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It Is no secret British Columbia is home to the best wild steelhead fishing found anywhere in the world. Our famed rivers on BC’s south, central and north coast host hard pulling aggressive steelhead, the type dreams are made out of!
BC has plenty of options when it comes to steelhead fishing. Here is a regional breakdown of where you’ll find the top BC steelhead rivers.
When we talk about Northern BC steelhead the focus is generally on the Skeena River system and its tributaries. This area has the best fishing from August to early November. These are Summer-Run steelhead, more on the different runs of steelhead below. The Skeena River drains the majority of northern BC and is the last stronghold of wild salmon & steelhead found anywhere in the world. The most famous tributaries of the Skeena system include the Copper, Kalum, Kispiox, Babine and Bulkley rivers. If you are looking for the best fishing in BC, then Northern BC is where you’ll want to plan a trip. There are guide services and lodges on all major systems and accessing the area is fairly easy, with direct flights from Vancouver to the towns of Terrace and Smithers, the two epicentres of steelheading in northern BC.
Vancouver Island has runs of Winter steelhead that enter the rivers starting in December. The majority of Vancouver Island steelhead are in the systems by February. Conditions play the biggest factor in run numbers, low water and cold temperatures make for difficult fishing. The optimal time to fish on Vancouver Island is when conditions warm slightly and river levels begin to rise. This is the case with almost all winter steelhead fishing locations. Haida Gwaii, a series of islands on BC’s northern coast also offers good fishing during the Winter months.
You don’t always need to travel far to find some good steelhead fishing in BC. During the Winter and Spring months you can fish the Squamish and Vedder rivers, both close to Vancouver. These are two very different fisheries, but will afford you the opportunity at a chrome BC steelhead. The Squamish River lends itself well to fly anglers and the Vedder River is a popular destination for both fly and conventional gear anglers looking for the best steelheading close to Vancouver.
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.
There are two distinct runs of BC steelhead that enter the rivers from open ocean; summer-run steelhead and winter-run steelhead. Summer-run steelhead are what most anglers come to British Columbia for. These fish generally begin entering rivers in early July with numbers peaking starting in early August through to early November. The majority of summer-run steelhead are found on BC’s north and central coast, making their way into the Skeena River system and its tributaries.
The tributaries of the Skeena, including the Bulkley, Morice, Babine, Kispiox, Sustut, Copper, Kalum and many others are the headwaters where Skeena bound summer-run steelhead make their way home to in order to spawn. BC’s summer-run steelhead are know for their willingness to take skated dry flies as well as traditionally swung wet flies. If you’re looking for numbers, action and size, you’ll want to plan your BC steelhead trip to target summer-run steelhead anytime starting in mid August through to early November.
Contact the pro team at Chromer Sport Fishing about a BC steelhead fishing trip. We’ll send you more info, pricing and availability. You can also call us toll free 1-877-902-3393 or email us at email@example.com.