The northern coast of British Columbia offers anglers offshore fishing for halibut, rockfish and salmon. The inland area has fishing for steelhead, trout, grayling, pike, walleye and lake trout. All of the species in the region reach trophy class sizes.
Seasons and Regulations
The northern coast of British Columbia is designated as Region 6-Skeena by B.C. Fish and Wildlife. All anglers are required to purchase a fishing license. Saltwater anglers are also required to buy a tidal stamp and a salmon stamp. The region includes the coastal area and inland rivers and lakes, but the freshwater and ocean water are managed by different cooperating agencies. Regulations for migratory species change regularly based on populations of the salmon and steelhead. The standard regulations allow anglers to keep five trout with only one over 50 cm and only two from streams. Included in the trout quota is a maximum of three bull trout and lake trout combined. You can also keep three grayling, 10 kokanee salmon from lakes, five pike and 15 whitefish. All wild steelhead must be released and trout under 30 cm must be released when caught in streams. The ocean regulations will change regularly but you are typically allowed to keep two halibut and several salmon. In order to determine the amount of fish you can keep, you must first purchase a paper license from a Canadian vendor.
Offshore anglers will troll deep lines with live bait and flashers for halibut and rockfish. Halibut in the area can be caught between 200 to 300 pounds but fish in the 50-pound range are more common. Halibut and rockfish are both bottom feeders and are valued for the quality of the meat. Offshore anglers can also catch salmon. Trolling with flashers is a popular technique. The most productive time is immediately before the spawning run. The salmon will gather around the river mouths and anglers can either troll or cast large spoons at hungry schools of fish.
Anglers fishing the coastal rivers will target salmon and steelhead during the spawning runs. Conventional and fly anglers will have success drifting egg patterns under yarn strike indicators. Lures and streamer flies are also effective. Timing is the most important aspect of inland fishing for salmon and steelhead and you will catch the most fish when the runs are in full swing. Inland fishing on the deep lakes with large lures and flies will produce pike and walleye.
Lodges and Guides
Lodges and guides offer anglers expert instruction and intimate knowledge of the region. They can also provide transportation and fishing equipment in remote locations. Charter boats with guides are ideal for offshore fishing, and lodges with access to remote rivers should be considered for freshwater fishing.