Dean River Steelhead

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British Columbia’s Dean River steelhead are world renowned for being the strongest fish of their brethren, and for inhabiting one of the last pristine and untouched environments within their native range.

The Dean River steelhead season begins in late June and fishes strong until the last days of August.

The Dean River is one of the only places on Earth where an angler can land a trophy fish while surrounded by waterfalls, epic mountains and emerald blue water…all while only minutes from the ocean!

Dean River Steelhead Trips

With no roads connecting to the outside world, clients arrive by float-plane and quickly settle into our breath-taking lodge overlooking the majestic Pacific Ocean (only a ten minute drive from the Dean River!)

There are two sections of the Dean River; above the canyon and below the canyon.

Our trips run below the canyon, beginning directly where the freshwater meets the saltwater, and ending four and a half kilometers upriver where the deadly Dean River Canyon acts as a barrier. This close proximity to the ocean guarantees fresh and ghost-like fish…with mirror-like scales and transparent fins.

These Steelhead are undeniably the freshest of Steelhead found along the coast of BC.

We use a jet boat to place anglers on productive runs and two guides are supplied for six anglers. Fly out trips for salmon, rainbow trout, and cutthroat may also be arranged during your stay.

This is the trip of a lifetime and is a must for those looking to experience a guided fly fishing adventure like none other at one of the most reputable and longstanding fly fishing lodges in the wilderness of British Columbia.

Testimonials

“I’ve had the pleasure of knowing April for several years and was finally able to book a trip to the Dean River through FlyGal. At the conclusion of that trip I thought it was the most enjoyable fishing experience I would ever have. As it turns out I had the opportunity to book a second trip the following year and now I couldn’t say which was the best. April and Steve are knowledgeable, friendly and personable. They are also both very talented anglers and outstanding teachers. I had never spey cast before fishing with them but within a few days I was completely comfortable with my casting and they had passed on much information on fly selection, presentation and the habits of steelhead. They were able to do this by offering well timed suggestions and tips that allowed me to focus on fishing and improve my techniques along the way. And every day on the river and at the lodge spent with them was wonderful, I can’t say enough good things about both.”

- Al Ritt
Longmont, Colorado

“After more than 40 years of fly fishing for numerous species other than steelhead, I was convinced by a friend to give it a try on the Dean River in British Columbia. My lack of steelhead knowledge was immediately solved by two of the best guides one can have, April Vokey and Stevie. They have great knowledge of the game, needed presentations and appropriate flies. More importantly, they can see any flaws in your casting and give you proper corrective recommendations. In addition, they are a pleasure to be and fish with; April has the charm, grace and attitude of a professional, and was a great asset to my angling experience. And, oh yes, I caught some gorgeous steelhead up to 16 pounds…I’ll be back again next year.” 

- Larry Solomon
Warwick, New York

Why Book with Us?

When you decide to book a trip with Fly Gal you’re choosing to do business with a trusted name in the fly fishing travel industry. Our services are always offered 100% FREE to you and are designed to help make your dream fly fishing trip a reality.

We only work with lodges and guides that we know and trust. We’ve been to each location and that allows us to offer meaningful, first-hand knowledge of the fishery and area. From licenses and gear selection to flight planning we’re here to help at all stages of the process.

Book with confidence…we’ll take care of the rest!


Rates

Main Lodge Package

$5200.00 CDN (plus tax)

*Includes 7 nights accommodations, all meals and 6 days of guided fishing. Additional fees of $950.00 CDN apply for round-trip flights from Vancouver into the lodge.

**Gratuities and fishing licenses not included in listed price.

To reserve your space click here or call 1.888.359.4259

Wild Dean River Steelhead are some of the strongest fish of their brethren, inhabiting one of the last pristine and untouched environments.

These chrome bright fish are spotted with fresh sea lice and are famous for their unparalleled acrobatics. Notorious for their strength and stamina, the Dean fish are some of the most sought after steelhead in the world.

Dean River Steelhead

A true Summer-run steelhead, these fish are the last of a dying breed that are able to live up to their name and battle fiercely throughout the warm and sun-filled months of the summer.

The Dean River is equally as famous for its outstanding Coho and Chinook salmon!

Salmon enter the system at the same time as the steelhead and anglers are consistently kept on their toes as they never quite know what to expect on the end of their line!

Be prepared to run if a huge Chinook (King) Salmon decides to challenge you to a battle…these monsters know the ocean is directly behind them and they are determined to make it back to the salt when your fly wedges itself between its jaws.

Dean River fish, whether it be a salmon or a steelhead, are as fresh as they come and have plagued anglers over the years with indescribable fighting strength and butt-kickings.

Lower Dean River Essential Items

Clothing for the River

The Dean River has been known to have unpredictable weather… Rainy days can be surprisingly cold for summer, and sunny days can be unbelievably hot.

Come prepared for both extremes with warm fleece and long-sleeve-but-cool clothing. When horseflies are out in hot weather, a long sleeve shirt that is fairly light yet relatively thick (so they can’t bite through) is necessary to stay comfortable.

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The standard layered approach is the best way to ensure comfort on the river.

Layer 1: Next to the skin use a wicking material that allows your skin to breathe while removing moisture at the same time. Many of the outdoor companies provide this performance material as it is truly the best way to optimize comfort throughout the day. These articles are worn in the form of long sleeved shirts and long underwear.

Layer 2: A mid layer long sleeved shirt made of either wool, down, fleece, polyester, flannel or a blend of synthetic and natural materials (Polar-Tec, etc.)

Layer 3: A Polar Fleece sweater or something of the sort. We recommend that you bring a lighter weight and a medium weight fleece at the very least as weather can range from super hot to chilly.

For your legs you may also use a polar fleece pant of varying weights depending on the river’s water temperature.

Layer 4: Goretex Fishing Jacket and Waders (Patagonia, Simms, etc.)

Goretex jackets all have pockets and storage for fly boxes, tippets, leaders, etc. so feel free to lighten your load by leaving your fishing vest at home.

Waders: We recommend a Goretex Wader with a built-in Neoprene Sock.

Goretex is very light weight and does not limit flexibility. It also breathes to keep you cool during those warm summer days.

Boots: The rocks are not very slippery, but there are some large boulders and uneven bottom is common. Felt, studded felt and studded rubber soles all work great. Try to refrain from wearing plain, unstudded rubber soles.

Hat: Baseball cap or wide brim.

Polarized sunglasses: For eye protection from hooks and for cutting down glare reflecting off the river.

Tackle

Spey casting is most certainly the number one method of fly-fishing our guides recommend.

Spey-casting allows anglers to be able to cover more water with ease and efficiency…typically resulting in catching more fish.

Rods: 7-9 weight rods are most suitable for the Dean. 10 weights are fairly common, especially in June through Mid-July when the Chinook are around.

It is recommended you bring backup rods in case one breaks.

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Reel: Make sure that your reel is one that is capable of storing at least 150 meters of 30lb backing, plus an appropriate Spey fly line. There are lots of great reels on the market; Hatch, Ross, Nautilus, etc.

A backup reel is recommended, as Dean fish break more reels than any other salmon or steelhead around.

Leaders and Tippet: Self-tied leaders rather than factory-tapered leaders are strongly recommended. Our guides will tie your leaders for you. Maxima Ultragreen monofilament is our leader material of choice. Bring spools of this in 15lb, 20lb and 30lb.

Forceps/Pliers: Essential for de-barbing hooks and getting hooks out of fish.

Nippers: Frequent re-tying of terminal tackle is common. Bring nippers so you are able to tie knots without chipping your teeth on thick line.

Flies: Marabou and intruder style flies are the most common flies we use on the Dean River, however, these fish will bite almost anything!

More important than the actual pattern of your fly is the type of hook, size, profile and weight of the fly.

A good selection of flies to include on your trip would consist of large intruder-style flies (3-4 inches long) in bright orange, pink, red, etc. Dark tones of black, blue and purple flies are also extremely effective.

Both unweighted and weighted flies are strongly recommended.

Be sure to include some smaller flies and a few traditional steelhead flies (green-butt skunk, general practitioner, standard Spey flies, etc.)

Thick, strong hooks are essential, as there have been many huge steelhead and Chinook lost due to bent out hooks. If you are fishing during the months of June or early July, a size 2/0 is necessary.

Lines: The most popular fly-line for our guests is the Rio Skagit Line.

600 and 650 grain lines are the most common weight of line used, however, it is vital that your line weight match your rod.

Refer to your local dealer or fly shop to confirm that your set-up is paired accordingly.

We are a Rio dealer and will have fly-lines available upon request.

Sink Tips: Sink tips are an absolute necessity during your trip.

A Rio 15 foot type 8 is the most common used tip, however, type 3 and 6 tips are also commonly used.

It is recommended that you come equipped with a 30 foot section of T-14, as early season high water can make it difficult to get your fly down to the fish quickly.

Flotation Device: The Dean is a fast and dangerous river that has stolen life before… It is highly recommended you wear some type of life preserver while fishing and boating.

There are many compact, inflatable life preservers available that don’t hinder casting motion or compromise comfort while angling.

Wading staffs are also helpful when fishing potentially dangerous rivers.

Miscellaneous items:
-Casual wear for evenings
-Sunscreen
-Sun-gloves
-Camera
-Cigars/Cigarettes (there is nowhere to purchase these once at the lodge.)
-Premium spirits

Note: Bear spray is not allowed on planes. There is some available at the lodge.

Our Dean River Lodge is nestled in a beautiful wilderness setting near the head of the Dean Channel in British Columbia, Canada.

Located below Gratham Falls (an astounding waterfall that cascades over 1,000 feet through a steep and picturesque rock face), lays our quaint lodge and three welcoming cabins.

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Fragrant hanging baskets overflowing with seasonal flowers and fluttering hummingbirds decorate the entrances of both the lodge and the cabins, making a romantic of even the toughest of fly-fishermen.

This intimate setting is the epitome of a secluded waterfront escape, complete with views of steep glacial mountains, a sunny bay of rippling and reflecting Pacific Ocean, and gushing white water of the full-sized, roaring waterfall mentioned above.

A gazebo graces the green lawn, overlooking the ocean and accommodating anglers sharing laughs, stories, drinks and photos after a full day of fishing.

Hearty home-cooking and baking scent the air and the aroma of ‘all you can eat’ meals make mouths water and stomachs growl in anticipation.

We offer full service, with a kitchen, dining room, sitting room, and three cabins to house six guests (two guests in each). Each cabin has its own bathroom, shower, and propane heat.

Our Dean River Lodge is one of the longest-standing and reputable fishing lodges in Dean River history.

As humble, down to Earth, kind and gracious people, this family owned operation is compiled of integrity and sincerity.

It’s a back-country utopia built by great people for great people.

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April Vokey
British Columbia, Canada

April Vokey lives in British Columbia and is an avid angler and steelhead, salmon and trout guide. She was born with an unexplainable passion for fishing. As a young girl she coaxed her father into going fishing and by the age of sixteen, when she was old enough to drive, she was devoting all of her free time to her local rivers.

She is passionate about Spey casting to wild steelhead, the environment and tying Atlantic Salmon/Steelhead flies. She has made it her mission to encourage and introduce aspiring anglers to the sport, in hopes that it will bring them as much pleasure as it has brought her. She takes pride in being an eternal student of fly-fishing.

April is a Federation of Fly Fishers Certified Casting Instructor and fly-fishing columnist. She is the Steelhead columnist for Fly Fusion magazine and the Canadian field editor for Chasing Silver magazine. Her works and photos can also be found in Salmon Trout Steelheader (STS), Field and Stream, Fly Fisherman, Flyfishing and Tying Journal and several other international publications.

She is a lead angler for Fly Max Films where she travels around the world, fly-fishing for every species of fish imaginable.

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Steve Morrow
British Columbia, Canada

Steve Morrow grew up in White Rock, BC and began fishing at an early age. After completing high school he moved to the interior of British Columbia where he has lived in Kamloops, BC ever since.

Steve’s love of fisheries influenced his academic path and he holds a technical diploma in Fish and Wildlife Management and a bachelor’s degree in Natural Resource Science. He is currently completing a diploma in Journalistic Studies and plans to begin a Masters of Environmental Science next year.

His first guiding position was on the Chilko River where he was head guide at Tsylos Park Lodge for 5 seasons. He also spent 4 years guiding on the Fraser River and a season guiding for trout in Chilean Patagonia in South America. Since then he has had the good fortune to work on the lower Dean River for 3 seasons. Steve sees himself on the Dean River for many years to come.

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