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Discussion Starter #1
Hi everyone - I'm doing a B.C. trip with my wife next September where we'll be site seeing and hiking in the National Parks and the mountains from Calgary out to the coast (not a fishing trip). Just so happens I'll be in Smithers for a couple nights. I've never been there before but I'm a steelhead enthusiast so needless to say I'm looking forward to seeing it in person and hopefully getting a short session on the river swinging flies.

Here's my question: Is there an obvious spot or two that a guy could just walk down and fish a run for a couple hours (assuming good flows/water clarity etc), or is a boat absolutely essential in order to fish the river?

Thanks,
Peter
 

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Google Earth is your friend. There places where you can park your car a few steps from fish producing runs.

Ian
 

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I might go by Oscar's in Smithers. A nice fly shop if you are not familiar with it and they might point you to a few spots that are walk/wade friendly. I have not fished the Bulkley yet, but the folks at Oscar's have always been friendly and helpful when I have visited.
 

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The Skeena in the fall
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You can always drive to the Walcott walking bridge, the bridge at Quick, and just above the town of Telkwa on the west side.
Easy places to find on Google and you can wade to your hearts content.
 

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Don't forget Trout Creek, just 10 minutes north from Smithers. Just follow the Yellowhead to Terrace and you cannot miss it.
But do realize that easy walk in spots are often very crowded!

Have fun!
 

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I've only fished the Bulkley once, walk-in access isn't bad - but I'd second that it's crowded. More than enough for just a casual couple of hours though I reckon.

If you're really pushed for time, there's the town bridge in Smithers. That really does get crowded though.

If you had more time, say a day to fish, I'd head up the Morice. It has more and easier access in my limited opinion. Easy to figure out where you can get in too.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks for all the replies! This is great information. I'll definitely plan to stop in to a local shop and buy some flies and get the report. Just nice to know that if I bring a spey rod, waders, wading boots and equipment a couple thousand miles I'll have a place to wet a line :)

Understandably the river will be busy at these easy access spots but just out of curiosity - what is the definition of "busy" up there? We talking Russian River in prime sockeye season shoulder to shoulder combat style no way are you going to step down a run? Or more like Olympic Peninsula there's people and boats floating by but you can find water if you try?

One more question, I was planning to just bring one rod, a 12'-6" 7 wt with a few heads and tips to T-14. Good enough?
 

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The Skeena in the fall
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Many may suggest your rod is fine. I fish the Bulkley and Skeena with a 14 ‘ #9. I fish dry with a #9/10 75’ Carron and wet with a Rio 40’ Scandi with 10’ tip 6 ips. It’s a big river and a chance for a 40” steelhead. Don’t go with small tackle.
 

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There will be people and boats on the river but think you should be able to find some water with out standing in line. McBikes in Smithers may have rental pontoon so you could do a float through Smithers from highway bridge,boat launch on east side of town to the park on west side and there is a cab company to get you back to vehicle. Just another option and opens up some more water and both sides of river. I have done floats with a water master and used cabs to get back to vehicle, just call before you start and ask if they will pick you up from river so they don,t think your a prank call .Floated from Quick to Telkwa one day and Telkwa to Smithers next day few years ago and worked fine. Daryl
 

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One more question, I was planning to just bring one rod, a 12'-6" 7 wt with a few heads and tips to T-14. Good enough?
The better the fishing, the busier it will be... I think September is more popular than October (when I went) so I can't really help with that.

I did pretty much all my fishing with a 12ft 6in 7wt and didn't have any trouble (I took a new 8wt that I couldn't get on with). Didn't have any trouble with the 10-12lb fish we got into so you should be fine, if you're prepared to bend the rod like a hula-hoop if you hook into a big one. (That's what warranties are for, right?)

I guess if you've got an 8wt you could take instead as your one rod, I would, but if you haven't I wouldn't worry about it too much - especially as you're sneaking out to fish for a few hours rather than hitting it for a week.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks everyone! I appreciate all of the first hand knowledge. It's still preliminary but I think I will be there the 27th-28th of September so it sounds like that's a decent time to be on the river. I'll plan to just do some wading unless my wife wants to rent a boat and do a float one day with the taxi shuttle idea. Is the rowing easy? I own a drift boat and would call myself competent on the oars but I'm no expert.

I don't own an 8 weight because I'd never use it on my local water where the steelhead max out around 8 lbs and casting distances and water depths are limited. I hope to get a 13'-6" for 8 someday for fishing out west but it would be nice if I could get by on this brief trip with just the 7 weight, which it sounds like is possible.

If I'm lucky enough to tangle with a 3 salt fish I guess I'll just bend it to the cork and pray!
 

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The Skeena in the fall
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If I'm lucky enough to tangle with a 3 salt fish I guess I'll just bend it to the cork and pray!

You can use any rod and reel to get the fly out on the water.
If you are fortunate enough to hook a fish please remember it's about landing a fish quickly and releasing it quickly.
Not good to beat up a rare and decreasing number of large fish by playing them off the reel with a noodle of a rod.
Of course you can do it and many do but every year we have less to fish for and as fly fishermen we shouldn't add to the problem.
 

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I think your rod and line set up is just fine. My go to, every day rod is 13' 4" and 7 wt. I take and use a floating line and a reel equipped with a Skagit head and type III and VI sink tips for potential adverse water conditions. While large flies are popular, I recommend having and using some size 6 and 8 in your box as well.

In the event of a large fish, just pull hard. I've yet to feel handicapped while fishing the 7 wt. I have friends who fish single hand 8 wt bamboo rods for Kispiox fish. They too know that you just have to pull hard when playing larger fish.
 

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You are fine with a 12+ foot 7 weight, and I second the guidance to fight a good fish hard and get them back to swimming as fast as possible. Many anglers fish the Bulkley with a lot less and do fine. If you were headed to another river I might give you different counsel. PM me if you want a (not secret) spot or two. The float is very pleasant but also not necessary (you can certainly get less pressure that way but there are a lot of sleds), you can easily fill a day with a rental car or even walk the river. If you want to float, there are also some (a few) stretches where you need to be able to row competently, and they can change based on the most recent flood or water level, so getting local advice is good.
 
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