A winter or spring steelheading trip to Haida Gwaii is unlike any other steelhead trip you may have done. Although in some respects visibly similar to the smaller rivers of the OP, or the Prince of Whales road system and mothership programs. However Haida Gwaii is completely unique to its own and represents one of the most interesting and challenging venues we have seen. The steeheading you will see reminds people of what is so special about winter fish. Dime bright, tidal pool pushes with shoulders enough to push all your gear to the limit. These rivers are known for their extremely bright hard fighting fish.
Over your seven day trip, there is the opportunity to fish five separate steelhead rivers, each with their own unique challenges and rewards. The rivers are densely forested, and beautiful in the extreme.
Simply put, the Yakoun represent the ultimate in winter steelheading. Being the main river on the island chain, It has the best fly water and most productive fishing opportunities. It’s on the northern end of Graham Island and flows north from Yakoun Lake to enter the Masset Inlet and then the Pacific Ocean. It is the largest of the rivers on Haida Gwaii and has consistently good, reliable fishing conditions. Even after heavy rains, the Yakoun River can drop back into shape in a matter of hours.
The islands also have many other small coastal streams that contain small runs of steelhead and offer less consistent fishing, but still very enjoyable. On small systems like this it is key to understand the importance of taking the time to fish each piece of prime water as thoroughly as possible in order to maximize your steelhead catching potential. Copper Bay Lodge prides itself on having assembled an elite guide staff that possesses the instructional skills and knowledge to ensure a memorable and successful experience. Copper Bay Lodge is strategically located near the town of Sandspit, which makes for minimal travel time from the airport to the lodge.
Accommodations at the lodge are exceptionally comfortable, and cozy. Guests enjoy spacious single rooms, good beds and all the linens. The lodge itself is very warm and inviting, sporting a comfortable array of fly-fishing décor, photos and antiques. Guests can expect delicious hearty meals both in the lodge and on the river.
We have found switch rods to be amazingly effective tools in the dense rainforests of Haida Gwaii. 11’0” to 11’8” rods from 6-8 weight are perfect. The new OPST Commando heads, Skagit Short, or Skagit Switch lines are amazing on these shorter rods. They load up quick and easy, without requiring much line at all behind you. Medium to heavy sink tips with a variety of wet flies are the order of the day. It is winter fishing, so bringing the fly down to the fish is usually the best way to go. MOW tips with T-11 – T-17 from 5 to 12.5 feet should cover you in any scenario.
Why Fish at Copper Bay Lodge?
No question 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 salt water 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 as a destination you should want to visit even if it didn’t 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 a 100-kilometers 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.
How do I get there? Away?
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.
- Indoor fireplace
- Cooking Basics
- Cooking Basics
- Hot Water
- Dishes and silverware
- Dishes and silverware
- Laptop friendly workspace
- Island's traditional cuisine
- Sensational views of the Hecate Strait
- Gourmet North American dishes matched with wines
- Five acres of secluded beach
The lodge offers both single and double occupancy rooms depending on preferences and an additional cabin with a queen-size bed and private bath. It is the perfect size for groups of 4-6 angles.
- Single Rooms1 Queen BedQueen size Bed
- Double Rooms2 Queen BedQueen size Bed
- Cabin4-6 AnglersQueen size Bed