In hosting our guests at BC West, we have one primary goal – to take full advantage of the incredible bounty of the Dean River.
Photos: BC West Staff, David Lambroughton
Our unique fishing program is targeted towards experienced anglers, and combines fully-guided and self-guided fishing, as well as fishing both above and below the Dean River ‘falls’.
Below the falls, our guests fish long, broad runs that stretch literally to the mouth of the river. In this lower section of river, fish are continually moving from the salt to their spawning grounds upriver- each run is constantly being replenished with hot fish, fresh from the ocean.
Above the falls lies the classic ‘holding water’- a smaller, more intimate river that rewards classic techniques for targeting holding fish.
Fishing below the Canyon
Guests fishing below the Dean River canyon are transported from run to run by jet boat.
The Dean below the Canyon presents a mile and a half of big, beautiful, broad runs that provide an onramp for fish exiting the saltwater of the Dean Channel, headed for the spawning grounds of the upper Dean. Most fish in the lower Dean are passing through – they’re within a tide or two of the salt, and are not yet truly ‘holding’. This provides a very unique angling opportunity – large runs with the flow and character of typical steelhead holding water, but with a constant supply of fish moving in and out of the run.
Just made a pass through a 200-yard run? No problem – fish it again! It’s likely that you’ll be showing your fly to a completely new set of critters that have just moved in out of the salt.
We access the lower Dean using a custom 24-foot Dean River-style aluminum jet boat built by Mike Forsyth in New Hazelton, BC. This vessel gives plenty of room for four guests plus guides, and does a great job accessing the sometimes shallow, rocky shoreline of the lower Dean. Depending on guest preference and guide availability, one or two guides accompany four guests on the lower river.
Fishing above the Canyon
Guests fishing above the canyon do so self-guided. At the beginning of the week, guests are given an orientation on the basic layout of the upper river. They are trained on the safe operation of our 4-wheelers, and then turned loose to fish the upper river on their own. Each guest is issued a 4-wheeler, which is used to access the upper river via a network of trails on one side of the river. Once the guests reach the section of river that they have chosen to fish, the leave their 4-wheeler and fish the river on foot.
In a couple locations on the upper river, small 2-man boats are placed to allow access to the side of the river opposite the trail system. The water above the canyon consists of a variety of runs that are relatively easy to read and quite accessible on foot. Guests enjoy their time on the upper river since all are experienced in fishing for anadromous fish – this is an excellent combination with the guided fishing on the lower river.