Fishing The Pitt River : Bull Trout And White Sturgeon In British Columbia
A Week At Pitt River Lodge
After phenomenal trip in Prince Rupert with our friend Franky, we headed south to Vancouver where we would connect with more familiar faces. A quick two-hour flight and we had arrived. From there it was an hour drive to Pitt Meadows where we met with Danny Gerak and headed out to Pitt River Lodge. Our photographer Stu had guided here in previous years. After a forty-minute boat ride across the Pitt Lake we had arrived at the dock, there our guides Felix Geiser, and Jordan Celebre greeted us.
We would spend our time traveling the lower section of the Pitt River by raft, the upper section by foot, and some sturgeon fishing by boat. Though there was a variety of fish in the system, our target species was bull trout. We had the intention of taking a big bull on the dry, as the Pitt is renowned as one of the best rivers to fish bull trout on the surface.
Our rafting trip was filled with phenomenal views of stunning canyons and glacial backdrops. The landscape was nothing short of breathtaking. The water glistened a glowing glacial blue. Sockeye lined the banks, as the river had turned black with fish. Chinook broke the surface occasionally showing themselves as the kings of the river. However they were not species we were able to, or interested in targeting.
It was the middle of August. The sun was blazing hot and river ran ice cold as the headwaters of the river were sourced from surrounding glacier run off. We were late in the season searching high and low for our big Pitt Bull. We managed to move a few on skaters but couldn’t find the fish we were looking for. We decided to try higher in the system. A lengthy hike across and old game trail brought us into a section of river that couldn’t be reached by anyone outside the lodge. The hike was grueling and hot but yielded some of the nicest water we had seen in the west. Once again we moved a few more nice bulls but struggled to find the double-digit fish we were looking for.
A familiar sound emerged from around the corner. As it got closer it grew louder then suddenly the Jet ranger cruised around the corner. It was Brucey. He had arrived in his helicopter and was kind enough to take us for a quick drop and a tour around the glacier. Bruce was the heart of the Pitt River. He spoiled the guides heli-fishing and a number of treats. From fine wine, steak, beer, and so much more. We concluded the day on a high note and headed back to camp for the following day we would try a new approach to fishing.
Although it wasn’t fly-fishing, we knew we were next to some of the finest sturgeon fishing the west coast had to offer. Felix had worked as a sturgeon guide for a number of years. He knew the tides, the fish, and the bait. So we decided to give it a go. It wasn’t five minutes before we had one hooked up, and thirty before we had a double header on. It was one after another until the wind picked up started throwing the boats around. At which point we headed back to the lodge and relaxed with a few cold beers under the hot sun.
The trip had ended on a high note. We had a taste of it all. From the surreal landscapes of the surrounding glacier to the canyons that stood as Pitt Rivers land mark. Bull trout on the surface and double-header sturgeon. We had been spoiled rotten and during the toughest season of the year.