Bulkley Basecamp is the newest addition to the Northern BC angling scene. From the excellent outfitters of Frontier Farwest, in prime position on the Bulkley River, this simple but comfortable little camp was built for the anglers who put the fishing first.
The magnificent sea-going trout of of Northern BC enter their natal Skeena drainage in late July, and move upstream into the clear headwaters of the Bulkley River by the end of August. Fresh fish continue to accumulate in the river right through the end of the season in late October and into November. The average annual return to the Bulkley River is between 25,000 and 45,000 Steelhead, which represents approximately 50% of all steelhead returning to Skeena watershed!
Floating lines and dry flies, or very light sink tips with small unweighted wet flies are the order of the day for the better part of September and into October, due to the fact that the Bulkley is one of the warmest of the Skeena tributaries. Heavier tips and weighted flies seem to be more productive through the later part of the season when the water temperatures become increasingly cooler and fish are more reluctant to move long distances to a hit a fly. While many who visit the Bulkley year after year do so strictly for the top water action, one mustn’t overlook the late season potential this river possesses.
The Bulkley flows west from its headwaters well above Houston, where it is joined by the Morice and nearly doubles in size. This magnificent river eventually winds its way west for approximately 100 km and empties into the mainstem steelhead artery: The Skeena. The Bulkley drops and clears very fast compared to many of the other Skeena tribs It is one of the safest bets for optimal water conditions after a big storm, which is common in the fall in British Columbia. The Morice runs pure and clear in even the heaviest of rains and the Bulkley 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. Anglers can feel a little more comfortable when fishing the Bulkley system.
The Camp is perfectly located in about the middle of the Bulkley system, which makes for minimal travel time to the various boat launches, whether you are fishing the upper or lower river. Accommodations at Bulkley Basecamp are very comfortable. The heavy duty, double occupancy, canvas wall tents more than keep you warm and dry, even in the later season. All wall tents are equipped with comfortable beds and heavy duty bedding and comforters for a goods nights rest. All tents are erected with solid wood frames on elevated wooden platforms. All Tents have wood burning stoves and propane heaters if needed, to keep you toasty warm, even late in the season. The Camp has a wonderful shower facility to get you all prettied up after a long day on the water. Flush toilets put the finishing touch on making this camp over the top. The Kitchen/Dining room itself is very warm and inviting, with a great little covered porch area out front that is arranged for cocktail and relax time after a long day on the water. Guests can expect delicious hearty meals both at camp and on the river. Most importantly however, the fishing on the Bulkley and other rivers of the area is 1st class!
As with all steelhead angling, if you’re looking to catch obscene numbers of fish, this trip probably isn’t for you! Bulkley Basecamp 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 on the bank. Steelhead fishing is not a numbers game, it is about catching the most prized game fish that swims in freshwater. Anglers willing to fish hard, listen to their guides, and put in a long day, will have the best potential of landing a trophy.
Steelhead on the Bulkley average 8-12 lbs, with chromers up to and exceeding 20 lbs caught on a semi-regular basis. 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 the 2nd week of 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 Bulkley? The answer is; when you have time to come!
All guests that visit The BBC have Right of First Refusal for the following season, and many return the same week, year after year. If you are seriously considering a trip to the Bulkley, we recommend getting on the waiting list more than a year out. At the conclusion of the season, if some people release their rods, we will go down the list to fill in the new holes. Make your reservations as early as possible to avoid disappointment! It is extremely hard to get into a good BC operation at the last minute.