Whether you’re looking for solitude and a true sense of remoteness, or just an easy place to camp and put your boat in the water, you can find it here. The region is intersected by two highways and contains waters in both the Arctic and Pacific watersheds resulting in a staggering variety of landscapes and waters to fish.

Prince George is surrounded by countless streams, lakes and rivers that range in size from tiny trickling creeks to massive reservoirs. Rainbow trout, both stocked and wild, are abundant in area lakes and can also be found in most rivers and streams. Rainbows are the primary target for most anglers in the region but grayling, burbot, whitefish, bull trout and other char species can also be caught in the waters surrounding Prince George.

Regardless of your preferred angling style or species, opportunity awaits in every direction and the only limitation is your willingness to explore!


 

Just North of Town is a short fly-fishing adventure film showcasing the spectacular fishing, rivers and wilderness surrounding Prince George, British Columbia. It follows three very different anglers whose shared dedication to fly fishing borders on the obsessive. By observing these anglers as they explore an incredibly beautiful, productive, and little-known fishery ‘just north of town’ we will gain an understanding of why they have chosen to make North Central BC their home, and why it is an incredible place to visit. The film aims to capture the sense of wonder anglers feel when exploring a place for the first time and share that feeling with potential visitors to the region.

Despite their different approaches to life and fly fishing, all three anglers share the same respect and reverence for the fish and the environment they live in. They employ current best practices when handling and releasing fish because they know the key to protecting our extraordinary resource is treating it with the utmost respect. Each has an unquenchable thirst to further their knowledge of the wilderness and knows the only way to truly learn is to humbly go out and experience it.

Brock

Kate

Danie

Kate & April

Danie

River Fishing on the Continental Divide

We set out North from Prince George on Friday evening full of the same hopeful anticipation that marks the beginning of every fishing trip. The smoke from forest fires far to the west tinted the air golden-orange and we hoped to find refuge from it deep in the mountains. Not long after leaving Prince George we crossed the continental divide leaving the Pacific watershed behind. By the time we left the highway and started up the forest service road, the smoke had thinned considerably and an hour later, when we reached our destination, a cool wind had cleared it entirely.

The river we planned to fish is part of the Arctic watershed and is home to species not found elsewhere around Prince George. Arctic grayling are abundant in this river, and are of particular interest to anglers as they are perhaps the most willing of any cold water species to rise to the surface for a well presented dry fly. Fishing for grayling with dry flies on a small, clear mountain river is one of the most satisfying situations an angler can find themselves in, but it was not our primary goal. We sought a much larger quarry. Migratory bull trout. Bull trout generally spend much of their lives in larger rivers, lakes and reservoirs, but when the urge to reproduce hits, they will travel great distances up river to find extremely cold and clear water to spawn in. It was on this migration that we hoped to intercept them.

River levels were lower than the average for this time of year and we worried that the fish, while much easier to find, would be considerably more wary. Additionally a group of anglers had been fishing the stretch of river we planned to fish for 5 days straight prior to our arrival and while we remained hopeful, we were uncertain what to expect.

After a hasty breakfast and coffee on Saturday morning, we set off upriver. Grayling were already rising as the first rays of sunlight hit the water. As we worked our way up river from camp we took turns catching them between swinging large streamer flies for the bulls. We found a few small, willing bulls but the combination of extremely low water and heavy pressure in the days prior to our trip made them quite tricky. Thank goodness for Grayling.

We eventually decided to leave the bull trout to rest and spent the afternoon catching seemingly endless numbers of grayling. They repeatedly raced up through the turquoise water to snatch our flies from the surface and in any other circumstances you could call it a perfect afternoon. But we all wanted bull trout. Large bull trout.

While discussing the days fishing over dinner, we decided that the river needed a few days rest and chose a similar nearby river as an alternate location. This second river is also a part of the arctic watershed but flows about half of the volume of the first.

After breakfast the next morning we packed up camp with renewed hope and bounced our way down a series of winding forest roads to our new destination. The first fly to hit the water was snatched up by a large hungry bull and we immediately knew we had made the right choice. For 5 hours we worked our way slowly upstream, catching dozens of grayling, a few rainbow trout, and occasionally finding large bulls. While we were quite satisfied with the results of the day, there was still a feeling that the main part of the migration run had eluded us. Two of us vowed to search further when we had a free day later in the week.

On Thursday we returned to the first river we had fished the previous Saturday and began our search much further up the river. Again, in the morning we found mostly grayling with only one willing bull trout and we began to wonder if the low water levels had taken more of a toll than we thought. With only a few hours left to fish we hurried downstream from our start point with expectations low. Rounding a bend in the river, we both stopped dead in our tracks. Before us lay one of the most picturesque pieces of water either of us had seen. A fast riffle poured into a long slow run littered with large boulders and ledges. Behind every rock, a large shape swayed in the gentle current. The search was over. We had found what we came for at last.

On Bull trout.

Bull trout are actually a char species and are often referred to as Dolly Varden in Northern BC. While bull trout and dolly varden are remarkably similar in appearance, they are in fact two distinct species. Unfortunately the waters around Prince George do not hold any Dolly Varden but they do support healthy Bull Trout populations. All bull trout in the rivers and streams in our region are catch and release only, by regulation.

Dan Pousette


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