Skeena system roadtrip help [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Skeena system roadtrip help

04-20-2005, 07:48 PM
I am looking at a trip to BC this fall to fish the Skeena system. I'd like to spend a week or so up there but i cant afford to spend a lot. I know i want to fish the Babine because it was a favorite of an old friend of mine. But i really know very little about the area or what the better areas for hike in fishin are. I could also bring a pontoon but dont know if it would be worth it.
Also if anyone else is interested in doing a low budget trip up there I am looking for someone to go with me.
Any suggestions, advice or help would be appreciated.

04-21-2005, 02:43 PM

I did low budget trips to BC years ago. The main changes today will be the price of gas and the $10/day special rivers permit that make the trip more costly.

The Babine River is mostly inaccessible, which is a main reason why the fishing there remains phenomenol. You can drive to Babine Lake, and Fulton River channel, and probably even the weir at the outlet of Babine Lake, although I'm not positive about that. The Babine itself is in a roadless area, and no one I ever spoke with suggested hiking into it was a reasonable option.

You can drive too, and fish, the mainstem Skeena, the Kispiox, the Copper, Bulkley/Morice, and I think the Bear.

A pontoon boat would vastly increase your access to fishable water even on accessible rivers like the Kispiox and Bulkley/Morice.


Salmo g.

04-21-2005, 03:21 PM
You might want to check out Mist on the River: An Angler's Quest for Steelhead by Michael Checchio. I think it a crappy read but he does cover walk-in access to some of the rivers you are interested in.

As for costs, Salmo is right, gas is a killer. We usually only drive one car up and then rent a shuttle car at Smithers. Then there is the 18 hour drive from Seattle.

The experience will cost you a lot more than it did even a few years ago. Even given the exchange rate of .80 US to 1.0 CDN, it is pricey. The classified waters fees are $40/day for class 1 rivers and $20/day for class II. An eight day license will run you $50 or $80 for an annual. Then there is the steelhead conservation stamp which will sting you for $60.

If you bring a pontoon, you might want to factor in shuttle costs.

Good luck if you go and make sure and pray for good weather. It sucks to make the trip and spend the whole time in a bar becasue the rivers are blown. Trust me on this one.

04-22-2005, 12:45 AM
sounds like a story brewing :lildevl:

04-22-2005, 09:58 PM
Guess I'm really outdated if the special permits and all cost so much more now. Believe it or not, a friend and I made that trip several times for 2 weeks each for $150 each - $50 gas/$50 booze/$50 license, punch card and stamp. We brought pre-cooked meals frozen in the ice chest. Ah well, everything changes and prices always go up!


Salmo g.

05-25-2005, 11:02 PM
D3, I share your interest in an economical trip to fish for Skeena steelhead. Heck I would even take a bright silver to break up the casts. I live in Kirkland, own a raft for 3, have some decent experience steelheading, and don't mind rowing or driving :).
Give me a shout if you are still thinking of going. I have some friends that might go or fly up and save the drive.

Does anyone have an opinion on going up in August? Is that just way to early or are the water conditions rough then? I have seen some shows with guys fishing primarily gear and there appear to be viable fish then.

thanks, TWD

05-26-2005, 11:43 AM

There used to be steelhead in the Morice as early as mid-August, but the early run has been nearly extirpated by the sockeye fishery in the lower Skeena.

If the Skeena is clear enough to fish, friends have taken some steelhead in the latter part of August, fishing below the confluence of the Kispiox.

August overall is risky for good numbers of fish in many places. I preferred the last two weeks of September, as there are steelhead in many places in most of the rivers, and the weather is fairly good. There are often even more fish in October, but weather conditions often deteriorate, and you risk having the rivers blow out.


Salmo g.

05-27-2005, 12:12 AM
Forest road maps can be picked up at the Forestry office in Smithers. Though not detailed topographically, they do show the points where bridges cross the rivers, particularly the Bulkley.

Before floating ANY section of the Skeena tribs between bridges, be ABSOLUTELY sure to consult with local sources on the grade of water. There are sections of the Bulkley that are classed over Type 3. There is a section of the Kispiox that usually has a river-wide, massive, blocking log jam (I know more than a couple of people that have spent the night there unintentionally). The Babine is also classed above Type 3 in sections, and the lower part is considered unrunnable by angling craft. Another "problem" to educate yourself about the Babine is bears.

Any time before Sept 20th is really gambling as far as decent numbers of fish goes. Any time after Oct. 15th and the weather can become very cold.

Alloting yourself only one week for this excursion is really not a good idea... I consider 10 days to be minimum. The "daily tag" for the Bulkley, Kispiox, and main Skeena is $20 a day.

This is a huge chunk of fishing acreage. I suggest picking one river, and then concentrating on a six to ten mile stretch, fishing it repeatedly until you learn some of the intricacies of northern Canadian steelheading. The lessons learned in that stretch will then allow you to become more quickly adapted to newer pieces of river. If you go and fish as many places as possible during your visit, I can almost guarantee that you will experience a lot of great scenery, but probably learn very little of actual fishing value.

Good Luck!

wet fly
05-27-2005, 12:03 PM
Like my ol fishing menter from Iowa says about fishing. It is like good moonshine it is expensive but you got to have it. I have followed R A message to a tee. R A mapped out a 6 mile stretch of river 6 or 7 years ago. I am still fishing the same piece of water and learning it better each year. I like to fish water that has a " history". I then fish with confidence and attentiveness. When I walk into a "new" hole I always wonder, It looks good but do the fish really hang out here. In the few years that I have gone to the Skeena system the number of fishermen has over doubled. The only new water we can be sure of is at daylight each day. It is still a great place and I will not miss the experience. Jerry