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Fly fishing at the Horsefly river

Rivers of Western Canada - Horse Fly River

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How to get to the River

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This River runs through British Columbias Wild West. Giant Ranches, endless farmlands and pastures, the Cariboos and the town of Williams Lake in the middle of it. Williams Lake is about 550 kms from Vancouver. You start out from there on Highway #1 until you get to Cache Creek, then switch to Highway #97 heading north. On my trips into the North as well as on my way back I often stopped over in Williams Lake for the night. Highway # 20, a.k.a. Chilcotin-Bella Coola Highway, takes you from there to the West Coast. This is a trip I haven't made so far, but it's on top of my to-do-list. If anyone is intending to take an RV out there, he better make sure of the maximum length allowed on this highway. The last stretch from the mountains down to the Sea is very narrow. Moreover, Highway #20 is frequently closed due to landslides or flooding. Anyone going this way could easily end up pretty lonely in a tight spot.

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Well, let's get back to the river. About 15 kms before you reach Williams Lake, you get to a place by the name of 150 Mile House, that's where you leave Highway #97 and take Horsefly Road for about 70 kms until you get to the town of Horsefly. That's where you reach the river.

nice Rainbow while fly fishing with nymph
the Horsefly River

Photo on the left: one of the beautiful rainbows, taken on a nymph. Photo on the right: shallow riffles often run into deep pools - best conditions for a hookup.

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Fly fishing for Rainbows with Nymphs and Dries

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The Horsefly is one of the top rivers for rainbows. The prerequisite for exceptional rainbow fishing is a strong sockeye run. The big rainbows follow the salmon to gorge themselves on roe. Under those conditions exceptional rainbows reaching 6 to 8 pounds may be caught.The rainbow should be keyed to the colors red and pink, but surprisingly, I caught my best fish on simple brown bead head caddis nymphs.

N.B.: the Horsefly River is Classified Water, you need a special license to fish it!

small mountain whitefish
Grizzly at the other side in British Columbia Canada

Photo on the left: a small mountain whitefish is carefully returned to his habitat. They also come in sizes up to 4 pounds! Photo on the right: this was my first encounter with a grizzly on the Horsefly. One of my local friends told me I had been lucky, because grizzlies out there have a reputation of being quite aggressive.

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The region around Williams Lake usually is rather dry. It is a good alternative when the rivers along the coast from Prince Rupert to Vancouver and Vancouver Island run too high.

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