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British Columbia Steelhead

By April Vokey


It wasn’t until I started fishing (during the struggles and interesting phase of my mid-teens) that I truly understood just how lucky I was to have been born and raised in British Columbia. I knew the obvious; our mountains are beautiful, we have plenty of undammed rivers, and our hockey team brought our province together… What I didn’t know, was just how fortunate we were to possess one of the best wild steelhead destinations in the world.

Naturally, as I grew as an angler and matured into a young woman, it was inevitable that I would find myself stumbling across musty books with downturned pages, stamped with legendary print about the elusive BC steelhead and the fascinating men who searched for them.

“Coastal” the books would read – coastal? There were a lot of coasts on this planet so I didn’t pay the word any interest.

Admittedly, it wasn’t until I actually sat back one day and put all the pieces together that it truly made sense. Pacific… Coastal… Anadromous… Wild… Suddenly there I was, 16 and astonished that I had managed to be so lucky to have been born and raised in one of the most enviable places on Earth. British Columbia is home to some of the largest and strongest steelhead in the world. These wild anadromous (ocean going) rainbow trout, free of hatcheries, adipose clippings and human handling attract a passionate and unique group of anglers and conservationists.

These steelhead have infected anglers’ hearts and minds since the beginning of sport fishing time – plaguing fishermen with ferocious takes, acrobatic leaps, “straight to backing” runs, and a spirit that cannot be tamed or broken. BC steelhead are the wild horses of the sea and they sure put up a fight when one of us tries to ‘saddle up’