In our adventures targeting kings on the fly we have found a few key components you need to find.  The most important factor is a high density of fish. Just like all salmon they don’t tend to get grabby until they are competing for space in a pool.  Fly fishing for king salmon is not effective if there are only a couple fish in a pool or run.  If you are fishing water that tends to accumulate a large number of chinook every year like a major confluence in a river, you need to target these fish as soon as possible after arrival.  You have about 2 weeks until the fish get stale mulling around staging areas, but upon arrival they are extremely aggressive to the fly.  If it is a heavily fished section it can be tougher.  It is amazing how fishing pressure diminishes your chances for catching kings on the fly.

Why Fish with Epic Waters??

We have been guiding swinging for kings for over a decade all up and down the BC Coast and on into Alaska.  A trip with us will not only be successful, it will be a great learning experience in how to target these awesome fish with spey rods.

Although people have been targeting kings on a fly for many years it is becoming quite apparent that what we thought we knew 20 years ago was mostly incorrect.  In modern fly fishing we are constantly redefining what is considered “fly water” or a “fly species” every day.  Advances in technology, techniques, and a better understanding of fish in general has allowed us to start targeting fish successfully in waters that were often overlooked or once considered impossible on the fly.

Clarity of water is overrated in our opinion.  You can catch kings on the fly in very colored water if all the other attributes are correct.  Don’t be so quick to give up if you have dirty water, if you know where the fish are (they often roll) and you have a fishable depth you will be in the game.

Water speed is the most important factor in fly fishing for king salmon.  These fish rarely move up to bite a fly.  They chase flies quite far but only if the fly originated in the correct depth. You can almost be assured if your not getting down to the fish at some point in the swing or cast you are not going to garnish a strike.  Obviously water speed dictates how deep we can fish, so this is the most important factor in determining where to target. This is why so few chinook rivers lend themselves to swinging flies with spey rods.  Intermediate skagit lines and as much T-17 you can throw helps, but that isn’t exactly fun.

If you don’t have some opportunities to swing for kings a on a river, or you need more that 15 feet of T14 to get down you just don’t have a desirable river to fly fish for kings.  With that said you can still get out and try some different techniques.  This is why more and more fly fisherman are targeting kings in the back channels, and side sloughs.

Anchor on the edge of the seam so you can cast both ways. Swing into the dead water and strip short quick strips.  Your goal is to keep the fly as deep as possible for as long as possible yet giving your fly the illusion of speed.  Your fly has to look like its moving fairly fast if your stripping it upstream.  Holes with a lot of current, or any speed at all have to be mid range depth.  If your river doesn’t have a lot of swing water search out a calm slough.  Sometimes your coho type water will attract kings as well.



Accommodations and Meals:  This trip is not one of our remote coastal camps, it is a river flowing right through a coastal town.  The guides camp and the guests stay at a local hotel.   It is a great combination allowing anglers to all hang out at camp, eat food cooked over an open fire and tell war stories under the stars, yet still get an uninterrupted sleep in a bed.  The hotel is minutes from our guide camp and right in the thick of the best fishing.  Our guide camp is a picture perfect set up, an exact replica our our famous remote camps.  It is the perfect atmosphere to hang out when not fishing.

Food is prepared by our lodge chef and cooked an presented over an open fire each day at camp.  Meals are fantastic and perfectly timed to maximize the best times to fish.  With no chef telling us to be back for dinner we fish as long as we like, and when things are good, we fish hard.

Your Guides

  • Derek Botchford Operator
  • Dave Page Fishing Guide
  • Corwin Trent Fishing guide
  • Stevie Morrow Operator
  • Derek Botchford Operator

    As operator of the the lodge it is my job to ensure your trip is a successful one. From the moment you book with us I will be at the ready to assist you in anything that may arise with regards to your trip.From the first contact with Epic and throughout your stay with us I will facilitate with my manager and team to make it a once in a lifetime experience. I will be at camp the entire time organizing fishing beats, shuttles and food.

The Daily Routine

We fish two sessions per day maximizing low light and tides. We like to be on the water by 5am each day and are back at camp by 11am for brunch. Mid days are best for napping or exploring the local tourist stops.  We have an early dinner around 3pm at camp and tie up a few hot flies for the river. Next, we set our sights on fishing the evening when the light is again off the water and the fresh chinook begin to move into the small river from the estuary.  We return to camp for late night appies and cocktails around 10pm, and go over all the encounters of the day. The best part is the next day……we do it all again!

Success rates are high, you can expect to catch a fish each session.  Hang your wet gear, have a hot shower and head for the nearest bottle of scotch. Gourmet appies are in your near future followed by beautiful meal prepared by a professional chef. All that’s left now is to tell a few fish tales, hit the hay and do it all again tomorrow.

Exclusive Amenities and Facilities

Exclusive Amenities

To provide the best possible experience we have all our meals prepped by our head chef at Frontier. The fishing is highly organized and specialized to target tide fresh fish. Steve Morrow or Derek Botchford, Dave Page and guide Corwin Trent will be on site to ensure on the water success. Maximum of 4 guests per week.

  • The hotel is we utilize is very nice with great rates.  They offer daily turndown service and a free breakfast.  It is just a stones throw from both the river and the camp.
  • Food has always been, and always will be our specialty.  Custom meals picked out for individual guests, and not too much and not too little.  This is a very easy way to get into the outdoors without sacrificing comfort and connectivity.  These trips are easy, from the travel, to the fishing, to the accommodations.  With that, you do lose the remoteness of some of our camps, but for many this is a trade off well worth taking.


  • Laundry available
  • freezers if you want to keep fish
  • Free breakfast
  • perfect location for all fishing

How to Get There?

How do I get there? Away?

Our coastal chinook fishing  is accessed through the town of Terrace, British Columbia. Arriving to Terrace is easily accomplished by flight from Vancouver YVR.

Air Canada currently offers departures from Vancouver YVR to Terrace  several times a day. Please note this schedule changes regularly.

Transportation from Terrace to hotel will be arranged by us.  



What equipment and documents should I bring?


1. You should arrive in terrace the night prior to your trip. From there we will take you to the hotel.  The next morning will be the first fishing session.

2. Please purchase your license. You must have:

  • 8 day angling license for your duration

3. We have a supply of beer and wine at camp but no hard alcohol. Duty free is a great place to purchase alcohol prior to entering Canada.

4. The flight into Terrace from Vancouver is less than 2 hours. Missing bags are uncommon but can occasionally happen. We know it’s tough to leave all 7 boxes of flies in your checked bag but a small carry on with toiletries and medicine should be your priority.

Before Travel

– Flight times and travel details confirmed directly with airlines
– Passport and/or travel documents reviewed and double-checked- All equipment packed and ready to go

Travel info

Traveling with Special Items: Fishing Equipment

Traveling with outdoor gear and most fishing-related items is permitted. Outdoor enthusiasts should carefully prepare and pack to avoid removal of prohibited items from checked baggage or surrendering prohibited items at the security checkpoint. Here is a specific list of all permitted and prohibited items.

Fishing Rods – Rods are permitted as carry-on and checked baggage. However, please check with your air carrier to confirm that it fits within their size limitations for carry-on items. Ultimately, it is the carrier’s decision as to whether or not it can be transported as carry-on baggage.

Tackle and Other Equipment – Most fishing equipment should be placed in your checked baggage, especially tools and other tackle equipment that can be considered sharp and dangerous. Expensive reels or fragile tackle such as flies should be packed in your carry- on baggage. (*T.S.A. Recommendation from T.S.A. website, March 1, 2009)

Tackle to use

If you want to land a big king in BC, you need to upgrade from trying to get by with your steelhead gear. Size wise, these fish basically start where the steelhead end. The blistering runs will spool you unless you have early control, and that is possible only with a big stick. Think 9 or 10 weights that are more than 13.6 feet long. Modern king rods are very light for the size, and that is an important factor for preserving energy while casting big heavy tips. The most common tip we use is 12.5 feet of T17. We also prefer lightly weighted flies that cast well. Many guides will tell you that you need to throw 20 feet of T17 with a giant lead-eyed full squirrel tail to catch Chinook. If that were the case, the sport would not be growing as fast as it is. It is growing because with the perfect run, right rod, sink tip, and fly, it is actually enjoyable to cast and step through a run.

If you can’t cast your setup comfortably, then you are too heavy. Keep chopping your sink tip and switching to lighter flies until you match your comfort level with your ability. If you are struggling find water where you can present a fly to moving fish with shorter casts like the head of a run. You are often fishing for different fish than the gear guys are, so no need to worry about what everyone else is catching. We often guide complete Chinook beginners, and by selecting gear to match their abilities, finding water that offers a chance, and long hours spent casting, they will eventually find fish. Although Chinook spey fishing is better suited toward intermediate anglers, it is a sport for everyone who enjoys swinging flies.

Fishing smaller coastal rivers              

We fish a lot of small Chinook rivers, like Kemano, Kalum, or Kodiak Island’s Ayakulik in Alaska. You have to change your tactics a little bit to be successful. Due to the small clear water, the fish will tend to move in the early morning or late evening, and by being chased constantly by seals, these fish are always on red alert. When they first arrive at their new lies, they are in their most aggressive state, as they compete for space in the pool. They will hold in deep, slow runs, which are very similar to where our summer steelhead fish go when water temps drop to the low 30s. When the tide comes in and fresh fish mix with holding fish, it’s like a bar letting out after hours on Granville street. Tensions are high here, fish are extremely aggressive, and you are most likely about to be in for the fight of your life!

Making the transition from steelhead to Chinook

With the evolution of spey fishing, steelheaders are constantly looking for new, challenging opportunities to catch large, anadromous fish on the swung fly. Although swinging flies for Chinook have been around for a long time, with the technology of lighter, more powerful spey rods, new lines, easy casting tips, and the evolution of flies, the game has changed. We have turned many doubters into believers by simply getting them into their first Chinook on a spey rod. The experience is intense, nerve wracking, and scary. It is like stepping into a ring with Mike Tyson; you’re not sure if the fish is mentally sane and could bite your ear off at any time.

Catching Chinook in the rivers is now a very special experience, and it is important to take good care of the fish that are caught. Alaska implemented a law 15 years ago that doesn’t allow anglers to take Chinook out of the water for catch-and-release fishing. If you do not plan on harvesting fish, leave at least its head and gills completely submerged in water. Although BC has yet to adopt this policy, it is a very good idea to follow it. Opportunities to catch these fish in rivers are becoming more and more limited each year. Anglers need to do everything they can to promote healthy catch-and-release fishing so that we can continue to pursue these magnificent kings of the river.

Gear Recommendations

Fly Rods: 9- or 10-weight spey rods work well (if the rod is a 9, it should be a sturdy one).

Reels: We recommend a very durable reel with a strong drag and a large arbor spool capacity of at least 200 yards of 30-pound backing.
Lines: Versatility is important; one must be ready for a variety of water depths and flows. Consider shorter skagit lines, and use tips that vary from 10ft of T-11 to 15 feet of T17. RIO’s InTouch Skagit Max GameChanger is a very good choice for chinook.

Leaders: Leaders should be abrasion-resistant monofilament with 20 pounds of strength (Maxima is by far the best). Any more and you tend to break fly lines when they get stuck in rocks.
Flies: We find that the best thing is to bring tube flies, as any store-bought ones don’t have big-enough hooks. If you tie your own, use 2/0 high- quality hooks. Anything in chartreuse, pink, purple, black, orange, or any combination of these colors is good. The pattern itself should be fairly big—in the 2- to 4-inch range but not overdressed so it can sink fast— Have a variety of weighted flies, from unweighted to medium heavy. Leave the giant, un-castable flies at home.



Packages and Rates

$3500 per person

5 full guided days with 2 sessions of fishing totalling over 12 hours on the water per day
All trips run during spring into early summer Season ( June 1 – July 1).

What’s Included?

  • Transportation to and from Terrace Airport.
  • Guided fishing, all rods, reels and flies, over 12 hours fishing a day
  • 2 Delicious professional chef prepared meals served with wine.
  • A vehicle to get around in if requested

What’s not Included?

  • Hotel room
  • Breakfast  (it is free at hotel)
  • Hard liquor.
  • Gratuities.

Weight Allowance

Due to safety measures, and weight restrictions on the airplanes, there is a maximum weight allowance of two bags at 50 pounds per person.

Making Reservations

A 50% deposit is due within 14 days of reserving rod space to confirm your reservation. Final payment is due 120 days prior to arrival.

Ready for an Epic Adventure? Contact Us to Book

call us tel:+18778469153

send derek an email

Derek Botchford 
Owner Operator