Spey

Why We Love Steelhead Fishing in BC

Ken Morrish May 07, 2024

There is no short answer to this question. But in my mind, and in the hearts and minds of countless dedicated Spey anglers, there is something special, if not magical, about the waters of the Skeena and Nass systems.

When you are on these rivers in the fall, surrounded by snow-capped peaks, bathed in the yellow glow of aspen and cottonwood, it is hard not to believe that you are at the rightful birthplace of all steelhead. The grandeur of it all, the structure of the runs, and the chance at a wild fish of unmatched size and beauty combine to make one feel like both the species and the sport of swing fishing for them must have originated here. It all smacks of perfection, and only when there, thigh deep and casting, can the true steelheader's soul be quieted, and their minds be fully present and uncluttered because there is no other place and no other activity that calls more loudly.

As most steelheaders know, from California to Alaska and all points in between, steelhead returns have been worrisomely low for the past five years. This has created a nuanced mix of opportunities and uncertainties for visiting BC anglers. The risks of a low-return Skeena system closure or a warm water closure are real. Now more than ever, anglers considering a trip to visit these incredible rivers need guidance and an experienced hand capable of helping them navigate the ins and outs of all that is in play. What are the lodge's policies? What happens in the event of a closure? What can be done to protect my funds, and what can be done to protect the resource? We've been providing frank answers to these questions and many more for anglers on the BC booking journey for the past 25 years, making it possible to enjoy these fisheries while at the same time not encountering any unexpected surprises.

2024 Steelhead Lodge Openings

Silver Hilton Steelhead Lodge

  • A good mix of both larger fish and numbers of fish 
  • Really nice accommodations and meals 
  • Private rooms at triple Header, double occupancy cabins at Main Camp 
  • True wilderness, challenging wading, very little competition from other anglers 
  • Best for experienced anglers due to guide ratio 
  • On the high end of the price spectrum 

Open Dates:

October 22 - 29: 4 spots Main Camp, 2 spots Triple Header

Bulkley Base Camp

  • A good mix of both larger fish and numbers of fish 
  • A cool, comfortable tent camp with great meals 
  • Attentive guides and great instruction 
  • Interesting and productive water on the lower Bulkley  

Open Dates:

October 5 - 11: 1 spot

Skeena Spey Riverside Wilderness and Lodge

  • Offers a long season focused on the main Skeena
  • Great hospitality, accommodations, and meals
  • Double occupancy and single occupancy packages available
  • Attentive guides and great instruction
  • On the medium end of the price spectrum
  • Stays of varying length available as well as unguided options

Open Dates:

August 1 - 7: 6 spots
September 2 - 8: 4 spots
October 1 - 8 : 4 spots

Nass Base Camp

  • Nice average size fish and the chance at high numbers
  • Very simple accommodation and meals
  • Private rooms available
  • A wide variety of water, and resilient to storms and rainfall
  • On the low end of the price spectrum
  • Relatively easy wading 

Open Dates:

September 22 - 29: 6 spots
September 29 - October 6: 2 spots
October 20 - 27: 3 spots

Nass River Steelhead Co

  • Nice average fish size
  • A very simple, rustic, well-run wall-tent camp
  • Attentive guides and great instruction
  • Very good meals
  • Long easy wading runs
  • On the medium end of the price spectrum due to long heli flight in

Open Dates:

October 4 - 11: 4 spots
October 25 - Nov 1: 4 spots

Bear Claw Lodge

  • A river that can produce some of the largest steelhead in the world
  • Really nice accommodations and meals
  • Great double occupancy rooms with limited single room upgrades available
  • Attentive guides and great instruction
  • A wide variety of water on three rivers
  • On the high end of the price spectrum

Open Dates:

August 29 - September 5: 6 spots
September 26 - October 3: 2 spots (this year only)
October 3 - 10: 8 spots
October 10 - 17: 4 spots
October 17 - 24: 4 spots
October 24 - 31: 8 spots

Skeena River Lodge

  • A good mix of both larger fish and numbers of fish
  • Really nice accommodations and meals
  • Private rooms for all guests
  • Attentive guides and great instruction
  • A wide variety of water, species and a long season
  • On the medium to high end of the price spectrum

Open Dates:

August 18 - 25: 6 spots
August 25 - September 1: 1 spot
September 8 - 15: 2 spots
September 15 - 22: 2 spots
September 22 - 29: 3 spots
September 29 - October 6: 4 spots
October 6 - 13: 4 spots

Steelhead Valhalla

  • A great big fish destination with modest catch rates
  • A combination of double and single accommodations
  • A scenic wilderness venue with limited competition
  • On the medium to high end of the price spectrum with very limited openings

Open Dates:

October 6 - 13: 3 spots
October 13 - 20: 3 spots

Babine Norlakes

  • A good mix of both larger fish and numbers of fish
  • Simple accommodations and good meals
  • Best for semi-self-reliant anglers 
  • Fairly challenging wading 
  • Highly sought after program with limited space 

Open Dates:

October 5 - 12, 1 spot
October 26 - November 1: 1 spot

Let's Get You Ready to Travel to BC

Our British Columbia Destination Manager is Ken Morrish