Fishing the mighty Babine river is a steelhead experience you will never forget. This is one of the greatest rivers on the face of the Earth, hands down. If you ask any hard-core steelheader to list the best rivers on the planet, the Babine will be at the top of the short list. The Babine represents the ultimate British Columbia steelheading experience, for some of the biggest, wildest steelhead that have ever swam upstream.
These magnificent sea-going trout enter their natal Skeena drainage in late July, and move upstream into the clear headwaters of the Babine River by the end of August. Fresh fish continue to accumulate in the river right through the end of October and into November. The Babine produces some of the largest steelhead to enter the Skeena system and it is a river known for its truly monster specimens! Fly fishing for these wild, native steelhead can be fantastic from the 1st of September right through the end of the season.
Floating lines and dry flies, or very light sink tips with small unweighted wet flies are the name of the game for the better part of September and into October, due to the fact that the Babine is one of the warmest of the Skeena tributaries. Heavier tips and large flies seem to be more productive through the later part of the season when the water temperatures become increasingly cooler and the fish are more reluctant to move long distances to a hit a fly. While many who visit the Babine year after year do so strictly for the top water action, one shouldn’t overlook the late season potential this river possesses when the entirety of the run is holding in the pools you are casting into.
The Babine flows west from its headwaters below Babine Lake, and winds downstream for 60 miles (100km) where it enters the Skeena just upstream of the confluences of the Bulkley and the Kispiox. One major advantage of selecting the Babine as your destination of choice over other renowned steelhead fisheries (like the Bulkley, Sustut, Kispiox, Copper) is the amount of time the river takes to clear and drop after a big storm, which can be common in the fall in British Columbia. The upper Babine comes right out of the lake and will come back into shape in even the heaviest of rains. The Babine generally remains fishable in all but the worst of weather. It is also one of the fastest dropping and quickest clearing of all other rivers in the Skeena region, so anglers do not need to feel too threatened by the thought of traveling all this way and not being able to fish. The river can virtually be blown out one day and fishable the next.
Babine Steelhead Lodge guided trips are conducted with 18 foot jet boats to provide access to the very best runs, riffles, and tail outs the river has to offer. Fishing on the Babine is strictly catch-and-release. There are literally hundreds of runs on the Babine and with minimal pressure from the general public and other lodges, anglers enjoy a rare opportunity to fish untouched water every day of the week. With 9 rods in Camp per week, with 3 guides and boats, there will be 3 anglers per guide every day.
Each day anglers are rotated on 3 different beats of the river so that every day is a fresh exciting new adventure. Everyone fishes each beat twice per week, many times in different runs (Except the exceptional. runs you will want to fish twice!) Days are long at Babine Steelhead Lodge, as our guides 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. Babine Steelhead Lodge prides itself on having assembled an elite guide staff that possesses the instructional skills and knowledge of the Babine River system to ensure a memorable experience!
Babine Steelhead Lodge is strategically located a little more than 10 miles downstream of the weir, below the lake. This creates the ideal location to minimize run time in the jets every day, whether you are fishing the upper or lower beats of the upper river. Babine Steelhead Lodge is one of only 2 full service fly fishing lodges located on the upper Babine, and without public access, there is plenty of water to go around!.
As with all steelhead angling, if you’re looking to catch obscene numbers of fish, this trip probably isn’t for you! Babine Steelhead Lodge clients generally average 1-3 hook ups per angler per day, but keep in mind this is not always the case! There are many days that accomplished anglers and good students will grossly exceed these numbers, and other days when even the best effort won’t come close to putting a fish up. Steelhead fishing is not a numbers game, it is about catching the most prized freshwater game fish that swims. Anglers willing to fish hard, cover a lot of water, listen to their guides, and put in a long day, will have the best potential of landing a trophy.
Steelhead on the Babine average between 8 -16 lbs. Specimens up to and exceeding 20 lbs are caught almost daily, at least weekly, by someone. The first fish arrive in August, and by the 1st of September, top quality fly fishing is in full swing. The big bucks are usually in the river by early September and fish continue to accumulate in prime holding water right through the end of November. So when is the best time to visit the Babine? The answer is whenever you have time to come!
This British Columbian jewel has been declared so rare and valuable by the Canadian Government that a special classified waters angling license is necessary for all anglers that fish the river. These strict regulations translate into a very limited amount of guided rod days available to lodges and outfitters on the Skeena and her tributaries, so if you are seriously considering a trip to the Babine, we recommend making your reservations as early as possible to avoid disappointment!