5 Fantastic Fly-Fishing Locations

Posted by | Destinations

Little Smoky River - Native Grayling and Bull Trout

Anywhere the fish are rising, the water’s clear and the stream is scenic makes for a fantastic fly-fishing location. That said, the provinces of Alberta and British Columbia are some of the best fly-fishing spots in the fly-fishing travel world. As an RVer you’re can pretty much stop anywhere along a likely looking river in either province and find great fishing.

If you’re not familiar with a province’s hot spots, and would like to have a destination in mind, our recommendations should help. If not, consider hiring a guide or joining a tour to get an idea for fishing in a specific area, particularly if you’re going be around for a few days or a month. Guides are well worth their rates and can make your trip so much easier. They can let you know what licenses you’ll need, where you can park, hike and fish and what the local regulations are. Many have boats for drift fishing as well.

If you’re a serious fisherman, then consider taking advantage of a fly-in fishing camp for the day or a weekend. It can be a wonderful change of pace and give you time to get out of your RV and the pace of travel for a day or two.

If you’re just looking for destination fly-fishing rivers in Canada, particularly around British Columbia or Alberta, consider these popular hot spots:

 

1. Little Smoky River – Native Grayling and Bull Trout

Little Smoky River - Native Grayling and Bull Trout

If you don’t mind a serious drive (330 km from Edmonton) then consider a trip to the Little Smoky River. Not only is the fishery there still intact, the river and the fish have many friends who want to make sure it stays that way. This is the only second catch and release fishery in the province of Alberta. The Valleyview Fish and Game Association and many other local organizations lobbied for special regulations to protect the fish, resulting in the upper 116 km of the river being designated catch and release in the late 1980s. Graying and Bull Trout thrive under this protection. Catch rates run as high as 7 to 11 fish per hour, with the opportunity to catch 10-15 fish per day that exceed 30 cm in length. If you’re after a thrill this is a great place to fish.

Accommodations:

There is a forestry campground at Smoke Lake, primitive campsites at Grizzly Junction and Tony Creek or motels at Fox Creek, Whitecourt and Valleyview.

Directions:

Northwest Alberta off of Highway 43. The Little Smoky River can be accessed by taking the Amoco-Bigstone Road 30 km SW of Fox Creek.

Season:

The river opens to angling in the middle of June, and the best fishing, at least for big Grayling is from the end of August until the second or third week in October.

2. North Ram River – Cuthroat Rainbow Trout

North Ram River

Catch and release regulations were placed on the North Ram river and its tributaries in 1982. Just like the Grayling on the Little Smoky River, the Cutthroat Trout thrive under those regulations. Catch rates are reported to be as high as 4 to 6 fish per hour and if you’re after size, not quantity, you’re in luck. The chance to catch a 50 cm Cutthroat Trout is very real on this river. Bring your camera.

Accommodations:

There are several good forestry campgrounds in the area. Look along the Nordegg area on Highway 11, and on the Forestry Trunk Road. Motel accommodations are also available in Nordegg, Rocky Mountain House and near the Saskatchewan Crossing in the Icefields Parkway.

Directions:

The North Ram River is 367 km from Edmondton, perfect for an RVer looking for a long weekend of fishing. Access the river from the west by taking Highway 93 (Icefields Parkway) until it intersects Highway 11 (David Thompson). Drive east on hwy 11 until you reach Secondary Road 940 (Forestry Trunk Road). Head south for 32 km and you will come to the forestry campsite on the banks of the North Ram River. To access the river from the east, take Highway 2 until it intersects Highway 11. Drive west on hwy 11 until you reach Secondary Road 940. Head south for 32 km.

Season:

The river opens to angling in the middle of June.
The best fishing is reported to be from July to September.

3. Elk River – Cutthroat and Bull Trout,
Rocky Mountain Whitefish

Elk River

The fishing in the Elk River is known to be some of the best fly-fishing in North America and is considered the number one dry fly fishing river in Canada. Located in the Southeastern Kootenay District of British Columbia the scenery is as spectacular as the fishing.

Accommodations:

Because the Elk River is such a popular fly-fishing destination campgrounds, lodges, motels and Bed-and-Breakfasts are plentiful. There is camping at the Elk River Provincial Park in four different areas, Lower Elk Lake, Petain Creek, Petain Basin and the Cadorna Creek Watershed. One of the advantages of staying in the park is access to fishing from your campsite. Snow Valley Motel & RV Park is located in the centre of Fernie with 10 sites for RVing and a tenting area. Englishman Creek Recreation Site has 42 campsites, a large site on Lake Koocanusa and a protected bay with a gravel boat launch.

Directions:

There are six main floats on the river, from just above Sparwood, to just below Fernie. The upper river is strictly catch and release, but that changes at Forsyth Creek, just upstream from Bingay Creek. There are considerably fewer fish in the kill section, so if you want to catch the big ones, fish the catch and release sections. The catch limit from any part of the river is only one trout over 30 cm.

The kill section extends from just upstream at Bingay Creek downstream to Line Creek bridge. From Line Creek on to Sparwood it is all catch and release. Other catch and release sections are from Hosmer bridge to Fernie, and from Morrissey bridge to Elko Dam. Regulations change so check regarding catch and release status before fishing.

Season:

Seasons and restrictions vary. Check with http://www.pc.gc.ca for more details.

4. Dragon Lake – Rainbow Trout

Dragon Lake

Located very close to downtown Quesnel, a small city that is part of the Cariboo District of British Columbia. Dragon Lake is one of B.C.’s premier rainbow trout lakes and a prized fly fishing destination with trout reaching in excess of 4 kg. Twelve pounders are caught on a regular basis and because of such great fishing; this lake is often featured on TV fishing programs

Accommodations:

Robert’s Roost RV Park and Campground has lakeshore campsites with full hook-ups and recreational facilities and laundry. There are numerous bed-and-breakfasts, lodges and motels and inns as well.

Directions:

To reach Dragon Lake, travel about 4.2 km (2.6 miles) south of the city of Quesnel. Turn east off Highway 97. Travel on a paved road for 3.2 km (2 mi) to a boat-launching site on the lake.

Season:

Seasons and restrictions vary. Check with http://www.pc.gc.ca for more details.

5. Quesnel Lake – Rainbow and Bull Trout

Quesnel Lake

Quesnel is a big water body with one of the deepest fiord lakes in the world. This pristine lake offers excellent trolling, casting and fly-fishing, particularly at the mouths of the many small creeks that enter the lake.

Accommodations:

Along with the fishing, Cedar Point Provincial Park is an exceptional place for scenery and swimming and 40 vehicle accessible campsites for tenting or RVs.

Directions:

  • Quesnel, BC and the surrounding areas can be accessed by vehicle, rail and air.
  • From the south of the province, from Hope, BC, travel Highway Hwy ##1 and Hwy ##5 to connect to Hwy ## 97 which continues to 100 Mile House, and then to Williams Lake and then to Quesnel.
  • From the north of the province travel to Prince George, BC and then follow Highway ##97 south to the community of Quesnel.
  • From the east of the province the best route to follow is the Trans Canada Highway (Hwy ##1) to Kamloops. From there continue on Hwy ##97 to Cache Creek and then to Williams Lake and Quesnel.
  • From the west (arriving via BC Ferry) travel from Bella Coola along Hwy ##20 through Chilcotin Country to the community of Williams Lake then north on Hwy ##97 to Quesnel, BC.

Season:

Generally from May 1 through October 1. Other seasons and restrictions vary.
Check with http://www.pc.gc.ca for more details.

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