Bow River fisheries regulation changes engagement

In 2017, Albertans were asked for their input on suggested management changes to ensure the Bow River remain a quality sportfishing area.

This engagement has been archived.
Status: Completed
Ministry responsible: Environment and Parks
Completed: 2017


The Bow River has long been a popular fishery. As use of the river continues to increase, we are also facing the effects of environmental factors such as whirling disease and rising water temperatures.

Surveys of anglers on the Bow River indicate that the vast majority consider the Bow River to be a blue ribbon fishery and release their catch. Our management models suggest that even a small harvest of trout from the Bow would lead to a serious drop in fish populations and a decline in the quality of this special fishery.

To ensure the continued quality of the Bow River in light of these challenges, a number of management changes suggested and feedback sought from Albertans using an online survey.

Survey results

The survey asked if Albertans thought the sportfishing regulations on the Bow River were too complicated and whether the river should be more formally managed as a blue ribbon fishery. The survey also asked respondents if they supported unifying the management units along the Bow River under a simplified regulatory approach as an open-all-year, catch and release fishery.

  • 55.4% of respondents indicated the Bow River regulations are too complicated
  • 76.1% of respondents agreed with unifying the various reaches of the river above Bassano into one management unit
  • 52.8% supported changing to an open all year season
  • 85.4% supported the trophy or blue ribbon management objective

Regulation changes

As a result of the feedback, the sportfishing regulations along the Bow River in Fisheries Management Zone ES1 were simplified in alignment with a blue ribbon management objective.

The new regulation implemented in 2017 is the Bow River, from Banff National Park downstream to Bassano Dam, including Bassano Reservoir will be

  • open all year
  • bait ban
  • trout and whitefish limit 0
  • pike limit 0
  • burbot limit 0
  • walleye limit 0

The Bow River will be monitored to ensure this important fishery continues to live up to its reputation as a blue-ribbon fishery.

Life cycle

Survey period: January 11 to February 14, 2017

Survey results released: March 21, 2017


Bow River fisheries regulation changes

Related links

Fisheries management