Journey to the Dean River

by Aaron Stiny


A few short weeks ago I ended up on the Dean River through an unfortunate stroke of fate. An injury to the another RIO employee (that contrary to popular belief around the office was not inflicted purposely!) came less than 24 hours before they were slated to head out. I was told if I could make it to Seattle by the next morning to rendezvous with the rest of the group I was going to the Dean. I made it to Seattle. I’m pretty sure I’m the only person on earth who’s felt bad about going on this trip. Our Sales Director told me, “Aaron, nobody ever sat on their deathbed and wished they’d spent fewer days on the Dean River.”

I struggled with whether or not to post a report to the masses. Currently the Dean is as crowded as it’s ever been. After a few banner years of fishing, campers are all over the river. Angling ethics seem to be less and less important, as was evident by stories of illegal guiding and people fishing in closed sections. To compound the frustration, the commercial salmon fishery off the coast exploded in size this year, severely affecting the size of the run. The Dean needs all the help and support it can get right now! This article talks about the aforementioned issues. Check in with the Steelhead Society of B.C. for the latest news or to write a note to an official on the subject.

The Dean River is the quintessential steelhead river. Made famous by its remoteness as well as some of the grabbiest wild fish in existence. Glaciers are still carving away at the canyon depositing boulders throughout the river. You couldn’t create more prefect steelhead runs. It’s what Cham is to a skier; Yosemite to a climber; the Colorado to a boater; you get the idea.