Bulkley Basecamp is a relatively new operation brought to you by the Bulkley River Steelhead company. The culmination of a decades experience in the Skeena region and far more in the fishing industry, ‘Basecamp is the highly efficient product of it all. Situated central to many of the worlds greatest steelhead fisheries and with the flexibility to access them at a moments notice this really is the best fit model. Small groups are entertained in tent camp luxury and wheeled off the best angling options available.
The lodge is located on a small Bulkley River tributary and only minutes from prime steelhead fishing. From here you can access the hundreds of miles of phenomenal water of the upper Skeena drainage. We regularly drive and fish the Bulkley, Skeena, Babine and Morice rivers representing the best of what the sport has to offer. We also fish the upper Copper and remote sections of the upper Skeena and lower Babine where helicopters are the only option. Steelhead see minimal pressure here and the potential for excellent fish and the trophy of a lifetime are a cast away. Skeena steelhead are all healthy and completely wild fish averaging between 8-12 lbs with the possibility for 20-30 pounders.
The riverside accommodations at Baseamp sit at the foot of an extensive canyon and below the looming alpine of Skilokis Mountain. Close enough to amenities to provide comfort and security, the real world feels million miles away. Sit back and relax at our riverside bar with a drink, go for hike through meadows, enjoy spectacular food prepared by the camp chef, get warm around crackling fire or retire to wood fire heat in your plush wall tent. In the mornings as you drink hot coffee keep your eye out for black bear, moose, red fox, mule deer and even bobcat, all of which are regularly seen on the property. Even enjoy a hot shower in our beautiful cedar sided bathhouses enjoying the open air freshness and sunshine cascading in through the clear ceiling.
Why choose Bulkley Baseamp?
– A small intimate operation where attention to details is important. 6 staff for 6 clients.
– Stunning creekside location and nestled among the dramatic peaks of BC’s Coastal Range.
– Feels remote but close enough to be comfortable and safe.
– Accommodations are luxury tents, excellent food, dedicated and hardworking staff, new well up kept equipment and facilities. Most clients repeat.
– One guide to 2 clients ensures attention to detail, safe experience and ample instruction. Our guides are the best there are and all well trained and come highly recommended.
– Best water in the world for steelhead. We can access countless beats and many of the worlds most renown rivers. Runs range from rewarding ledgerock canyons to classic gravel bars.
– All spey styles are successful. Skate, wet fly, long rod, switch, long lines, short heads, classic flies, intruders and everything in between. If you fish it, they will come.
– Beats are rotated each day and you will get to experience different water under the best conditions availablefor each section.
Bulkley Basecamp is located a short 45 minute drive from the idyllic mountain town of Smithers, BC. Easily reached from Vancouver, a short flight through the spectacular Coastal Mountains along BC’s pacific edge is your reward. We will help facilitate your adventure and provide transport to the camp when your trip begins.
FACILITIES AND SERVICES
Created in 2015, Bulkley Baseamp was made to create a luxury “glamping” experience for a small group of lucky anglers. The relaxed atmosphere of the camp allows for a fluid schedule to ensure the very most from each and every days outing. Accommodating six anglers weekly in shared occupancy wall tents on raised platforms, each one has twin beds with good mattresses and plush bedding. The tents contain a wood stove, lit for you each early morning and afternoon for smothering warmth. Each well lit tent has a dresser for clothing, a covered deck to sip a scotch and even a desk to write about the days plunder. The cedar outhouses are clean and well kept and the accompanying cedar shower houses have hot water on demand and powerful rainshower heads. Dining is done in a spacious safari tent or under the stars if weather permits and a creekside bar cabin is the perfect spot to tell a lie or two over a beer. Most nights finish with a big fire and night cap.
The camp has all the best gear to use in the event that you don’t have your own. If you like, bring your waders, boots and jacket and we have your fishing covered!
Food and Drinks
At Epic Waters Angling operations we strive to showcase local produce and products in our cuisine. By using ingredients from the surrounding region we can showcase unique northern tradition found nowhere else on earth. Whenever possible we use beef and lamb from the Bulkley Valley that thrive on the lush banks of our watersheds. Honey and greens from the Smithers area are common summer staples as are fresh baked goods from the local bakery. With the touch of well trained chefs our team is able to provide a quality of service beyond what anyone would expect in a camp setting. Meals adhere to modern cuisine and are healthy and light, organic where possible, fresh and flavorful. With beautiful cuts of meat, fresh vegetables and elegant plating the portions are filling and satisfying.
With the help of a sommelier we prefer to carry BC wines as available. Grown in the dry hills of the Okanagan, these are truly some of the best there are. We also have a wide variety of Chilean and Argentine reds of which we are quite familiar. Having all spent time in the region we feel best suited to provide these full bodied offerings.
Enjoy plates like red wine braised short ribs with turnip and pear puree or flank steak tacos with red cabbage and chimichurri over seared yams. You could enjoy seared sesame albacore tuna over a bed of light jasmine rice or orange glazed cornish game hen with honey thyme baby carrots and grilled leaks. If you are a vegetarian, vegan or celiac we will work hard to keep your options varied and exciting!
Fishing for steelhead is a rewarding experience for the beginner and ardent angler alike. Whether you like being up to your waist on a big powerful river or ankle deep on a small delicate stream, or whether you’re into skating long classic tailouts or digging deep into a boulder garden, Bulkley Basecamp has it all.
Fishing at basecamp is so varied we find most swung techniques work. Of course your guide knows the best option for success and will do his best to get you there, but with us you are welcome to do what you enjoy. Some of the big glides fish well with 15 foot boomsticks and longer lines where your dry is so far away you have to squint to find it. We have choppy pocket water where fish practically swim through your feet and your short switch rod and chunk of t14 excel. There are long riffles where types 3’s swung to the shallows find the fish and there are deep tanks where skagit techniques and intruders are the name of the game. Your guide will use his years of knowledge to not only put you in the right place for the most success but also give you options where your preferred methods excel. Even though we know what works we are hear to recommend and we understand that everyone is looking for a certain experience. Of course if you want to get em, we can just do that instead!
Coffee is ready around 6:30 each morning and breakfast around 7am. Departing camp by 8am for the days fishing we spend the mornings attacking the river. After a lunch of a soup and sandwich or gourmet salad we fish into the late afternoon. Back at camp by 6:30pm there is time for hot shower before appetizers at 7pm. Dinners are served around 7:30pm and the rest of night is spent as you wish. The schedules change throughout the season to ensure we make the best use of the available time.
If you fish for steelhead and haven’t been living under a rock you’ve heard of the Skeena. Widely regarded as the best of the best, it’s for good reason!
The Skeena gets between 25,000-60,000 summer steelhead and represents the last great completely wild run in the world. Where rivers of lore like the Smith, Eel, Klamath, Columbia and Skagit have seen their fisheries fade from view, the mighty Skeena rolls on. Although its home to its own set of environmental challenges, the Skeena has largely avoided negative trends since monitoring began. These fish are the largest in the world and every season there is the potential for world records. Where a 20 lbs steelhead is a trophy anywhere and that includes here, the real possibility of fish 30 lbs or bigger make the Skeena stand alone.
Skeena summer steelhead begin entering the river in July and continue through November. As they swarm up the mainstem river they begin to peel off towards their natal streams. These fish spend the fall in their home rivers and winter under a sheath of ice. In the spring, fish wait for the freshet, shoot up smaller tributaries or find a piece of gravel close by and spawn as they have for thousands of years.
We have motto at basecamp- go where the fish are. We have a varied program and the flexibility to change course on a moments notice.
The mainstem Skeena is extremely important early in the season as the peak of the run is moving its way into the interior north coast. Here we have it all in one place. Fish destined for every famous river you’ve ever heard of are travelling up the “big flow” and the area around basecamp is ideal to target them. Tagging programs indicate this the first major resting spot for steelhead on their Skeena journey. With regularity they settle in the shallow riffles and speedy tailouts and become extremely accessible to the fly angler. As the pushes of early season fade from view, the later fish start to call the mainstem home. I mean if you found good real estate why move out?
The Bulkley River is the largest tributary of the Skeena and accounts for up to half all of its fish. This means good or bad year, the Bulkleys got steelies. A spey anglers dream, the water is the most varied on the planet from chunky ledgerock canyons where fish cling to sharp drop offs and superstars hone their casts, to the gentlest glides of pea-gravel where gentlemen quarter greaseliners through classic runs. The fish are both big and small with one of the healthiest age class structures in the steelhead universe. Young fish from 24 inches brush up against 43 inch leviathans.
The Babine is famous for having some of the biggest steelhead in the world. And while that is the absolute truth, the Babine is so much more. It’s giant walking pace runs under the watchful eye of eagles and grizzlies, its wilderness and mountains and its even skater heaven. Receiving one-sixth of the Skeena’s steelhead, paired with the Bulkley not only represent great trophy fishing, but the very best odds.
Helicopter fishing is another option we regularly use at Basecamp. Some of the fisheries like the remote roadless regions of the upper Skeena, lower Babine and upper Copper are wrapped in steelhead lore while others remain nameless. Whatever the option that day you are promised desolate runs, unpressured fish and stunning scenery.
The early season in August is comprised of massive pushes of steelhead travelling fast and shallow. This is the kind of exciting fishing elite experienced anglers work their way up to. A dryline dream with excellent skating and t-shirt weather it’s always our personal favourite. As September rolls along and the morning temps cool, the fish start slowing down and finding their holding lies. Everyday fish continue to surge up the tributaries and cool mornings with light sink tips give way to warm afternoons and dry fly opportunities. By October the fish start stacking in their key spots and tips and intruders become the mainstay. The lies become more predictable and your guides typically have their ideal day in their head before you leave camp.