Photo courtesy of Brookfield Residential

I’ve always loved the great outdoors, but when you have a busy job in a city like Calgary, it’s easy to forget that there are so many opportunities for adventure just outside the city limits.

I’m not much of a fisherman (though I’ve given it a go in the past), but that’s largely because I didn’t know there were so many places near Calgary to go fishing. As it turns out, a fishing excursion is very possible for all Calgarians! Whether you want to travel half an hour or make a day out of it, here are my top five spots to go fishing near the city.

Pine Coulee Reservoir

Drive an hour and a half south of Calgary and you’ll arrive at the Pine Coulee Reservoir, which is located alongside a campground and picnic area. Here you’ll find Northern Pike and Walleye, though the second is catch and release only. The Walleyes are abundant, however, so you can probably catch and release upwards of 30 of them on any given day! Cast a line from the public dock anytime between sunrise and sunset and if you’re boating, avoid the southeast end of the lake as there are submerged rocks that could ruin your hull.

Bow River

This spot has a ton of different fish all year round, such as Trout, Brown Trout, Rainbow Trout, Mountain Whitefish, and Northern Pike. Located just on the northeast edge of Calgary, Bow River stretches from Bearspaw Dam downstream to Western Headworks Diversion (W.H.D.) Weir. The part that runs through Calgary is known as the “Blue Ribbon” section of the river and is host to 2,500 fish per mile, which is super convenient for us city-slickers. Certain live bait is allowed, and this is a particularly good spot for fly fishing if you want to give it a try.

Dickson Trout Pond

It earned its name for a reason. At Dickson Trout Pond (just under two hours north of Calgary), you can take home five Trout (including Rainbow Trout) every day as well as three Northern Pike. The Bull Trout are catch and release only. The best fishing is from a canoe or boat due to the weeds, but you’ll see many fisherman casting from the shore, too. I love cooking up fresh fish on the BBQ for my friends and family, and since the pond is stocked with thousands of fish every year, you have a good chance of bringing home some dinner.

Chain Lakes Reservoir

This is a beautiful spot with views of the Livingstone Mountain range, located about an hour south of Calgary. The Reservoir is stocked annually with Rainbow Trout (36,000 this year!), and you can go ice fishing in the winter there, too. The water levels are high enough to launch a boat in, and you’ll want to use one as that’s how you get the best fishing.

Auburn Bay Lake

This spot is only available to residents and their guests, so you better start making friends quick! Located in southeast Calgary, Auburn Bay is an established community that still has new homes being built, so you can start living the lakeside life yourself if you really like the spot. Auburn Bay’s 43-acre lake is stocked bi-annually with Rainbow Trout and fisherman can bring home a maximum of two fish per day or 12 total per month. No live bait or nets are allowed, so bring your best lure and get back to basics. You can sign out a boat from the dock for free, or try any of the other available activities like canoeing, kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding, or even scuba diving!

Mike Morrison