Steelhead, Summer Steelhead
Destination Type
Fishing Style
Spey, Wading
September - October
Fishing Days
Why We Go
  • Fish the prolific Bulkley and Morice systems with excellent guides
  • Enjoy deluxe single accommodations at the main lodge
  • Experience two distinct lodging and fishing venues on both the Bulkley and Morice rivers
  • Access more than 90 miles of the finest swing water in BC
  • Experience some of the highest catch rates in BC
  • Add on helicopter fly-outs to the upper Copper, upper Skeena and Damdochax rivers

Frontier Steelhead Experience is the gold standard for trophy steelhead fly fishing lodges on BC’s famous Bulkley River. When it comes to great accommodations, gourmet meals, seasoned guides, and a varied fishing program, Frontier Steelhead Experience is without question one of the finest steelhead lodges in British Columbia.

Their week-long programs have two distinct components. First, guests will spend most of their nights in very nice, single-occupancy duplex rooms at the main lodge, focusing on fishing multiple beats of the Bulkley. Second, apart from the first and last weeks of the season, guests will get to spend two nights fishing out of their quaint satellite lodge on the upper Morice.

Guests fish two per guide and jet boats are trailered to various put ins, enabling guests to see a wide variety of water during their week-long trip. For those wanting to pull out all the stops, helicopter day trips into the upper Skeena, upper Copper or Damdochax can be arranged for an additional cost. Guides at Frontier Steelhead Experience are seasoned professionals, most with many years of experience, and spaces at the lodge are hard to come by due to very high rates of returning anglers.

Fishing Program

Frontier Steelhead Experience has a diverse and interesting fishing program focusing on Spey fishing the Bulkley and Morice Rivers. Guests will fish two per guide and they will trailer their jet boats to a wide range of put ins on both the Bulkley and Morice rivers. All fishing will be done using traditional down and across swing fish techniques and all steelhead will be released unharmed. Frontier Steelhead Experience is also a strong advocate for “Keep ‘Em Wet” practices, meaning guests will be strongly encouraged to never lift the fish’s head from the water.

The Bulkley and Morice are both Skeena River tributaries and are considered among the best steelhead fly fishing rivers in the world. From late August through mid-October, they are exceptional dry fly and greased line steelhead fisheries. The Morice, which is in all practical respects the Upper Bulkley, offers easy wading, extremely stable water conditions, and high catch rates by BC standards. As the season progresses and water temperatures drop, steelhead anglers spend more time fishing with sink tips. The steelhead fly fishing can remain excellent through the second week in November and later if water conditions permit. Bulkley River steelhead are known for their willingness to move to a fly and range from 4-24 pounds, with the average steelhead typically weighing around ten pounds. Morice fish, while more numerous, tend to average six pounds and top out at roughly 14 pounds. In both systems all fly fishing is done while wading.


Frontier Steelhead Experience is a beautiful custom-built lodge with private duplex cabins for all guests. The main lodge is a spacious wood frame building with high ceilings, a big fireplace, and numerous dining tables. The lodge also boasts a wader drying room and a hot tub. Meals are of the highest standard and are served with complimentary wine.

The Morice River Lodge is rustic and takes six anglers at a time, with guests sleeping two per cabin. All cabins at the main lodge and at the Morice have private bathrooms. If the Boulder Camp in the lower Bulkley canyon is open to guests, expect rustic accommodations with cots, sleeping bags, a wader drying tent, a cook tent, and an outhouse.


Day 1: Arrive in Smithers and overnight (hotel not included).

Day 2: Travel by vehicle 15 minutes to the lodge and start fishing around noon.

Days 3 - 8: Full days of guided steelhead fishing.

Day 9: Depart lodge for home.

Rates & Details

2023 Rate: Per person based on double occupancy

7 night/6½ day package: $8,480

Included: Accommodations and meals at the lodge, guiding, round-trip transfers between Smithers and lodge, GST, hotel tax, wine, alcohol

Not Included: Airfare, accommodations and meals in Smithers, fishing licenses, staff and guide gratuities, arrival and departure taxes

Species: Steelhead

Season: September - October

Capacity: 12 anglers

Fly Water Q&A

Who is best suited to this destination? Any anglers keen to swing flies for wild steelhead as well as those that like weeks that are not tied to set beat rotations.

Where is the lodge? Frontier Steelhead Experience is located on the Bulkley River roughly 15 minutes upstream from the town of Smithers BC. The Morice outpost lodge is located on the remote upper Morice River, and is only reachable by jetboat.

How do I get there? To get to Frontier Steelhead Experience 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 early and transfer you 15-minutes to the lodge. On arrival, you will fish a full day with guides.

When should I go? Late August 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. Both the Bulkley and Morice fishes very well with skated dries, standard wet flies and larger patterns fished on sink tips. Guides will take two anglers each and move guests between prime run with jetboats. Guests are served well by carrying two rods with them each day. One might be a dry fly set up and the other a tip set up.

Is there wade fishing? Yes, all fishing is done while wading.

Where will I fish? Collectively the Morice and Bulkley rivers have more than 120 miles of fishable water. Frontier Steelhead Lodge has access to all the best waters on both systems, but it takes more than a week to fish it all. With that said, guests will fish multiple beats on both rivers, and it is unusual to fish the same beat twice in a week.

How long does it take to reach the fishing grounds? At times guests might load into boat right in front of the lodge but more often than not you will trailer a jetboat to one of many put-ins. The most distant put-ins on the Bulkley are about 45 minutes away and your longest drive will be just over an hour when heading to your overnights on the Morice.

What type(s) of fish will I catch? Wild summer steelhead and the occasional bull trout or 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 this operation offers a great chance for both large fish and good numbers of fish. On good years/good weeks the lodge often averages more than two fish landed per person per day.

What are the guides like? The guides are full-time professional fish hunters. All are Canadian. They know the rivers intimately and they are excellent boatmen and instructors. Guides at Frontier Steelhead Lodge are very serious about keeping steelhead wet and in the water and will help guests take pictures of their fish without ever lifting them out of the river.

Will I see other anglers? Yes, expect to see other anglers each day but there is never a shortage of quality water. With that said, the lodge mostly works in sections of the river that sees little traffic, such as the Bulkley Canyons and upper Morice.

What are the physical demands? Guests need to be able to wade all day and climb safely in and out of jet boats. The wading is moderately difficult and might rank 6-8 on a scale of 10.

Are there any special skills required? The ability to cast a spey rod with sink-tips is helpful as are respectable wading skills. Guests are well served by a willingness to fish confidently for long periods in between fish, as is common in steelhead fishing.

Does the lodge provide equipment? The lodge has a limited number of loaner rods ad reels for guests to use but guests are encouraged to bring all their own equipment.

What is your favorite setup for the trip? We recommend 7- to 8-weight Spey rods in the 12-to 14-foot range. Having two set ups is nice as one can be rigged with dry, Scandi style head and the other with Skagit head for fishing sink tips.

What are the top flies? Mid-sized black and blue tube flies and intruders are popular as are a host of other steelhead patterns. Many guides prefer unweighted flies as they are much easier to recover from bottom structure. Also be sure to bring some skaters along.

What are the options if water conditions become challenging? In the event of high dirty water, a portion of the guests may be able to move upstream to the upper reaches of the Bulkley or Morice, which are very stable by BC standards.

What is a typical day like? Breakfast will be served early in the main lodge and guests will load into trucks right around sunrise. Lunch will be served streamside. Guests are typically back at the lodge by 6PM and dinner is typically served at 7:30PM.

What is the general vibe, atmosphere, and style of the lodge? While the lodge is very nice, it is also very casual, welcoming and it offers a high level of service.

Is there an on-site owner, manager, or other point-person at the lodge? Yes, owner Derek Botchford is always on-site and willing and able to help in any needed fashion.

Where do we eat, and what are the meals like? Meals are served in the main indoor dining area. All meals are very thoughtfully prepared, plated, and of the highest quality.

What is the alcohol policy? The lodge provides alcoholic beverages, and they are included in your package price. Guests may also bring their own.

Where do we stay, and what are the accommodations like? Frontier Steelhead Experience is a beautiful custom-built lodge with private duplex cabins for all guests. The main lodge is a spacious wood frame building with high ceilings, a big fireplace, and numerous dining tables. The lodge also boasts a wader drying room and a hot tub. Meals are of the highest standard and are served with complimentary wine. The Morice River Lodge is rustic and takes six anglers at a time, with guests sleeping two per cabin. All cabins at the main lodge and at the Morice have private bathrooms.

Is there internet and/or cell service? Frontier Steelhead Experience has wireless broadband internet access, land line phones and reasonable cell. Cell reception is decent on the river except for certain canyon sections. The guides carry satellite phones on all overnight trips to ensure your safety. Morice River Lodge has a satellite phone for emergency use and there is no cell phone reception or Wi-Fi.

Are there other activities? No

Are there any other expenses? Guests will need to pay for their overnight accommodation in Smithers, fishing licenses and gratuities.

Do I need a visa? No

Are there any health concerns, dangers, or annoyances? There are risks associated with jetboating and wading wild rivers, but they are negligible. There are black bears and in rare instances grizzly bears, but they do not pose a significant risk.

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