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 located on the island of Haida Gwaii or more commonly known as the Queen Charlotte Islands. Epic Steelhead fishing happens here!
You won’t find bonefish or tarpon off the archipelago of Haida Gwaii. The surrounding seas can be angry, rough and very cold. Steelhead cold. Located just off the Northern Coast of British Columbia, you might look a little funny showing up with sandals and crab patterns in your fly box. No, the fishing on this archipelago happens not on the beaches and flats, but in the streams. Yes, islands with streams. Streams running ripe with winter steelhead.
Picture the month of November, standing streamside under a dripping canopy of massive Sitka Spruce, Cedar and Hemlock. Steelhead, still luminous from the sea, climbing through riffles, runs and pools. Now picture March…or December. Make it January. Steelhead move into these waters from early Autumn through early Spring. Yes, this place is unique. The fish are unique. 8-12lb steelhead. Some, but not many go up to 20lbs. Bring 15lb Maxima. You’ll need it.
Copper Bay Lodge is located on Haida Gwaii. This is where you will stay and enjoy evenings off the water, great food, friends and a welcoming experience tempered by the dramatic anadromous watersheds found just beyond the walls of the lodge. Copper River, the lodge namesake, offers excellent steelhead angling and it’s located only minutes away, but there’s more. More rivers that is.
The main river on the island is the Yakoun. Located on the northern end of Graham Island, part of the Haida Gwaii archipelago, it flows north from Yakoun Lake, entering the Masset Inlet and then into the Pacific Ocean. The Yakon is the largest of the rivers on Haida Gwaii offering good to great water conditions throughout the entire season. Heavy rains can blow it out, but expect conditions to improve in a couple days.
The number of small coastal streams add to the multitudes of daily angling options where thriving runs of steelhead can be found. These small streams are the perfect option if the bigger rivers are blown out. So, there’s always somewhere to find steelhead on Haida Gwaii.
Haida Gwaii is one of those lost, remote destinations a steelhead anglers dreams about. Very few ever venture this far off the grid to explore these pristine rivers, but we did, and the seclusion you will find on the islands is hard to match. Any hardcore steelheader has to put this on their bucket list. The experience of hiking these mossy, damp, virgin rain forest rivers, hunting for fish so bright you have to squint to look at them, is an experience you will never forget. We have been here and hiked them, and there is always something special around every bend. Let’s go!
2020 Reservations & Rates
The cost of the week-long Copper Bay Lodge package is $5,200.00 USD per person (double occupancy).
• Shorter packages may be available depending on availability of guides and lodging - please give us a call for details.
Included in your angling package at the Copper Bay Lodge are meals, accommodations, guided fishing all day and round trip transfers between Sandspit and the lodge.
Not included in your angling package at Copper Bay Lodge are Airfare, fishing licenses, beer, wine, alcohol, gratuities, arrival and departure taxes.
The Fly Shop® is not in the insurance business, but we recommend Travel Guard coverage as a service with a desire to see your best interests protected. It is impossible to know when an unfortunate situation (loss of luggage, fly rods, illness in the family, or an accident) may occur. However, such things can and do happen, and this insurance can provide a means of recourse against non-refundable financial losses.
• Travel Insurance Information
Seasons at Copper Bay Lodge
The Queen Charlotte Mountains shield Haida Gwaii's eastern coast from most of the rain making the east coast of the Islands drier than the west coast.
The Climate of the islands off the west coast of British Columbia is typically wet and cool almost anytime of year. The driest months are found from late spring through the summer. The rainy season can begin
as early as August in some years. The east side of the islands are drier than the west which can accumulate as much as 200-320 inches of rain a year. That's an amazing amount of rain. Typical rainfall totals for Haida Gwaii is ~52". Snowy and icy conditions happen, but don't last long.
The average temperature starting in November through March is 40.6° which is pretty warm by winter steelhead standards. However, temperatures can vary anytime making layered clothing critical to staying warm, safe and comfortable. The coldest month is typically January, but not by much. Confidently plan a trip anytime between November and March. You should find the rivers is good condition, fresh steelhead moving in.
Expect to spend days fishing in rainy conditions. That's normal on any given day on Haida Gwaii. River conditions will change and fluctuate daily and weekly, but it's the ever evolving weather conditions that allow these rivers to harbor a quality steelhead fishing experience.
Getting to Copper Bay Lodge
Getting to Copper Bay Lodge on the island of Haida Gwaii is easy and safe. In most cases you will fly from home to Vancouver British Columbia (YVR) where you will clear immigrations and customs.
Specific Flight Details:
Anglers should make international airline accommodations from their home to Vancouver British Columbia, Canada. From there you take the
short afternoon flight from the city of Vancouver BC to Sandspit, Queen Charlotte Islands, via Air Canada. You'll be met at the airport and transferred to the Lodge by Copper Bay Lodge staff. Expect to be swinging flies by the last few hours of daylight.
Departure Day from Lodge:
After breakfast, you will finish your packing and catch your flight back to Vancouver BC to start your journey home. Please schedule your departure flight from Vancouver BC appropriately taking into account the flight time, security clearance, departure immigrations and flight check-in.
Lodging at Copper Bay Lodge
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 double rooms, beds you will melt into at the end of a long day, and a pot belly stove warming the living room every morning and evening.
The Chef is over the top and you can expect delicious hearty meals both in the lodge and on the river. The fishing boats and equipment are First Class.
Fishing at Copper Bay Lodge
We have found the shortest spey rods, and even switch rods, to be amazingly effective tools in the dense rainforests of Haida Gwaii. 11’0” to 12’6” rods from 6-8 weight are perfect.
Copper Bay Lodge’s daily guided trips are primarily conducted with inflatable rafts on the Yakoun River, which is larger water. Drifting offers anglers a peaceful means to access the very best runs, riffles, and
tail-outs this river has to offer. On the smaller streams, walk and wade fishing is the norm and allows the easiest and most efficient access to the daily beats. Fishing on Haida Gwaii is strictly catch-and-release. This always equates to better fishing, without people netting and bonking the fish, like we regularly see on rivers closer to home. There are literally dozens of rivers and streams on the islands, and with minimal pressure from the general public, anglers enjoy a rare opportunity to fish relatively untouched water every day of the week.
Each day anglers are rotated on different sections of the rivers (Yakoun, Copper, Tlell, Pallant, and others) so that every day is a new and exciting new adventure. The guides understand the importance of taking the time to fish each piece of prime water as thoroughly as possible, but also keep moving to find the fish and cover as much water as possible. 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!
We have found the shortest spey rods, and even switch rods, to be amazingly effective tools in the dense rainforests of Haida Gwaii. 11’0” to 12’6” rods from 6-8 weight are perfect. The new Skagit Short, or Skagit Switch lines are like surgical tools on these shorter rods. They load up quick and easy, without requiring much line at all behind you. Light to medium sink tips with a variety of wet flies are the ticket to bringing your fly down to the fish. MOW tips with T-11 and T-14 from 2.5’ to 12.5’ should cover you in any scenario.
Depending on water conditions, many different sizes, colors and weighted or non-weighted flies can be effective. It is a good idea to be prepared with a good variety of winter steelhead flies. Our favorite patterns, most of the time, are bright and big, with some added weight. Popsicle style or intruder style flies are very popular patterns. The Steelhead on Haida Gwaii can be very large, so strong leaders are a good idea. 15 lb Maxima is usually the ticket.
What Makes This Destination Special and Unique?
• The winter steelhead of Haida Gwaii average around 12 pounds and have the potential to tip the scales over 20 and populations of fish in these short coastal rivers are healthy, giving you fantastic odds of connecting to dime bright fish on every tide. This may be one of the most consistent winter steelhead fisheries in the Pacific Northwest.
• The Haida Gwaii archipelago has many rivers with healthy runs of steelhead, the top 5 are within 40 minutes of the Lodge, and the largest the Yakoun, just over an hour. With all of these amazing rivers in easy striking distance, there is usually something in shape, no matter the conditions. Having different rivers of different sizes gives you the flexibility to adapt during an unpredictable time of year in regard to weather.
• The lodge location could not be more ideal. The Copper Bay Lodge sits right on the beach, overlooking the Hecate Strait, at the mouth of the Copper river. This gives you access to one of the south island’s greatest steelhead rivers, in an unbelievably beautiful setting. You can be swinging flies in the British Columbia rain forest within a 5 minute drive of the lodge to the mouth of the Copper River and the first fishable runs at tidewater.
• The Lodge arrangement itself is cozy and intimate. With only 4 anglers per week, each angler has the option to have their own single room accommodations and the run of the lodge and the island. The small group size allows for maximum flexibility for you and the guides to choose the best fishing options everyday. You won’t be crowded out and forced to fish assigned beats in a rotation.