Jul 6th, 2017
We’re often surprised that more of our die-hard steelhead anglers aren’t aware of the spring season in British Columbia. If your steelhead fly fishing journey has taken you into the winter season here in the lower 48, we feel that a trip to the Terrace, BC area in March or April should definitely be on your radar. The fish are big and bright, they hold in shallow water and at times they even eat dries!
To learn more about Spring Steelheading or look into availability please call Charles Gehr: 800-552-2729
Expert Q&A with Charles Gehr
Where are the lodges?
The lodges that target spring steelhead are centered around Terrace, BC on the lower reaches of the Skeena River.
How do I get there?
Guests fly to Terrace from Vancouver, BC. A lodge representative will pick you up at the airport and transfer you to your chosen lodge.
When should I go?
March and April are the best months.
Where do they fish?
Spring steelhead are present in the main stem Skeena River and tributaries like the Copper River and Kalum. Regional outfitters also like to fish the Kitimat which is one system south of the Skeena.
Who is best suited to this destination?
Steelhead anglers that want to fish hard for a moderate number of real high quality fish. It is also a great option for anglers that want to fish for big BC fish but don’t want to break the bank in doing so.
How do they fish?
Anglers swing flies, usually with spey rods. Skagit lines are used along with light sink tips like Type 3 or 6 and unweighted flies. Sometimes dry lines and dry flies can very effective as well.
What fish will I catch?
Spring-run steelhead and the occasional bull trout. The steelhead are typically bright and tend to be large on average. Fish in the 12 – 15 lb. range are most common and 20 – 30 lb. bruisers are landed by anglers every year.
How many fish will I catch?
Most years anglers can expect to hook 1 to 1.5 fish per day. With that said, the spring fishery seems to vary a fair bit from year to year with really good years and fairly poor years often following one another in an unpredictable fashion.
What are the water conditions like?
The Skeena River tributaries are typically low and clear in March and April but this can vary depending on snow pack and how quickly spring runoff sets in. The Skeena tends to fish well in March and typically blows out about mid April. When the Skeena goes out anglers spend more time on the Kitimat and other tributaries which tend to be best from mid to late April.
Will we see other anglers?
Yes, you will see other anglers on all the systems.
Is there wade fishing?
All fishing is done while wading. Runs are accessed by either raft or jet boat, depending on the river.
How long does it take to reach the fishing grounds?
In most cases your drive to the boat ramp will be within 45 minutes of the lodge. The Kitimat takes a bit longer.
What are the guides like?
Guides that work the spring season in Skeena country are dedicated steelhead guides and anglers. They are professional and highly skilled and very excited by every fish their guests land.
Do the lodges provide equipment?
While we encourage anglers to bring their own gear, most lodges are prepared to provide spey rods, reels and lines with advance notice. Guests should always bring their own waders and boots.
What is your favorite rod(s) for the trip?
I use a 7-weight spey rod in the 13′ – 13’6″ range for most of my fishing. I always have a second rod ready with a floating line as there are almost always opportunities to use it each week. I also bring an 8-weight spey rod for times when the wind kicks up.
What are the physical demands?
Guests should be prepared to do all their fishing while wading. In most cases the wading is not difficult or deep, though there are some rivers where large rocks makes the wading somewhat challenging.
Dangers and annoyances?
March and April in the Terrace area can be cold and wet! Bring lots of layers and the best rain coat you have. This is a great trip for bootfoot waders.