08-18-2016, 12:14 AM
Re: Need advice for steelhead in Skeena area
I've only been there once and fished the Bulkley for two weeks and spent a day doing recon on the Kispiox when the rivers were blown out.
Some things to know;
Almost all of the water you would want to fish is "classified" water.
Foreigners are not allowed to fish on the weekends without a guide. We had to just sit it out on the weekend which was kind of a drag given that conditions were good.
You will have to get a license that is specific to the water you want to fish, if you bought a license for the Bulkley for three days and it blows out you will have to buy another license for whatever water you might go to instead.
They aren't transferable.
If I remember correctly I spent $360 total on licenses for two weeks fishing which was really ten days.
The Bulkley from Smithers upstream doesn't have a lot of easy foot access but there is definitely some. These spots take some figuring out and you won't be able to cover that much ground in the river bottom.
The Morice has more and easier access on the logging road that parallels it than the Bulkley does but supposedly the fish are smaller. Also the Morice's name changes to the Bulkley where what is basically a creek in comparison called the Bulkley flows in. It's weird but that means you need a different license for the Morice than the Bulkley even though they are different parts of the same river. The Morice being the upstream part.
If you have a boat you will be able to access much more water but B.C. is weird in that they consider shuttling vehicles to falling under there guiding regs so there are no shuttle services, even though there is clearly a demand for them. I've heard about people using a taxi out of Smithers but I think that would limit you to Telkwa to Smithers. A single float section and I'm not sure how that whole taxi thing works or if it is even legal.
We had two vehicles so we were able to go wherever we wanted (that had an access point) and we ran our own shuttles.
A jet boat is what you really want for the Bulkley and the Skeena.
The rivers can blow out pretty easily when it rains, some are worse than others. The Morice clears sooner than the larger downstream Bulkley.
As far as I know the only way to fish the Babine is by a wilderness float, booking with the couple lodges that are on it or going way up by the headwaters where it comes out of the lake and fishing the first couple miles below the lake. Otherwise I don't think there is any other way to gain access.
I assume some people run sleds up from the Skeena a ways. I'm not sure if there is a road to the mouth of the Babine on the Skeena.
The Kispiox has it's lower 20 miles in a tribal reserve. They charge something like (don't remember exact amount) a $100 to fish the river on their land and I think ANOTHER $100 to launch or land a boat on their land.
That's on top of whatever the B.C. license is IIRC.
There's no way I'm going to spend that kind of money to fish anywhere for a day and as I understand it the best, most classic water is on the reserve.
We drove up the river road to look for places to get access and maybe launch a raft. There were places where the road was next to the river where I think you could have got access but it was a steep bank and the river was pretty high with not much structure at the time so I really can't say what sort of water you would have access to if conditions were prime.
Most of the time the road was a good ways from the river and it was really hard to tell what was private land and what was not.
Nothing was posted but there were definitely some houses and cabins back there.
B.C. was kind of difficult in that area for determining what was public and what was private unlike here in the lower 48 where national, state, BLM etc. land is usually clearly marked on the land and on maps.
There are a couple of campgrounds on the river above the reserve and one bridge between them and I was told there were a couple other places you could drive back to the river but we couldn't find them.
We ended up doing a lot of exploring of dubious looking spur roads in the forest that were kind of sketchy and pushing my truck to its limits in the rain.
I did not want to break down back there.
I was left with 20 mile stretches as the only options to float that I could determine which is too much water to cover in a day and seriously fish but as I said I was led to believe there were a couple places that I couldn't find.
I'm sure you could find water to fish it just wasn't like there was easy access at all and you'd spend some time figuring things out.
I haven't made it over to Terrace but as I understand it the Copper/Zymoetz has good access with a road running near it a good ways.
Also if memory serves right I think it has sections closed to foreigners and it might have been closed on Fridays as well as the weekend, you'd have to look into that.
I think the thing to take away from all that is without a boat it's not super easy to find access but there are places, they just aren't super obvious.
Below Smithers the Bulkley eventually ends up a ways from the highway and a good deal of it is, as far as I know, inaccessible on foot.
There are no doubt some places the locals know about and I could tell you of just a few places that I know of on the Bulkley above Smithers but they are fairly obvious.