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INFORMATION ON FLY FISHING IN BRITISH COLUMBIA

British Columbia is a mecca for fly fishing with some of the best fly fishing found anywhere in the world. From alpine streams to coastal rivers to plateau lakes, there is year-round fly fishing opportunities here.
Narrowing down BC fly fishing options isn’t super easy. It is a big province with a variety of options, seasons and experiences. We want you to have the best possible trip to British Columbia, that’s why we have this comprehensive BC fly fishing information page on our website. It will give you honest insight into the different fishing regions around the province and what each are best know for. If you’d like to plan a fly fishing trip to British Columbia, please feel free to email directly, or use the contact form at the bottom of this page. That will put you in touch with myself and my pro team of BC guides.
Yos Gladstone

Owner | Operator | Licensed Guide

BC fishing Guide Yos Gladstone

WHERE TO GO FLY FISHING IN BC

BC is a big place so we thought we’d break down fly fishing options here to the five main regions. Find where you’d like to go and we’ll let you know the different options for the region…

Skeena Region

This is the true mecca of wild steelhead and salmon fishing found in Canada. The Skeena Region is home to the Skeena River, which is the main drainage of northern BC. The Skeena River and its many tributaries are are world famous for their salmon and steelhead fly fishing opportunities. Prime dates are April through mid November. Read more on fly fishing Northern BC’s Skeena Region here…

Interior Region

This area is known for having the best stillwater (lake) fly fishing in North America. Home to big trout, the Interior Region of BC is a fly fishing paradise for anglers looking for budget friendly trips and some great fishing. Read more about fly fishing BC’s interior lakes here…

Southern Rockies

In the southeast corner of BC you’ll find some pretty special fly fishing in the Fernie area. This region is home to several beautiful fly fishing rivers, with the Rocky Mountains as their backdrop. Read more on fly fishing in the Rocky Mountains of BC here…

Vancouver Island

Vancouver Island is best known for its saltwater salmon fishing opportunities but it also offers year-round fly fishing for salmon, trout and steelhead. This is a fun destination any time of year for a fly fishing trip. Read more about Vancouver Island fly fishing trips here…

BC South Coast

There is a ton of great fly fishing to be had close to Vancouver. BC’s South Coast region offers 365 days of fly fishing opportunities on wild rivers, hidden lakes and mountain streams. You don’t have to travel far to enjoy some epic BC fly fishing for salmon, steelhead and trout. Read more about fly fishing close to Vancouver here…

SKEENA REGION

THE STEELHEAD MECCA

There are few river systems in the world as prolific as the Skeena River and her many tributaries. The main stem of the Skeena is about 540 kilometres in length draining an area of about 51,000 sq. kilometres. The Skeena has many famous tributaries, all offering their own unique fly fishing opportunities.

On the Skeena you can go fly fishing for wild salmon and steelhead. There is a Spring run of steelhead in March and April and a run of Chinook (King) salmon through June and July. August and September are great months for both salmon and steelhead.  October and November the focus is generally on steelhead as salmon runs have dissipated by that time. Here’s some more info on guided Skeena Lodge Packages.

The tributaries of the Skeena are too many to mention, but some of the more famous ones include the Kispiox, Kalum, Copper, Babine and Bulkley rivers. These are some of the most, if not the most, famous steelhead rivers in the world. Prime time for steelhead on these smaller rivers is late August through to mid November. We offer a variety of fly fishing trips to the Bulkley River and the Babine River for summer-run steelhead.

There are some other well know fisheries in the region, including the Kitimat River and the Nass River. The Kitimat River offers some very consistent fishing overall and is fairly accessibly and a great option for both conventional gear anglers and fly anglers. The Nass River which is much harder to access has a small group of guided fly fishing outfitters, including our partners at Nass River Steelhead Company.

Some things to keep in mind when planning a BC fly fishing trip to the Skeena Region… First, dates for guided trips here book early and most river systems are ‘classified’. More information on BC Classified Rivers System on our Steelhead Info Page. In essence the classified river system  limits who can guide and how many people can fish a river. Secondly, timing a trip is key. You want to make sure you get the best possibly fly fishing dates for your trip. Come too early and runs of fish won’t be in yet, time it too late and you’ll be stuck in the cold. That’s where we come in, our local expertise will put you with the top Skeena fly fishing guides at prime dates. Follow the link to see a full rundown of our BC Fly Fishing Steelhead Lodges & Guides.
No information on British Columbia fly fishing is complete without homage to Roderick Haig-Brown. The godfather of fly fishing in BC.

INTERIOR REGION

BC FLY FISHING FOR BIG TROUT

A great BC fly fishing trip doesn’t have to be complicated. Some of the best lake fly fishing for trout in BC is within 3-4 hours of Vancouver! The Interior Region of BC is the area around the towns of Merritt and Kamloops and it offers some fantastic fly fishing for big trout.
This is a perfect area for a do-it-yourself BC fly fishing trip. You don’t need fancy gear or a big budget. The area is relatively easy to get to, all lakes are open to the public and there are plenty of homestyle fly fishing lodges to choose from and a few select guide operations in the area. Prime time for a BC lake fly fishing trip is right after the ice melt in the late Spring. As lakes ‘turn over’ trout become active and feed on the healthy insect populations these lakes supply. The heat of the Summer months can slow fishing down, but it picks up again through the Fall months as trout gorge before Winter.
If you’re looking for a BC lake fly fishing guide service your best contact would be Jordan Oelrich at the Interior Fly Fishing Company based in Kamloops British Columbia. These guys really know lake fly fishing in BC better than anyone. If you’d like a fly fishing lodge package then the world famous Douglas Lake Ranch near Merritt BC is a fantastic option. They offer a variety of affordable packages on some of the best fly fishing lakes in BC!

ROCKY MOUNTAIN FLY FISHING

IN BEAUTIFUL FERNIE BC

The southern Rocky Mountains of British Columbia offer anglers some pretty spectacular fly fishing for Westslope Cutthroat Trout and big Bull Trout. Both species are native to the region. The backdrop isn’t bad either, imagine yourself drifting down wild rivers with the epic Rocky Mountains surrounding you.
There are lots of rivers to choose from in the area, the most famous being the Elk River and the Columbia River. Others including the Wigwam, the Crowsnest and the St Mary’s offer equally good trout fly fishing opportunities. The fly fishing season here runs from June to October with July, August and September being prime months for a fly fishing trip. There are several guide operations in the area but if you want to go with the real pros plan your BC fly fishing trip with guide Paul Samycia and his team at Elk River Guiding Company. They are the local experts and your best contact for a fly fishing trip in Fernie.
One consideration of fly fishing in this area is the travel to get there. It is about a 10 hour drive from Vancouver but only 3 hours from Calgary, Alberta. You can also opt to fly into the town of Cranbrook, near Fernie, there are daily flights from Vancouver.
Fly fishing has a long history in British Columbia. This photo is from a 1954 BC Travel Bureau publication.

VANCOUVER ISLAND

FLY FISHING FOR STEELHEAD & SALMON

Although mostly know for its saltwater salmon fishing there are lots of really cool fly fishing trips to be had on Vancouver Island. Vancouver Island is about 450 kilometres long and around 32,000 square kilometres in area. Travel is easy, there are highway, road systems and ferry service throughout the island. The fly fishing on Vancouver Island is focused mainly on river fishing for salmon and steelhead but there is good trout fishing as well and some lake fishing to be had.
The main focus of fly fishing on Vancouver Island is for winter-run steelhead, this fishery takes place from December to April. River fly fishing for salmon is best from August to mid November with all five species of Pacific Salmon entering Vancouver Island rivers over this time period. Fly fishing for trout fishing can be enjoyed year-round.
Some of the more well known fly fishing rivers on Vancouver Island include the Cowichan, Stamp, Campbell, Salmon and Nimpkish. Fishing here can be fickle, especially for Winter Steelhead, more info on our BC Steelhead Fishing Page, will help breakdown what to expect on a Vancouver Island steelhead trip. Salmon and trout fishing is a bit more forgiving, with healthy salmon and trout populations island wide. If you’re itching to go fishing we offer guided fly fishing throughout Vancouver Island, follow this link for more info.

BC SOUTH COAST

FLY FISHING CLOSE TO VANCOUVER

Do you have to travel far and spend lots of money to enjoy an epic BC fly fishing trip? Heck NO!
Some of the best BC fly fishing is on the South Coast Region, the area surrounding Vancouver. The rivers and lakes here offer year-round fly fishing for salmon, steelhead and trout. We offer guided fly trips from Vancouver, Squamish and Whistler 12 months a year.
In the Winter and Spring months the focus is on fly fishing for bull trout and steelhead close to Vancouver. Bull trout feed on the remnants of the Fall salmon runs and steelhead move into Vancouver area rivers usually starting in December, with prime months being March and April. One of our most popular trips during this time is our Squamish River Steelhead Packages.
During the Summer there is good trout fishing in lakes, many of them are stocked with trout. There is also some solid stream fishing for smaller trout and on odd years (2021, 2023, etc) there are Pink Salmon that can be caught from July to September. One of the best Summer fly fishing options on BC’s South Coast is fly fishing in Whistler, it gives lots of flexibility with both lake and river fishing available.
The Fall months around Vancouver offer anglers some of the best fly fishing of the year as BC’s salmon runs move in from the ocean to their native spawning grounds along coastal rivers. Mid September though late November will offer you the best dates for fly fishing for salmon. This is a great time to visit BC and our fully guided BC Fall Salmon Packages are an affordable fly fishing option for all abilities.
The South Coast really does have it all, with wild rivers and genuinely solid fishing opportunities. You don’t need to travel far, saving you money on domestic travel and you have the opportunity to fly fish for salmon, trout and steelhead, all within an hour of Vancouver!
There's a long history of fly fishing in Vancouver. This photo is from 1920 on the Capilano River. https://archives.jewishmuseum.ca/bryan-williams-fishing-in-capilano-river

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