Pluses/minuses taking driftboat to BC


Just got invited to a trip up to Smithers in late October. I have a cataraft but would much rather fish out of my drift boat. Having never been there I'm wondering do folks who have been up there have any opinions +/- about taking a hard boat up there? I have a Clacka WF16 I'd love to take. We would probably fish the Bulkley, Morice, and if conditions are favorable possibly the Skeena or Kispiox. I realize we're talking many, many miles of river I'm asking about, I'm just wanted to get an outside opinion about overall feasibility of put ins and take outs. We would rent a little rice burner to run our own shuttles.


I drove up last year with the trailer and although it was a nice drive with good roads ... you will save on gas money alone flying up. For the diy trip you don't have much choice if you really want to float but I think their are plenty of walk in options on the skeena, and copper.

Personally, if I go back, i'll fly up, pay the lodge fee and go with a guide. Too much water to learn and way to many options. the drive took approx 20 hours with the trailer and untold gallons of fuel compared to a 2 hour flight and fishing that afternoon

have fun though and enjoy the catching ... hope the fish make the late run; sounds pretty slow right now
TWD, or anyone,

What about the put ins/take outs? Easy to get to with a 4wD and trailer?

Splitting the cost in thirds (I'm driving up with two other guys) and not having to rent an extra vehicle or pontoon boats/rafts we're saving about $2,400 in airfare (it's $900 round trip from Reno) and rentals and only costing one extra day one each side for travel vs. flying (with connections it's 12 hours to fly up there from Reno) so driving is definitely the way to go for us.



Steve Buckner

Mother Nature's Son
I took my drift boat up to the Bulkley last season, glad I did. We spent the week checking out 3 different drifts on that river and found one drift that I liked better than the others. I think unless you have tons of time to spend, you'd be better off picking one river and getting to know it rather than jumping around on a bunch of rivers. A guide at least for one day would also be good advice. You'll be able to find tons of info about drifts etc. on whichever river you choose by doing a few searches. You might consider giving Denise Maxwell a call, she has been guiding on the Bulkley for a long time.

The drive from Southwest Washington to Smithers is about 900 miles one way. The drive was certainly beautiful, but I think if I lived further south than I do I'd fly up and rent a drift boat. I would guesstimate that you'd have to tack on another 700-800 or about 1600 -1700 miles one way from Reno...that's a long haul for me. Gas in Canada is very pricey, it was about $1.30 per liter if I recall correctly. I suspect gas has gone up since last year. In 2005, I would estimate the round trip cost in gas to be around $800. On top of that, you need to buy a license and there is also an additional fee to fish classified water. All in all, my wife and I did the trip for about $1600.00.

There are a couple of places in Smithers that will rent drift boats. I don't remember the name of the place that rents them but it seemed like their rates were reasonable.
I actually didn't end up floating that much in the area because the Skeena was the main attraction which really doesn't require a float. the gravel bars there are about a mile long each and most of them you could drive your 4 wheeler on.

if you were going for more than a week I could see it being worth bringing your own gear; keep in mind I am big on driving and don't blink at 12 hours in the car.

I couldn't see driving from Reno being cost effective. You might want to check what it would cost you to fly from vancouver bc to terrace (is should be around 250 canadian) ... find your cheapest route to vancouver .... take amtrak, fly to seattle and go up via bus or rail, whatever. It would be a mammoth 2 days each way and I bet it would even be a long 3 days each way to get there
The roads are very decent and generally not that much traffic but its a super long haul ... trust me, find a way to fly
I would suggest that you post the question on, there are a few members on there that head up there every year. Late October you could probably run into snow and cold temperatures up there.

Flying from Vancouver, you would be looking anywhere from 300-400 cdn.
Gas right now is a $1.00 Cdn/Litre (3.30 US/gallon).

Whatever you decide, you are heading up to some prime waters.

it is way cheaper to drive. We're all engineers and we have spreadsheets up tha yazoo and info of the internet we've done our research we've looked at all the flights etc. it's a no-brainer, we're saving about $2,400 between the three of us to drive. It's 1,550 miles and in the mid to high 20-hour range to drive, compared to the 12-hour flight and layover option flying (best we could do) we're only losing a day on either side of the trip.

The major benefit of driving isthat we can bring all of our food for the trip in a cooler so we don't have to spend as much money eating out and we can bring extra gear in the DB we couldn't imagine of bringing on an airplane (like a drift boat heater). The final straw is this - if the weather sucks and everything blows we can go fish somewhere else. That is an advantage I'm not sure I'd trade anything for. You fly and you are stuck unless you got a lot of cash to throw around. Yeah we could get snow but I take that chance every year when I winter steelhead fish in Oregon and worst case you get a hotel and play cards for a day.

I will try that bc website and it looks like we're taking the DB for sure. Heck I think we'll toss a 12' avon in there for good measure and we can float anything.

Thanks for the advice everyone will give a trip report when I get back.