The River

The Bulkley River has one of the largest, if not the largest wild Steelhead runs in the world. The river is blessed with over ninety miles of classic fly water.


The Season

Primetime for Steelhead is late August to the middle of November


The Fish

Steelhead from 5 to 30 pounds... These wild fish are well known for attacking surface presentations throughout the season.


The Lodge

The Bulkley River Lodge is on a remote section of one of the best Steelhead rivers on the planet located within the traditional Wet'suwet'en Territory. River-front access and no neighbors are great assets for a fishing lodge.

About Fishing in The Bulkley Valley

The steelhead of the Bulkley River are renowned for their aggressive nature, they also show a very curious side as well. These tendencies give anglers the chance to present a great number of flies to the fish from big intruder style patterns in large runs to more pleasurable and exciting surface skating action in defined riffles. No one forgets their first steelhead, breaking the surface and attacking their fly. 

All of this great fly angling fun takes place on the beautiful Bulkley River which is a special place. The river shows itself in many different ways as it leaves the mountains and cuts through the boreal forest and Bulkley Valley headed to the Skeena River, and eventually the sea. Anglers at Bulkley River Lodge can expect steelhead and to wade some of the best swinging water anywhere in the world!

The majority of anglers who fish with us on the Bulkley are now using double handed (spey) rods exclusively. Limited back casting room, increased distance and efficiency are the main advantages here. These rods need little, if any, back casting space and are designed to cast 80' with little effort. If you have not used one we highly recommend LEARNING BEFORE YOU COME, so you are not learning on the river instead of fishing. This being said our guides are some of the best instructors around. We teach rank amateurs on a regular basis and tune up the best casters, minimizing effort and maximizing distance.

In the early season, when water temperatures are warm, there is little need for heavy sinking tips. On the contrary, a dry line and dry fly regularly out fish sunken flies at this time of year. There is nothing like swinging skating flies on the surface for large fresh fish. Boiling a fish half a dozen times before you see it jump on your dry fly is a common occurrence when water temps are still high from summer sun.

As the season progresses water temperatures cool, and fish become less interested with the surface. At this time of year sink tips, type 3, 6 and 8, become more effective. Sunken flies, mostly large streamer patterns, are the most effective tool to get the job done. Leaves are turning, the scenery is stunning, and fresh fish are arriving daily.

Nearing the end of October, the leaves have mostly fallen. Snow is on the horizon, or we have already seen a dusting, but the biggest fish are just showing up. The average size of fish gets larger the later you go into the season, with some of the biggest fish showing up at the end of the season. Here heavy sink tips are a must, with a variety of patterns working. Large string leaches to small classic patterns work, it's just a matter of finding out what the fish want to eat.

Our daily itinerary:

  • Friendly wake-up call with tea or coffee first thing in the morning.
  • Guests congregate in the main lodge to a great hot breakfast before the day’s fishing.
  • Then to the dry room, where all the wet gear from the day before has been drying overnight. Get into waders and boots and collect the rods.
  • From here it's either to one of two jet boats parked in front of the lodge, or to a vehicle to shuttle to a different part of the river where there are either jet boats or rafts waiting.
  • We limit two anglers to one guide to maximize the fishing experience. All the fishing is done by either floating certain sections in rafts or using jet boats. We mostly walk and wade but there are times when fishing out of the boat is an advantage.
  • A great hot lunch, including soup every day, is sent with each guide in the morning.
  • After the day it's back to the lodge to dry out. Cold beer or cocktails as you step out of the boat or vehicle, then to the dry room to put everything away.
  • Dinner is usually late, between 7 and 8 daily. You will soon realize that you are eating at the best restaurant within 500 miles of Smithers. The food at Bulkley River Lodge is regularly excellent and sometimes unbelievable.
  • The day usually ends in front of the fire on the leather couches or bugging the guides in the back room. In both places you will hear great stories from the day’s events. The main difference would be the lies and exaggeration in the front room versus the hard truth and laughter in the back - you can make the choice.


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