Lower Bow River Sport Angling Regulation Review (BRARR)

What is the BRARR project?

Alberta Environment and Parks (AEP) is undertaking a review of the sportfishing regulations that pertain to the Lower Bow River from Bearspaw Dam to the Bassano Dam. The last major review of angling regulations for the Lower Bow River occurred in 2000. Major regulation reviews are conducted approximately every 10 years.

What are the goals of the review?

This review was initiated by AEP staff in 2011 and project Terms of Reference were adopted in the summer of 2012.

The review has the following aims:

  • To examine whether the current sportfishing regulations are supported by the angling community, fishing guides, and other stakeholders;
  • To determine the value of the management interventions that have been conducted over the past decade to support angling activity and protect fish populations, using scientific data and creel surveys;
  • To ensure regulations are aligned with Alberta’s anticipated Fish Conservation Strategy for 2011-2015 (release of this document is expected in the near future).

The status of the Lower Bow River fishery

The Lower Bow River is a world renowned trout fishery. Anglers who fish the Lower Bow come from all parts of the province, across Canada, and abroad. Most anglers are seeking the thrill of landing a large Rainbow Trout or Brown Trout – two introduced species for which the river is famous –but the Bow also contains native fish species, including Mountain Whitefish and Northern Pike. A substantial fish guiding industry has been established and visiting anglers make a significant contribution to the local economy.

Who is involved?

A public advisory committee (PAC) has been established to provide information and advice to AEP fisheries staff. The PAC has been meeting periodically since July 2012 and hopes to complete its work during the fall of 2013. The following interests are represented on the PAC:

  • Trout Unlimited Canada (1 rep)
  • Sarcee Fish and Game Association (1 rep)
  • Angling Outfitter Association of Alberta (1 rep)
  • Outfitters and fishing retailers (4 reps)
  • Academia/Consulting (1 rep)
  • Media / industry promotion (1 rep)
  • Siksika First Nation (1 rep)
  • Anglers – public at large (3 reps)

Proposals developed by the PAC will be contained in a Recommendations Report. The report will address, among other things:

  • fish harvest and size limits
  • angling closures
  • bait fishing
  • river reaches (and the regulations associated with each reach)

Public engagement

ESRD will be seeking angler feedback on the current sportfishing regulations for the Lower Bow River, as well as input on the recommendations issued by the PAC. The department anticipates that this engagement will take place in 2014.

Through this website you will be notified of future opportunities to:

  • attend an Open House
  • access the PAC’s Recommendations Report
  • complete an online survey
  • receive further information (i.e., Background Report)

If you have any questions about the BRARR project, please contact:


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Updated: May 29, 2015