Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Birkenhead River: DIY Fly Fishing British Columbia

I have done several DIY global fishing trips.  Based on my DIY fishing experiences in British Columbia, I am not sure there is a better place on earth to wet a fly line.  This post will detail my experience fishing the Birkenhead River, which is only 2-3 hours from downtown Vancouver.

We were not targeting salmon, but quickly CPR (caught-photo-released) this Chinook.

From City to River: Why Fish the Vancouver Area?

I'll get to the point and keep this short. Within a very short drive time, you have access to some amazing DIY rivers.

River Facts    

  • Length:  50 Km or 31 miles.  
  • Origin:  Birkenhead Lake. Upper Birkenhead Watershed or Coast Mountain Range. This is part of the Frazer River Drainage = 60% of BC water is in this drainage!
  • Tributaries:  A good handful of creeks; too many to list.
  • Termination:  Lillooet Lake.  Water then continues to flow via Lillooet River, into Harrison Lake, then into Harrison River and then into the Frazer River. Final destination is the Pacific Ocean.
  • Species:  Chinook-Sockeye-Coho-Kokanee, Steelhead, Rainbow-Bull-Cutthroat Trout, Dolly Varden, Suckers and Whitefish.
  • Location:  Two hours from Vancouver.  Find Mt. Currie and then find Portage Rd.  https://goo.gl/maps/GKIqV
  • Fishing Season:  All year.  See regulations at http://www.pac.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/fm-gp/rec/fresh-douce/region2-eng.htm
  • Floating:  Upper section = White Water Rafting.  Lower Section = Yes, for experienced float boat anglers only.  
  • Dangerous Animals:  Be prepared to encounter BEARS!
  • Walk-Wade Difficulty:  Follow Portage Road; look for pull off areas and then walk river.  Early season, flow is high and fast (extreme caution).  Late season water flow allows anglers to cross river. Regardless, pools can be very deep for wading.
  • Weather:  Depends on the month (season) you are fishing.
  • Fly Rods: Think fly rods for Rainbow Trout.  Single Hand 5wt - 7wt.  Two handed rods (switch-spey) 5wt - 7wt.  
  • Fly Lines: Floating and Sinking Tips.
  • Fishing Tips:  Find and follow Portage Rd; you'll find plenty of areas to park and walk to the river (i.e. one of the most accessible rivers I have ever walked-waded).  Even in low water conditions, you'll find plenty of deep pools.  If you are nymph fishing,  and if you looking for BIG trout, bring some weight and get your fly(s) to the bottom.  When the salmon are spawning, eggs patterns might doe the trick.    

Fly, Drive, and Fish

If your on a DIY fishing budget, this info might be of interest to you.

On my first trip to BC, I flew into Seattle, Washington. I did so because I got a smoking deal on a rental.  I rented a car from http://masharikirentals.com/  plus, the owner of Mashariki Rentals picked me up at the airport.  I rented a Dodge Grand Caravan for $22.00 USD per day, with unlimited miles. The owner took out the back seats and I slept in the van for 30 days. I am 6'4" and I slept comfortably, with my travel/camping air mattress.   Before leaving his office, I asked him if I could drive to Canada, or even Alaska.  He replied," yes, just make sure your back before your 30 day contract expires."

DIY Global Fishing Trips

At FCFF, I am running a business, but sometimes I love DIY fishing with friends. If you want to fish with me on one of my personal DIY trips, let's talk.

Final Word

If your visiting Vancouver, Canada, I would do the following:

  1. Enjoy the city, especially Stanely Park and local Japanese gardens.
  2. Visit Whistler.  Take the ski lift to the top and go for a walk/hike, or just take in the views.
  3. From Whistler, drive up the street and wet a line!

Hope you enjoyed this post and thanks for reading.