Talk about steelhead fever. I have been traveling to the Bulkley River in British Columbia for 27 straight years to fly fish for steelhead and it appears the only cure might be my body giving up. Once you catch a few of these sea-run rainbows on a fly rod you’re really “hooked” for life. There’s no rehab clinic where you can receive care and treatment for this addiction. There is only the river. Steelhead fever is not a bad thing, other than the expense. It may not be cheap to spend a week in British Columbia doing something you love. But it appears to be worth it for many.
Jans has been taking groups of fly fishermen to the Bulkley River Lodge for many years. Several come back again and again. Two of my friends and fellow steelhead fever addicts have had to “hang it up” recently because of health reasons. Their doctors have instructed them to stop their pursuit of this fabulous fish for now. Both had been coming to British Columbia for nearly 20 years and I’m certain they’ll be with us in spirit this year. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if they phone every other day for a report.
Back in the day my buddies and I often talked about driving up to British Columbia and fishing every day for the entire steelhead season, from the first of September to the end of October. Unfortunately, the rules have changed and if you’re not a Canadian resident, you can only fish a maximum of 10 days. Oh well, it was just a dream anyway.
So what is so special about the Bulkley River Lodge? Well, it offers a beautiful layout along the river and is just a 45 minute drive from the airport in Smithers. The grounds are comprised of a main lodge, for gathering and meals, and four charming log cabins nearby. Sitting on the decks of the different buildings it’s possible to spot a deer, an elk or even a bear on occasion. It is that remote. The scenery is amazing and is dominated by 11,000 foot Hudson Bay Peak. Sitting by the fire in the main lodge at the end of the day in conversation with your friends while being served by the gracious staff, is an experience you’ll always remember.
As you can see steelhead fishing at the Bulkley River Lodge in British Columbia is more than just a “once-in-a-lifetime experience.” If you ever plan on joining us just be prepared for the probable outcome: steelhead fever—an addiction with no cure.