Spey Pages banner
1 - 19 of 19 Posts

·
Addicted and Avid
Joined
·
583 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I want to take my 23 year old son on a fishing trip, somewhere relatively remote. Like NorthWest, either BC or Alaska I'm thinking. He's finished with school in June and I figure this summer will be the best chance for the two of us before he's hired somewhere full-time.

Late July or August is the best time as he and I have to marry off my spinster sister late June, then some other things early July and late August also get in the way of having real fun.

Anyway, I'm wondering what kinds of steelhead/salmon opportunities there are in BC. I've done the Alaska trip, 18 years ago for silvers, char, Dollies and rainbows and am looking at AlaskaWest and other outfitters. Alaska would be excellent for my son and I. But, was just curious about BC also.

Your suggestions, recommendations and advice are appreciated.

Thank you.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,414 Posts
There is no better place in August than the DEAN River.

Red hot fish fresh from the ocean on a dry line. They readily take flies, not like pellet heads. I have heard there was a study on the strongest steelhead, and they came from the Dean and the Thompson.

You will remember a trip to the Dean for a life time.
 

·
Addicted and Avid
Joined
·
583 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
There is no better place in August than the DEAN River.

Red hot fish fresh from the ocean on a dry line. They readily take flies, not like pellet heads. I have heard there was a study on the strongest steelhead, and they came from the Dean and the Thompson.

You will remember a trip to the Dean for a life time.
Thanks Paul. Could I use my 2-handed bamboos? My son would most likely be using a 9' 7wt single hander.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,414 Posts
They could most certainly be used there...in fact I think it would be very cool to use them on a river with such history. Some of the best fly fisherman in the world have fished there.......

The 7 wt would be on the light side, as fish typically go 12-14lbs with fish in the 20's not being unrealistic. I used a 9wt single hander there on my first two trips and did NOT feel over gunned for these fish..

They don't just stop a fly, they crush it , then run......and run they do 60-80 yds or more without slowing on the first run was the norm for my fish while there.

Gotta run....later
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
293 Posts
Alaska West is pretty awsome in August, if you can find a vacancy. The silvers are pretty thick that time of year and the chums are agressive as well. You can also have some really nice trout fishing. If your son is a die-hard steelhead guy then something like the Dean makes sense. However, if he's more into just catching fish, then maybe AK West might be the way to go. Believe me after a week up there the only problem most people have is rehabbing their arm from fighting so many fish! If you need more info on AK west feel free to pm me, I guided there for 6 summers so I can help you on info.

Good luck on your trip sounds like you can't go wrong.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
314 Posts
I second the motion on the Dean. Well worth your time and expense. Chrome thunder, what a rush! :D
In September Smithers offers some great fishing on a dry, however, the commercial boys slaughter last year would classify that trip as questionable at best until the issue is resolved.
___________________
It is all about the Hunt

Chas
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
36 Posts
Does anybody have any recommendations as to how to get onto the Dean for a reasonable cost? I've been looking into doing a trip up that way but all I turn up is things way outside my price range. Given the history and fishery on this river, this is understandable - but if anybody has some suggestions as to ways to arrange a trip that doesn't require a second mortgage I would be forever in your debt!! :roll:
 

·
Addicted and Avid
Joined
·
583 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Second Mortgage?

I did that last year for my daughter's wedding.

I'm on my third for this trip with my son, but, will be well worth it in my mind.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
36 Posts
As the father of a 2 year old daughter and 5 year old son, sounds like I need to keep the 2nd and 3rd mortgage options open for a few years yet then? :p

Sounds like no matter what you choose, you are going to have a great trip! Other options which you might want to consider include some of the Skeena tributaries - very nice water and fishing round then.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,414 Posts
Does anybody have any recommendations as to how to get onto the Dean for a reasonable cost? I've been looking into doing a trip up that way but all I turn up is things way outside my price range. Given the history and fishery on this river, this is understandable - but if anybody has some suggestions as to ways to arrange a trip that doesn't require a second mortgage I would be forever in your debt!! :roll:
Hi Penner.

I have been there twice now on a do it yourselfer. Drove into Hagensburg and contacted Rob Skelly ( doubt he works there any longer) of Vancouver Island Helicopters. He took three of us and all our gear into the Upper Shannon run. For $750 return ( it is probably more like $1000 now due to fuel increases) He based that on 17 min ride in, his return, his trip back in to pick us up and a return to base...total time was just under an hour flying time for the chopper. With fuel for our truck, groceries and incidentals it worked out to just over $400 each for 10 days of self guided fishing on the Dean......a proviso is in order here. The next year we did it and the weather was foul coming out....the trip costs more than doubled as we had to fly out to the coast, follow the coastline then back up the inlet to Hangensburg....Chopper time is expensive. It can however work in your favor too. If the pilot is going in to pick up a previous group he will split the ride in, and it can work the same coming out for you...he may be bringing in a group,..again a split. But plan on a long trip in and out and you won't come up short on the $$$$.

We walked most of the shoreline for about a mile either side of the Shannon run....if it still exists after last years big floods...and got into a good amount of fish.....Also got into the coastal GRIZZ and ended up having to shoot a large Black Bear that thought night time rendevous into our camp were appropriate. Plan it well and it can be done. Be prepared for anything....searing heat to pissing rain. Bring a good book. Extra rods, lines and reels...these fish have a habit of running like the devil on the first hit and will leave you in the backing in about 3 seconds....then wrapping your favorite line around a rock.....good bye line. I took fly tying gear and we had the trip of a lifetime....one forever etched in our memories.

Bring a fold up chair for sure, we didn't do it the first year as we thought it would take up too much space....let me tell you we would have paid $100 for a lawn chair after sitting on logs and rocks for 10 days.

Plan your meals well there is only a few days in a block of ice in a cooler ( which you need to sling up in the trees away from camp) We took alot of pastas, and dried goods. Porridge and coffee for breakfast with oatcakes and peanut butter, Lunch was trail mix and juice, Dinners were rice, pastas and dry sauces that could be mixed with water. Take No seeum netting for the tent.....I looked like lumpy the warthog one day that I didn't wear any bug juice...they ate me alive, so much so I couldn't roll my shirt sleeves back down over my forearms.....Ya we had a great trip.....one I will never forget.

Cheers
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
200 Posts
I was wrong. Lottery closes March 23. If you are a non-Canadian you have to draw a permit in the lottery to fish the Dean above the canyon or be guided by one of the lodges. It can be very difficult to get into one of the lodges Aug 1-Sept15. The guy who has our week has had all 8 spots for 30 years. If you are going to camp, have a sat phone and be prepared to bail out early. I have seen the river run brown all week. I have seen campers that quit fishing because they were so wet and cold all they could do was set around the fire and try to stay warm, I've seen guys that only had rice to eat because a bear got into their food, the guys who landed a steelhead from the raft and got fish slime on the raft then had a griz bite the raft and when it popped went ballistic and destroyed the camp (I understand trying to sleep in a fir tree is a very interesting experience), guys that flipped in Moose, etc. Just a word to the wise, it is a beautiful place but not for the uninitiated.

If you are lucky enough to draw, most guys figure $2000-2500 for the week to camp and float and 12-14 days of time to fish 8. Thank heavens for sat phones. A few years ago, you were stuck until the helicopter came in to get you. If you weren't at the take out, he would come and look for you. Last time we had the Jet Ranger take us out because the river was blown it was $1400/hour and that was 3 years ago. The A-Star is more. Chances are that if you need to get out you won’t be going over the top because the weather is so bad. It used to be that you could take the 206 into the strip at the mouth and camp on the lower river. Canadians can still camp but Bella Coola Air has quit flying into the strip so a chopper is your only choice.

We have had two 100 year floods in the last 3 years. Everything will be different. There is no one for you to get advice from on where to camp or where to fish because none of us knows what the river will be like this year.

Not trying to be negative. It is just not a trip that you want to be unprepared for.

I’d opt for one of the do-it-yourself lodges in Alaska or if you've got the money, a full service lodge.
 

·
JD
Joined
·
3,641 Posts
Alaska done right

Rather then sound like an infomercial, sending you a pm.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,414 Posts
SpeyHermit:

If you want to talk in detail about how to go about planning it on a do it yourselfer PM or E-Mail me and I will send you my ph # so we can talk.

Mark makes some very good points about weather, however, bears, food problems can be addressed if prepared. I packed a 12 gauge with 3" magnum slugs for bear pills. The cooler was always hung in trees well out of reach, any time we were done with it, and the tent and camp should have several large cans of bear spray easily accessible to all in camp......don't get me wrong, there aren't bears hiding behind every bush, but know this, it is one of the highest concentrations of coastal grizz per mile of river in the Province. 29 miles of river had 30 bears last time we were there. But most bears don't want anything to do you people...unless they have been habituated by people who keep dirty camps.

Call if you need to....I will see what I can do to help you plan
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
200 Posts
Paul: Are you a Canadian or US citizen?

Every time I cross the border I get major static about firearms. Used to be just handguns, now customs into Canada seems very interested in any firearms. Of course, it could be my boyish good looks:chuckle:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,414 Posts
Canadian......so for me to take a shotgun on a river trip is not a problem. The other alternative for anyone out of province would be to take Bear spray and bear bangers...hand launched from a flare gun, they produce a very loud bang about 60-80 feet from the shooter.

There is one other method that I used to use too. Take a fat guy along......someone you can outrun...LOL
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
293 Posts
Norseman,

What happened with the bear? I've heard it's a major no-no to shoot a bear out of season especially if you're from the wrong side of the border without a hunting license. Besides the legality, there is also the issue of having a pissed off, injured bear following you around. Any more details regarding the outcome? Every trip of this type I take I pray I don't have to squeeze the trigger, I've been pretty lucky so far, any info you might share would be helpful.

If I ever go to the Dean I'm gonna try to float it. The idea of camping sounds good, but what if a couple three groups show up at the same time, and have to share limited water? Sounds like a bit of a crap shoot to me.
 

·
JD
Joined
·
3,641 Posts
Crap Shoots

The idea of camping sounds good, but what if a couple three groups show up at the same time, and have to share limited water? Sounds like a bit of a crap shoot to me.
Good point brought up here. The money saved on such a trip could easily turn out to be money wasted. Not to mention time. A commodity which is priceless. Better, perhaps, to spend the extra bucks on a first class lodge with the assurance of a quality experience.

After all, this is a father's (mother too) reward, payback for sticking it out. Quality time time, Father & son. Perhaps the last opportunity before it's time to move on. Don't screw up on this one.:tsk_tsk:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,414 Posts
Norseman,

What happened with the bear? I've heard it's a major no-no to shoot a bear out of season especially if you're from the wrong side of the border without a hunting license. Besides the legality, there is also the issue of having a pissed off, injured bear following you around. Any more details regarding the outcome? Every trip of this type I take I pray I don't have to squeeze the trigger, I've been pretty lucky so far, any info you might share would be helpful.

If I ever go to the Dean I'm gonna try to float it. The idea of camping sounds good, but what if a couple three groups show up at the same time, and have to share limited water? Sounds like a bit of a crap shoot to me.

Sorry for the delay.

Well that black bear died of lead poisoning. He had been into camp three times that night and we were not going to be stuck inside the tent sleeping on his return. We threw a seal bomb ( very large firecracker) at him and he just stood there. This is the problem with a habituated bear...they have no fear of humans because the smell of humans to a habituated bear means food.

No problem with me taking a shotgun there as I live in BC. No it wasn't an open season, but we called the Conservation Officers through one of the local guides. They came out the next day and talked with us on the circumstances, and they left satisfied we did what was necessary.

If you are going to take a shotgun for protection, I have one very sage piece of advise. Use ONLY shotgun slugs....if you hit a bear with SSG or OO buck shot you are going to P*I*S*S him off. Coastal grizzlies up there run from 600 lbs + on up....a little tiny bit of a 38 cal ball of lead is not going to hurt it too much. You need to be able to break bones and penetrate...slugs are the only shotgun round that will do that.....trust me on that one ( I am a Police Firearms Instructor)

Later on in that trip I was fishing down below Shannon run when a VERY large coastal grizzly walked out behind and upwind of me, she walked out with a new cub...I thought about what they would bring my wife back to show her....a ziplock baggie with some bits of cloth and buttons....LOL.. It was quite unnerving but I kept my cool, I was upwind of her, so I just ducked into the water ( I was already waist deep) up to my chin, tipped my sunglasses down so she wouldnt see the reflection and slowly waded up stream, She started walking away with cub in tow. Then it happened. I stumbled in a spawning redd and she wheeled around on her heels and came back a a very quick pace...my next move was throw the rod and vest onto shore and swim into the white water......she stopped about 100 yds short, stood up and cast into the wind trying to get my scent....let me tell you if she wasn't up wind she would have had me, but I had a 20 mile and hour wind keeping my scent upstream from her.


As for drifting the river...be careful and carry a long line with you, there are sections you will have to longline the raft through. The other fisherman using the Dean are for the most part pretty courteous...for the most part. I did run into two Americans one year that literally dropped in with the helicopter practically in our lap, and they would not move all week, they would hog the run and were there with no steelhead tag, no Dean river permit and were bragging about not being caught...little did they know they were shooting their mouthes off at three Officers.... The one fellow is very well known, and now owns an outfit up on the Sustut I believe....He apparently was involved in a plane crash years later that nearly cost him his life...and I am told he has changed his attitude. I won't name him here but you can PM me if you like for more details.....they got caught and paid hefty fines, and the other fellow still had a warrant out for a previous offence a couple of years prior.....but I am off topic


Etiquette on the Dean is camp, but don't intrude on anothers camp, and give them a mile or so...at least that is what it was when we were there. The chopper pilot agreed to run us up the river a short ways to see what was a better camp site, and it only ran us a few extra bucks to go for 5 minutes up river.....you cover a lot of ground in the air in 5 minutes.

Like I said most groups are very good about being courteous of ones space, but there are always exceptions. Everyone is there to enjoy the Dean, not make life hard, they are there to share the same goals. Crap shoot, I don't think so; part of the adventure is the getting there. If you don't go, you will never know what it is that makes the Dean such a magical and mystical place. If you do happen on a group that is in a spot where you drift into...just go another couple minutes downstream and you will most likely have it all to yourself. We decided against drifting as it meant A LOT of extra gear to bring in, it also meant that we could wait for the fish to come to us if need be, you can cover a lot of water drifting in a day, and you could be drifting over the very fish you are waiting for. It would have been fun to take a pontoon boat to drift down and longline it back upriver for a little adventure, or being able to cross back and forth by using a technique known as side planing...slipping across stream using the current to pull you across with little rowing involved.

I loved the Dean and the work to get there was worth it all. I will do it again one day soon....2 years to go for me and I am into retirement mode.....at 50 yrs old I still should have lots left to go and do the fishing I still have on my to do list.

Best regards
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
293 Posts
Paul,

Thanks for the info. Yes I only use rifled slugs, my shotgun shoots 3.5 inch magnums, at close range we are talking some serious energy being lobbed out there. Of course a high-power rifle like a .375 H&H is the best bear protection but I'm not willing to shell out the extra money for a gun I don't need at the small chance I'll ever use it. I'm glad to hear you called the conservation service on that one, good on you for doing the right thing.

Thanks for the additional information on the Dean. One day I'll find myself up there..
 
1 - 19 of 19 Posts
Top