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Steelhead Fishing

The rivers of Haida Gwaii are small, with a lot of over hanging growth. The biggest river we fish is the Yakoun. Although the Yakoun is fairly wide open, it still calls for a short Skagit type two-handed rod. Our favorite rod to use on the Yak is the Sage 8119-4 TCX or Method Switch Rod with a RIO 540 Skagit switch line, and RIO T-14 MOW tips. These rods have amazing power without needing much of a load. This equates to great casts with no room. If you find yourself with little to no backcast space this rod will do everything you ask of it.  As for the smaller creeks, we prefer a 11 foot 6  switch rod with a short skagit line to match. 5 foot of T14, or T17 will be all you need to get the fly into the buckets for the fish to see. With winter fish who have small strike zones your fly has to get down quick and start working at the right depth to seduce a reaction. The more in tune you are with what your fly is doing right off the bat the more successful you will be.

  • 8 weight single-hand rods, 9-10 feet in length
  • 7-9 weight Spey rods, no longer than 12’ 6” feet in length. Loaner rods are available
  • A large reel with at least 150-200 yards of backing and a good drag system (probably your most important piece of equipment).
  • Floating and sinking tip lines 10- 15 feet tips for the single handers (Versa tips systems will certainly have you covered but we still prefer MOW tips)
  • Short Skagit heads with a good selection of tips, including floating intermediate and sections of T14 recommended for the Spey fishermen. 
  • 12-15 lb. Maxima tippet, a variety of butt material 
  • Breathable Gore-Tex waders with rubber-soled boots. Rivers are not too slippery.  Felts can be handy in a couple spots but tough for the hiking
  • Very good raincoat or wading jacket with a hood
  • Wading stick if desired
  • A great attitude and the desire to have a lot of fun!

Flies: Much of our fishing in the tidal areas of the rivers. Steelhead can still be feeding so pink shrimp, or squid type patterns work very well

Waders: Breathable Gore-Tex waders are the best way to maximize your fishing experience. If you tend to have cold feet go with boot foots. You can layer poly-pro or fleece underneath in cold conditions and turn them down during hot weather.

Wading shoes: This is very important part of the trip.  We often hike a good portion every day so wearing felts can be problematic on the slippery mud.  Sturdy wading shoes with good rubber soles and cleats are the prefered boot. The footing is good in most of the Queen Charlotte rivers, although a few beats are a bit slippery.  There are riveres where felts work just fine but you should have a back up pair of rubber soled boots.  If it snows at all felt becomes very dangerous to be hiking with.

Clothing: Layering is the mantra when fishing Haida Gwaii. Bring light cotton sweaters, short- and long-sleeve shirts and trousers, long underwear, windbreaker, wool socks, gloves and heavy wool sweater. We recommend neutral colors. Big temperature changes can occur in a matter of hours in the mountains, so make sure you are prepared.  We typically wear 2 layers of everything, including a thin marino wool long john under a thick fleece pants.  Also 2 pairs of socks.  The water temps can be quite cold. 

Rain jacket: Gore-Tex or similar. 100% rain-proof, seam-sealed and breathable, with hood. Water proof hat is a nice touch as well.