David Wilkie

Celebrated Musician David Wilkie’s Hot Spots for ’Bows, Browns, Cutties and More


For our 2016 Fishing Special issue, Outdoor Canada recruited a supergroup of acclaimed Canadian recording artists, who also happen to be hard-core anglers. And these fishin’ musicians agreed to sing about their favourite Canadian fishing holes—74 in all. For the full list, see The Fishin’ Musicians.

David Wilkie
David Wilkie

For more than a decade, songwriter and celebrated mandolinist David Wilkie and his band, Cowboy Celtic, have seamlessly blended traditional Western music with the sounds of Scotland and Ireland. Performing both time-honoured tunes and Wilkie’s originals, the band sings stories of love, loneliness, hard times and better days. Today, Wilkie (above with wife, bandmate and fellow angler Denise Withnell) lives on Vancouver Island, but for 30 years he hung his hat in Alberta, where he fell in love with fly fishing for trout. “There is nothing like drifting down the Bow with [fellow musicians] Amos Garrett or Jim McLennan at the oars,” he says. Sounds good to us, too. Learn more: www.westernjubilee.com


Favourite Fish: Brown trout

Favourite Type of Fishing: Fly fishing with streamers

Favourite Fishing Song: “Tempting the Salmon to Come to the Fly” by Cowboy Celtic


Bow River (East of Calgary), Alberta

GPS: 50.805179, -113.693667

Fish: Brown trout


Why: My long-time favourite river, and where I learned to fly fish

Best Time: Summer through fall

Best Fly: Clouser Deep Minnow

Michel Creek, B.C.

GPS: 49.730, -114.857

Fish: Cutthroat trout

Why: Beautiful little wadeable creek, full of trout

Best Time: Midsummer

Best Fly: Western Green Drake

Oldman River, Alberta

GPS: 49.798, -114.150

Fish: Cutthroat trout

Why: I love native cutthroat and there are lots of ’em

Best Time: Midsummer

Best Flies: Western Green Drake, Pale Morning Dun

Palmer Springs Ranch, Alberta

GPS: 49.483751, -113.951857

Fish: Rainbow trout

Why: Beautiful spring creek, fishing for large, finicky rainbows

Best Time: Spring ice-out and early summer

Best Flies: Assorted chironomids, Zebra Midge

Sandy Lake, N.W.T.

GPS: 64.0541, -111.151

Fish: Arctic grayling

Why: Isolated fishing, with 24-hour daylight

Best Time: Summer

Best Fly: Elk Hair Caddis