April Vokey | BC Dean River Chinook Salmon Fishing

April Vokey | BC Dean River Chinook Salmon Fishing

April Vokey FlyGal Ventures in British Columbia specializes on fly fishing for both steelhead and Chinook Salmon on the Dean River.

British Columbia’s Dean River Chinook Salmon are in a league of their own. These Dean River heavyweights enter the freshwater speckled in sea lice and are only minutes from the ocean. Known for their unstoppable runs and ability to leave even the most seasoned angler in awe of their power, Dean River Chinooks demand respect. This is undeniably the best freshwater Chinook Salmon fly fishing in British Columbia!

Chinook Salmon Season

The Chinook season begins mid-June and fishes strong until mid-July, while the Coho fishery is most productive from August until mid-September.

The Dean River is one of the only places on Earth where an angler can land a trophy fish while surrounded by waterfalls, epic mountains and emerald blue water…all while only minutes from the ocean!

About Chinook Salmon

Dean River Chinook Salmon are respected by fly anglers around the world for their size, strength, and tenacity. Jumps, unstoppable runs, and incredible stamina are all part of their repertoire that will put even the most experienced angler’s skills to the test!

Be prepared to run if a huge Chinook (King) Salmon decides to challenge you to a battle…these monsters know the ocean is directly behind them and they are determined to make it back to the salt when your fly wedges itself between one’s jaws.

British Columbia Clothing & GearRecommendations Chinook Salmon Fishing in Brittish Columbia

The Dean River has been known to have unpredictable weather… Rainy days can be surprisingly cold for summer, and sunny days can be unbelievably hot.

Come prepared for both extremes with warm fleece and long-sleeve-but-cool clothing. When horseflies are out in hot weather, a long sleeve shirt that is fairly light yet relatively thick (so they can’t bite through) is necessary to stay comfortable.

The standard layered clothing approach is the best way to ensure comfort on the river.

Base layer Clothing 1: Next to the skin use a wicking material that allows your skin to breathe while removing moisture at the same time. Simms Waderwick Crew Top is truly the best way to optimize comfort throughout the day. These articles are worn in the form of long sleeved shirts and long underwear.

Layer 2: A mid layer long sleeved shirt made of either merino wool, fleece layering or Polar-Tec, etc.

Layer 3: A Polar Fleece sweater or something of the sort. We recommend that you bring a lighter weight and a medium weight fleece at the very least as weather can range from super hot to chilly like the Simms Fall Run Jacket

For your legs you may also use a baselayer merino wool pant of varying weights depending on the river’s water temperature.

Layer 4: Gortex Fishing Jacket and Gore-Tex Waders (Patagonia, Simms, etc.)

Gortex jackets all have pockets and storage for fly boxes, tippets, leaders, etc. so feel free to lighten your load by leaving your fishing vest at home.

Waders: We recommend a Gortex Wader with a built-in Neoprene Sock.

Gortex is very light weight and does not limit flexibility. It also breathes to keep you cool during those warm summer days.

Wading Boots: The rocks are not very slippery, but there are some large boulders and uneven bottom is common. Felt, studded felt wading boots and studded rubber soles all work great. Try to refrain from wearing plain, unstudded rubber soles.

Fly Fishing Hats: Baseball cap or wide brim.

Polarized sunglasses: For eye protection from hooks and for cutting down glare reflecting off the river.

BC Dean River Salmon Gear

Spey casting is most certainly the number one method of fly-fishing our guides recommend.

Spey-casting allows anglers to be able to cover more water with ease and efficiency…typically resulting in catching more fish.

Rods: 7-9 weight Spey rods are most suitable for the Dean. 10wt Chinook Salmon Spey Rods are fairly common, especially in June through Mid-July when the Chinook are around.

It is recommended you bring backup rods in case one breaks.

Spey Reels: Make sure that your reel is one that is capable of storing at least 150 meters of 30lb backing, plus an appropriate Spey fly line. There are lots of great reels on the market; Hatch, Ross, Nautilus, etc.

A backup reel is recommended, as Dean fish break more reels than any other salmon or steelhead around.

Salmon Leaders and Tippet: Self-tied leaders rather than factory-tapered leaders are strongly recommended. Our guides will tie your leaders for you. Maxima Ultragreen monofilament is our leader material of choice. Bring spools of this in 15lb, 20lb and 30lb.

Forceps/Pliers: Essential for de-barbing hooks and getting hooks out of fish.

Nippers: Frequent re-tying of terminal tackle is common. Bring nippers so you are able to tie knots without chipping your teeth on thick line.

Dean River Salmon Spey Flies: Marabou and intruder style flies are the most common flies we use on the Dean River, however, these fish will bite almost anything!

More important than the actual pattern of your fly is the type of hook, size, profile and weight of the fly.

A good selection of flies to include on your trip would consist of large intruder-style flies (3-4 inches long) in bright orange, pink, red, etc. Dark tones of black, blue and purple flies are also extremely effective.

Both unweighted and weighted flies are strongly recommended.

Be sure to include some smaller flies and a few traditional steelhead flies (green-butt skunk, general practitioner, standard Spey flies, etc.)

Thick, strong hooks are essential, as there have been many huge steelhead and Chinook lost due to bent out hooks. If you are fishing during the months of June or early July, a size 2/0 is necessary.

Lines: The most popular fly-line for our guests is the Skagit Style Line

600 and 650 grain Skagit lines are the most common weight of line used, however, it is vital that your line weight match your rod.

Refer to your local dealer or fly shop to confirm that your set-up is paired accordingly.

We are a Rio dealer and will have fly-lines available upon request.

Sink Tips: Sink tips are an absolute necessity during your trip.

A Rio 15 foot type 8 is the most common used tip, however, type 3 and 6 tips are also commonly used.

It is recommended that you come equipped with a 30 foot section of T-14, as early season high water can make it difficult to get your fly down to the fish quickly.

Flotation Device: The Dean is a fast and dangerous river that has stolen life before… It is highly recommended you wear some type of life preserver while fishing and boating.

There are many compact, inflatable life preservers available that don’t hinder casting motion or compromise comfort while angling.

Wading staffs are also helpful when fishing potentially dangerous rivers.

Miscellaneous items:

  • Casual wear for evenings
  • Sunscreen
  • Sun-gloves
  • Camera
  • Cigars/Cigarettes (there is nowhere to purchase these once at the lodge.)
  • Premium spirits

Note: Bear spray is not allowed on planes. There is some available at the lodge.

It’s time to nail down your 2024 fly fishing trip with Minturn Anglers.

About the Author

Justin Nolan

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