- The Fishing
- Sample Itinerary
- When to Go
Dave Brown Outfitters Overview
The Rocky Mountains – Without the Crowds
The Canadian Rockies are a refreshing alternative for those anglers exhausted with heavy crowds in the Western U.S.A. Southwestern Alberta and Southeastern British Columbia are appreciated by all visitors as some of the most scenic country in North America. Located directly above the State of Montana, amidst the marvel of the Canadian Rockies, the region offers countless rivers (both float and walk and wade) and four species of trout (brown, cutthroat, bull, rainbows).
Multiple Venues, Non-Angling Vacation & Direct Flights to Calgary
Dave Brown Outfitters has offices in the beautiful ski town of Fernie, British Columbia and the charming cattle & oil town of Calgary, Alberta. DBO has the ability to organize unique, tailor-made, and individual itineraries for each booking. Their program covers a multitude of rivers and differing countryside, as well as fishing style and accommodation preferences. Fernie has been described as “Jackson Hole 30 years ago”, and is the ideal playground for non-angling companions & family to enjoy upscale accommodation and alternative activities. Calgary is serviced by direct flights from many US portals, including Dallas / Ft. Worth, making it perhaps the easiest Rocky Mountain destination to access.
Three Regions & Customized Itinerary…
For the purposes of organizing Dave Brown Outfitters trips, we break down the operation into three separate areas in the southeastern B.C. & southwestern Alberta region… Depending on the length of the trip and client preferences, we can organize trips that expose anglers to any one, two, or all three venues. From the big water and huge browns of the Bow, to high volume dry fly fishing for cutthroats on the Elk, giant bull trout in remote alpine streams high in British Columbia., or more traditional rainbow and brown trout fishing on many famous and not so famous rivers in between; the diversity in angling options with Dave Brown is truly unrivaled.
Cast & Blast Options
Dave Brown Outfitters is also the first outfitter to employ a proper string of seasoned pointing dogs for Hungarian Partridge & Sharptail Grouse on the vast Canadian Prairies of Alberta & Saskatchewan. Consider a fall trip combining a few days for monster browns on the Bow River with some world-class upland bird hunting.
The Elk River Region - Fernie, B.C.
The Elk is the most easterly river in B.C., and perhaps the most scenic and stunning river valley in all of North America. What draws anglers to the Elk River is non-stop dry fly fishing for wild & native westslope cutthroat trout, large bull trout, and no crowds! This user friendly fishery is an excellent option for beginners. Highly visible dry flies are the typical patterns of choice for eager cutthroats. Other “must do” rivers in the area include the St. Mary, Bull & when fishable the Kootenay.
Anchor B Ranch & The Oldman River
Located in Southwestern Alberta on the Banks of the Oldman River, the Anchor “B” Ranch is the first lodge of its kind in the Canadian Rockies offering trips on a multitude of famous and under the radar rivers including the Oldman, Livingstone, Croswsnest, Highwood, Waterton, & Castle Rivers.
The Bow River --- Calgary, Alberta
Located inside and downstream of the City of Calgary this big tailwater river boasts the claim of the best big fish river in North America. The average sized browns and rainbows in the Bow are easily a healthy 18 inches, and numerous clients manage big browns in the 28-30 inch range every season. From ripping large streamers, chunking large terrestrials, or placing small dry flies with a delicate presentation; the Bow offers something for all angling styles and preferences. Consider the Bow as a 2-3 day addition to a complete D.B.O. itinerary, or simply take a direct and inexpensive commercial flight into Calgary for a long weekend trout fix!
Dave Brown Description
Dave Brown Outfitter’s operation is one of the most versatile and dynamic programs in North America. With headquarters’ in the beautiful ski town of Fernie, B.C. and the charming cattle / oil town on Calgary, AB, D.B.O. has the ability to organize unique, tailor-made, and individual itineraries covering a multitude of rivers, differing countryside, species, as well as fishing style and accommodation. The Canadian Rockies are a refreshing alternative for those anglers exhausted with heavy crowds on many of today’s famous (and busy) fisheries in the U.S. West. Southwestern Alberta and Southeastern British Columbia are appreciated by all visitors as some of the most scenic country in North America. Located directly above the State of Montana, amidst the marvel of the Canadian Rockies, the region offers countless rivers (both float and walk and wade) and four species of trout (brown, cutthroat, bull, rainbows). This is classic Rocky Mountain fly fishing at its best, less the crowded conditions of other destinations, here dry fly fishing is the norm and the diversity of the angling options seems limitless. In a world where intrepid anglers seem to have less time on their hands, D.B.O. offers one of the most convenient venues for a week’s adventure, or a long weekend trout fix. Direct flights to Calgary, Alberta from most U.S. cities (including Dallas / Ft. Worth) make travel to the region infinitely easier than the majority of the U.S.’s comparable trout fisheries. Fall Bird Hunting with D.B.O.
D.B.O. was also the first outfitter in Western Canada to offer upland bird hunts over pointing dogs for Hungarian Partridge and Sharp-tail Grouse from their lodge in Cabri, Saskatchewan. If you are a bird hunter, we encourage you to consider a trip with Dave Brown in the Fall. The bird hunting trips can easily be combined with some trout fishing as well.
Since 1990, Dave Brown Outfitters (formerly The Elk River Angler) has catered to anglers from around the world on the trout-rich waters of the Canadian Rockies and Purcells. D.B.O. was the first fly-fishing guide service on the Elk River and the first multi–river guide service in the Canadian Rocky Mountain region.
For the purposes of organizing D.B.O. trips, we break down the operation into three separate areas in the southeastern British Columbia and southwestern Alberta region… 1) Fernie, B.C. and the Elk River drainage 2) Calgary, AB and the Bow River drainage 3) Anchor B Lodge and the Oldman River drainage (basically everything between Fernie and Calgary). Depending on the length of the trip and client preferences, we can organize trips with D.B.O. that expose anglers to any one, two, or all three venues. From the big water and huge browns of the Bow, to the high volume dry fly fishing for cutthroat on the Elk, giant bull trout in remote alpine streams high in B.C., or more traditional rainbow and brown trout fishing on many famous and not so famous rivers in between; the diversity in angling options with D.B.O. is truly unrivaled.
From West to East
The Elk River ---- Fernie, British Columbia
The Fernie region is ideal for hard-core anglers as well as total novices… It also offers a delightful town with other activities and restaurants for families or non-angling companions. The Elk River is the most easterly river in British Columbia, and perhaps the most scenic and stunning river valley in all of North America. As it cuts through the spectacular Canadian Rocky Mountains, this midsized freestone river picks up nutrients and more volume from countless fishable, walk & wade tributaries. What draws anglers to the Elk River is non-stop dry fly fishing for wild & native westslope cutthroat trout, large bull trout, and no crowds! The water is very easy to read, and highly visible dry flies are the typical patterns of choice for eager cutthroats.
Due to the river's size, the Elk River is best suited to floating and has a classic make up of boulder strewn runs, deep pools, riffles and numerous side channels. An angler can expect to fish attractor dry flies while floating and while wading fishing more “hatch specific” against a myriad of structures. Other “must do” rivers in the area include the St. Mary, Bull, the Wigwam and when fishable the Kootenay. Anglers can also make day trips to Alberta to fish the Crowsnest and Oldman Rivers from Fernie.
Anchor B Ranch & The Oldman River Drainage
Located in South Western Alberta, on the Banks of the Oldman River, the Anchor "B" Ranch - Fly fishing Lodge is the first lodge of its kind in the Canadian Rockies offering unforgettable angling adventures on a multitude of famous and not so famous rivers including the Oldman, Livingstone, Croswsnest, Highwood, Waterton, and Castle Rivers. The Elk River is a scenic one hour drive away as well. These rivers vary from alpine cutthroat streams, medium sized foothill rainbow and brown trout waters, and prairie tailwater rivers along with the variety of creeks and streams. Again, anglers are able to target four species of trout including, brown, cutthroat, bull and rainbow, not to mention cuttbows. All the rivers are perfectly suited to dry fly fishing which is DBO’s preferred method under most conditions.
The Bow River --- Calgary, Alberta
Southern Alberta's Bow River is a fly fisher's paradise, especially if you are after BIG brown trout. Located inside and downstream of the City of Calgary this big tailwater river boasts a self sustaining combined population of 3000 rainbow and brown trout per mile that average a solid eighteen inches. It is easy to see why the Bow River is rated as one of the best big fish rivers in Western North America.
The fifty mile trophy stretch is best suited to floating, even by western standards it is consider a big river with a flow that averages around 3500 c.f.s, and the average width of the river is 80 yards. Except for very low winter flows the river is impossible to cross. Downstream of the city, the river has carved a spectacular valley. The banks are lined with Cottonwood and Aspen stands that give way to grass covered breaks and sandstone cliffs. The fishing on the Bow really starts to get going in late April, corresponding with hatches of Baetis and Midges, as well as a few Skwala Stoneflies. Towards mid May the trout really start to look up as March Browns and Caddis make their appearance. Although the rainbows are moving up tributaries to spawn, the fishing remains excellent as there are still plenty of rainbows in the river to keep things interesting.
Depending on the conditions, during the course of a day you could find yourself fishing streamers, nymphs and large attractor dry flies from a moving drift boat, and then stalking large, surface feeding brown or rainbow trout feeding on small caddis or mayflies. From ripping large streamers, chunking large terrestrials -- or situations that demand light tippets, small dry flies and a delicate presentation; the Bow offers something for all angling styles and preferences. There are also many opportunities to find yourself out of the boat and wading up or along a myriad of side channels, back channels, riffles and high banks casting "hopper –dropper” or light nymph rigs to large trout spotted feeding below ...
Consider the Bow as a 2-3 day addition to a complete D.B.O. itinerary, or simply take a direct and inexpensive commercial flight into Calgary for a long weekend trout fix!
Guests with D.B.O. have a choice of a dozen different accommodation types in all the regions they fish in accordance with preference, budget, and expectation. The majority of our clients stay at the following facilities:
Fernie, B.C. Region
There are numerous options in Fernie ranging in price point and style from inexpensive motels in town to upscale resort-style lodging – or even private house rentals.
Island Lake Lodge
The majority of our clients stay at the Island Lake Lodge, a five star ski resort with beautiful views and excellent service. This is the best choice for anglers with families and non-angling companions seeking a little more luxury. Anglers have a twenty minute drive up a beautiful mountain valley to meet their guides each day, but the gorgeous view is well worth the effort
Red Tree Lodge
Anglers looking for a simpler place to stay in town should consider the Red Tree Lodge. Nothing too fancy, but very comfortable and centrally located near the fly shop in Fernie with a lively bar and very good restaurant.
Birch Meadows Lodge Bed & Breakfast
Great place to consider for those looking for a little more seclusion and wilderness escape. Although only seven miles from Fernie, Birch Meadows Lodge offers unique accommodations in private cabins and a quiet setting with bed and breakfast charm and warm hospitality.
Fernie Lodging Company
Dave Brown Outfitters works with Fernie Lodging Company for our clients that are looking for something along the lines of a private residence. The properties range from Luxury Condos to Large Private Chalets with housekeeping and in-house chefs. Fernie Lodging Company has also assisted us in putting together corporate retreats.
Anchor B Ranch & The Oldman River Region
For anglers looking for the typical all inclusive “Fishing Lodge” experience in the Canadian Rockies, you should look no further than the Anchor B, located in southwestern Alberta on the banks of the Oldman River. The best way to describe the accommodations is "stylishly rustic". Each cabin features private bathrooms and can accommodate two anglers. The total capacity of the lodge is eight guests which makes it perfect for a corporate retreat and most importantly personalized service.
The dining experience at the Anchor "B" is outstanding; guests will enjoy family style dinning featuring the ranch's own Black Angus Beef, continuous cocktails and an extensive selection of wines round out the experience.
Calgary, AB -- The Bow River Region
Most of our guests opt to stay at the stylish and surprisingly upscale Best Glenmore Inn . It is well located for venturing into town as well as being twenty - thirty minutes from the usual boat launches. Of course Calgary is loaded with tons of excellent restaurants and a myriad of accommodation options.
Travel to visit Dave Brown Outfitters is very easy relative to most comparable destinations in the Rockies. There are numerous daily direct flights from most U.S. cities including Dallas / Ft. Worth into Calgary, Alberta.
Guests visiting Fernie, B.C. usually arrive into Calgary and rent a car for the gorgeous three hour drives to Fernie. Alternatively, Kalispell and Whitefish, Montana is a beautiful three hour drive alongside Glacier National Park – however you must cross the border and clear customs en route.
The following sample itinerary is indicative of a fairly intrepid trip covering a lot of group and fishing numerous rivers in a 6 night / 5 day package. Itineraries exclusive to any individual region are welcomed and also encouraged. Ask us for recommendations for the ideal itinerary based upon your expectations and style.
Travel commercially to Calgary, Alberta (Flight itinerary TBD)
Upon arrival into Calgary, most clients rent a car and drive three hours to Fernie, British Columbia. Overnight in Fernie (accommodations TBD). There is no scheduled activity on the day of arrival.
Relax at the lodge, have dinner, and prepare for the next three days of fishing in the Fernie area.
Three full days of guided fishing in the Fernie area. Anglers will typically float fish the Elk River for a minimum of one day and possibly have the option to fish nearby rivers and streams in search of giant bull trout. Continued overnight in Fernie, British Columbia.
Early morning departure west to the Old Man River for one day of fishing en route to Calgary. The Old Man is approximately half way between Fernie and Calgary and breaks up the drive nicely. Following the fishing day, continue onward to Calgary for overnight.
Full day of guided fishing on the Bow River in Alberta. Continued overnight in Calgary.
Departure Day. Spend a leisurely morning in Calgary prior to returning to the airport for the international flight home. There are no scheduled activities on the day of departure.
When to Go
With happy cutthroats eager to eat dries almost anytime, the Fernie area fishes wonderfully all season long as well (May – September). D.B.O. operates on the Bow River as early as late April and concludes in late October…when upland bird hunts can be combined with a few days of fishing. Spring caddies and streamer fishing on the Bow can absolutely be dynamite and is perhaps our favorite early season river in the Rockies.
The early summer fishing in late May and early June is a blast for anglers looking to experience the giant salmon fly hatches, while mid-summer sees prolific PMD, golden stone, green drake, and a myriad of other mayfly and caddis hatches offering great dry-fly fishing in most years. Late July, August and early September are traditionally months to experience great terrestrial fishing with grasshoppers, ants, and other highly visible dries. Dave Brown Outfitters has enough diverse fishing opportunity to accommodate anglers all season long.
(1-2 Anglers Per Boat/Guide)
**Rates are in Canadian Dollars. Inquire for Current US Exchange Rate
Elk River & Tributaries (Fernie)
CND $595 Per Boat/Guide
Extra Distance Rivers (Fernie)
CND $625-650 Per Boat/Guide
Wigwam River (Fernie)
CND $850 Per Boat/Guide
Bow River (Calgary)
CND $595 Per Boat/Guide
(1-2 Guests Per Room / Night)
Accommodation ranges from standard hotel rooms, multi bedroom condos, to private house rentals. Inquire for Details.
Typical Accommodation ranges $150 - $400 CND Per Room / Night
Specified nights single or double occupancy accommodations; Specified days of private or shared guided fishing; Lunch on fishing days
What's Not Included
Airfare to Calgary, Alberta or Kalispell, Montana; Ground Transportation or Rental Car to Fernie, BC or Calgary, AB; Breakfast and Dinner Meals; Beverages, Alcoholic beverages; Individual travel expenses; Fishing licenses; Gratuities; Laundry service; Equipment rentals, Flies & Terminal Tackle; Canadian Goods & Services Tax (GST); Items of a personal nature
Terms & Conditions
Tailwaters Travel must adhere to the cancellation policies of the guides and lodges which it represents. Dave Brown Outfitters’ policy follows: A 50% non-refundable deposit is required at the time of booking to confirm all reservations. Final payment is due 60 days from departure. Deposits are non-refundable, but may be moved to another date during the same season if cancellation is received 60 days or more prior to departure. At 60 days prior to departure, no refund or credit will be granted unless replacement clients are found. Refunds or credits cannot be issued for fishing time lost due to inclement weather. Refunds of deposits/payments made on credit cards will be charged a 3.5% service charge to fully compensate Tailwaters Travel for all bank charges incurred. Receipt of deposit and/or final payment is acknowledgement that registrant has read and accepts the cancellation, refund, and responsibility clauses.
Consider Travel Insurance!
Given the inherent strict refund policies associated with nearly all fishing packages, we cannot stress the importance of obtaining travel insurance to protect your investment. Travelers can obtain coverage for pre-existing health problems (related to yourself, your family, business partners, or your traveling partners), emergency evacuation, lost baggage, delay, life insurance packages; even “no questions asked” or “for work reasons” coverage.
We will provide you with more detailed information about travel insurance from our sponsored provider, Travel Guard, when you book a trip with Tailwaters Travel. We can conveniently process a very comprehensive insurance policy for you in-house after asking a few simple questions.
Call today to protect your investment: (888) 824-5420
Please review our Policies & Cancellations section.
Although fishing is the predominant activity on trips with Dave Brown Outfitters, Fernie, British Columbia is an outdoor lover’s paradise. Non-angling companions are encouraged to join anglers to the Fernie area. Hiking, river rafting, mountain biking, golf at the Fernie Golf Club, and a handful of restaurants and shops are available to entertain non-angling companions.
Cast & Blast Options…
Dave Brown Outfitters is also the first outfitter to employ a proper string of seasoned pointing dogs for Hungarian Partridge & Sharptail Grouse on the vast Canadian Prairies of Alberta & Saskatchewan. Consider a fall trip combining a few days for monster browns on the Bow River with some world-class upland bird hunting. Ask for Details.