Dean River Steelhead Fishing Trip #OI-DO3

All of our fishing is done using swung flies. The majority of our guests use two-handed rods, but that’s certainly not a requirement; single-handers have been extremely effective on the Dean for many years.

Trip #OI-DO3

Dean River Steelhead Fishing Lodge

The Dean River in British Columbia is known for having strong, hard fighting steelhead that crush flies!

Imagine yourself sight fishing for fresh, lice covered steelhead. To fish the Dean is a privilege, and this outfitter is among the best. We’d love to help you set up this amazing fishing trip in British Columbia. The Dean River is known in the world of steelhead fishing for having the hottest, strongest fish around…. they’re fresh from the ocean and they CRUSH flies!

You will be fully guided below the canyon, and self guided above.

It’s not for everybody, but if you’re experienced and want some time on your own from time to time, it’s probably just what the doctor ordered. There’s nothing quite like doing it on your own. Pick your water, read it right, fish it how you want to fish it, and land that fresh, beautiful steelhead.

You’ll want to fish the Dean River in the summer, it can be hit or miss otherwise.

You can go earlier, but if you really want to hit the peak for steelhead (and who doesn’t), fish in July or August. A bonus if you fish towards the end of August, is you might start picking up some Coho’s…. but you’re there for the steelhead.

You could be fishing within a mile and a half of the salt on the Dean River.

The Dean River is known in the world of steelhead fly fishing for having the hottest, strongest fish around…. they’re fresh from the ocean and they CRUSH flies!

  • Fish the Lower Dean River – the mouth, 1 1/2 miles up to the Canyon.
  • You can also fish the Upper Dean – from the Canyon up to 5 Mile.
  • Dean River steelhead are so fresh, they still have sea lice attached. You could be fishing within a mile and a half of the salt.
  • Most anglers use Spey rods, but a single-handed rod will be just fine.
  • Remote! Travel from Bella Coola to our lodge on the Dean using a chartered helicopter.
  • Not a trip for beginners, if you’ve never fished for steelhead or salmon before, ask us to recommend a different trip.

The lodge is a 10 minute walk from the Dean River

Lodging and Accommodations

  • You’ll be staying in a comfortable cabin with a  wood stove.
  • There is a clubhouse for relaxing after a hard day of fighting fish.
  • There is a drying room where you can hang your gear to dry out, and the hot shower is to die for.
  • Meals…. well, they’re amazing.

The Guides and Equipment

  • The guides are top-notch, knowledgeable, and professional. When it comes down to it, they arrived at the Dean for the same reason as you…. to experience some of the best steelhead fishing in the world.
  • Boats and vehicles are in great shape and you won’t have any problems getting to the fishing.
  • Most guests bring their own gear, but there is a good supply of flies, leaders and tips, as well as loaner waders, wading boots, rods and reels at the lodge.

Traval to the Dean River in British Columbia

Travel Information

  • You will either fly or drive to Vancouver, British Columbia.
  • From there you’ll jump on a Pacific Coastal Airlines flight to Bella Coola, BC.
  • Once you hit the ground there, travel to the lodge on the Dean using a chartered helicopter.
  • The helicopter flight is included in the price of your trip.

Fishing the Dean River

Specific Gear for Steelhead fishing on the Dean River


Since we fish tips and relatively large flies most of the time for kings and steelhead, Skagit style line systems are our recommendation and the choice of the vast majority of our guests. 

  • Any of a variety of modern popular floating lines may be used when fishing a dry line for steelhead. For steelhead, T14 in lengths from 7 to 15 feet may be used, as well as standard 15-foot tips from type 3 to type 8.
  • For king salmon, heavy tips are most effective given relatively high, fast water. 15 feet of T-14 is the ‘go-to’ tip, with lengths ranging from 10 to 20 feet.  


Although most of our guests enjoy tying and/or selecting their own flies for their trip, we do have a limited selection of flies available for your use as well.

*Small, buggy Deschutes/Rogue patterns do not work well; look for the following larger attractor steelhead patterns: Tube-flies or “trailing hook” style – pink & orange, black & blue, black & chartreuse. Bright or contrasting combinations are best, in lengths of 2 to 4 inches. Flash is always good!!  Popsicle & Egg-Sucking Leech (cone-head/lead-eyed) – 1/0 Any traditional patterns that you enjoy fishing A few skating dries such as Waller Wakers or Bombers – size 4.

  • Flies for king salmon include large profile articulated and strung flies in a variety of color combinations. Marabou, rabbit fur and hair can all create the large, lifelike silhouette that Dean kings prefer. Hooks range from size 2 to 1/0, and octopus-style hooks are particularly effective. 
  • Guests targeting steelhead fish a selection of larger strung or tube flies in colors like black and blue, purple, and any combination of orange, pink and white. Larger flies may be over 3” long. Popular patterns include variations of the Skagit Minnow and Temple Dog-style tube flies.
  • To cover all possible conditions it’s helpful to bring some smaller, more traditional patterns like the Dean River Lantern or the Green Butt Skunk in sizes from 2 to 6, as well as a selection of dry flies.

The Dean has a brutal canyon section 1 1/2 miles from its mouth; for anadromous fish to spawn in the Dean they must ascend this canyon, so they’ve evolved over the years to be uniquely muscular, powerful, resilient fish.

Booking Information

Interested in booking this trip? If you have not yet received pricing please request it here, and be sure to reference the trip number at the top of this page. Please note that reservations are not considered finalized until agreed upon deposit is received. This ensures agreed upon dates and current pricing. Quality outfitters are in high demand so let us know right away, as some trips do book years in advance.


  • Transfers from Bella Coola, BC
  • Classified Waters License
  • Lodging, meals, beer & wine.

Not Included

  • Travel to (and overnight stay) in Bella Coola, BC
  • Fishing license
  • Steelhead stamp
  • Trip Insurance
  • Gratuities for Staff

Photos from this Dean River steelhead fishing trip: