SOME INSIDER TIPS
KEYS TO PLANNING A GREAT STEELHEAD TRIP
Planning a steelhead trip isn’t easy, there are a lot of options out there and trying to figure out prime dates and availability and where to go can seem daunting. That’s where our services come in, hooking anglers like you up with the best lodges and guides in BC, but you’ve probably figured that our by now, so here’s a few things to keep in mind whether you book with us or not….
Timing your trip. Easier said than done but timing your travel is easily the most important part of putting together a successful steelhead trip to BC. The window of opportunity isn’t always as wide as we’d like it to be, some river systems have a few weeks when fishing them is worthwhile, while others enjoy longer seasons and runs of fish that are more spread out. When trying to time a steelhead trip right you want to look at the history of the particular river you’re planning on fishing, its levels and when the biggest pushes of migrating steelhead are making moves. Obviously there are lots of factors out of your control, weather being the major factor, which effects river levels. Hitting rivers at their optimal levels is the key to good timing. One general rule for steelhead fishing in BC is that winter-run steelhead like a rising river while summer-run steelhead like a dropping river. A very general rule and something that is impossible to plan for, but with a little bit of research into the rivers you plan on fishing finding those prime weeks can be narrowed down.
Booking the right guide. Steelhead fishing is tricky, there’s not much about the pursuit of these beautiful fish that’s easy. Each of BC’s steelhead rivers has its nuances, from where fish hold to what they’ll bite on to finding access. That’s where guides, like ourselves, and all the others come in. Nothing beats local knowledge and finding the right guide for your trip will be another key to a successful steelhead trip. You can certainly go unguided, more on that below, but there is no amount of research that is going to put you were BC’s professional steelhead guides will. If you’re shopping around for guide services don’t be shy to ask for some references or see how long the guide has been in business. Most steelhead guides in British Columbia are honourable, hard working and professional. But some aren’t so make sure when you’re planning your trip that you’re fishing with one of us good guys.
Figuring out travel plans
. BC is a big place and with the exception of some winter-run steelhead fishing out of Vancouver in March and April you will need to travel beyond Vancouver to get to the good steelhead spots. Don’t worry, this is actually really easy. To access the Skeena River and its lower tributaries like the Kalum and Copper rivers you’ll fly from Vancouver to Terrace. The flight is about 1.5 hours and there are multiple daily flights on major carriers like Air Canada and WestJet. Terrace is also the landing point for trips going into the Nass River
. To access the Bulkley, Morice and Babine rivers you’ll be flying into Smithers from Vancouver. Pretty much the same deal as flying into Terrace, about a 1.5 hours travel time with multiple daily flights serviced by Air Canada and Hawk Air. When you book a trip with us we’ll let you know what flights work best and will be there to pick you up in northern BC. Accessing the Dean River is with another airline called Pacific Coastal, their service is much more limited and you’ll fly to the central coast of BC into a town called Bella Coola before transferring via helicopter to the Dean. Nothing is terribly complicated about flying into any of these areas, just make sure book flights early as they do book up early. If you’re traveling for a winter-run steelhead trip you’ll either be sticking around Vancouver which is easy, heading over to Vancouver Island, which involves renting a car and taking a ferry or flying into Haida Gwaii if you’re headed to the Yakoun. Travelling around BC is safe and easy and getting into most major steelhead areas is really quite simple. If you’re flying into Vancouver and need to overnight there is the Fairmont Airport Hotel
, right in YVR, making travel plans that much easier.