saving? This video on David Brower is a good place to start.

Unlike most movie trailers, which tease but don’t give much of the story, this promo for Monumental: David Brower’s Fight for Wild America tells a narrative, and it’s one that’s as compelling now as it was when its subject, longtime Sierra Club director David Brower, was first coming to his outdoor life.

The footage of Brower and his cohorts scrambling peaks in their tennies or running an untamed Grand Canyon is extraordinary, and the messages still resonate: “If you like wilderness, you’ve got to work to try to save some of it so there’ll be some more left for the next generation.”

The DVD of Monumental is on sale for $18.71 from First Run Features. If you’re interested, buy it

Thursday, December 16, 2010

An Entirely Synthetic Fish

“The last century has seen the rapid spread of the rainbow trout across the USA, and Anders Halverson’s award-winning book An Entirely Synthetic Fish does an excellent job of chronicling the rainbow trout’s manmade diaspora – along with the negative effects on native fish populations.

An Entirely Synthetic Fish is a worthwhile read.

Halverson is a thorough researcher and a fine storyteller, and his engaging book never lags or lapses into biologist “geekspeak.”

Instead, it’s an engrossing read – one that’s hard to put down, and just as hard to forget.
It deservedly won a National Outdoor Book Award, and is well worth any fly fishermen’s time.”

- Read complete review by Tom Chandler, Trout Underground, here

Available at your favourite Calgary fly shop.

Back Cast Fly Fishing Film Festival – New Beneficiary Named

I am excited to announce that the 4th Annual Back Cast Fly Fishing Film Festival (Feb 12, 2010) has chosen a new beneficiary for 2011.

This event will be an awareness raiser and fundraiser for
Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing Canada. Net proceeds will be donated to PHWFFC.

As in past years, festival goers will be treated to several full length films (about 3 hours total) from some of the best fly fishing film producers on the planet.

Doors open @ 12:00 noon, Show @ 1:00 pm.
Doors open again @ 5:30 pm, Show @ 6:30 pm.

You’ll meet interesting people from the world of fly fishing and travel to exotic locations! Plan now to be there!!

Stay tuned for more information!

Please check out my new Facebook Page for Back Cast Fly Fishing Film Festival

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Monday, December 13, 2010

Prairies and Southern Rockies Area Joint Round Table

(click directly on poster for larger image)

Alberta Sustainable Resource Development, Fish and Wildlife Division will be holding a Prairies Area and Southern Rockies Area Joint Round Table for the Bow River Watershed area on Wednesday, December 15, 2010. The objective is to exchange information with you about fisheries management initiatives in this region. The meeting will cover a variety of topics including sportfishing opportunities, the status of fish populations and other program initiatives in the Bow River watershed and associated reservoirs.

Please accept this e-mail as an invitation for yourself or a designate to attend. It will be held in Calgary on December 15, 2010 at 6:00 p.m. in the Bass Pro Shops Conference Room. The address for the facility is:

Bass Pro Shops
#112, 261055 Cross Iron Blvd.
Rockyview, Alberta

For further information and to confirm attendance, please contact Jim Stelfox (403) 851-2205 or Jenny Earle (403) 851-2211 at the Cochrane Fish and Wildlife office.

Yours truly,

Jim Stelfox
Senior Fisheries Biologist, Southern Rockies Area
Fish and Wildlife Division, Alberta Sustainable Resource Development
Box 1420, Room 228, 2nd floor, Provincial Building
Cochrane, Alberta, Canada T4C 1B4
Tel 403/851-2205, Fax 403/932-2158

NOTE: I've also attached a poster that provides some of the rationale for the regulation change that I'm proposing for Upper and Lower Kananaskis Lakes. This is one of the things that will be discussed at the round table meeting.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

2010 Trout Unlimited Canada Fish Rescue

A great video segment detailing our annual Fish Rescue program created and provided to Trout Unlimited Canada by Sandra Young. For addtional information please visit our website at

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Good times at the Calgary Hook & Hackle Club

The Calgary Hook & Hackle Club put together a special event for members on the regular meeting night this week.

Everyone enjoyed pizza and “libations” before the show.

The main feature was a slide presentation set to music, using multiple projectors, by club member Brian Harasim.

Beautiful photos, presented in two, twenty minute, segments.

Thanks to the Club Executive and everyone else who made this a most enjoyable evening.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Dr. Patricia Gallaugher receives Haig-Brown award

The Totem Flyfishers, British Columbia's oldest and most respected fly fishing club, awarded Simon Fraser University's Dr. Patricia Gallaugher the 2010 Haig-Brown Conservation Award.

Dr. Gallaugher, a fish physiologist and conservationist, is the Director of Simon Fraser University's Centre for Coastal Studies and Continuing Studies in Science programs, and has organized SFU's successful Speaking for the Salmon Program since 1998.

In bestowing the award, the Totems noted the Speaking for the Salmon program has rightly earned Dr. Gallaugher wide acclaim as someone who can parlay the credibility of academia into a "don't miss" forum involving a diversity of users and decision makers around salmon management and conservation.

Totem Flyfishers

Speaking for the Salmon


Thursday, December 9, 2010

Animated Knots

Check out Animated Knots for instructions on how to tie all kinds of knots. Also has an app for your phone!

Animated Knots

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Wetlands for kids

Ducks Unlimited Canada has submitted an idea to the Pepsi Refresh Project to establish a wetland interpretive education site near Edmonton.


•Provide a wetland interpretive site in the Edmonton capital region.
•Provide a field trip destination for DUC's youth education program.
•Showcase the benefits that wetland conservation provides to society.
•Link wetland conservation with sustainable land development.

You can help DUC win $100,000 for their idea by voting for it!

Vote early and vote often!

Link: Wetlands for Kids

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Salt Water Flats 101 with David

David Blair of Fish Tales Fly Shop (Calgary) covered all the basics, and then some, at his seminar last Sunday afternoon.

Rods, reels, lines, leaders, flies, clothing, foot ware, recommended reading – it was all there.

At the request of one seminar participant, he even got into a few knots, in particular one handy variation that he picked up from a Cuban guide.

He finished up with a bit of information and some photos from a couple of trips he completed in November – one to Cuba and another to Christmas Island.

That boy sure does get around!

Monday, December 6, 2010

“A Simple Solution”

A compelling documentary that focuses on the urgent need for protecting and increasing Alberta's wilderness areas.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Alaska’s Choice: Salmon or Gold

At my Back Cast Fly Fishing Film Festival in Calgary last year, I featured "Red Gold", an award winning film from Felt Soul Media.

That documentary focused on the competing interests that exist in the Bristol Bay area of Alaska.

This month
National Geographic takes a look at this controversy. They have also included a very good photo gallery.

Buster Wants to Fish

Friday, December 3, 2010

Harvie Passage is on time and under budget

This week, Howard Heffler provided a history, as well as an update, on the Harvie Passage (Calgary Bow River Weir Project). It was Howard who proposed the current project some ten years ago. He, along with Tony Palmer (Undercurrents Paddling Store) and the Bow Waters Canoe Club, spearheaded the initial fund raising and design studies. And Howard has kept a close eye on it ever since.

Howard Heffler

The instream construction work will be completed by April 2011. However, the area may not be available to the general public until the spring of 2012.

The issue of parking was also discussed. Despite the fact that parking facilities were included in the original drawings, that topic is still very much up in the air for a number of reasons.

Looking downstream

The bottom photo is an arial view of the project in mid November, just before the snow arrived in Calgary.

Looking upstream

(Click on any photo for larger image)

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Fly Fusion

I really enjoyed the lead article in the current issue of Fly Fusion Magazine – “The Meaning of Water”. Understanding water, especially from the fish’s point of view, is the glue that pulls it all together for the fly fisher.

The cover shot of the mag was very cool. My teenage grandson had to take a second look. He initially thought it was a photo of a soldier! The story that went with it – “Snow Day” – showed the determination of a fly fisher who was driven to succeed, regardless. The commentary reminded me of some of my experienced fly fishing clients, who describe “hunting” for trout.

I always enjoy Jim McLennan’s Watermark article. In this case, “Fair Weather Angling” actually complements the “Snow Day” story.

Fly Fusion is available at your favourite Calgary fly shop.

Have you read any of the articles? Let me know your thoughts. Just click on “Comments”.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Double Down, we hardly knew ye…

For a short while, we thought that Spolumbo’s in Calgary might be challenged by the KFC Double Down sandwich as the shore lunch of choice by discerning Bow River fly fishing drift boaters.

Alas, the window of opportunity has
come and gone.

However, don’t despair. There’s talk on the net that this is just a marketing ploy to make this wonderful sandwich even more desirable. We all tend to want what we can’t have. So stay tuned. The Double Down might be returning to a Calgary KFC near you!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Local Heroes 2010

As part of Fall Splash tradition the Trout Unlimited Canada-Bow River Chapter recognized the efforts of those who have made significant contributions to the work of the chapter and to the ongoing conservation efforts in the Bow River basin.

Tim Hamilton was this year's recipient of the Bob Paget Memorial Conservation Award.

The Bow River Habitat Award went to the City of Calgary's Wastewater Treatment and the Tom Wagler Volunteer Award went to John and Joyce Cozens.

The "Fall Splash" took place in Calgary on Nov 17 2010.

Read More Here

More Photos Here

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Book Sale at Calgary Hook & Hackle Club

The Calgary Hook & Hackle Club maintains a great library of books and videos for its members.

Their catalogue includes everything from historical books right up to the latest books and videos on fly tying and fly fishing.

At the regular club meeting a few days ago, the club offered up for sale some of their older books. The twist was that payment was by flies, not money. All flies went into the “fly bank”, which are donated to various good causes throughout the year.

After the brief formal meeting, members commenced fly tying. The fly tying school also had a class underway with Instructor Dennis Killips.


top: club members looking over book offerings
bottom: Instructor Dennis Killips (centre) with students