Into the Wild

Wild places are becoming more and more rare. Kimsquit Bay Lodge is one of these places. There are no roads in. Helicopter, floatplane or offshore boat is the only viable option for travel to Kimsquit, making it truly a wild place. The list of wildlife here is exhaustive; Grizzly Bears, black bears, wolves, wolverines, mink, pine martins, cougars, mountain goats, black tailed deer, moose, fin whales, 

humpback whales, killer whales, dolphins, seals, eagles, salmon and steelhead are just a portion of the wild animals guests at the lodge may see during their weeklong stay.  The views from both the lodge and river of the surrounding mountains and wilderness are enough to make us feel small. It puts us in our place a bit. I don’t know of a more gorgeous environment to fish in the world.

Fresh snow overnight above the lodge on Kimsquit Peak.

The Dean River stands alone on the central coast of British Columbia. It has been called the “crown jewel” of the coast and for good reason. The geography of the Dean is unique. The river hits the saltwater in the middle of the dramatic Coast Mountains.

The deep and long Dean Channel cuts far inland from the outer coast, delivering saltwater to a non-coastal area. Most rivers start in the mountains. But the Dean seems almost as if it flows backwards, originating inland high on the plateau, flowing westward and terminating in the saltwater in the middle of the mountains.  

A male Grizzly Bear takes a nap in the woods…but no hibernating at this time of year.
All gather to admire the reel collection.

The Dean River stands alone on the central coast of British Columbia. It has been called the “crown jewel” of the coast and for good reason.

Swinging where the river meets the salt.
A chrome Steelhead on a bamboo rod- can’t get much better than that.
Guide Mike McLean scoops a nice one while an eagle flies by on its hunting path.

The fish themselves are nature’s perfection. Strong and sleek, true summer steelhead enter the river in the middle months of the summer season. These fish are turbo charged to navigate the fierce canyon, and they ascend high into the watershed by jumping various falls. They won’t spawn until the following spring. Think about that for a second: The unique timing of these fish mean that they are entering the river when water temps are warm and the days are long.

This makes them among the most aggressive steelhead known, there are no fish fresher from-the-salt or harder fighting. They move far to get the fly and attack them with ferocity. Once hooked, they jump high, run far and will tail walk for what feels like eternity. Their acrobatics are unrivaled, and they will pull every inch of backing off your reel if given the chance.

Guest Hossein Hasani picks the starting lineup with the help of James Reid and Ryan White.
Classy flies for classy fish.
Guest Wayne Watson hooks up as guide Ryan White claims it.
In the bag! Guide Ryan White with the scoop.

The unique timing of these fish mean that they are entering the river when water temps are warm and the days are long.

Master chef Yota Oki enjoys the perks of the job.

While the steelhead of the Dean get all the attention, the Chinook of the Dean command respect. The Dean has both a spring and fall run of Chinook. The characteristics making steelhead strong and feisty make the Chinook borderline un-landable. For those anglers who really want a challenge, Dean Chinook are among the strongest and hardest-fighting fish in freshwater. The lower Dean is unique in that here you can catch both species of fish in the same spots and on the same flies. There is something exhilarating about not knowing if your fly is about to get bit by a 10lb steelhead or a 50lb Chinook! If your fly is taken by the latter, I wish you best of luck. You will need it!

Jeff HickmanKimsquit Bay Lodge

Guest Jon Hoppman lets one run.
Thick shoulders, Dean Chinook mean business.
Yari with a perfect Chinook on a floating line.
Lodge Engineer, James Reid, sends one back.
The river mouth has an incredible 360-degree view.
Oly Dean Hickman, future guide in training.
Ozzie Hickman, the lodge bear dog.
Kimsquit Bay Lodge has the best equipment.
James Reid fishes for spot prawns.
The ocean boat, ready to roll when we need it.
The 2 hour floatplane charter flight direct to the lodge from Vancouver, BC makes travel a breeze and also very scenic.
Great Grizzly Bear viewing from back at the lodge.

Contributed By

Adrienne Comeau

Adrienne is a British Columbia born and raised guide and photographer for Skeena Spey Riverside Wilderness & Lodge, a fly fishing outfitter in Terrace, BC dedicated to spey casting for steelhead and chinook salmon. She has been fly fishing for over fifteen years and working in the fly fishing industry for over ten of those years as a fly shop bum and guide, as well as a casting and fly tying instructor. In addition to having her photography published in a number of fly fishing magazines and catalogues, Adrienne has also had several articles in print and appeared in several shows. Her passion lies with spey casting for steelhead, but she is happy to cast at anything willing to eat a fly. She is on the pro-staff teams for G.Loomis Canada, Hatch Outdoors and Pistil Designs and is a grassroots ambassador for Eddie Bauer.

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