British Columbia’s Dean river is a special place, the kind of river that every true Steelhead angler needs to visit at least once. Though once you’ve been to the Dean the undeniable urge to return forever takes root. The Dean is just that kind of river, a place of legends that captivates ones dreams. Imagine huge glacier topped mountain peaks rising straight up from the ocean and the river’s broad sweeping runs perfect for swinging a fly. The legendary Dean River Steelhead are known for their strength and beauty, not to mention their ability to positively crush a fly. There is no finer place to fish the Dean than the lower river, below the canyon where ocean fresh fish are constantly migrating through. The Steelhead here are like ghosts in the water, clear fins and so silver they appear impossibly white.
As big and strong as the Dean River Steelhead are it is the chrome bright Chinook Salmon that are the reason to pack the big gear. The lower Dean offers a unique opportunity to catch these Chinooks, the largest of the Pacific Salmon while they are fresh from the salt. These fish will hit the fly harder than Steelhead and, at weights up to 50 pounds, are the heavyweight champions of the river.
BC West Lodge lodge is a rustic structure tucked in the old growth forest near the Dean River mouth. Stunning views of Kimsquit peak are had right from the lodge courtyard, and accessing the Dean itself requires just a 10-minute walk through the trees. Guests sleep in comfortable, wood-heated cabins within earshot of the river canyon. The lodge clubhouse provides a comfortable spot for unwinding after a day’s fishing and enjoying the evening meal. Meals combine fresh local ingredients, careful expert preparation, creative presentation and a great selection of wines. The drying room provides a place to hang waders and raincoats, and the showers are down-right luxurious.
BC West offers a unique fishing program targeted towards experienced anglers. The lodge combines fully-guided and self-guided fishing enabling angling above and below the Dean River ‘falls’.
Days at BC West start early, with a quick breakfast and a short trip to the river, anglers start fishing soon after dawn. At mid-day, guests return to the lodge for the main meal,a great chance to share stories from the morning and enjoy a few hours of downtime before the evening fishing session. The evening fish starts in the late afternoon and runs until dusk after which appetizers are served in the clubhouse. Some relaxing conversation typically wraps up the very long fishing day, and guests retire to their cabins in anticipation of doing it all again tomorrow!
The 2011 season runs from June 18th to August 29th, with the peak of Steelhead migration taking place in mid summer and Chinook Salmon fishing best at the start of the season. Angling at BC West costs between $4600 and $6600 per week, depending on the week. That price includes 7 nights and 6 days of fishing on the Dean, meals, lodging, flies, beer and wine, and also includes BC angling fees, GST, and a charter flight from Bella Coola to the lodge. Additional costs include travel to and from Bella Coola and any gratuities.