Steelhead, Summer Steelhead, King Salmon
Destination Type
Fishing Style
Spey, Wading
June - September
Fishing Days
Why We Go
  • Fish for the freshest, hottest and hardest-to-land anadromous fish in the world as they travel the lower two miles of the Dean River.
  • Enjoy a remarkable wilderness setting and the most stunning scenery in BC.
  • Fish prime runs, at times in solitude, as thevguide rotates and shuttles guests around.
  • Eat delicious meals prepared by a top-quality chef and enjoy comfortable cabin accommodations with private bathrooms.
  • Take advantage of easy transfers from Vancouver, minimizing travel time.

Jeff and Kathryn Hickman’s Kimsquit Bay Lodge (formerly Blackwell’s) is the only lodge that concentrates exclusively on the lower Dean River beneath the falls. Here, anglers stake out the best runs on the lower two miles of river and successfully target the brightest and hardest to handle steelhead and kings in the world. If anglers are looking for a chance to tangle with sea-liced fish fresh from the salt, and are excited about hooking fish that might leave them shaking and beaten, this is the place. In June anglers target the river’s supercharged kings and as July progresses the ratio shifts to primarily steelhead. With knowledgeable guides and some of the most spectacular scenery in the world, this is a one-of-a-kind angling experience.

Fishing Program

Guests at Kimsquit Bay Lodge fish three per guide. Guests move about in modern aluminum Dean River style boats with new 40-horsepower jet drive motors. The boats are very comfortable and throw a minimal wake; low sides and shallow draft make getting in and out easy. Anglers are guided in legendary runs with names like Instant Backing, Archaeological, Sub-Tidal, Ross Island, Eagle’s Nest, and the Cutbank. These are all great swing runs and hold tremendous potential for hooking what many consider to be the hottest anadromous fish in the world. The lodge fishes a standard 8:00 AM to 5:30 PM schedule with lunch served on the river.

Kimsquit Bay Lodge is strictly catch and release. They encourage anglers to handle all fish with care. They use soft mesh landing nets whenever possible and do their best to keep the fish wet and in the water.


Kimsquit Bay Lodge sits nestled in the trees, perched above the turquoise waters of Kimsquit Bay. It has a comfortable, intimate family feel. The lodge offers sweeping views of glaciated, snow-capped mountains rising high above the salt chuck Dean Channel. Guest cabins are double occupancy, complete with an ensuite bathroom and flushing toilet. The home-style dining room and comfortable lounge will make guests feel like they are in their own cabin, a home away from home, where the conversation flows over delicious meals.


Day 1: Arrive to Vancouver, transfer to float plane terminal, and fly two hours into the lodge.

Day 2 - 7: Six full days of guided fishing.

Day 8: Unguided walk and wade fishing or enjoy other activities. Depart for Vancouver late afternoon and continue home or overnight in Vancouver.

Rates & Details

2024 Rates: Per person based on double occupancy

  • June 14-28: 7 night/6½ day package: $8,318 plus $1,000 round trip charter flight
  • June 28 - July 5: 7 night/6½ day package: $8,843 plus $1,00 round trip charter flight
  • July 5 - August 16: 7 night/6½ day package: $9,368 plus $1,000 round trip charter flight

Included: Accommodations, meals and beverages including limited beer, wine and alcohol at the lodge, air charter between Smithers and the lodge, guiding, BC taxes.

Not Included: Airfare to/from Smithers, accommodations, meals and drinks in Vancouver and Smithers, BC fishing licenses, flies, staff and guide gratuities.

Species: Summer steelhead, chinook salmon

Season: Mid-June - August

Capacity: 6 anglers

Fly Water Q&A

Who is best suited to this destination? Any committed steelheader or king salmon angler who likes to pursue fresh fish traveling near the salt will enjoy this destination. The fish are high spirited and strong, and will put anglers to the test; landing every hooked fish is unlikely. This is a place, however, where guests will enjoy time off the water at the lodge as much as they will enjoy time on the water, easing the blow of a fish that dodged the net.  

Where is the lodge? Kimsquit Bay Lodge overlooks the tidewater of B.C.’s famous Dean River. The Dean River is located roughly 50-miles north of Bella Coola, B.C.

How do I get there? Guests will fly to Vancouver B.C. and then take a two-hour floatplane directly to the lodge. This can be done without overnighting in most cases. 

When should I go? If Anglers make it into the schedule, they are encouraged to visit! This is a hard lodge to get into and their season runs from mid-June through September. Prime Steelhead dates are in July and fishing after mid-August focuses primarily on coho salmon. 

How will I fish? Anglers will fish three per guide and move about the lower river by jetboat. Guests will be dropped at key runs, often to fish in relative solitude. All fishing will be done while wading and swinging flies down and across, primarily with Spey rods, floating Scandi lines, and Skagit lines with sink tips. Typically guests will be targeting traveling fish, which is a unique opportunity that differs from targeting holding fish. 

Is there wade fishing? All fishing will be done while wading.

Where will I fish? The lodge fishes what is considered the lower Dean River, meaning the two miles of the river beneath the falls. This section has roughly twelve prime runs that new fish can enter at any time. In late August and September, the lodge also fishes a number of very scenic and relatively unknown tributaries of the Dean Channel for coho salmon. 

How long does it take to reach the fishing grounds? Guests will drive in side-by-side UTV's for roughly five minutes to reach the boats and once the river is reached, run times are less than 10 minutes. 

What type(s) of fish will I catch? Guests focus on fishing for king salmon in June. In early July there is a nice mix of kings and steelhead. From mid-July through mid-August folks will target steelhead and after mid-August, the emphasis will shift towards coho salmon, many of which are very large and extremely strong. 

How many fish will I catch? Steelhead catch rates vary from week to week and from year to year. If folks can get a fish a day that should be seen as very acceptable and if folks get two or more fish a day that should be considered excellent.

Will I see other anglers? While the Dean River is remote, it receives a fair amount of pressure. There is one other lodge on the lower river as well as campers. With that said, Kimsquit's schedule minimizes the amount of time when they are competing with the other lodge for prime runs.

What are the guides like? The guide team is made up of seasoned anadromous angling professionals from British Columbia.  They are skilled, patient, and gifted instructors. 

What are the physical demands? The Dean River is a swift river with good-sized rocks and somewhat challenging wading, anglers should also be prepared for climbing in and out of the jetboats throughout the day. 

Are there any special skills required? Good wading and casting skills are useful but not mandatory.

Does the lodge provide equipment? The lodge has a full selection of top-quality loaner Spey rod setups as well as a full selection of loaner lines. The guides will have flies and leader but anglers should bring a dozen of their own flies with size 1 hooks and a spool of 20lb Maxima Ultragreen.

What is your favorite setup for the trip? 12.5- to 13.5-foot 7-weight Spey rods with Skagit heads are the staples.

What are the top flies? Because the steelhead on the Dean River tend to be aggressive, guides tend not to be overly fussed about fly selection. With that said, tube flies and flies with trailing hooks in the 2.5- to 3.5-inch range are popular in black, black and blue, purple, pink, and orange. Dryline anglers have good luck with a wide range of traditional flies in sizes #2-#4.  Also, anglers should be sure to have some large high floating foam skaters.

What are the options if water conditions become challenging? In challenging weather conditions, the only option at this destination is to wait for conditions to change or improve. The Dean River is quite stable with mild weather in the summer and when it does blow out, it clears quickly. 

What is a typical day like?

  • 6:30 AM: Coffee on
  • 7 AM: Breakfast
  • 8 AM: Head out.
  • 12 PM: Lunch delivered to guests on the river
  • 5 PM: Head back to the lodge
  • 7 PM: Dinner

What is the general vibe, atmosphere and style of the lodge? Kimsquit Bay Lodge is a casual, fun-spirited operation where folks like to fish hard and laugh hard. 

Is there an on-site owner, manager or other point-person at the lodge? Owners Jeff and Kathryn Hickman are there to help guests with any questions or concerns that might arise.

Where do we eat, and what are the meals like? Guests enjoy delicious chef-prepared meals in the comfort of the main lodge. Hearty meals are served each night and are complemented by crisp salads, fresh-baked bread and homemade desserts.

What is the alcohol policy? Complimentary wine is served with dinner. Draft craft beer and spirits are also complimentary but at the discretion of the owners. Guests can also bring their own spirits and have wine shipped in with plenty of advance notice.  

Where do we stay, and what are the accommodations like? Kimsquit Bay Lodge sits nestled in the trees, perched above the turquoise waters of Kimsquit Bay. It has a comfortable, intimate family feel. The lodge has sweeping views of glaciated, snow-capped mountains rising high above the Dean Channel. Guest cabins are double occupancy, each with an ensuite bathroom and flushing toilet. The home-style dining room and comfortable lounge is casual and inviting. 

Is there internet and/or cell service? There is Wifi at the main lodge and in the cabins, but there is no cell service. 

Are there other activities? There are no other activities at this location, it is a fishing-centered destination.

Are there any other expenses? Guests will need to pay for their airfare to and from Vancouver, their hotel and meals in Vancouver, flies, fishing licenses, and the guide and staff gratuities.

Do I need a visa? A visa is not required.

Are there any health concerns, dangers or annoyances? Horseflies may appear at times, and they have a painful bite which makes their presence distracting. Bug spray and thick clothing are good methods to keep them at bay. There are inherent risks of wading wild rivers, using floatplanes and jetboats, and fishing in bear country. The guides are knowledgeable and safe in the approach of all of these inherent risks and can review best practices with guests if desired.

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