Ray Collingwood and his family have the exclusive outfitting rights to the incomparable Spatsizi Plateau Wilderness Provincial Park, a 3,600 square mile chunk of raw land that is loaded with more rainbow trout streams and lakes than could possibly be fished in a lifetime.
Spatsizi Plateau Wilderness Provincial Park was established in 1975 and the name Spatsizi is a native Tahltan word meaning “red goat”, a name given to the Rocky Mountain Goats of the area because of their habit of rolling in the iron oxide colored dirt which changes their normal white coats to red. The Collingwoods have been hosting anglers at their Spatsizi Wilderness Lodge on Laslui Lake for more than three decades and developed one of the most unique sport fishing lodges in the Canadian North. The Collingwood’s reputation as fishing and hunting outfitters is legendary.
After 52 years of hosting fishermen in the Spatsizi Wilderness, Ray has decided it’s time to retire and in 2019, the Collingwood business was purchased another BC family. Mike & Lindy Gilson come from a ranching and outfitting background and share a love of the area, a respect for the environment, and some great adventures of the BC north. This area and way of life has been a part of Ray and his family for many years and so we are pretty certain to see him around whether guiding, mentoring or just enjoying the world class fishing lodge he founded on Laslui Lake. Reg Collingwood will continue on in management for the new company, Spatsizi River Outfitters, working alongside the Gilsons to ensure that our clients continue to experience the bounty of pristine waters and the tranquility of the Spatsizi Wilderness.
Spatsizi River Outfitters is one of the most exclusive fly-out wilderness trips on the North American map. The comfortable log lodge is located on Laslui Lake, more than 200 miles North of Smithers, British Columbia. The package includes the round-trip charter flight from Smithers into the lake, and daily floatplane trips to some of the finest and most seldom-seen fishing on the continent. It is Canada’s best-kept secret and may be the best value in the freshwater fly fishing world.
The angling packages offered by Spatsizi River Outfitters compare favorably to the finest Alaskan fly-out lodges. Each two anglers share a well-appointed cabin adjacent to the lodge, and there are only eight fishermen each week. Spatsizi is the only lodge licensed to guide and fly anglers in the wild and pristine 3,000 square mile Spatsizi Plateau Wilderness Provincial Park that surrounds them.
The trout they catch are second to none, and there is no one else competing for these prime-fishing holes. This is dry fly fishing at its wilderness best, and there isn’t a fly in your box these Rainbows won’t hit. The largest ‘bow last season tipped the scales at nine pounds and was taken on a dry fly. The camp record is a whopping 18-pound Rainbow, and there are Arctic Grayling, Bull Trout, Lake Trout, and Rocky Mountain Whitefish to compete for angling attention.
The lodge has an outpost camp on one distant river that is a popular reminder of what few true wilderness experiences remain. Discriminating fly fishermen can define the success of their trips with large numbers of 14 to 16 inch fish, or fewer numbers of trophy trout. It all happens in one of the most scenic spots in Canada, and moose, caribou, stone sheep, bear, and mountain goats share each day of fishing. There are no black flies, and mosquitoes are only a slight nuisance for a few of the first weeks of the short season.
Spatsizi is a rare combination of Canadian atmosphere deep in the heart of an unspoiled wilderness. It is Canada the way most imagine it should be with beautiful forests, crystal clear fish-infested streams, and friendly folks. The Gilson and Collingwood families hosts anglers only during July and August. Every week of their short season affords excellent angling and there is very little space available each year.
2020 Reservations & Rates
The cost of the week-long Spatsizi Lodge package is $7,400.00 USD per person (double occupancy).
Included in your angling package at Spatsizi River Outfitters is the hour-long round-trip air charter from Smithers to the lodge and virtually everything but the license and tackle; 400 Air Miles round trip - from Smithers to Spatsizi; fly-outs to all the local hot spots with our stationed float-equipped aircraft; transportation and expediting service during your stay in Smithers; great home cooked meals - served family style; and first-class angling guides.
Not included in your angling package at Spatsizi River Outfitters are transportation costs to Smithers, accommodations in Smithers, Canadian Goods & Service Tax (GST 5%), liquor and gratuities, or fishing licenses.
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 Spatsizi Wilderness Lodge
The Spatsizi Plateau Wilderness Park is located in north central British Columbia at the headwaters of the Stikine River.
The climate in this vast wild land is high altitude, sub arctic in nature. Surprisingly many areas of the plateau are semi arid. Pacific fronts passing over consecutive mountain ranges and other plateaus have much of the moisture squeezed out of them by the time they reach the Spatsizi
Summers on the Spatsizi Plateau are short and fairly cool, though the long days partially compensate for these conditions. Precipitation, though quite light, is distributed evenly throughout the year. Average daily temperatures in July hover around the mid 60's F. However, this is mountain country in its purest form and the weather can be extremely unpredictable and in a single day temperatures can vary 40 degrees. Fast moving mountain storms come up quick and blow out fast and anglers should dress in layers and have their raingear handy to adjust to the varying weather conditions. Expect crisp mornings, partially cloudy to bright mountain-sunny days and cool nights.
The fishing season at Spatsizi Wilderness lodge starts the end of June and runs through the end of August; 8 consecutive weeks. Middle season weeks (all of July and early August) normally bring the warmest temperatures of the summer and combined with long days make for some epic hatches of stoneflies, Caddis and mayflies.
Getting to Spatsizi River Outfitters
Getting to Spatsizi is easy and safe. In most cases you will fly from home to Vancouver International Airport (YVR) where you will clear immigrations and customs, then on to Smithers where you overnight. You must claim your luggage on your first point of entry into Canada and clear immigrations and customs. Failure to claim your luggage will result in your luggage not showing up at your end destination. The next day the lodge's private charter will fly you directly to the lodge. Reverse this process coming home.
Specific Flight Details:
Travel from home to Smithers: Anglers are to arrive in Smithers, B.C. the day before flying into the lodge.
Most anglers stay at the Hudson Bay Lodge in Smithers. Spatsizi River Outfitters blocks out rooms, as space fills quickly during peak summer months.
You will be met at the airport by the Spatsizi Hostess and brought downtown to pick-up essentials, i.e., fishing license, sundry goods, liquor, etc and transferred to the Hudson Bay Lodge. If you like small, quaint inns, the Bulkley Valley Guesthouse B & B is a wonderful alternative. Also the Storks Nest Inn is a nice small-venue inn to consider.
Day of Arrival to Lodge:
Departure from Smithers to Spatsizi River Outfitters is scheduled between 8:30 am and 9:30 am, weather dependent. You will make this 200 air mile journey to the lodge (about an hour) in a floatplane.
Everyone will have the option of staying overnight at the Firesteel River Cabin (Tatlatui Park) to enjoy two days of the finest dry fly fishing.
Full Fishing Days:
Every day, each fisherman will have the opportunity to experience a different fishery, or return to their favorite spot. Fly-outs to our trophy rainbow lakes commence on the 2nd and 3rd day with your partner or group.
Day of Departure from the Lodge:
Spend your last morning fishing at Laslui. Departure from Spatsizi is scheduled about noon, arriving into Smithers at approximately 1:00 p.m. or later. If you would like to continue on to Vancouver that afternoon (when available) we suggest you make no flight arrangements before 5:00 p.m. You have the option to overnight in Smithers and catch a morning flight to Vancouver the following day.
Lodging at Spatsizi River Outfitters
Spatsizi River Outfitters sits on the shores of Laslui Lake, tucked up close to a steep set of mountains.
The views in all directions are incredible and it's not uncommon to spot, moose, caribou, grizzly bear or mountain goats right from your cabin porch. The central "cookhouse" or lodge is the gathering place for meals, cocktails and fishing tales at the end of the day. The chef provides
exquisite cuisine, freshly baked breads, and homemade desserts. Complimentary wine is served each night with dinner. Nightly activities include unguided fishing (excellent right in front of the lodge), campfire, horseshoes, cards, walks, or fly tying.
Anglers are accommodated in wonderfully constructed cozy log cabins. Angler's log cabins are carpeted and have electricity (from a generator) and come equipped with cozy log beds, wood stoves and private showers.
The lodge's shared bathrooms include two shower facilities with sinks that are centrally located with plenty of hot water. Wolf and Bear cabins have newly installed showers and sinks inside the cabins with the toilets centrally located between the two.
"Quiet" electricity is available 24 hours a day supplied by a solar/inverter power system.
Fishing at Spatsizi River Outfitters
Each morning Anglers will awake to another breathtaking day in one of North America's most spectacular designated wildernesses.
Fresh brewed coffee will be on at the lodge by 7:00 a.m. and a cook to order breakfast will be served by 8:00 a.m. After breakfast, you will head back to your cabins, put your waders on, grab your kit for the day and head off to one of a few dozen wonderful fisheries. The lodge maintains a
fleet of three float-equipped aircraft which allows for great flexibility in the daily fishing program.
Normally the evening before your fishing day, you will sit down with your guide and come up with a game plan. Your guide will fill you in on any special equipment you might need for the day and set a floatplane departure time. Of course, if the weather changes and does not allow you to execute on your pre-arranged plans, another fishery will be substituted. With little or no intrusion by other lodges, guides or outfitters within the park confines, you don't have to worry about getting to your spot first or a lack of options.
One of the highlights of you week at Spatsizi River Outfitters is your overnight excursion at their Firesteel Camp. You will pack a small overnight bag for this two day, one overnight excursion. Everything else will be supplied at the Firesteel Camp. The dry fly fishing on the Firesteel River is unbelievable and basing right on the river will allow you to fish long days and the evening hatch which is a sight to see and experience. At the end of the second day, you will be flown back to the main lodge on Laslui.
Lunch is usually taken on the fly in the field and is prepared and packed for you each morning by one of the lodge chefs. Each two anglers will share a guide to ensure a quality and personalized fishing day.
You can expect to be back to the lodge sometime between 5:00 and 6:00 p.m. with plenty of time to take a shower, have a cocktail, enjoy some tasty appetizers before dinner is served at approximately 7:00 p.m. Complimentary wine is served with dinner and the chefs at Spatsizi are extremely talented and create some wonderful meals – all homemade… After dinner guests can tie flies, play horseshoes, take a walk, enjoy the campfire or play cards.
Note: Due to the limited number of rod days, the lodge limits each angler to fishing each destination only once. This provides equal opportunity for all guests and maintains quality fishing and environment at each location. Your co-operation and understanding is appreciated.
Hiking, canoeing, view & photograph wildlife, aerial touring … enjoy an all inclusive adventure with all the comforts of a world-class lodge at Spatsizi. The Gilsons experienced and friendly guides provide natural history, fly casting and fishing lessons. Small groups, 4-8 people, guarantee personalized attention and memorable vacations. This destination lodge is as suitable for anglers and non-anglers alike and is a perfect venue for corporate retreats or family reunions.
What Makes This Destination Special and Unique?
• A family-owned and operated lodge. Every guest is made to feel like family here. The level of service goes beyond merely good – from the time you land in a float plane in front of the wilderness lodge, you are catered to. Every cabin is rustic elegance, every meal superb, every fishing choice discussed at length. There is a reason so many people return here every season!
• The fishing has been equated to having an enormous Yellowstone Park all to yourself, with a float plane to access all the streams. There are countless lakes in the spectacularly beautiful Spatsizi Wilderness Park on which to land the plane, then walk and wade up or down the streams that feed or empty them. These streams get zero outside pressure, and the numbers and naiveté of the fish there can be stunning. Anglers can catch large numbers of chunky rainbow trout on dry flies daily, in shallow and clear water.
• For those looking for adventure, the Gilson family has a remote satellite lodge on the Firesteel River, a modest-sized river a short flight from the main lodge. While a bit more rustic, it is quite comfortable, and the fishing for larger rainbows – some over 20 inches – can be extraordinary. Tribute to how little pressure these trout get, many of the big bows will crush a skated mouse pattern, as well as a variety of high-floating dry flies. This is a great trip for fly anglers new to the sport that want to refine their dry fly fishing skills and catch a ton of trout.
• This is a true wilderness experience in the wild country of British Columbia. The season is only eight weeks long this far north, and the fish are ravenous. It is common to catch dozens of eager rising rainbows every day, including the potential for some trophies. There are also bull trout honey holes – mostly where streams flow into lakes - where it is possible to hook huge specimens of this aggressive char, sometimes in excess of a dozen pounds! You won’t see another angler or person for an entire week fishing with Spatsizi River Outfitters; a great way to escape the pressures of daily life and truly find yourself.