Extraordinary Front Range Flyfishing
Big Fish Habitat
Some 50 kilometers downstream of Waterton Lakes, spring water emerges from an aquifer to form the ponds of the Palmer Ranch. Waterton Lakes may be considered as the head of pressure, pushing underground water through many kilometers of sandstone and glacially deposited gravel. This process removes sediment and other impurities from the water; crystal clear and clean water flows into the ponds, forming great habitat for large rainbow trout. The habitat is also excellent for the flyfisher: these big trout are easily spotted as they cruise the transparent water of the ponds.
Fishing by sight
Nothing beats preparing your tackle and sneaking silently through the grasses and brush to the edge of a clear pond where a big rainbow trout can be seen cruising the shallows. In the spring you might try dropping a size 20 nymph pattern nearby; in late August you may slap a grasshopper pattern just ahead. And sometimes, for some flyfishers more than others, the fish will take a gulp at the nymph, or viciously attack the hopper. Sight fishing: this is the rare thrill of fishing the spring fed ponds of the Palmer Ranch.
The Ranch provides flyfishers with exclusive access to these ponds and the opportunity to match wits with trophy rainbows in a peaceful setting. A whole day can easily pass while stealthily fishing here.
Fishing the nearby streams in May and June can be frustrating due to the turbidity of spring run-off. During this time, the springs fish well. However, after runoff the Waterton River – which runs alongside the Ranch – has great fishing for brown, rainbow, and cutthroat trout. Walk and wade is the preferred method of fishing, although the river can be navigated by driftboat early in the summer.
Your biggest problem will be deciding where to cast your first fly.
Beyond the local opportunities, Palmer ranch is in easy reach of the best trout streams in southern Alberta and southeastern BC. These include the Crowsnest, Oldman, Bow, Elk and many other great flyfishing destinations.
Visit our Other Waters section.
Release your catch
The Palmer Ranch practices and encourages a sustainable recreational fishery. The Ranch also encourages guided fly fishing to optimize the specialized nature of fishing the waters described. With so many nearby waterways, a guide has the knowledge and experience to take you to the waters that are fishing best.
Contact us for further information.