Thanks to its bevvy of pristine lakes and bustling rivers, Canada is home to some of the most breath-taking and bountiful fly fishing locales in the world. Whether you’re looking to venture off the beaten path for a more remote experience, or prefer the rustic comforts of an established fishing lodge, rest assured – Canada has the ideal fly fishing adventure for you!
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By Lark Begin
When Lark takes a break from writing, you can find her enjoying fishing on different rivers in Ottawa Canada, and spending time with her family. More about Lark on our About Us page.
Why Fly Fish Canada?
Let’s cast our gaze towards a handful of the most sought after Canadian fly-fishing hot spots, that are sure to impress both the skilled expert and intrepid beginner. Much of the joy from fly-fishing is found not only in the act of fishing, but also in immersing yourself in the majestic, natural environments you will find yourself in, as well as the plethora of different types of fish you’ll encounter ( and catch!) along the way.
To begin, Western Canada (especially places like B.C. and Alberta) is home to some of the best environments for fly-fishing. If you are keen to get your hands on some fresh and fine trout, Western Canada is for you, according to The Fly Shop. Although trout seems to be the most popular target for fly-fishing, there are many other fish in the proverbial sea that will catch the eye of fly-fishing lovers.
Now, let’s get into more detail, shall we? Below is a list of some of the most intimate and invigorating places for fly fishing. After you’ve read through them, you will definitely have some great spots in mind – so without further ado, let’s go fishin’!
1. Chilko River, British Columbia
People from all over the world come to this picturesque and pristine river in BC to experience “fine dry fly fishing,” by floating their lines from boats, jet sleds or float tubes. If you’re looking for an ideal home base for your east coast fly-fishing adventure check out Ts’yl-os Park Lodge, which boasts stunning views of the Pacific Coast Mountains, cozy accommodations and other exciting excursion packages.
2. Sustut River, British Columbia
Home to fertile steelhead runs, and where the fly-fishing experts are among Canada’s best. This 75km-long river is perfect for an unforgettable fly-fishing outting. The popular Suskeena Lodge is located more than a hundred miles from civilization and makes a peaceful destination for your fishing trip. A person who thrives in the city scene would not thrive here as it is all about silence and paying attention to the cast.
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3. Nootka Sound (Galiano Bay), British Columbia
Here we have Vancouver Island, another great find for steelhead lovers and one of the best places for an expert. The wide river waters, coast lines with beautiful, tall trees, make this a perfect spot to get lost in the wilderness and offer many awesome fish to catch. Nootka Chrome Adventures has three different resorts, each with their own unique fly-fishing packages.
4. Waterton River, Alberta
Home to the Alberta trout “mecca” with fish that catch fishers’ eyes with their array of colors. This “adventure of a lifetime” is located on the east side of the Rocky Mountains in Southern Alberta, Canada. This area is known for its wild trout and exciting scenery. Visit Eastslope Adventures to go on public or private fish excursions that range from “walk-and-wade” to rafts and day floats.
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5. Haida Gwaii, British Columbia
Known for its winter steelhead fishing and the array of experienced fisherman that have visited over the years, Haida Gwaii (Queen Charlotte Islands) is surrounded by the incredible wilderness of Spruce, Cedar, Hemlock and more. The smell of nature and clarity is strong while you peacefully move through the waters. To fully experience this natural fishing oasis, visit Copper Bay Lodge and arrange a multi-day excursion with their friendly and knowledgeable staff.
Quality Books About Fly Fishing Canada
Canada’s vast fly fishing opportunities can take a little research before you decide where to go. Consider these quality references for further information (titles and publisher with Amazon links):
6. Hatchet Lake, Saskatchewan
This awesome fishing location is the perfect place to get away from the bustling noise of the city. Located in northeast Saskatchewan, Hatchet Lake covers over 5,000 square miles of remote water. Some of the popular finds include trophy-sized lake trout, Canadian walleye, northern pike and arctic grayling, according to Hertz.
7. Little Vermilion Lake, Ontario
Bass! Oh, bass, you’ve done it again. Along with fresh smallmouth bass, Little Vermilion Lake is popular for its northern pike and muskie. This lake in particular has a “catch-and-release” policy, which ensures a better fishing experience for all. Although it is remote, there is central access to nine other lakes within the region, according to Hertz.
8. Kesagami Lake, Ontario
Home of the northern pike, with some (if you’re lucky!) measuring over 50 inches, and about 30 pounds! If you enjoy catching the big ones with a fly-fishing expert by your side, Kesagami Lake might be for you! The Kesagami Lake Wilderness Lodge is nearby and offers several remote experiences for all wilderness enthusiasts.
9. Kississing Lake, Manitoba
This Manitoba find is a popular spot for walleye, northern pike and lake trout. If you are looking for a cool place to wade through and catch some trout, this is your spot! This lake is about 26 miles long and includes various islands of marsh that are perfect environments for fly-fishing. Some who have spent quality time here say that they have caught around 100 fish per day. If that isn’t a reason to go, what is?!
10. Bow River, Alberta
Save the best for last, right? This river in Alberta is just as beautiful as the world-class rainbow and brown trout who rule the waters. Around 3,000 brown and rainbow trout per mile are reported to be in this river, with an average size of 19 inches! Because this location of wilderness and extraordinary fishing is so close to Calgary, this spot is an amazing (and accessible) place to go for fly-fishing, especially if you are a trout enthusiast who still enjoys the conveniences of city life.
Hopefully the above list has served as an introductory roadmap to the beautiful, fish-rich locations to go fly-fishing in Canada. As you can see, there are many incredible places to choose from, so it is now up to you to choose where you want to go for your next (or first) fly-fishing adventure!
Related Article: The Best Fly Reels For Salmon
What is fly fishing?
Now, before we dive into some of the best places to go fly-fishing in Canada, let’s quickly review some of the fundamentals of this challenging sport and/or relaxing past time. Whether you’re new to the fly-fishing game or a savvy vet, it never hurts to brush up on the basics!
For beginners, fly-fishing can initially seem like an intimidating endeavour, but anyone can learn how to fly-fish if they don’t get discouraged and keep practicing this unique fishing artform.
How does fly fishing work?
Fly-fishing employs a clever technique where the bait is left on top of the water for the fish to latch onto. The bait often appears to look like a fly, which is where we get the name – you guessed it – fly-fishing! The fish see the bait as a fly or delectable bug that has landed on the water’s surface and are curious about it, so they swim up to take a closer look (and hopefully a quick nibble!), according to Blue Ridge Mountain Life.
While still using a lure, this type of technique is an obvious departure from traditional fishing, where the bait is cast beneath the surface. The name of the game in fly-fishing, is all about how delicate you are with casting the “fly”. Cast too hard and you will scare the fish away. But, cast just right and you will intrigue the fish just enough to swim to the surface.
Because the bait is extremely light-weight, learning how to control the direction, length and depth of your cast can be a tricky technique to master, however, the light-weight also allows for clearer and increased cast distance, which in some ways can make casting easier to manage than traditional fishing.