May 7, 2015

Kimsquit Bay Lodge on the Dean River, BC

It takes teamwork to land these fish - Adam Tavender

I first was lucky enough to make it to the Dean River on the central coast of British Columbia for my first trip in '09. The Dean is the most revered river in the world among steelhead and salmon fly fisherman. If you are reading this, you likely already know that. So for me as a broke fishing guide, the opportunity to see this magical place and wade in the Dean's sacred green waters for a week was a feeling that is impossible to describe. To say that I was riding a high on the float plane ride-in would be a gross understatement. As soon as I touched down on the bay and saw the place, I knew this would have to be an annual trip for me that I wouldn't want to ever skip.

Grantham falls is adjacent to the lodge while the Hickman's tug 
Wy'East is moored in the bay out front
What makes the lower Dean River so special is tough to understand until you've been there. The place has a powerful energy. A large fjord called the Dean Channel delivers saltwater far inland to the heart of the impressive and dramatic BC Coast Range mountains. This places the mouth of the river directly in the middle of the large glaciated mountains. Views from the river include 8500ft peaks rising nearly vertical from sea level. Water falls cascading over a thousand feet, glaciers and untouched wilderness. While soaking up the views, your nose is filled with that refreshing coastal ocean air. I've even had a pod of Orcas swim past me just off of the rivers mouth while standing alone knee deep in the rivers lowest run called Sub Tidal.

Fishing was tough by Dean standards that first week, but I had a blast and caught some of the nicest steelhead I had ever seen including battling the largest steelhead of my life for 30 minutes before defeat.

Anytime you can encounter a steelhead or Chinook is a special thing and these steelhead and Chinook are about as special as they come. These deeply wild fish have been locally adapted to navigate the fierce Dean canyon. Called the falls by many, it is essentially a half mile long Class 5+ rapid less than two miles from the slat water. Weak and smaller fish are unable to ascend the canyon. The fish in the lower river are supercharged to power through the canyon. They have robust shoulders, oversized paddle tails, mirrored sides and totally translucent fins. From June- September there are no fish more fresh from the salt or higher quality anywhere.

Kathryn battles Chrome!
My love for this place, along with the willing nature and trust of my wife Kathryn, led us to take out a big loan last year in the Spring of 2014 and make the biggest leap of faith of my life. We bought the small fly fishing lodge situated above the saltwater near the mouth of the Dean River. We bought the lodge from the Blackwell family and have since renamed the lodge Kimsquit Bay Lodge. We continue to put our personal touch on the operation and build upon the high standards of comfort and customer service that the Blackwell family created and maintained for 20 years.

Remote Seclusion! 
For Kathryn and I, the lodge was a way to join forces and work and live together year-round. Before the lodge Kathryn worked a full time job in Hood River and I bounced back and forth seasonally guiding long days on different rivers spread out across Oregon. We had two houses and only saw each other on the weekends during the Winter and Spring seasons. and hardly at all during the busy Fall Deschutes camp season. Now we can earn a living together. We spend our Summers running the lodge on the Dean and the rest of the year guiding steelhead in Oregon on the Deschutes, Clackamas and north coast rivers. We haven't looked back since and this has been an amazing adventure and learning experience for us. We still feel incredibly lucky to live the lives we live and experience the things that the lodge and guiding lifestyle provides. We hope you can come visit us at Kimsquit Bay Lodge and experience it with us!

-Jeff Hickman
Photos by Jeremy Koreski

Openings and rates for my Kimsquit Bay Lodge the 2015 season.

All weeks are $6150 (except July 3-10 is $6650) 7 nights 6 guided days, last day unguided, all meals and wine with dinner. 6 rods, 2 guides
  • June 19th - 26th 
  • June 26th - July 3rd
  • July 3rd - 10th - $6650 - 2 spots remain
  • August 7th - 14th - 2 spots remain
  • August 14th - 21st - 6 spots open 
Jerry Swanson
Fish Head Expeditions, LLC


"Fly Fish the World with Us"

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