Where to go first time for steelhead? [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Where to go first time for steelhead?

11-03-2005, 05:04 PM
I'm considering once in my life (hopefully soon) to try fishing for the pacific steelhead. To get me started on the planning it would been great to get a few tips from you. Where is the best places to visit? To meet other spey fanatics on the river are at least as important as catching fish, so it don't necessary need to be the area with most steelhead. As I have a lot to to in the spring time and don't want to travel abroad during the salmon season in Norway the autumn is the best time for me to travel.

I would really apreciate any suggestions to get me started with my planning.

11-03-2005, 07:39 PM
Autumn is a great time to be astream in BC. I'd recommend you go to the Skeena system. It's easy to get to and has plenty of places to fish. Less crowded than the US south 48, a lack of hatchery fish and fishing can be outstanding. You'll meet some good folks too.

Take plenty of time as the rivers may be out of shape at times.

11-04-2005, 08:57 AM
Thank you pescaphile for your answer.

How much (in average) do a fishing permit cost on the Skeena system? Are they selling weekly or monthly permits?

What about the Thompson river? I heard this river is not what it used to be? But it would been great to have a few days on this famous river to.

How long do the season last? Are november too late? What about october?

Thank you very much for any suggestions!

11-04-2005, 12:12 PM
To fish for steelhead in BC, you'll need a non-tidal angling license, a steelhead conservation stamp plus a classified-waters permit that is specific to the river and day you fish. Plan on spending about $140 for an annual license and conservation stamp and the classified-waters license will cost $20/day. Since the classified-waters permits are stream specific, it's usually best to buy them every few days so you can switch watersheds should river conditions warrant.

Non-tidal licenses for one-day and one-week durations are also sold. I believe the conservation stamp is only available as an annual permit.

The Thompson is a supreme challenge that offers rewards of the same cailber. Unfortunately, it's closed to angling to protect the stocks and in all likelihood will be next fall as well. Besides, it's no river for first timers! Stay north, the fish are pretty good there too.

I'd pick September and October as the time to fish. November has more fish and far fewer anglers but it's getting cold and you'll want to fish sinking tips instead of a floating line then. From my view, the earlier months are much better suited to the fly.

11-04-2005, 03:15 PM
Again, thank you very much!

After searching the net a little for the Skeena system I think I need one month there and one month for the other rivers to only be able to try out a little of all your flyfishing oppurtunities over there :)

I see that many places it's difficult to access the rivers without a boat, but of coarse in many cases this also includes the need of a guiding service, and that will ruin my budget pretty fast. Is it very difficult to find nice fishing areas by the car (a mile or three is of course acceptable to walk by foot)?

11-19-2005, 12:29 PM
If it is a once in a lifetime trip, why not see as much as you can? There are a lot of good rivers around Portland. It is a beautiful city; great hotels, restaurants, museums, shows... and a relatively short drive to super water. You can be on the Kalama landing a 40 lb (18+ Kgs) chinook salmon one morning and then a chrome bright steelhead on the Deschutes the next morning. Plus, if you are looking for a guided trip or to meet other spey fisherman there are shops in the city and also on the way to every river.

11-19-2005, 02:32 PM
Yes, I definitely think this area deserves a visit. But I'm not sure if Portland will be my base, I'm not very much of a big town guy, prefer the smaller places. But fishing on the Deschutes looks really interesting. Steelhead is the main goal for the trip, but a few days for coho or other salmon would be a great experience too. I heard that Sandy river could give good coho fishing in the late fall?
A chinook on Kalama sounds interesting too, but it looks on the map that this river is difficult to access without a waterplane and a raft? How is chinook on the fly? Do you need to use a heavy grain line to get down to it or will it rise to a surface fly?
I guess it's also possible to find some hatches in the area in late october which could give some nice trout fishing on the dry fly?

11-19-2005, 05:51 PM
I would vote for the Smithers area. Lots of different rivers to fish from this base; good guides available; and the chances of catching fish should be good in late fall.



11-19-2005, 07:32 PM
Another vote for the Smithers area. It's also not too far from Terrace, which also has some great fishing.

And the Thompson CAN be a possibility. It is currently open, but who knows about next year.

11-19-2005, 07:49 PM
Another vote for the Smithers area. It's also not too far from Terrace, which also has some great fishing.

And the Thompson CAN be a possibility. It is currently open, but who knows about next year.

I give the third vote :)

I'm pretty sure I'm going to fish around Smithers for a few weeks from the last week of september. Guess I'm going to have some weeks in the US after that. Must make the most out of that long flight...

How is the Copper River? Have found some pictures on the net, and she really looks like a beautiful river to swing my dee flies.

11-19-2005, 09:05 PM
The Copper is fantastic. There is a lot of fishable water, that can be accessed via a logging road. A little bit of hiking will get you into some fantastic spots. It can be quite busy in the fall, however. You can usually find some solitude though.

My avatar picture is of a lower Copper buck.