Bella Coola salmon fishing - Spey Pages
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-26-2019, 09:31 PM Thread Starter
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Bella Coola salmon fishing

Can anyone offer any advice or share any stories regarding Chinook/King salmon or other fishing around Bella Coola BC?
I'm not really looking for Dean river info (too famous and$$$ for me). I'm hoping for waters less traveled and a chance at a decent fish for my summer trip. Ideally I'd do a couple guided days and then diy days in my own catchercraft.
My interest stems from wanting to swing for Kings somewhere remote like Alaska but not having the moolah.
Thanks for any pointers.
P.s. I'm also open to finding other folks intersted in this adventure, (or similar) I'm currently a party of one and will be departing from Calgary when the time comes.
Cheers!
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-26-2019, 11:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Lief Roebuck View Post
Can anyone offer any advice or share any stories regarding Chinook/King salmon or other fishing around Bella Coola BC?
I'm not really looking for Dean river info (too famous and$$$ for me). I'm hoping for waters less traveled and a chance at a decent fish for my summer trip. Ideally I'd do a couple guided days and then diy days in my own catchercraft.
My interest stems from wanting to swing for Kings somewhere remote like Alaska but not having the moolah.
Thanks for any pointers.
P.s. I'm also open to finding other folks intersted in this adventure, (or similar) I'm currently a party of one and will be departing from Calgary when the time comes.
Cheers!
All i know is bring a ton of bear spray
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-28-2019, 08:47 AM
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Lief,

I don't have anything to offer on fishing Bella Coola for Chinook. But I did talk extensively about the river with a gentleman while traveling north in BC last year (while delivering a boat he bought) on the pink, coho and SRC fishing available there. It sounds like it can be quite good...enough to justify the long, winding (and potentially dangerous road) to get there. I'm not sure for what or when I'd most want to go but I echo what was mentioned above...beware of bears. There is quite a bit access for doing DIY drifts but you have to do some research as some goes through First Nation land and there are sections that require more skills to navigate. I am sure there are guides in the area but we never talked of them in particular.

Best of luck with your two new boats you bought. And I admit, your Chevy is better than Ken's Ford when it comes to snow.
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 03-02-2019, 07:38 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the info Catcherman. I figured calling around Bella Coola would be my best bet for info but you never know where the speypagers have gone before.
I haven't had the chance to try out the boats yet. The water was too low on Vancouver island and its frozen over here in Calgary.
It may be some consolation to Ken and his Ford that my Chevy was wearing brand new winter/snow tires. They're the ticket up here in Canada for about 5 months of the year!
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 03-04-2019, 04:52 PM
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A worthwhile read on the Bella Coola is "River of the Angry Moon-Seasons on the Bella Coola" by Mark Hume (1998).
Bryan
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 03-05-2019, 01:02 PM
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The Bella Coola River is opaque off white color in the summer from glacial flour. Last time I was there I talked with a fellow who fished for salmon, but the technique was to floss or snag them with conventional casting gear. The visibility in the water is so poor that I think the odds of a fish grabbing an artificial lure or fly is very low, and I fish for steelhead in some pretty turbid water. I've heard that some anglers go there in the spring, late April and early May before the runoff, when the river is clear, and the sea run cutthroat fishing is extremely good. The cutthroat feast on pink salmon fry as they migrate downstream.
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 03-05-2019, 08:24 PM
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I've never fished the Bella Coola but hiked up into the lakes of tweedsmuir's Turner Lake Chain for canoeing passing the Atnarko which is a major trib. The BC is chalky whereas the Atnarko is clear. On the way out we saw big pods of Chinooks in the tailouts.

The Turner Lake Chain has fantastic cutthroat trout fishing. All imported back in the day apparently by Ralph Edwards aka The Man from Lonesome Lake who portaged in pairs of cutties in boxes full of water on horses. Ralph (an American) went on to study the trumpeter swans and won an Order of Canada.

On the trail we met his son. He told us countless stories of growing up in south tweedsmuir including being stalked and almost killed by a cougar in winter.

Anyways, my point is maybe check out the Atnarko. It's beautiful country.
...and yes the Atnarko has the highest density of Grizzlies in the world so be smart.

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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 03-10-2019, 11:29 PM
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I think it is worth checking out. Lots of species in the river. My 11 year old son caught a nice chum down low in glacial BC last August swinging. Saw Chinooks in the Atnarko while swinging streamers and floating dry flies for small 'bows. Rivers are closed for steelhead. Could get info from the local mercantile in Hagensborg. Beautiful area for a trip. Everything mentioned above is pretty accurate. Did see one young Grizzlie while fishing who was a little early for the big pink run when most of the bears hit the river.
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