Fishing at Bearspaw Reservoir Alberta

Article By: Joe Seaborne 2020-12-17

Bearspaw Reservoir

Bearspaw Reservoir is a hidden gem tucked away in N.W. Calgary that's not only beautiful but a great place to catch fish.

What I like most about Bearspaw reservoir is just how secluded it feels. It's just one of those places that let you escape the City without ever leaving it. The Reservoir is buried in mature trees that add to the scenery and the water is clean because it’s fed by the Bow River before it goes through any major cities.

I’ve been going to Bearspaw Reservoir for 25 years now and never get tired of it. For this article, I would like to share some of my go-to locations and also what lures seem to work best.


Bearspaw Reservoir is very difficult to access. Years ago you could take Bearspaw Dam Road to a recreational area beside the train tracks and walk a short distance to the reservoir. After an incident involving a train and someone’s dog, CP Rail and the city decided to fence off the train tracks. This also cut off access to the reservoir. It’s a shame the access point had to be fenced off, but it was probably only a matter of time before another train incident happened.

Access by foot The only way to access Bearspaw Reservoir by foot is to take the Scenic Bow Road as far as you can. Find somewhere to park, then walk along the river until you reach the dam. It’s about a 40min walk.

By boat A fun way to get to the reservoir is to launch your boat in Cochran and drift down the Bow River. When you are done fishing, you can carry your boat around to the other side of the dam and float downstream to Bowness Park.


There are zero amenities at Bearspaw Reservoir. There was some talk about building a public access point... but for now, nothing exists.

Boat launch

There is a high-quality boat launch located beside the spillway. It also leads to a bike path that takes you to the other side of the dam.

Best hooks

What fish

Fishing regulations

Bearspaw Reservoir is listed under ES1. Link to regulations

Below the Dam

Downstream of the dam is prime territory for big rainbows and whitefish. Just be careful not to get close to the dam because it’s dangerous.

Try baiting with maggots for whitefish or spoons, spinners and rattlebaits for rainbows.

map of bearspaw dam map source:Google Maps

In front of the dam

If it’s hot out, that usually means the fish are staying cool in deeper water. In front of the dam is where the reservoir is deepest and a sure-fire way to locate fish on a scorching hot day.

map of bearspaw dam map source:Google Maps

The rocks

The boulders right beside the dam are awesome for fishing from shore. You can pretty much get as close to the dam as you want or stay closer to the boat launch.

map of bearspaw dam map source:Google Maps

The spillway

Right in front of the spillway is shallow for the first little while before going into a steep drop. At around sunset, rainbow trout are usually active in front of the spillway. I’m guessing trout come up from the depths of the reservoir to feed in the shallows before nightfall.

map of bearspaw dam map source:Google Maps

The bay

Early morning is the best time to target the small bay area. I’ve caught mostly small rainbows in this area.

map of bearspaw dam map source:Google Maps

Brown trout

If you are up for some midnight fishing for brown trout then Bearspaw Reservoir is a must. The brown trout are extremely big but not very active during the day. I’ve had the best luck fishing for brown trout shortly after midnight during a full moon.

Quick recap