Skeena River

A sportsman's paradise

Skeena River FishingCredit: Miguelb on Flickr

If you are a fishing enthusiast, you owe it to yourself to try the incredible angling opportunities found in the Skeena River in northern British Columbia, Canada. This river boasts an incredible number of trophy class fish. It is an extremely large river with conditions that can be harsh at times. With proper planning, however, you can fish there and get the catch of your life. You have to know that fishing the Skeena is difficult. If it was easy, everyone would do it.

Access to the Skeena River is the first problem to overcome. British Columbia is a vast province with a barely adequate transportation infrastructure. The Skeena illustrates this fact. You can't just fly in, throw your line in the water and expect to catch a king chinook salmon, it's a lot harder than that. The premier destination for fisherman starting their Skeena experience is Terrace, BC.

Terrace is a small town of about 12,000 people which is situated on the banks of the Skeena River. This is the starting point for many fishermen who want to try catching trophy fish. It is a remote town situated about 100 miles from Prince Rupert on the coast and about 350 miles from Prince George, the city considered to be at the center of British Columbia. Terrace is served by the Yellowhead Highway which is well maintained. Travel anywhere in BC during the winter can be extremely dangerous so anglers planning to fish during that season need to be especially well prepared.

Terrace is also served by a small airport with about four flights a day direct from Vancouver. Flying time is about two hours. Once in Terrace, you may consider renting a car or using public transportation from the airport to the town, a distance of about 5 miles.

Once in Terrace, the dedicated angler can choose to stay at either a motel or a fishing lodge. This is a town based on the resource industries of fishing, forestry and mining. Luxury accommodations are few, but you're here to fish anyway. You may consider the lodge at Skeena Landing. It is located within walking distance of Ferry Island, a major destination for those fishing from shore.

There are many fishing guide services available in Terrace. Arranging a fishing trip with one of these is usually a great idea for serious anglers. They offer shore or boat fishing and they have experience on the river. In many cases, the guide will take  you to one of the many tributaries or to a favorite spot known to have produced trophy class chinook or steelhead in the past. Guides are also keenly aware of the current fishing regulations. British Columbia enforces a multitude of restrictions designed to protect the viability of fish species in the province. Understanding all of these can be an extreme challenge. By taking advantage of the guides, you eliminate the guesswork that can be involved with the rules. At the very least, be sure to stop in at one of the excellent sport fishing shops to get the value of their knowledge of the current regulations.

The Skeena River is very powerful and it demands respect from anglers. It is one of the largest rivers in North America, draining a vast area of northern British Columbia. An incredible amount of water flows down the river peaking in the summer due to melting snow and ice runoff. The water is deep, cold and fast. Strong currents, eddies and whirlpools are common along the length of the Skeena. Many tributaries feed into the Skeena. Some of these are passive streams while others are tremendous rivers. Danger abounds in the area from water hazards, severe weather and wild animals. Practically any wildlife can be a threat but the Skeena area is home to the most dangerous animals found in British Columbia. Grizzly, black and Kermode bears are drawn to the river for food. In addition to these cougars, otters and wolves can be encountered. Be prepared with the equipment and knowledge to deal with the realities of animals in the wild.

Fishing the Skeena gives angling opportunities rarely found in the world. The river is home to many different species of fish ranging from four types of trout, char, five types of salmon and other fish species as well. Trophy class fish can include steelhead in excess of 20 pounds, chum salmon of 30 or more pounds, lake trout of 20 plus pounds or the giant chinook salmon. The record chinook was a 92.5 pound monster caught in the Skeena River in 2002. Chinook of 50 pounds and more are regularly reported in the local fishing news.

With trophy fish like these, you certainly want to have quality fishing gear on your side. A true fishing master will want to fly fish the Skeena River In fact, you would be well advised to have the best fly rod available to help you land your own trophy chinook. RST Fishing constructs Skeena Series rods specifically to handle the demands of trophy fishing in the waters near Terrace. Should you be lucky enough to get the opportunity to fight a 30, 40 or more pound chinook on a fly rod, you need top quality gear. The Skeena Series rods are made of carbon fiber composites designed to withstand the forces exerted by trophy class chinook and the strong currents. They offer great positive action for an unbelievable experience when fighting the great Skeena trophy fish. The Skeena Series fly rods come with both hard and soft cases giving maximum protection during travel to the fishing area. A lifetime warranty is standard on all RST Fishing products.

Fishing the incredible trophy opportunities on the Skeena River near Terrace British Columbia is an amazing experience. Thousands of anglers have not been disappointed, despite the difficulties involved in travel to the area. This river is a dream opportunity for many German and other European fly fishing masters. With the availability of some of the largest trout and salmon anywhere in the world, it is no wonder that the Skeena River is one of the top waters on many bucket lists.