NEW: Check out our updated lists of the best fly fishing spots on Vancouver Island!
Abundant BC Lakes and Rivers for Fly Fishing
Fly fishing is fishing in its purest form; just you pitting your knowledge and skills against a fish. It’s hard but it is rewarding and fun.
If you come from saltwater fishing for salmon and halibut you will find the entire fly fishing experience much different. Fly fishing is extremely active and requires motor skills and finesse. Instead of letting the weight of your lure/bait pull the line out when casting, the line itself creates the momentum to pull the line out and extend the distance of the cast. It is an athletic and elegant sport that also provides lots of opportunity for hiking and climbing as you find that right fishing holes. Also, when the fish aren’t biting on the saltwater you wait patiently or stay busy switching up your gear, your speed or your location. When the fish are hard to catch fly fishing (as they can be) you have to keep casting and keep moving to find the rights spot. Similar but different!
In fly fishing we try to imitate the small bugs/insects that the local fish feed on. Many fly fishermen tie their own flies right where they fish to give themselves the ability to adapt to the local environment. The more you know about what food the fish are feeding on, the better your chance to imitate it and attract the fish.
If you are already an active fly fisherman, you know most of the above but if you are not, give this wonderful sport a try. It is a true test and when you hook into a scrappy fish on light fly gear it’s an experience you will want to repeat over and over again!
British Columbia Fly Fishing Areas
If you want to try your hand at it, there are few places on earth that have more to offer than Beautiful British Columbia. The number of perfect settings to be found in the provinces lakes, streams and rivers are almost endless. And of course, fly fishing on the salt chuck is another type of experience all together.
There are a number of ways you can find out where the best fishing might be near your location in BC. HelloBC.com is part of Super Natural British Columbia and offers a bit of info on the choices as well as organizations for hire to help you out. Every major and secondary city/town in the province also offers information through their Chamber of Commerce or Tourism Association so, with Internet access, you need not be stuck for choices.
Now if you prefer river fly fishing, then Pitt River is one great choice. Located 40 minutes out of Vancouver, Pitt River is a beautiful piece of nature isolated from the city. It is a tranquil setting and a pristine eco-system for fishing steelhead and trout.
Situated near Hazelton, Bulkley River is hailed as one of BC's best rivers for steelhead, according to bigfishsmallhook.com. Bulkley River is a tributary of the Skeena, and here the waters are clear and warm. It offers great casting conditions for steelhead.
Once you start digging into the choices at hand for mainland rivers you will see that your biggest problem will be finding enough time, not rivers! Get out there and explore. It’s a big part of the fun.
Vancouver Island is also well known for great river fishing. The Cowichan River one hour north of Victoria is excellent for Steelhead and Trout. In fact people travel great distances to fish the Cowichan much as they do the Mighty Bow River near Calgary. Once you start heading up island you will find that the choices available to you don’t stop. All the way North to Nile Creek near Bowser and on to Campbell River and beyond. Small creeks to big rivers, you’ll be impressed.
Again, use the local resources as noted above and you will find more than enough places to wet your line.
There are also some lakes which easily rate as some of the best fly fishing location in BC. Located about 25 kilometres north of Kamloops is Pass Lake, a smaller lake with clear waters. This lake is ideal for fly fishermen seeking good size rainbow trout.
Another top spot is Hatheume Lake, situated just west of Peachland in the Okanagan region. This higher elevation lake is known for its trophy rainbow trout. It features a beautiful lodge as well as a number great camping facilities.
And of course there is Roche Lake near Kamloops that is famous for trophy trout. If you make it as far east at the Columbia Valley you have a number of legendary catch and release lakes like White Tail south of Invermere.
If you make it the Island, you want to do your homework if it’s lake fishing you like. Vancouver Island offers a wide range of beautiful remote lakes where you can not just fish, but camp and explore, like nowhere else.
The Appeal of Fly Fishing
Fly fishing can be challenging. So what draws enthusiasts to it? Fly fishing is singular in purpose, minimal in gear and a great escape from the rat race."What I really enjoy is the simplicity of fly fishing," says avid fisherman Rodney Hsu of fishingwithrod.com, "Although fly fishing can be slower since it takes time for the presentation to reach a fish, the overall experience is still very satisfying in a different aspect."
For many, fly fishing is appealing because it's full of strategy, personal challenge and the chance to encounter the amazing abilities of the fish.
"I fish to please myself," shared well known conservationist and author Roderick Haig Brown, "I am pleased and interested by the endless problems presented by the movements and feeding caprices of the fish I am concerned with.”1
Fly Fishing Instructors
Maybe you'd like to try fly fishing for yourself. If you live in the Victoria area, you can learn through instructors like Ian Muirhead, head guide for Island Fly Fishing Adventures. For details call him at 250-361-0034. If you're in the Vancouver area, you might want to check out Michael & Young Fly Shop. They offer classes in fly tying and fly casting. Call 604-639-2278 for class information.
You need knowledge of the waters you're fishing. You need to figure out the type and placement of the fly. You need skill and patience. But when it's you and the fish, fly fishing is an up close, personal encounter with nature, an experience you'll never forget.
Tell Us About Your Fly Fishing Destination
Help us share the information about some top fly fishing destinations in BC. Send your location pictures with full name of the lake or river to email@example.com
We will share your photos to our fans who are interested in learning more about the fine art of fly fishing.