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A beer lovers guide to fishing BC

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If you are coming to BC to swing flies for winter or summer steelhead, or trying your luck for king salmon on the fly there is one very important thing you should study up on before your trip.  In the end it may be more important than your flies, rods, reels or any other research you have done.  I am of course talking about beer! What to sample immediately upon arrival.  The craft beer world in Canada is much more limited that the wonderland many states in the US enjoy. Pennsylvania, Illinois, New Jersey and Massachusetts all have over 275 different brands available .  Not in Canada. We don’t have cool websites like which lets you know where to find your favourite beers or any craft beer apps that are of any use.  Let me quickly match what beer you should be driniking for your BC fishing trips.

Choosing a beer is a lot like dressing for the river: You don’t have to take the weather and water temp into consideration, but you’re going to be a lot happier if you do. Simply put, some beers taste better when you’re on the Skeena in the summer, and some taste better when your fishing the Yakoun in a snowstorm. 

The best winter selections are generally toasty malt and spice beers, and they tend be higher in alcohol. They’re heavier, thicker, and more aggressive than their hot summer counterparts. You probably wouldn’t identify them as “refreshing,” and drinking a couple usually will suffice, but they will warm your soul.  Precisely what you need when your reel is freezing and you are dipping your rod in the water before each cast.

If you are fishing Haida Gwaii with us in the dead of winter you will want to seek out a couple of these strong dark beers that will warm your soul. The best North American Style Dark Lager comes from one of my favourite breweries in BC, Hermann’s Dark Lager (Vancouver Island Brewery (BC)).  If you can’t find this, look for Okanagan Spring Porter, (Okanagan Spring Brewery (BC)).  It’s a great Strong Porter that is usually at every liquor store in the province.


In the summer I like to match my King salmon fishing with a hefeweizen beer and hands down the best one in BC is the King Heffy Imperial Hefeweizen, (Howe Sound Brewing Co. (BC).  Granville island brewery has a decent one that is usually pretty easy to find as well.  

However if you are going to be camping and will be most likely drinking beer from sun up to sun down you want to get very serious about your choice.  For this type of drinking and fishing you will want a lager, and a very good one.  One that is light, refreshing and won’t slow you down.  For this you want to grab a case of Moosehead, and Okanagan spring 1516.  You will never tire of the taste. Another one I love but is hard to come by in BC is the traditional Pilsner by Creemore Springs brewed in Ontario

The one highly fashionable beer that is well worth drinking during all months of the year while swinging flies on any river is an IPA.  A great option in BC is Red Racer which offers a great American IPA brewed by Central City Brewing. Or for English style IPA it’s hands down Devils Elbow IPA by Howe Sound, and Lord of the Hops by Parallel 49 Brewing. These are all serious home runs and should be chilled in a cooler at all campsites.  

If you are looking to swing flies for pink salmon and listen to Nickelback you may want to consider some of our great choices for Gluten free beers. (I apologize if you really are allergic) 

In the Fall a nice brown ale to try is Dead Frog Breweries Nut Brown Ale.  It’s an awesome beer worthy of celebrating with after catching a 20 pound steelhead. Granville island brewing also makes a great limited release Irish Red at this time of year well worth looking for.  If you are on the Sustut the last week of October and the temps are plummeting look no further than Howe Sounds Diamond Head Oatmeal Stout.  This will warm your bones enough to carry on. 

If you are headed this way be sure to write a few of these down.  Whether the river is blown, or you want to sit on a rock and celebrate after landing a booner, a fine riverside beer is absolutely crucial to your trip.


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