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Of all the salmonid species, bull trout have seen harder times than most. A once-abundant species, the bull trout’s habitat and historic range has been slowly diminished and, quite literally, eroded to the point that they are protected in many parts of the U.S. There are, however, places where the rivers are still pure enough, and the landscapes are unspoiled enough to effectively host large population of these apex predators. These fish need clean, cold waters, with uncompromising water quality, and you can guarantee that anywhere you find them is likely to be remote and unspoiled.
The Canadian Rockies are a prime destination for anglers looking to hook into a trophy bull trout on the fly, and that’s where Texas-based company, Expeditions Outfitters, recently unveiled a new program for targeting them with the long rod. This trip is likely to be an experience that one simply cannot have in many parts of the globe, and that will take you to some truly pristine landscapes.
Expedition Outfitters has made a name for itself guiding in the Texas hill country on rivers like the Guadalupe, San Marcos and the Devils River. What led you to partner on a Canadian bull trout trip?
Our company, Expedition Outfitters, has been hosting trips on the Devils River at Sycamore Canyon Ranch for over 10 years. The Russell family who owns the ranch introduced us to Jordy McAuly who has 1.2 million acres under permit for commercial fishing and hunting activities in British Columbia. Jordy has been the Russell’s hunting outfitter for many years. They described the fishing opportunities as fantastic and suggested we partner with him to develop clientele specifically for fly fishing in the vast, remote wilderness of the Northern Canadian Rocky Mountains.
Many places in the U.S. Have outlawed fishing for bull trout. Can you talk a little bit about the style of fishing used to catch bull trout, and what anglers can expect from a hook up with on of these fish?
All of our rivers are catch-and-release only with single, barbless hook restrictions. We use 8, 9 and 10 weight rods with floating lines to target the Bull Trout. They slam heavy, flashy streamers stripped through the pools where they lie in wait for unsuspecting prey. Bull trout are apex predators; targeting rainbows, whitefish, Kokanee and Grayling to feed their voracious appetites. They also take mouse patterns off the top with explosive “blow ups.” The fights are fast and furious with multiple drag screaming runs. Many of the fish are in the 8-10 lb size and you can expect chances at 20-pound fish too.
What rivers will anglers be targeting on these trips, and what is the lodging like? Single occupancy?
We fish the uppermost glacial and spring fed tributaries of the second largest river in North America…The Mackenzie/Peace River System. These tributaries include the Filnlay, Chowica, Akie, Ingenika, and Ospika Rivers. Our camp is situated on Williston Lake Reservoir on the western slope of the northern Canadian Rocky Mountains and we have a 5,000-foot landing strip that taxis up to the quarters. Our guest lodging is a new, modern-three bedroom cabin with electricity and full bath with double occupancy.
This trip is listed as a trophy bull trout trip, but what other species are available?
In addition to Bull Trout we also target native rainbows, Grayling and Dolly Varden in the high mountain streams and lakes.
Package: The week long fully guided fishing package cost is $4,000 per person. Our season runs from July 20th to early October and spaces are limited. For more info go to http://www.expedition-outfitters.net/id74.html, call 210-602-9284, or email Kevin at [email protected]