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Fly fishing for steelhead at the Coquihalla river

Rivers of Western Canada - Coquihalla River

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How to get to the Coquihalla River in British Columbia Canada for fly fishing

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The Coquihalla is only 180 kms east of Vancouver Airport, unfortunately. Moreover, the complete distance between the airport and the river can be traveled on the highway. So it isn't a big surprise that you may find considerable fishing pressure on the river, especially on weekends.You start out on Highway 1 and change to Highway 5, a.k.a. Coquihalla Highway, near Hope, a pretty little town at the beginning of the Coast Mountains. After a few more kms you reach the exit "Othello Road", which is where you want to go.

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Hope offers pretty good opportunities for shopping or accommodation, if you travel with a van instead of a motorhome. It has several restaurants and service stations. Many of the inhabitants of Hope come from Germany or German ancestry, so some of the stores have adapted their range accordingly. Don´t be shocked by the prices, though. Compared to Germany, German products come at rather high prices. Hope is always my point of departure for trips into the North. So, if you´re traveling with an RV, fill up your cupboards in Hope. Unfortunately the local sports and tackle shop has closed, they had always been friendly and used to give out many useful hints on the fishing situation. Nowadays you may address the local Info Center at Hope. Hope has seen many a film crew in the last decades. A lot of footage for the Rambo movies with Sylvester Stallone has been taken in the Hope area.

The Coquihalla is a pretty little river. It has but two disadvantages: lately it has been closed to fishing most of the time, and it suffers from low water conditions frequently. So, before you visit the Coquihalla, make sure it is open to fishing! In October the surrounding mountains are frequently snowcapped and even the area around town risks to be pretty cold, too.

Fritz fighting a steelhead
a claim

The pools and runs of the Coquihalla are relatively easy to fish. As the entire river is "Fly Only"-water, please bear in mind that strike indicators are strictly forbidden. The same is true for all "Fly Only"-water in BC. I suggest to respect these regulations, as violations may, for Non-Canadians, be sanctioned even by deportation.

The sight in the fishable parts being generally clear, strikes may be identified well even without indicators.

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Coquihalla river steelhead caught while fly fishing
a bunch of Steelhead

In between the the junction of the Coquihalla and the Fraser River and the exit Othello Road you find the Canyons. Please bear in mind that fly fishing is only open upstream from the Canyons! In low water conditions steelhead cannot rise through the Canyons. In this case, I advise you to take a stroll through the Othello Tunnels, where you may be able to see entire schools of steelhead.

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