Steelhead, Summer Steelhead
Destination Type
Fishing Style
Spey, Wading
September - October
Fishing Days
Why We Go
  • Fish one of BC's most prolific trophy wild steelhead rivers with both dry line and sink tip tactics.
  • Enjoy unpretentious yet comfortable accommodations built for serious anglers.
  • Take advantage of a semi-guided program where anglers can work key runs in relative solitude.
  • Fish challenging and interesting water that invariably holds some of the largest steelhead in the world.
  • Fish with highly experienced guides on multiple beats of the Babine which is arguably the most sought-after river in the Skeena system.

Located on the clear-flowing upper reaches of the famed Babine River, Billy LaBonte's Babine Norlakes Lodge is a simple, classic, comfortable fly fishing camp for the serious steelhead fly angler. With one of the longest seasons of any BC steelhead camp, Babine Norlakes takes pride in providing a world-class fly fishing vacation for skilled, somewhat self-sufficient steelhead fly fishers.

With a range of 17 fishable miles, anglers fish the river’s prime holding water before returning to camp for drinks, a hearty meal, and a roaring bonfire. While all anglers will have the opportunity to fish the lodge’s lower satellite waters, three anglers, through a random drawing, will get to spend two full days on these waters with an overnight at the cozy, four-person satellite camp.

Babine Norlakes is one of the most productive operations on the Babine River and has built its reputation on excellent fishing, making it an enduring favorite for serious anglers keen on sliding trophy BC steelhead into the net.

Fishing Program

Steelhead anglers will be transported up and down the river via jet boat. Typically there will be one guide for every three to four anglers and guests will rotate guides and boats throughout the trip. Anglers will be dropped solo or in tandem at prime steelhead runs to fish freely. As a result, anglers must be prepared to fish alone and should request a detailed briefing of the particular pool, its high-percentage water, the most appropriate sink tip, etc. as well as an estimate of how much time will be spent at each run in order to manage time and tactics appropriately.

Anglers visiting the Babine river before mid-October will find it handy to have both a dry fly and sink tip rod rigged at all times as many holes will be well suited to two passes with differing techniques. All Babine steelhead are wild and must be released unharmed as quickly as possible. Babine Norlakes employs a Keep 'Em Wet policy, which encourages anglers to never lift the steelhead’s head out of the water.

Early in the week, three anglers will be selected by random drawing to spend two days fly fishing the lower “satellite” waters and spend one night at a simple cabin situated on prime steelhead water. Regardless of being selected in this drawing, all anglers will have the chance to fly fish these lower waters at least once during their stay.


Babine Norlakes Steelhead Camp is tucked into the trees on the bank of the remote upper reaches of the Babine River. Anglers share five cabins that sleep two guests each and one cabin that sleeps three. Each cabin has 24-hour light, heat, bedding, ample storage space, and filtered drinking water. The lodge has four separate outhouses and a separate shower building with two oversized shower stalls and ample high-pressure hot water.

After breakfast anglers will pack their own lunches. Lunch normally includes delicious homemade soups and stews. Fresh pastries and homemade sandwiches are also provided, along with a thermos of the beverage of your choice. With lunches prepared in advance, no fishing time is lost coming back to camp to eat or waiting for streamside preparation. Evening campfires are a tradition here—if you are a musician, consider bringing your instrument!

Babine Norlakes Lodge is a modest, yet by no means “roughing it” destination with cozy rooms, delicious meals, and welcoming hosts.


Day 1: Arrive Smithers, BC and overnight (hotel not included in package price).

Day 2: Travel to lodge early via van and jet boat and fish full day.

Days 3 - 7: Full days of guided fly fishing on the Babine River via jet boat for trophy steelhead.

Day 8: Fish a half-day in the morning and transfer to Smithers in the afternoon. Overnight in Smithers or continue home.

Rates & Details

2024 Rate: Per person based on double occupancy

  • 6 night/6½ day package: $7,995

Included: Accommodations and meals at the lodge, round-trip transfers between Smithers and the lodge, guiding, $250 contribution to the Babine River Foundation, BC taxes

Not Included: Airfare, accommodations and meals in Smithers, alcohol, BC fishing licenses, tackle, staff and guide gratuities

Species: Steelhead

Season: September - November

Capacity: 12 anglers

Fly Water Q&A

Who is best suited to this destination? This trip is best suited to serious and somewhat self-sufficient anglers that enjoy challenging Spey fishing and the chance at large wild fish. This is fun, personal camp, where campfires hold more weight than white tablecloths.

Where is the lodge? The lodge is located on the Babine River roughly three miles beneath the outlet of Lake Babine. It takes guests about an hour and 45 minutes to reach the river by vehicle from Smithers.

How do I get there? To get to Babine Norlakes, guests will need to arrange flights to Smithers, BC which will require initially flying to Vancouver, BC. Overnight in Smithers at a hotel of your choosing. The following morning a lodge representative will pick you up and transfer you 1 hour and 45 minutes to the Babine weir where you will get in boats and head three miles downstream to the lodge. On arrival, you will fish a full day with guides.

When should I go? Early September through early November.

How will I fish? All fishing revolves around swinging flies while wading. Spey rods are by far the most popular and both floating and sink tip lines are employed. No fishing is ever done from the boat. Guests are often dropped at runs to fish on their own and the guide will move you around from run to run, as needed. They will also give you detailed descriptions as to how best fish each piece of water. Typically a guide will take either three or four anglers. Early in the week three anglers will be selected by random drawing to spend two days fly fishing the lower “satellite” waters and spend one night at a simple cabin situated on prime steelhead water. Regardless of being selected in this drawing, all anglers will have the chance to fly fish these lower waters at least once during their stay.

Is there wade fishing? All fishing is done while wading. Boats are used only for transport.

Where do they fish? Guests will fish what is considered the upper reaches of the Babine. The vast majority of their water is beneath the weir. All total guests will have access to roughly 17 miles of very productive water.

How long does it take to reach the fishing grounds? The lodge has a great home pool and there are lots of good runs less than 5 minutes from camp. The longest runs are to the lower satellite waters near Beaver Flats. It takes about 35 minutes to get down there and each guest will fish at least one day down there.

What type of fish will I catch? Wild summer steelhead and maybe the occasional Dolly Varden, rainbow trout, pink salmon, chinook salmon and or coho salmon.

How many fish will I catch? The nature of swinging flies for any anadromous fish is that there is a lot of variation in catch rates, and few anglers return home complaining about having caught too many. That said, we feel that guests should go into the trip with the expectation that hooking 2-3 fish per day is a great trip.

Will I see other anglers? Yes, you will see other anglers on the water. There is another lodge several miles downstream and there are also some freelance anglers.

What are the guides like? The guides are full-time professional fish hunters. Given variations in personality, the guides all do their best to put their clients onto the best water at the best times. They are highly skilled and held in high regard by the steelheading community.

What are the physical demands? While not strenuous, guests need to be able to wade all day and climb safely in and out of jet boats. The wading is fairly difficult by BC standards and might rank 6.5-8 on a scale of 10.

Are there special skills required? The ability to cast a spey rod with sink-tips is important as are decent wading skills. Guests are best served by a willingness to fish confidently on their own with somewhat limited guidance.

Does the lodge provide equipment? The lodge has a small “pro-shop" that has fly lines, running line, flies, leaders, tippet, nippers, etc., and a small selection of sink tips. They also have a large selection of Patagonia warm layering pieces, gloves, beanies, and wading jackets, all at normal retail cost. They have a few Winston spey rods for use if an angler wants to try it but they do not normally lend gear without prior arrangement. The lodges does not sell rods, reels, or waders. Flies can be purchased on-site and at times guides might pull something special out of their boxes for guests to use.

What is your favorite setup for the trip? The staples are 7 and 8-weight Spey rods ranging from 12 to 14-feet in length. We encourage guests to string up two rods so that they able to fish a floating line or a sink-tip throughout the day.

What are the top flies? 2.5-3.5 inch tube flies and intruders/trailer hook flies are popular in black, black and blue, purple, and pink as are a host of other steelhead patterns. The Babine is sort of snaggy/grabby so the guides often prefer unweighted flies as they snag far less. The lodge does not allow Egg patterns, excessively long trailer hooks, or gear.

What are the options if water conditions become challenging? The Babine like most rivers can go out and guests may have to fish in less than ideal conditions. With that said the uppermost reaches of the camps waters tend to stay clear so guests will be able to rotate through those waters, but not all guests will fish those waters at once.

What is a typical day like? The guides like to be on the water early so guests should plan to be up early. After a full hot breakfast, guests will pile into jet boats. Lunch will be served streamside and folks will get back to the lodge in time for a pre-dinner cocktail. Coffee is ready by 6 AM, breakfast is at 7 AM, appetizers at 6 PM, and dinner served at 7 PM.

What is the general vibe, atmosphere and style of the lodge? This lodge is casual, friendly, and professional. It tends to have guests that are skilled yet lack pretence. It is an ideal steelhead camp but not a fancy camp. If you like good folks, great conversation around a campfire, and can appreciate an old-school outhouse, nothing could be better.

Is there an on-site manager, owner or point person at the lodge? Yes, Billy Labonte the owner and head guide is always on-site. He can help you with whatever you need.

Where do we eat and what are the meals like? Meals at Norlakes are tailored around the fishing program. Breakfast is a hearty family-style affair with locally roasted freshly brewed coffee. Dinner is plated service and features locally sourced, and fresh ingredients all prepared by our in house chef. Main courses feature AAA Canadian beef, locally raised pork, free-range chicken, and sustainable seafood. Desserts including cheesecake, tortes, pie, and crème brûlée top it off and all meals are served at their large dining tables in the lodge. Lunches are served streamside and tend to include hot soup or stew, fresh sandwiches, and pastries.

What is the alcohol policy? The lodge does not have a liquor license and cannot sell alcohol. Please bring whatever alcohol you would like for the week. Please pick up your alcohol in Smithers or contact Fly Water with an order that we can forward to the lodge expeditor. Orders will be paid for at the end of your stay.

Where do we stay and what are the accommodations like? Babine Norlakes Steelhead Camp is set very near the bank of the remote upper reaches of the Babine River. Anglers share five cabins that sleep two guests each and one cabin sleeps three. Each cabin has 24-hour power, lights, heat, bedding, ample storage space, and filtered drinking water. The lodge has a separate shower building with two oversized shower stalls and ample hot, high-pressure water. To the rear of the cabins are four outhouses.

Is there internet and cell service? They have satellite Wi-Fi internet, although it is spotty and not always reliable. A satellite phone is available in case of emergencies. There is no cell service at the lodge.

Are there other activities? No.

Are there any other expenses? On top of the package price guests are expected to pay for fishing licenses, satellite phone charges, alcohol, pro shop purchases, and gratuities.

Do I need a Visa? Guests do not need a visa but will need a valid passport.

Are there health concerns, dangers or annoyances? Jet boating and wading all come with some risk but they are negligible. There is a healthy grizzly bear and moose population in the area, but there have been very few dangerous incidents.

What is the cost? Please visit the following page for the most current rate: https://www.flywatertravel.com/destination/BabineNorlakesSteelheadCamp

What is the cancellation policy? In the event a cancellation is necessary all deposits will be non-refundable unless a suitable replacement is found.

Do I need trip insurance? Trip cancellation insurance is strongly recommended.

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