Suskeena Lodge, on the Sustut River in Northern British Columbia is relatively unknown except among a core group of fanatics that fish BC every year prowling for giant steelhead.
The Sustut has the largest average steelhead of any river in the Skeena watershed. If you want to crack the magic 30 pound mark for steelhead you had better be focused on the Skeena tributaries. On that note, there are only a few rivers where it is even possible. On the Skeena these include the Babine River, Kispiox River or the Sustut River. If you want to increase your odds for 30 pound steelhead, be in a wilderness setting and fish gin clear water… the Sustut is your place.
Suskeena Lodge is 9 person lodge located on the Sustut River in the Skeena watershed in Northern British Columbia. Access to the Sustut is by private charter and there are no roads that take you here. It is a true wilderness steelhead fishery. The Sustut and Skeena have healthy runs of chinook, coho and sockeye salmon and steelhead. In early August the chinook fishing can be incredible. Steelhead, though, are their specialty.
The Sustut is, in our estimation, the finest tributary of the Skeena for trophy steelhead. Certainly when you combine the lodging, scenery, solitude and average size of the steelhead, it is hard to imagine a finer place to fish.
Suskeena Lodge is one of only two lodges on the fabulous Sustut, sharing the abundant pools with the well-known Steelhead Valhalla, located several miles downstream. Accommodations at Suskeena are for up to 9 fishermen, and very comfortable. The cabins are private & spacious [shared by 2 anglers] with comfortable beds & linens, and wood stove heat for heat. Each double occupancy cabin features a full bathroom with shower, toilet sink and vanity. The guides are excellent, experienced, and work hard to get anglers into fish. Food is simple, delicious and filling. More importantly, the fishing is 1st Class!
The Sustut River is a spot that is impossible to reach by road and requires a charter flight from Smithers on the first morning of the trip. This is part of the headwaters of the Skeena River drainage and runs pure and clear in all but the worst of weather. The river has been declared so rare and valuable by the Canadian Government that a special fishing license is necessary for all angling. The Sustut is a Class I river with a limited amount of rod days available each year.
One advantage of the Sustut over other steelhead fisheries (like the Babine, Bulkley, Kispiox, & Thompson) is the amount of time the river takes to clear and drop after a big storm; common in the fall in British Columbia. The Sustut claims to be the fastest dropping and quickest clearing of them all. The river can virtually be blown out one day and fishable the next.
Fishing on the Sustut is strictly catch-and-release and, with little outside pressure, anglers enjoy a rare opportunity to fish relatively untouched water every day of the week. Most often, anglers are rotated on 3 sections of river; upper, middle and lower. Days are long at Suskeena Lodge. Anglers will fish an average of 10 hours each day.
Reservations & Rates
The cost of the week-long Suskeena Lodge package is $7,200 - $7,400 USD per person (double occupancy), depending on the week.
Package price also includes: One experienced guide for every three anglers, daily jet-boat transportation on the river and fishing rights from the time of your arrival until you depart. The lodge can accommodate 9 anglers maximum. Suskeena Lodge is fly fishing only. Single barbless hooks are required.
Included in your angling package at the Suskeena Lodge is round trip private air charter from Smithers, accommodations, meals, and Canadian Goods & Service Tax. Package price is based on double occupancy cabins. Single supplements, for an additional fee, are available if space allows.
Not included in your angling package at Suskeena Lodge are flight to and from Smithers, hotel in Smithers, GST, PST, alcohol for consumption at the lodge, fishing licenses and steelhead stamps (Approximately CAD $300-$400.) and gratuities.
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 Suskeena Lodge
Their short season is from August 31 – October 19.
Suskeena Lodge operates on a Monday to Monday schedule. Tuesday through Sundays are full, hard-core, steelhead-fishing days.
September is a magical time as the leaves are changing, weather is moderate and dry fly fishing for steelhead can be off the charts. By October, it feels like British Columbia fall. Cold nights and sunny days make it feel more like steelhead. This half of the season is slightly better for numbers and often in low clear water. This is also the time the Skeena really turns on.
Getting to Suskeena Lodge
Suskeena Lodge is located on the Sustut River in Northern British Columbia. The lodge itself is accessed by a private air charter from the town of Smithers.
Arrive Smithers from Vancouver on Sunday on an evening flight. Overnight in Smithers at the Hudson Bay Lodge.
Day of arrival into lodge (Monday). Departure from Smithers to Suskeena Lodge is scheduled for 12:30 p.m., weather dependent. You will make this air journey in a fixed wing aircraft (30 - 45 minutes) departing from the Central Mountain Air Hangar in a Cessna Grand Caravan. You will need to arrange the hotel shuttle to get to the Hangar, where a lodge representative will meet you.
Departure from the lodge is scheduled to start at around 2:00 pm, depending on the weather. Please keep the weather and this arrival time from the lodge in mind when making your departure flights to Vancouver; you always have the option to overnight at the Hudson Bay Lodge again. Upon arrival into Smithers, a lodge representative will help you to your connecting flight, or a hotel, if that is your choice.
Anglers are to arrive in Smithers the day before flying into the lodge. Most anglers stay at the Hudson Bay Lodge (250-847-4581). The lodge blocks out rooms, as space fills quickly during peak steelhead months. You will be required to pay for this room upon arrival; approximate costs will be: Single (one double bed): $100 CAD/ Double (two beds): $110 CAD. Mention that you are a customer of The Fly Shop® to be sure to get the best price. Credit cards are accepted. You will be met at the airport by the hotel shuttle and brought back to the hotel on your afternoon of arrival. You will purchase your necessary fishing licenses at the lodge (be sure and bring cash for this, as the lodge does not take cards or checks) – if you would like to bring some alcohol into the lodge, there is a liquor store adjacent to Hudson Bay Lodge where you can purchase this.
Lodging at Suskeena Lodge
At the private airstrip on the Sustut you will be met by Suskeena Lodge staff in a vehicle for your transfer to the lodge.
It is a short drive. Once at the lodge, clients will stay two to a cabin. Cabins are well furnished and have a stove and a bathroom with a shower, flushing toilet and sitting area. They are some of the nicest cabins we have encountered at any steelhead lodge anywhere.
The main lodge building is a charming custom built log building with ample room to relax, eat a great meal or simply to sit and enjoy drinks by the fireplace. With only nine anglers, the atmosphere is just right. In addition to the bathrooms in each cabin, there is an additional wash-house with three showers in the event that you and your bunk mate need to shower simultaneously or one of you likes to sing loudly.
Fishing at Suskeena Lodge
The fish on the Sustut are among B.C.'s largest. The steelhead average 14 pounds and often reach well into the high twenties. There are 30-35 pound fish landed yearly. Consequently, we recommend you come prepared.
After a 7:00 breakfast, clients depart for their day on the river.
Lunch is prepared by the guide and served stream side. Steelhead fishing is, we think, for the most part made to sound like a sport for tough fanatical fishermen. Granted aficionados seem to fit this mold. However, that is largely due to the fact that many steelheaders are so taken by the fish and country that they pursue the fish like their lives depend on it…in some cases for months at a time eating canned meats and old bread by a fire.
Contrary to public opinion, steelhead are aggressive and catchable for an angler of any skill level. You do not need to be able to throw a hundred feet of line or fish a 500 grain sinking line until your shoulder gives out. Without exception, if you listen to your guide, he will steer you into fish within your ability or interest. Fishing a dry fly is something that everyone should try for a few days. It is effective on the Sustut and is the most exciting way to catch a steelhead. You may lose a higher percentage of your fish, but the take is well worth it. In the end you won't remember whether you landed 10 or 12 fish for the week, but you will remember a fish boiling on your skated dry in a glossy tail out.
Don't let the rest of the camp scare you out of it... because they will.