Rivers > Elk River
Located in the Southeastern Kootenay district of British Columbia the Elk Valley is home to the Elk River drainage which is a diverse river system offering incredible fly fishing opportunities for a healthy population of Wild Westslope Cutthroat Trout, Bull Trout and Mountain Whitefish.
At 220km (140miles) in length the Elk River originates from the Elk Lakes which is fed by numerous glaciers. The river meanders through the small mountain towns of Elkford, Sparwood, Hosmer, Fernie and Elko near the continental divide of the Rocky Mountains.
With breathtaking backdrops the Elk boasts many tributaries which flow in from other valleys creating endless miles of river freedom for the everyday angler to explore. The Elk Valley hosts anglers from around the world visiting the quaint ski town of Fernie to fish the area. The Elk River is known for it’s prolific bug hatches and amazing dry fly fishing.
The Elk River is a freestone river and is legendary in the angling world being known to many as one of the worlds most premier dry fly fisheries; you can’t beat greedy cutthroat trout aiming to tease and please any angler. Filled with deep pools and buckets, under cut banks, sweet foam lines, big chunky rocks, log jams, dancing riffles, grassy banks and an array of back channels the Elk River offers a variety of angling adventure either walk and wading or drift boat fishing.
There is no doubt about it; the Cutthroat trout in the Elk River are big, beautiful and well deserving of the attention they get with vibrant high colored backs, full deep bellies and average between 14 -16 inches. It is not uncommon to hook into above average cutties that have been know to tape in above 18’.
The Elk River drainage closes from March. 31 – June. 15. Depending on the runoff fishing can begin as early as June 15 or as late as the first week into July. Everything is dependent on how the “fernie snow factor” hit during the winter months. Fishing is amazing throughout June, July, August, September and even into October.
Rivers > Michel Creek
The Michel Creek is a small and intricate tributary to the Elk River and is great for walk n’ wading. Michel Creek has winding corners with big boulders that hold deep buckets of water and big cutties. There are undercut banks, log jams and pocket water which makes for perfect holding water and perfect for testing your technical skills.
As with most small streams; fishing gets better as water temperature increases; when the water warms up the bugs start moving and the fish start feeding. Be ready for when the conditions are just right as you will be able to experience one of the spectacular hatches that this humble little creek produces.
The fishing can be tricky on Michel Creek as the fish can be honed in one one particular stage of one particular bugs hatch; be prepared to change it up. At the same time, almost like fishing your favorite lake, they could be feeding on almost anything you throw at them. In combination with this great attribute and that it is very accessible, the Michel Creek is a great option for all ages and skill levels.
Rivers > Fording River
The Fording River is part of the Columbia River basin and is a tributary to the Elk River. It runs south through a tight valley and collects other tributaries before it flows into the Elk River north of Sparwood.
Many that visit the area take the ½ hour hike to Josephine Falls to see the River cascading 25m/82ft into a canyon. We fish below the falls and the Fording is a majestic, clear, and cold mountain stream that seems to captivate anglers in the cozy atmosphere that it presents.
This river fishes best when the water temperatures have warmed things up; being a cold mountain stream you can be sure to find some decent size cutthroat and bull trout cruising the pools, riffles and pocket water.
There are a few local guides that know the secret spots to fish on this river, give us a shout to book one of our Fording River Specialists.
Rivers > Wigwam River
Some places are so incredibly beautiful that finding the right words to encompass a 360 angle view to the reader within a description never seems to do it justice. As they say a picture paints a 1000 words. Nature’s gift to anglers is defined within the Wigwam River.
Located deep in the backcountry this catch & release river boasts some pretty amazing qualities.
Very cold, gin clear mountain water shoots, stumbles and stalls over a river bed covered with incredibly colorful (and slippery) rocks varying from deep purple to vibrant dessert red. This river is highly regulated, well respected and home to some very healthy cutthroat, cutt-bows and migratory bull trout. Most who have had the opportunity to visit this fishery know that the hatches can be very productive; giving anglers an amazing dry fly fishing experience in the heart of the Rocky Mountains. If you are looking for a little zen; then take a guided day on the Wigwam (and or / Tribs) for your chance to swing a few streamers to massive bull trout and tempt your dry fly to rising trout.
A guided day to the Wigwam drainage is a true backcountry fishing adventure! Walk and wade only; a guided day will find you hiking the river bed fishing big deep pools, pockets, dancing riffles, log jams, undercut banks and big chunky boulders. All the fantastic features that make a walk and wade stream so much fun to fish; including the chance to hook into some spectacular fish.
Rivers > Bull River
Most who ask where the Bull River drainage is always finds themselves being pointed towards the unmistakable three sisters and told “in behind; over there”. The Bull River is a 117km (73mi) long tributary of the Kootenay River and joins east of Cranbrook; with access from just outside of Fernie via Hartley Pass.
The Bull River faces the jutting and towering peaks of the Steeple Mountain Range and is in a world of its own. The access to the Bull River is recommended on days where the skies are clear and you have a spare tire with you; it’s got burley roads. Once you are up beyond Hartley Lake you will come across fishable tributaries to the Bull River and eventually open up to a beautiful valley where the Bull River flows through big boulders and fishy looking water. The fish are plentiful and the scenery is breathtaking. The Bull River is a walk and wade stream however there are few guides in the valley that actually float the Bull River; so make sure you book well in advance if floating this river is an adventure you would like to take part in.
The Bull River drainage and valley is full of old history and doesn’t see much fishing pressure; this river produces some great caddis and mayfly hatches. Not only can you fish the Bull River; you can fish one of it’s tributaries. A trip to the Bull River is for the adventurous angler looking for a change of scenery. Combined with a great wilderness experience; fishing the Bull River drainage provides opportunities to see all kinds of wildlife including Goat, Elk, Moose, and Bears.
Rivers > St. Mary River
The St. Mary River is about an hour away from Fernie. Some describe it as a mini Elk River, holding many of the same attributes. Tucked away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life the St. Mary river offers spectacular scenery and awesome fishing. This river fishes best throughout the summer months, throwing top water dries into pocket water, structures or foam lines. You will find Wild Westslope cutthroat trout and bull trout in the river, there is also an uprising in the rainbow population. This river is a fantastic addition to anyone coming to the Fernie to fish.