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March 25, 2008

British Columbia's Bent-Rod Bonanza

Downsize your tackle and get more bang for your buck

Planning a Trip to Fish British Columbia

A wealth of fly-in fishing resorts operate up and down the B.C. coast. West Coast Resorts offers options from the top of the coast, in the Queen Charlotte Islands to Vancouver Island in the south. We visited its Milbanke Sound operation; the same floating lodge spends the first half of the summer season moored farther north and a bit inside, in Whale Channel. 
When to go: Late May through early July to fish Whale Channel with the emphasis on chinook and bottomfish; mid-July through early September for coho with good numbers of chinook and a sprinkling of pinks, sockeye and chum salmon. Husband-and-wife fishing teams may want to check West Coast Resorts' website for details on the special couples trip planned for September 2008.
What to bring: Besides tackle, layers of clothing since you may well encounter warm, shirt-sleeve weather and cold, wet ocean winds in the same trip - or day (or hour!). Do not bring heavy rain slickers or deck boots since the lodges provide boots and warm flotation suits. While resorts normally have charts of the immediate waters available, you may want to order one (for Milbanke Sound, that would be Canadian Hydrographic Services Chart 3938; I ordered mine from West Marine, in part to study beforehand for familiarity and consider areas you may want to fish. Also, for   navigation and safety, a handheld GPS with appropriate software for the area is a must. Canadian West Coast Gold and/or Platinum charts by Navionics ( will do the job admirably.
What to expect: Plan to overnight in Vancouver the night before the early-morning departure for the lodge. You'll fly on a large prop plane to Bella Bella and from there on a Grumman Goose float plane for a 10-minute hop to the lodge. Many B.C. fishing lodges, like West Coast Resorts, offer options to fish with a guide, strictly on your own or in some combination. Typically, you'll have the opportunity to fish from dawn to dusk as you wish.
Contacts for more information: West Coast Resorts - or     800-810-8933; Tourism British Columbia - or 800-435-5622; Tourism Vancouver - or 604-682-2222.

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