Kananaskis Country Fishing
Kananaskis Country is a popular destination for anglers year-round. MOUNT LORETTE PONDS is a popular fishing hole for younger anglers, as it is stocked annually with rainbow trout. The best angling in UPPER AND LOWER KANANASKIS LAKES as well as SPRAY LAKE requires a boat, but you may find some success from the shoreline.
Anglers who are prepared to hike head for RAWSON LAKE, CHESTER LAKE, RUNNING RAIN LAKE, and PICKLEJAR LAKES.
Rainbow trout are the fighting fish of the Canadian Rockies. Although not native, through stocking they are found in lakes and streams throughout the mountains. The Bow River is considered one of the world’s great trout rivers, but most of the action happens downstream of Calgary. Upper Kananaskis Lake is renowned for large rainbows, but most of the best fishing holes require boat access. We’ve had luck from the shoreline near where Rawson Creek flows into the lake, and also near the outlet dam. Wet flies and small spinners are preferred methods of catching these fish.
The largest fish found in Kananaskis Country is the lake trout of Spray Lakes. These fish grow to 18 kilograms (40 pounds). It feeds near the surface after winter breakup and then moves to deeper, colder water in summer. Long lines and heavy lures are needed to hook these giants. Brown trout, introduced from Europe, is found in slow-flowing streams in the foothills of Kananaskis Country. They are most often caught on dry flies, but they are finicky feeders and therefore difficult to hook. Brook trout are widespread throughout lower-elevation lakes and streams. Cutthroat trout inhabit the cold and clear waters of the highest lakes, which generally require a hike to access. Fishing for cutthroat requires using the lightest of tackle because the water is generally very clear; fly casting is most productive on the still water of lakes, while spinning is the preferred river-fishing method.
Arctic graylings, easily identified by their large dorsal fins, are common in cool, clear streams throughout the far north, but they are not native to the Canadian Rockies; Wedge Pond (south of Kananaskis Village) is stocked with these delicious fish. Whitefish are commonly caught fish in Spray Lake during winter.
Kananaskis Country Fishing Licenses
Fishing in Kananaskis Country requires a license issued by the Alberta government that covers all waterways within the province that are outside of national parks.
Alberta has an automated licensing system, with licenses sold online through the My Wild Alberta website and at sporting stores, hardware stores, and gas stations. To purchase a license, the vendor needs you to supply a Wildlife Identification Number (WIN) card. These numbers are sold at My Wild Alberta online and by all license vendors and cost $8 (valid for five years). An annual license for Canadian residents older than age 16 is $28 (no license required for those 16 years or younger or Albertans older than 64); for nonresidents older than age 16, it is $71, or pay $28 for a one-day license or $48 for five days. The Alberta Guide to Sportfishing Regulations, which outlines all the open seasons and bag limits, is available from outlets selling licenses and online at My Wild Alberta. In addition to having the entire regulations online, this site also holds statistics for the provincial stocking program (which lakes, when, and how many fish) and details of Alberta’s barbless hook rules.