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The Bow River is a river in the Canadian province of Alberta. It is a tributary of the South Saskatchewan River, and is considered the headwater of the Nelson River.
The river's source is from the Bow Glacier, which is part of the Wapta Icefield. The outflow from this source flows into Bow Lake in the Canadian Rockies. It flows south to the village of Lake Louise then turns east and flows through the town of Banff then through Canmore. The Ghost Lake reservoir is formed upstream from the town of Cochrane. The Bow then flows eastward to the city of Calgary; it continues on to form the South Saskatchewan River when the Bow joins with the Oldman River near Grassy Lake in southern Alberta. Its waters are further shed in the Hudson Bay through the Saskatchewan River, Lake Winnipeg and Nelson River.
The Bow River has a total length of 587 km (365 mi) and a drainage area of 26,200 km2 (10,116 sq mi).
The Bow River provides many opportunities for boating and fishing. Both fly fishermen and spinner fishermen share the river in all four seasons of the year. Serious anglers from all over the world visit the Bow River for its thriving population of brown trout and rainbow trout. The Bow River holds a resident population of rainbow and brown trout that has one of the best growth rates to be found on any river system in the world today. A trout that is 4 to 5 years old will be around 21 inches in length and the Bow River holds many fish that are this size or larger. This is precisely why many fishermen from all over the world choose the Bow River to fish year after year. Mainly the river is fished south of the city of Calgary, past where the water treatment sites dump into the river, for that is where the nutrients are higher.