Feb 5th, 2020
The Kispiox is a steelhead river of subtle moods, endless secrets, and staggering rewards. The family of head guide Jim Allen first homesteaded in the valley four generations ago in 1906. Since that time they have become as much a part of the Kispiox River as the river has become a part of them. When you are with Jim Allen and his crew of talented fly fishing guides, all of whom call the Kispiox River home, you are in very good hands.
Contact Ken at 800.552.2729 for more information on Bear Claw Lodge
Top reasons to go:
1. Fish for some of BC’s largest wild steelhead.
2. Incredible accommodations and meals off the grid in the remote upper reaches of the Kispiox Valley.
3. A great and diverse fishing program that enables access to the Kispiox, Skeena and lower Bulkley.
4. Spend time with multiple generations of the Allen family who have a long and colorful history in the beautiful Kispiox Valley.
5. Fish with highly experienced local guides on multiple beats of the Kispiox which is arguably the most varied and interesting steelhead river in all BC.
Where is the lodge?
The lodge is located in the upper reaches of the Kispiox River valley, approximately 63 KM upstream of the river Confluence with the Skeena in BC.
How do I get there?
To get to Bear Claw Lodge 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 at the airport and transfer you 1 hour and 45 minutes to the lodge. On arrival, you may fish the home waters unguided.
Do I need a Visa?
Guests do not need a visa but will need a valid passport.
When should I go?
Late August through early November.
Where do they fish?
Typically guests will spend four days floating the Kispiox in small rafts, one day jetboating the Skeena and one day jetboating the lower Bulkley.
Where do we stay?
Guests stay in very comfortable double-occupancy rooms with attached bathrooms. There are a limited number of single rooms available on a first-come-first-served basis and an up-charge will apply.
Who is best suited to this destination?
This trip is best suited to anglers that like to swing fish for steelhead and enjoy a casual atmosphere coupled with great meals and accommodations. Due to them offering one guide for every two anglers, it is a great destination for steelheaders of all skill levels and a natural destination for anglers in search of some of the world’s largest wild steelhead.
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 trucks and head to their sections of river. Lunch will be served streamside and folks will get back to the lodge in time for a pre-dinner cocktail. Dinner is typically served around 8PM.
What are the meals like?
Your chefs Kaleigh Allen and Heather Muir are seasoned local professionals. Their food straddles the line between refined a rugged and they are masters at sourcing the finest local ingredients from their gardens and the valley. This includes local fish and game, wild berries, mushrooms and herbs. Here literally everything is homemade with love and then thoughtfully paired.
How would you describe the general vibe and atmosphere?
Despite Bear Claw Lodge’s grand design and remarkable craftsmanship, the lodge has a very casual vibe where all guests are made to feel like personal guests of the relaxed and colorful Allen family. This juxtaposition is one of the things that makes Bear Claw such a special experience.
Is there an on-site manager, owner or point person at the lodge?
Yes, typically the lodge managers Gene and Joy Allen are on-site, and with the exception of one week during the season their son and head guide, Jim Allen is most often at the lodge. Kaleigh Allen, daughter of Gene and Joy is one of the chefs as well as an on-site hostess. Sindee Serle (Joy’s sister) is the on-site gardener, reflexologist and herbologist, and if most often on-site. Shannon Mcphail, daughter of Gene and Joy is the recreation manager and the CEO of Skeena Watershed Conservation Coalition. She fights to keep the Kispiox pristine.
Is there internet and cell service?
Bear Claw Lodge has electricity available 24 hours a day. There is a lodge computer with wireless internet access and a satellite phone is available for guest use (usage not included). There is no cell service at the lodge.
How do they 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. Typically guests will spend four days rafting various sections of the Kispiox and two days trailing jetboats to the Skeena and or lower Bulkley. No fishing is ever done from the boat.
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 1 – 1.5 fish per day is a great trip.
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. This is veteran staff, many of who have dedicated the majority of their working lives to understanding the Kispiox and the surrounding rivers.
Will we see other anglers?
Yes, you will see other anglers on the water. The rivers are fairly accessible to the public but this guide crew has lots of tricks up their sleeves that lead to their guests doing far better than freelance anglers.
Is there wade fishing?
All fishing is done while wading. Boats are used only for transport.
How far is it to the fishing grounds?
At times guests might put-in right in back of the lodge or a short drive away. It takes roughly 40 minutes to get to the lower beat on the Kispiox and over a hour to get to the most distant put-ins on the Bulkley and Skeena.
Does the lodge provide equipment?
The lodge does have loaner gear available free of charge. This includes rods, reels, lines and wading gear.
Does the lodge provide flies?
Yes, flies are included but guests are encouraged to bring their own flies if so desired.
What is your favorite rod(s) 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?
Mid-sized lack and blue tube flies and intruders are popular as are a host of other steelhead patterns.
Are there other activities?
During steelhead season this best thought of as a serious fishing lodge but were there a companion that elected not to fish and they brought along a rental car, there would be some interesting day trips.
What is the cost?
Please visit the following page for the most current rate: https://www.flywatertravel.com/destination/KispioxRiverFishingCompanyBearClawLodge
Are there hidden expenses?
On top of the package price guests are expected to pay for fishing licenses, satellite phone charges, laundry, and gratuities.
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.
Does this trip combine well with other trips?
This trip could combine with additional operations in the Skeena drainage.
Are there special skills required?
The ability to cast a spey rod with sink-tips is helpful as are decent wading skills. Guests are best served by a willingness to fish confidently for long periods in between fish.
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 and rafts. The wading is moderately difficult and might rank 6.5-7.5 on a scale of 10.
Dangers and annoyances?
Rafting, jet boating and wading all come with some risk but they are negligible. There are black bears and the occasional grizzly bear in the area, but they are not a serious concern. Biting insects are rarely an issue and are primarily limited to the summer months.