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Discussion Starter #1
I will have spare time end of June July,Iv heard the lower Dean has good numbers of fish (Steelhead )in the river by July. As Im travelling from Uk I dont want to come till the fishing is good,is June -July good fly fishing for Steelhead. ( When do the Salmon start to arrive ?)
Also access is it possible for me to fish without being in a Lodge or a guide every day. I would like to fly in to the river and stay camping at the river,is this possible & safe,(grizzlys ).If I was to camp out on the lower river will i be able to find pools without a boat. Will the river be crowded with people spinning, or can i find quite pools.
Basically if I flew in and camped will I have enough water to keep me busy ,that I can get access to without a boat,or will i be fishing the same pool day in day out. Also will there be any other fishermen camped out ,small camp site so Im not in solitary.
I fished round Smithers last year awesome,and heard great storys about the Dean,I would love to fish it &cant really afford a Lodge or guide every day. Would me camping out and fishing on my own be a good idea? Basically any help possible BC a long way from my home waters in Scotland.
 

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Dean Options

Yes, you can do all you have planned and your timing is good. Check the regulations, though, and make sure you understand where the fishing boundaries are. Non-residents may not fish above the canyon without a permit, and these permits are available only through a lottery held in the winter or, if you are a guest at a Dean River lodge, from the lodge itself. Anyone may apply for the lottery, and if your plans may include a trip to the Dean in July, August or early September next year, be sure to visit the BC Fisheries web site for details. I don't know if unfilled spots are released after the lottery drawing, but I suspect not. Again, check with Dept of Fisheries.

Below the canyon, though, the water is open to everyone with a steelhead license and stamp and there can be great fishing. The river is accesssible only by boat and plane (charter from Hagensborg (sp?) near Bella Coola), nevertheless, we're talking about only a couple of miles of water here, and it can get crowded.

You can camp various places along the lower river. Grizzlies are abundant in the area, but, as long as they are treated with great respect and circumspection, you shouldn't have any problems with them.

Check the BC regulations at the Cariboo site:

http://www.bcfisheries.gov.bc.ca/rec/fresh/regulations/synopsis.html.

The Dean supports five species of Pacific salmon, besides steelhead and Dolly Varden. Sea run cutthroat trout may also be present. In July, early steelhead, plus late spring Chinook and Sockeye should be present . The Sockeye and Chinook lingering in the lower river would not be quality targets. Some chum salmon might also be available: it would be a bit early for Coho.

There are groups of anglers who go up every year to camp and fish for steelhead on the "lower" Dean. July is a good month to do this, but you won't be alone.

Cheers,

Eric
 

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Addendum

I just went back and reread your original post with the dates you intended to go, and I need to alter my remarks a bit.

In late June and early July, you may find still some good Chinook around. I fished the Dean several times in mid- to late-July and always found the Chinook to be pretty dark, although very willing (to the point of being a real nuisance in some drifts). Don't know about the Sockeye.

Steelhead will just be entering the system and most years there will be fish to fish for in early July.

Again, cheers,

Eric
 

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Fishing the Dean

Scotsman,

If you are targeting Chinook Salmon, your June 20 to July 10 time frame is okay, but if you are targeting steelhead, you might be a little early.

In my opinion, the peak time to fish the lower Dean for steelhead is during the last week of July, or possibly the first week of August. During this time period, the larger strain of Takia steelhead will start moving into the river. Also, water conditions will probably be lower and clearer, which makes for better fly fishing. In June and early July, you are more likely to encounter high, murky water.

On previous trips to the Dean, I had always entered the lottery and received permission to fish the water above the first canyon. I usually camped out and fished in an area about 4 or 5 miles above the mouth of the river. I have never fished the water below the first canyon, but I have heard that it is good.

Because I did not register for the lottery this year, there is a possibility that I might come out to the Dean and fish the water below the first canyon from July 26 to August 2 (8 days). If I do, I will be camped out somewhere in that area. If you can come to the Dean at the same time, you are certainly welcome to pitch your tent next to mine. Then, maybe we can swap fish stories and you can tell me all about your fishing adventures in Scotland.

I always carry pepper spray as protection against bears when I am fishing on the Dean. From what I have heard, the bears are more numerous in the first 1 1/2 miles of river than in the area where I usually camp out and fish. Although there have been occasions where bears have rummaged through unattended campsites, no one has been seriously hurt or injured in these incidents, as far a I know.

In June and early July, I have heard that "meat" fishermen will come in to fish for large Chinook Salmon in the lower 1 1/2 miles of river. One year (1993, I think), when they left a bloody mess of entrails strewn along the banks of the river, some of the younger bears started to associate humans with the availability of food, and there were a couple of minor "incidents". But, everthing returned back to normal the following years, and I did not hear about any more bear incidents.

After September 15, the Coho salmon start to appear, but I have never stayed beyond September 7 to find out what this fishery is like. Coho are somewhat similar to steelhead, but they like to take a stripped fly instead of a dead drifted fly.

If you have a one-man inflatable boat (a cheap, lightweight one will do fine), I would strongly urge you to bring it along because this will open up more water for you to fish. Although the two lodges on the lower river will leave boats lying around, these boats are for the use of their clients.
 

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dean river...

I think the Takia fish actually come earlier...like mid to late June, they go way up river and are generally smaller but by far the hottest Steelhead ANYWHERE....some may go to 20LB's but rarely.

My Buddy has a cabin on the lower and has been fishing it for 20 plus years. This year we have a big snowpack and expect good flow through July which bodes well for the Steelhead as it slows them down and keeps the water clearer even in extreme hot weather....(no glacial melt)

Our crew usually float, but this year will be hanging out at the cabin and bringing a boat the terrorize the lower river guides. (who think they own the river, as most guides tend to)

There will be at least 6 (six) of us all over it like flies on you know what...can't wait...

Bring a big stick and some back-ups as you can go through a few and lines often don't come back either...seriously hot fish...

The fish are not picky, if you are lucky you can fish in the shadows of Jerry Wintle too!
 

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Discussion Starter #9
If I come it will be last week June first week July, from what you say it sounds good then. Im a little worried about not having a boat, perhaps a good idea would be to rent a pontoon boat, but i wil have problem getting it back up the river.Im sure i can sort somit when i come.
The only thing that worries me a little is it going to be crowded with people in large groups spinning The Meat fishers as you call them. Will i be able to find pools where I will be able to work it down with swinging fly.without a boat.I wouldnt like to come all the way to have to fight for a pool,and without the boat i may be limited.
I do agree with you the Steelhead is fantastic fish,I had good fishing last year up around Smithers,on my last day in the Kispiox i had a fish of 44 by 24 in. I would love to catch one of them Dean fish as there so fresh from the Sea.
 

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Scotsman:If you are going to fish in the shadow of Jerry Whittle you had better tie up some of his favorite fly. Jerry is a sedge nut and his favorite is a black bodied deerhair sedge with a pheasant curchwindow flat wing on top . His summer rod is a light Sage 7wt . Last time I saw him he was beating up the steelhead at Spences bridge.
 

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DEAN River

The group there is pretty good at fishing through these days...they only statue fish the actual Cedar hole at the Canyon opening which is tough the flyfish anyway...

A pontoon is nice but in the big water you could be salt water flyfishing in a big hurry if you don't pay attantion!

Big black flies, Practitioners etc...It doesn't really matter much on flies...for Chinooks, a big baby blue and chartruese popsicle or tube style fly is popular...but everything bites black.
 
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