Photos: Swinging Up Steel in British Columbia


This is the kind of wild steelhead that draws anglers from around the world to the Skeena system.
Photo by Jeremy Kehrein

Steelhead anglers around the world view British Columbia as piscatorial Shangri-La. Its beautiful scenery, wild rivers, and large fish that are fond of swung flies make it a Spey-caster’s dream. Steelhead can be present in the Skeena river system 12 months out of the year, and instructor Pete Kutzer and I were lucky enough, in a short time, to bring to hand and witness many of the wonders Terrace, British Columbia has to offer.


Fall in British Columbia is glorious.
Photo by Peter Kutzer

Last winter, the newly Orvis-endorsed Skeena Salmon Lodge invited us to visit and see if they would be a good location for hosted trips and a steelhead school. Head guide and fishing manager Maurice and lodge owner Marcel graciously hosted us for three days. We fished a Skeena tributary called the Kitimat and two tributaries of the Nass River, the Cranberry and the Bell-Irving. The Cranberry is a small river, but the fish certainly don’t seem to mind. The Bell-Irving is a larger river with great swinging water around every bend. Even thought the trip was short, we can’t wait to get back.

Watch this space or check Orvis Travel for an announcement of the 2016 Skeena Steelhead School dates and information.


Jeremy got in on the action with this little guy, netted by head guide, Maurice Mander.
Photo by Peter Kutzer

Maurice and a guest consider changing fly patterns.
Photo by Peter Kutzer

Just look at how firm the body on this fish is!
Photo by Jeremy Kehrein

Uwe, a n angler from Austria landed this nice bull trout.
Photo by Peter Kutzer

Jeremy and Maurice pose with a true chrome beauty.
Photo by Peter Kutzer

Pete gently returns a fish to the river to complete its journey.
Photo by Jeremy Kehrein

One thought on “Photos: Swinging Up Steel in British Columbia”

  1. Hello-
    I am headed to the Bell Irving in early/mid september of this year (2019) and have talked with several people and read a fair amount about the fishery and access. What people are warning (poor access, few people, difficult water/run timing) is exactly why I want to check it out. I have steelhead fished my entire life and fully understand that rivers get blown out, that’s beyond my control. I am very self sufficient and really just want to get there, check it out and swing some flies if its possible. I may have a pack raft to use to float a section or two. Anyway, I have no specific question I guess and am by no means looking for an “X” on a map but rather just searching for general information about this place and any would be greatly appreciated. I absolutely love to hike and fish (yes, bushwacking does happen) and would love to check out the Cranberry river too.
    Thank you much,
    Max (530)925.6896

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