Take a look at the fish we love to chase!
brown trout(Salmo trutta)
Arguably the toughest of all the trout species to catch. Brown trout are more keyed into their environment than other salmonids. With an extra sensitive lateral line, this increase in awareness means you need to be more precise and methodical in your approach, set up, casting and presentation if you want to be successful- especially when targeting mature specimens. Brown trout are known to inhabit specific niche ecosystems, so once you begin to understand how they work, finding them becomes the easiest part of the process. Due to the habitat they love, it will be hooking and landing them that becomes the greatest challenge. Brown trout have a knack for getting very large in skinny water. They are fall spawning fish and come September the males begin to exhibit brilliant oranges and red along the underside of their lateral line and caudal fins. Truly a favorite of ours!
Introduced to Alberta in 1924, brown trout are considered wild in most streams here continue to thrive today. Central and southern Alberta has some of the finest brown trout water in the world and we love stalking and hunting this weary adversary.
bull trout(Salvelinus confluentus)
A member of the char family, bull trout are Alberta's provincial fish. Native to Alberta, they are a symbol of clean undisturbed mountain streams. Bull trout are the apex predator of their domains and can be quite aggressive. It is not uncommon for a bull trout to take chase to a smaller fish that is struggling on the end of your line. It's this trait that makes this hard-fighting fish a popular target among anglers. There has been a lot of effort put in to replenish the bull trout populations in Alberta over the past couple of decades.
These fish spawn later summer/early fall. They also tend to be more migratory than other trout species and are often fluvial, meaning they move back and forth from major and minor watersheds for feeding, spawning, and wintering. Due to this, locating them can be challenging. Where they were one week might not be where they are the next. Soon after ice off, bull trout slowly begin their travel route, making their way upstream from wintering holes into mainstems of watersheds towards their spawning tributaries and feeding heavily along the way. Constantly on the move, these slow-growing fish live longer than most other trout (minus the lake trout). It takes some specimens in certain watersheds upwards of 10 years to reach sexual maturity which will be around 18-24" in length. All the more to do our part to protect these amazing trout.
Brook trout (Salvelinus confluentus)
A member of the char family like the bull trout, these fall spawning fish are in many people's opinion, the prettiest of all the salmonids. In Alberta it is a rare treat to encounter these fish over 12" but even the small ones are fun to catch and can be quite aggressive. Brook trout were introduced into Alberta waterways in 1903. Back then it was unknown that the brook trout had an amazing ability to adapt to smaller streams and creeks where they would stunt their own growth and reach sexual maturity at only 3-6" inches in length. This was not the intent of the Alberta government as the Eastern Brook Trout from the east coast of Canada are usually measured in pounds not inches. Needless to say, the amount of " big brookie" waters are usually kept pretty secret- but we might know one or two of them!
Cutthroat trout (Oncorhynchus clarkii)
In Alberta we have Westslope Cutthroat trout (one of the 14 subspecies of cutties alive today). Native and wild populations can be found throughout the province with the natives inhabiting the Oldman and Bow River drainages.
Widely dispersed along the east slopes of the Alberta Rockies these fish are a fan favorite for many anglers. Being opportunistic feeders these fish are usually easier to put in the net than of the other trout species. But like all other trout, can become selective under pressure and over certain insect hatches. If you are looking for just a fun, stress-free day on the water, go chase these fish, they seldom disappoint!
Rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss)
Aside from the Athabasca Rainbow trout, there are no native rainbow trout in the province. That being said there are countless rivers and lakes where that are either stoked or are considered "wild", which meaning they have been introduced and are now naturally reproducing and thriving without human assistance. If you had to ask us what the most fun fish to fight is, we would have to say rainbows take the cake! They are extremely hard-fighting fish, very acrobatic and can really be a chore getting them to the net! Alberta's Bow River is chock-full of these beautiful trout and home to some of the biggest stream-dwelling rainbows in the world! If we are fishing for rainbows, that's usually where it'll be!
Arctic Grayling (Thymallus arcticus)
Although not the biggest, strongest, or most difficult fish to catch, this relative to the trout species is still quite unique! Its oddly oversized sized dorsal fin has beautiful iridescent colors that attract anglers from all over the world. Native to certain parts of Alberta, this delicate fish can be an awesome target as they don't seem to refuse many offered flies that drift by!
tiger trout (Salmo trutta × Salvelinus fontinalis)
A newer species of trout introduced to Alberta, the tiger trout is offered only in select stocked trout lakes. This fish is a hybrid between a female brown trout and a male brook trout. Although this hybridization can happen in the wild it is extremely rare. Alberta has developed these fish as trophy fish with a zero bag limit. They are impressive with their colours and how aggressive they can be. Hard fighting and stubborn as most trout species, these are definitely bucket list fish that we would love to help you check off your list!