Fly fishing for Steelhead on the Morice River

Rivers in Western Canada - Morice River

How to Get to the Morice


The Morice can be reached likewise from the west or from the east. Coming from the west you are likely to pass through Smithers. The town you have to go to to reach the Morice is Houston - Houston BC that is - famous for the world's largest fly rod. That is also where the Morice changes its name to Bulkley. Smithers is about 65 kms from Houston, a drive of roundabout 45 minutes. Coming from the east, you will probably start in Prince George, about 310 kms from Smithers - or about 3 hours and a half to drive. The Morice is practically the source of the Bulkley. The fishing however is completely different. Believe it or not: I have yet to catch a steelhead in the Morice.

If you talk to the locals about fly fishing, you might think it were the easiest thing in the world. Many steelhead, but rather small ones, they report. I have learned to be rather careful after spending 4 days of fishing over several years (latest 2014) without catching a fish so far. So I guess it´s not all that easy after all.

The story gets even more interesting when you realize that the Morice contributes of 99 % percent of the water that makes up the Bulkley. Without too much exaggeration I may say I could fish the Bulkley for steelhead blindfolded, but things are quite different in the Morice.

Not easy to fish

Why then is fishing for trout with dries and nymphs on the Morice so different from fishing for trout on the Bulkley. The problem with the Morice is not the choice of flies, but the structure of its banks. If you have finally found access to the bank, it declines so steeply that you can barely wade a step or two. Places of access being very rare and far apart from each other, they tend to be extremely crowded on top of it all.

run at the Morice
Alex fly fish the morice

So, to get in some decent fishing after all, you have to use a boat. Fishing from a drift boat or a jet boat doesn't make a lot of difference. You will not be able to fish from a jet boat, however, unless you hire a professional guide who will cost you several hundred dollars a day. The best alternative would be to use a pontoon boat. For safety reasons you should do your first drift with someone who knows his way around. For all I know, drifts up to 20 km can be done without too much of a problem. Still, someone knowing these waters can be very helpful. After all, you´ll want to catch a steelhead or two along the way. Finally you´ll have to find someone to drive you far enough upriver, boat and gear and all.

Unfortunately, there has been an incident involving a grizzly mama. Apparently an angler came out of the water after a while and ended up between the mama and her cubs. The angler didn´t survive, and neither did the bear, she was shot shortly after. Luckily, her cubs were apparently old enough to survive on their own.



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