Fishing in the Muskwa Kechika wilderness

Muskwa Kechika Wilderness Area is a vast region stretching over 6.4 million hectares in north east British Columbia. It is larger than many countries, and home to some of the best fishing in the world.

Unlike most of British Columbiaâs waterways emptying into the Pacific, this region drains north into the Arctic Ocean. As a result it carries very different fish populations. Many species are only found in the Peace region, such as Arctic grayling, northern pike and walleye. And some of them can grow very big.

âWe really do have trophy size grayling,â says Urs Schildknecht, owner of Northern Rockies Lodge on Muncho Lake. âA four pound grayling is not unheard of in our area.â

Why do they grow so big? His theory is that since the Muskwa Kechika is at the southern reach of the grayling range, the growing season is longer, allowing them to grow larger in size.

Schildknecht operates an air service from his lodge, and has explored many of the remote reaches of the Muskwa Kechika. He takes his clients to some of the most pristine fishing destinations found anywhere in the world, which also happen to be some of the best fishing as well.

âSouth Gataga is outstanding for lake trout fishing and pike fishing. The lake trout fishing is at its peak from June first to about the 15th of July... and thatâs when the pike fishing starts to kick in.

âI like to fish with light gear,â says Schildknecht, â[and] in these mountain lakes [the lake trout] donât go that deep because the water stays very cold.

In other words, no big gear is needed to get the big fish. Another g r e a t fishing destination is the Kechika River. Since it has a relatively heavy silt load, Schildknecht recommends anglers find where clear running tributaries enter the river. That is where you will find good pockets of Arctic grayling and bull trout (formerly known as dolly varden).

Most of the fishing destinations in this region are remote and fly-in only. However we have highlighted two locations that are accessible by road or by trail.

The first is Tetsa River which runs along the Alaska Highway. Schildknecht says there are good populations of bull trout and Arctic grayling at many places along the highway.

âThere are probably ten or fifteen miles of river that run parallel to the Alaska highway,â with a number of pull outs where anglers can park and reach the river. Look for small p o o l s where the fish will gather and rest.

âMost fishing is best with fly fishing,â says Schildknecht, âbut you can [also] use a small Mepps spinner. Keep in mind that you have to have single barbless hooks if you fish any of the river systems up here.â

Another highlighted lake â" Redfern Lake â" is located within Redfern-Keily Provincial Park and is accessible by ATV. The park is roughly 80 km west of the Alaska Highway via trail systems. One trail follows Nevis Creek and the Besa River to Redfern Lake, and a second trail follows the Sikanni Chief River to Trimble Lake. Another trail links Trimble Lake to the Besa River, completing a loop.

Both trails a r e open to snowmobiles, horses, hikers, mountain bikes, and dog sleds; however, motorized ATV vehicles can only access the park via the Redfern Lake trail.

There are thouasnds of great fishing destinations in this one region. To learn more about them, contact Northern Rockies Lodge and learn more about the variety of experiences Muskwa kechika can offer anglers.

To get more information on Peace Region click here

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