Above: I took these photos in the last weeks of September and the plants were doing well.

Stream Tender Magazine

December 2016 Issue

“ Yes, Brown Trout Do Successfully Re-produce on West Nose Creek “

    In the fall of 2015, Bow Valley Habitat Development documented brown trout spawning on West Nose Creek, in the City of Calgary. This was the big news for the stream’s future potential as a spring creek sport fishery.

    The next step in BVHD’s research on West Nose, was to establish whether any of the trout eggs successfully incubated and hatched from the spawning cycle.

    To do this, BVHD obtained a research licence from ASRD Fish & Wildlife, to conduct a trout trapping survey in July of 2016, to hopefully capture at least one brown trout hatchling from the 2015 spawning event.

    Unfortunately, due to a number of flood events on the creek, in mid to late July, the trapping program was rescheduled for the following year of 2017.

    However, there was another option open to answer the question of whether any trout eggs hatched and this would be to conduct an angling survey in late August of 2016, to hopefully capture a juvenile brown trout from the early spring hatch, if there were any to capture.

    I knew that this would be a daunting task, with little chance of success, but it was worth a try anyway.

    To my surprise, after only 6 hours of angling on the West Nose Creek, in late August, I managed to capture a brown trout from the early spring hatch on the creek.

    By achieving this goal, BVHD saved a lot of time and money that would have been spent on the trapping program planned for the summer of 2017. After all, I only needed to catch one YOY brown trout to confirm that some  of the eggs hatched.

Left: You can see Harvest Hills Boulevard over pass in the background of this photo. Downstream of the overpass is where the small brown trout was captured.


Above: In the six hours of angling, 12 Lake Chub, like this one were caught, along with one Long Nose Dace. It was strange to catch minnows like these on a fly rod, but they do eat insects as part of their diet.

The Fly Pattern That I Used To Catch These Small Fish

Above:   The Brown “Smoothy”


    I used two different nymph patterns in my angling survey, to capture a small trout. The pattern that caught the brown trout was one that I have developed and used for catching picky Bow River Trout. I call it a brown “Smoothy” and it is tied on size 14 and 16 nymph hooks. The size 16 pattern caught the juvenile trout.

    The tail and legs on the nymph pattern are composed of partridge soft hackle and the thorax is lightened Alberta Squirrel fur. The abdomen is created by wrapping small or medium D-ring, in a brown color. A small bead is used and too finish the pattern, a medium mylar tinsel for the back. It is a very effective trout fly pattern.

West Nose Creek Angling Survey Continues to Provide Information

    In August of this year, BVHD continued to collect information about trout distribution in West Nose Creek by conducting an angling survey. The focus of this year’s program, besides the goal of catching a YOY (young of the year) brown trout, was to angle on the lower reach of the creek.

    One important discover was that  a number of smaller trout were captured near the mouth of Nose Creek. It is believed that these smaller trout may be migrants from the Bow River that have found their way up Nose Creek and entered the West Nose Creek.

    Due to a number of beaver dams on the lower end of West Nose, these smaller trout are prevented from reaching areas of the upper stretch of West Nose Creek. However, over time, they will move up the system.

Above: This 8 or 9 inch brown trout was captured on the lower end of West Nose Creek. In the next few years, it is speculated that the trout will find its way further up the system. The trout was release, unharmed, back into the creek. The brown trout will most likely live out the rest of its life in the West Nose Creek and eventually spawn on the system.

Above: Streaming Wet Flies, like this “Screamer” pattern, are used to hunt for brown trout in the angling survey. Despite the brilliant colors, brown trout love this pattern.

Learn how to tie a perfect Doc Spratley Wing in Guy Woods latest Book:


“Streaming Wet Flies and a Fly Angler’s Full Season”


Available at Amazon.ca

Other titles by Guy Woods that are also

available at Amazon.ca are:

“Fishing These Parts”


“Fly Fishing and Other Stuff”



City of Calgary Plants 600 Willows and Trees on West Nose Creek

    More willows and trees for West Nose Creek this fall. The City of Calgary Parks Department has planted a total of 600 native poplars, aspen and willows close to West Nose Creek, in Creekside this fall. This should help in the restoration of riparian habitat along the creek in the future.

    The proposed plantings were brought up in a meeting that I attended this last winter and it was good to see that the plan was seen through to completion this September. Once the poplars and aspens have established a good footing on the creek, future suckers will expand the crop and provide some well needed riparian habitat.

The 2016 Bow Valley Riparian R & E Program Update

    The Bow Valley Riparian Recovery and Enhancement Program’s objective is to restore riparian habitat on three area streams that are lacking a natural riparian eco-system. Those streams are the Bighill Creek, West Nose Creek and Nose Creek. The approach to achieve this goal is to form partnerships with local business, municipal government and NGO’s to tackle the challenge on a major scale.

    This year, a total of 11 partners participated in the program. They are as follows:


Partner                        Plants provided


DFO Canada         8,300

Inter Pipeline         2,400

Shell Canada         1,200

City of Calgary        1,200

City of Airdrie        1,100

Cochrane Foundation     900

Town of Cochrane       600

Evergreen/HSBC       300

ATCO            200

Airdrie Ventures       200

Bow Valley Habitat Dev.  25 LD

    This total of 16,425 sets a record for the number of plants in this third year of the program. In 2014, a total of 10,500 plants and in 2015, a total of 14,800 plants set the stage for the growth of the riparian planting endeavour.

    The 2016 BVRR&E program has made this riparian recovery program one of the largest in North America. It feels great to be involved in a project that is bound to make a major positive impact on the health of our local waters.

    Presently, Bow Valley Habitat Development is working towards another program for the 2017 planting season. Already, this fall, there are commitments for next year’s planting and it is hopeful that we can meet or exceed the number of plants planted in 2017.

    The plantings are carried out, close to the water’s edge, so fish habitat will be enhanced over time. The amount of native wildlife that will also benefit is huge.

Fish Habitat  —  Planting Along the Water’s Edge

    Along some streams, on certain areas of stream banks, the only place that I can get decent survival rates of native willows and trees, is by planting very close to the water’s edge. However, this is ok by me, because these surviving plants will provide excellent fish habitat over time.

    If the soil PH is not conducive to plant growth, by planting the native stock close to the streams water, there is enough nutrient in the water to help sustain the native plants. Constant movement of organic debris in the stream channel will also enhance the plants nutrient intake.

    I know that native willows and trees that overhang the surface of a stream, and provide live or dead branches below the surface, create

excellent habitat for resident trout. The growth also constricts the flow in the stream channel, deepening areas that are eventually attractive haunts for trout.

    This live and dead organic debris provided by willows and trees growing along the edge of a stream will also boost the invertebrate populations in the stream. More invertebrates means more food for more trout. I know that dead leaves in the fall enrich the streambed for invertebrates such as the caddis larva, which grazes on submerged vegetation.

    In the photo below, you can see how recently planted willows are catching large sheathed pond weed and dead leaves, in the stream channel. This debris is also creating over head cover for trout.

The TD Bank provided the funding to cover the cost of the native plants in this planting program