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Copper Bay Lodge

8 Days
Jan to Apr 
Copper Bay Lodge

The Most Memorable Trip of Your Lifetime.

Surrounded by pristine wilderness, this rustic lodge overlooks the Hecate Strait. The rivers of Haida Gwaii present a challenging, and very interesting scenario for fly fisherman.

Memories that Will last a Lifetime.

Surrounded by pristine wilderness, this rustic lodge overlooks the Hecate Strait. The rivers of Haida Gwaii present a challenging, and fascinating scenario for fly fishermen. With its ancient, old-growth forests looming overhead you have to put thought into every single cast you make. No matter how experienced an angler you are, you will leave these islands much improved.
These small coastal rivers take on Massive BC steelhead in good catchable numbers. We put in a lot of work, hiking, exploring and swinging beautiful runs, and in the end, we are rewarded with some of the most memorable fish you will see in your lifetime. This is a trip for fishermen who still believe it’s important to target wild steelhead on rivers that are rarely if ever fished.
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Why Fish at Copper Bay Lodge?

Copper Bay Lodge
No question that there is a lot of competition for your hard-earned dollars when it comes to fishing during the winter months. Most anglers have settled into a routine of heading south to warm climate saltwater fishing. However, before you pull the trigger on yet another bone fishing trip understand that there is something very special happening in Haida Gwaii.

It is a destination you should want to visit even if it did not have such great fishing opportunities. One thing all our guests agree on is that returning from Haida Gwaii feels like returning with a new secret. It is an eye-opening experience that will stick with you in many ways beyond more fish pictures on your phone.

Copper Bay Lodge will tour you through the islands in a way that connects you to the fish, the landscape and the culture in a meaningful way that will stay with you long after you return home. This trip is about the overall experience and one that should not be missed.

Haida Gwaii floats off the coast of British Columbia like a long wedge of pie. It is 100 kilometres in the north tapering down to a narrow point. Of the archipelago’s approximately 350 islands, over 200 lie within the boundaries of Gwaii Haanas Park, which comprises the southern third of the chain.

Haida Gwaii has been dubbed the “Galapagos of the north” for the many endemic species and subspecies that evolved there while it was an ice-free refuge. Widespread species that are completely distinctive genetically such as the hairy woodpecker, saw-whet owl, Steller’s jay, Peale’s peregrine falcon, black bear, and pine marten—are all found here and nowhere else in the world. These remote islands are home to one of the oldest traceable populations on Earth.

The Haida have probably lived there since the end of the last ice age, 11,000 to 13,000 years ago. Its wild coastlines and old-growth forests are home to a wealth of animal life – 750,000 seabirds, 20 species of whale and dolphin as well as a rich Haida history. The Haida phrase for this is yah’guudang – respect for all living things.
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The Accommodations

 Copper Bay Lodge is a 2,000-square-foot facility that overlooks a large pristine and seemingly private section of beach south of the town of Sandspit. The lodge has 4 single occupancy guest bedrooms. There are two shared bathrooms. Delicious and thoughtfully prepared meals are served in the main dining which is adjacent to a comfortable main living room where appetizers are served each evening.

Food & Drink

While there is no such thing as an ordinary day at Copper Bay Lodge, each one begins with either a sit-down breakfast at 7:30 am or an earlier ‘to-go Breaky’. After hot coffee, eggs, cereal, fresh fruit or whatever else you need to get going you will depart for an exciting new adventure each day.   With the exception of a trip to the Yakoun, none of our waters are more than 35 minutes from the lodge, which allows you to spend more time fishing and less time riding around. When departing for the Yakoun on Graham Island, you will have breakfast to go at 6:30 a.m.

We fish until midday, then stop for a streamside lunch. Lunch can be either hot or cold, and might include such fare as steaks, quiches, sandwiches, salads, cheese, and fresh bread. Due to shorter winter days, lunch is often a very quick affair as typically we all want to get right back on the water!

After fishing through the afternoon, you would normally get off the water by 6 or 7 p.m., then return to the lodge for happy hour. We serve drinks and hor d’oeuvres before dinner in front of the fireplace. Dinner is usually served between 7 and 8 o’clock, although we’ve been known to eat much later if the fish are pouring in on a tide and you just can’t tear yourself away.

We are very flexible when it comes to arranging your day. If you have a special request, just let us know and we will do our best to accommodate you and give you the best experience possible.

Nestled in the midst of a rainforest and a stone’s throw from your own private beach, Copper Bay Lodge in Sandspit, B.C., offers a host of activities: exceptional steelhead fishing, comfortable lodging, and extraordinary cuisine. Our caring staff will make your Haida Gwaii experience a very special one indeed.

Amenities

Laundry available
Drying Room
Hot Showers
Internet
Gourmet North American dishes matched with wines
Sensational views of the Hecate Strait
Island’s traditional cuisine
Five acres of secluded beach

Guides

Derek Botchford

Operator

Once the young buck, now the old man of the sea. When Derek took over Copper Bay Lodge he was a mere 34 years old and felt he still had an entire lifetime ahead of him. However, the cruel reality of time flying by has certainly made its mark. Now, 5o years old and hobbling around to keep up with his young team of athletes Derek hangs on to his glory years. The young guides still like to hear his ‘when I was your age’ stories but we aren’t sure for how much longer. Fortunately for anglers, Derek’s midlife crisis has been driving him to guide more days not less to “prove” he can still do it. If guests can get through the “back in my day” rants on the way to the river, they will be treated with some excellent knowledge on the water. Each gray hair represents a trick up Derek’s sleeve, and there is a lot more than a mere quiver. Malcolm Gladwell famously wrote about the 10,000-hour rule being the key to achieving true expertise in any skill, and at 50 years old, 26 straight years of guiding at remote fishing lodges, it’s where Derek gets his win. Gladwell also stipulates the importance of culture, family, and friendship being critical in any individual’s success. Derek’s staff are all of those things to him and his adoration for his team shines through at all times at the lodge. Gleaming with respect for the fish, the water, his guests and his staff, Derek is a joy to spend a day with, no matter how old he gets.
When the person selling trips to folks is the same guy that takes you out on the water, you can believe they are going to give you everything they have.

Steve Morrow

Steve Morrow

Lodge Manager

Stevie guides and operates a lot of fisheries over a given year with Epic Waters Angling. However when a guest asks him what his favorite fishery is over a calendar year, he tells them bluntly every time – Haida Gwaii.  It is for many reasons Stevie feels this way. With only 4 guests a week and a lot of 1 guide to 1 guest angling, it does somewhat seem like a working vacation for the staff.  A team that has been guiding together for so long  leaves little room for any dramatic events during a season. Instead the weeks fly by flawlessly season after season.   The fishery can be challenging as with any winter Steelheading, but each day, with a lot of effort and guide instinct, Stevie knows he can always find a fish out there. Getting blanked is a rare event. Some days this takes hiking several miles through the rainforest, or hitting multiple systems in a day, but when that line tightens no one ever forgets why they came. The fish are spectacular, the scenery is unmatched, and the guide team is simply second to none.  For those that have been lucky enough to spend a week with Stevie Morrow on Haida Gwaii know they are all better anglers because of it.  The challenging conditions, the rugged hikes, and impossible casts make every fish that much more special.  To sit down with Stevie and chat about some of his most memorable fish from Haida Gwaii is one of those fishing conversations you will never forget. 

Dave Page

Dave Page

Guide

Stevie guides and operates a lot of fisheries over a given year with Epic Waters Angling. However, when a guest asks him what his favorite fishery is over a calendar year, he tells them bluntly every time – Haida Gwaii.  It is for many reasons Stevie feels this way. With only 4 guests a week and a lot of 1 guide to 1 guest angling, it does somewhat seem like a working vacation for the staff.  A team that has been guiding together for so long  leaves little room for any dramatic events during a season. Instead the weeks fly by flawlessly season after season.   The fishery can be challenging as with any winter Steelheading, but each day, with a lot of effort and guide instinct, Stevie knows he can always find a fish out there. Getting blanked is a rare event. Some days this takes hiking several miles through the rainforest, or hitting multiple systems in a day, but when that line tightens no one ever forgets why they came. The fish are spectacular, the scenery is unmatched, and the guide team is simply second to none.  For those that have been lucky enough to spend a week with Stevie Morrow on Haida Gwaii know they are all better anglers because of it.  The challenging conditions, the rugged hikes, and the impossible casts make every fish that much more special.  To sit down with Stevie and chat about some of his most memorable fish from Haida Gwaii is one of those fishing conversations you will never forget. 

Evan Quuas

Evan Quuas

Guide

In 2009 Derek Botchford ventured to Haida Gwaii for the first time in the hopes of finding true steelhead solitude. Not only did they discover the hidden gem of Copper Bay Lodge, but they also found another gem in 21-year-old local Sandspit resident Evan Quaas, who had an undeniable passion for steelhead.  Immediately after meeting Evan,  Derek knew he had found the anchor for a brand-new steelhead operation. A new, diverse program that had never been done on the islands.  Evan grew up fishing these waters with his father Bill who is truly an iconic Steelheader on Haida Gwaii. Bill is a very important part of the history of steelhead fishing on the island after walking the rivers, rod in hand for 45 years, and now Evan has been passed the torch.

Evan knows the different systems intimately and offers valuable knowledge of the surrounding lands.  A day with Evan gives you decades of local knowledge of fishing the rivers of Haida Gwaii and a take on the entire landscape that only someone born and raised there could share.  These rivers are very challenging, and you have to have intimate knowledge of when, how, and where to fish them. This is where local knowledge is invaluable. Evan was raised on the rivers of Haida Gwaii and he knows where the fish will be before the fish even know.  Now 35 years old with a decade of guiding under his belt, we are very proud of the guide and person Evan has become. 

The Fishing

Steelheading in Haida Gwaii
The first full day of fishing will start with a 6:30 am wake-up and fresh coffee delivered to your cabin followed by a delicious breakfast. The Babine Steelhead Lodge has moved to a two-on-one angler-to-guide ratio starting in the fall of 2017. After breakfast, the guides will have lunches and beverages of your choice prepared for the day. After wadering up, and preparing rods and gear, you will meet your guide at the boats that are situated only steps away from the lodge. Each group will fish a different section of water for the day. These sections of water are called ‘beats’ and include numerous runs that are well-known by each guide. The guides are available for help with selecting flies, sink tips, and anything that you might need. The river is conducive to any form of a swung fly that you might prefer. Whether that be a dry fly or maybe a large intruder on 12ft of T-14. Our guide staff will rarely be more than earshot away for anything that you might need, including netting your beautiful Babine steelhead if you so please.
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Getting There

Haida Gwaii is certainly a very remote part of the world and when you arrive you will feel like you have left North America.  However, it is very easy to travel to.  During our winter season, there is one flight a day arriving from Vancouver.  The flight leaves Vancouver early afternoon which makes it possible to travel through in one day.

Air Canada offers departures from Vancouver (YVR) at 1:10 pm arriving at 3:05 in Sandspit; (YZP) flights depart at 3:25 pm returning to Vancouver.

In the Winter flights are quite easy to get and there is often availability.

Upon arrival, our guides will be at the airport to quickly get you back to the lodge only 10 minutes away.  After a brief tour of the lodge, you will be out on the river fishing in mere minutes.  Guests constantly find themselves in culture shock after leaving a large city in the morning and find themselves deep in the rainforest that evening hooked up to a Haida Gwaii Steelhead.

Information

Details

  1. Please purchase your license. You must have:
    • An angling license for your duration
  2. We have a decent supply of beer and wine at the lodge but no hard alcohol. Duty-free is a great place to purchase alcohol prior to entering Canada. Our health care is expensive and you will feel it when you buy booze here. Please note there is no liquor store at the lodge and people regularly regret not bringing scotch to toast that 30 lbs Musky they caught!

Before travel

Traveling with Special Items: Fishing Equipment

  1. Travelling with outdoor gear and most fishing-related items is permitted. Outdoor enthusiasts should carefully prepare and pack to avoid the 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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)
  4. Please keep in mind that these are T.S.A. policies for flights originating within the United States. Canada may apply different standards and different policies with regard to rods, reels, flies, etc.

ID Requirements for Airport Checkpoints

Adult passengers are required to show a U.S. federal or state-issued photo ID that contains the following: Name, date of birth, gender, expiration date and a tamper-resistant feature in order to be allowed to go through the checkpoint and onto their flight. Passengers who do not or cannot present an acceptable ID will have to provide information to the Transportation Security Officer performing Travel Document Checking duties in order to verify their identity. Passengers who are cleared through this process may be subject to additional screening. Passengers whose identity cannot be verified by TSA may not be allowed to go through the checkpoint or onto an airplane.

Acceptable IDs include:

  • U.S. passport card
  • DHS “Trusted Traveler” cards (NEXUS, SENTRI, FAST)
  • U.S. Military ID (active duty or retired military and their dependents)
  • Permanent Resident Card
  • Border Crossing Card
  • DHS-designated enhanced driver’s license
  • Driver licenses or other state photo I.D. cards issued by the Department of Motor Vehicles An airline or airport-issued ID (if issued under a TSA-approved security plan)
  • A foreign government-issued passport

Information for Traveling with Liquids: T.S.A.’s “3-1-1 Plan for Carry-Ons”

3-1-1 for carry-ons = 3.4 ounce bottle or less (by volume) for each item; 1 quart-sized, clear, plastic, zip-top bag; 1 bag per passenger placed in screening bin. One-quart bag per person limits the total liquid volume each traveller can bring. 3.4 oz. container size is a security measure. Consolidate bottles into one bag and X-ray separately to speed screening. Declare larger liquids. Medications, baby formula and food, and breast milk are allowed in reasonable quantities exceeding three ounces and are not required to be in the zip-top bag. Declare these items for inspection at the checkpoint.

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Copper Bay Lodge

Packages & Rates

$6,700
USD + Tax + $100 conservation surcharge
8
Days
7
Nights
Jan-Apr
Dates
Included
Accommodations and meals, guiding,  use of all gear – flies, rods, reels, waders, wine, beer.
Not Included
Airfare, fishing licenses, gratuities, hard alcohol.

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