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Fishing in Fernie BC

Updated: Jul 30, 2021

Break out the waders and head to Fernie. The Elk River is open!

Fernie Fly Fishing is on!

For fly fishing enthusiasts this is the most important news of the year. Excitement is at fever pitch. Plans have been made and remade. Locations and expeditions short listed. Flies selected and changed with the weather.

Brooks Creek Ranch sits right on the banks of the Elk River allowing anglers to keep a close eye on the conditions to take advantage of the very best fishing. Fishing before breakfast and late into the night are both possible and it’s only a short walk back to the lodge for food and provisions when needed.

Fly fishing on the Elk River is a thrilling experience. Winding its way south from Elk Lakes, north of Elkford BC, the river travels through an interesting variety of landscapes including grassy riparian lands, rocky shorelines, varied flow, channels, plunge pools and eddies, and all with a stunning mountain backdrop. The clear glacial fed waters are stunning and a pleasure for anglers. It’s not just the beauty of the waterway and Fernie’s stunning mountain vistas that bring the droves of anglers to the Elk River; people want to catch fish, and in Fernie, you’re in luck…

Fernie fish species

Most Fernie fishing guides will tell you that the Westslope Cutthroat Trout (aka the Cuttie) is the true prize of fishing on the Elk River, and they’d be right. In our opinion, when you land one of these handsome beauties, it’s hard to think of another fresh water fish that comes close. The beauty of the colours and spotting of the Westslope Cutthroat Trout is truly something to behold. Found throughout the Elk Valley both in the main Elk River and its tributaries, this species gets angler excited thanks to it’s almost insatiable hunger and regular forays to the surface in search of prey.

Prey changes from season to season and sometimes day to day so selecting the right flies or “matching the hatch” is an important aspect of your pre-fishing breakfast discussion. At Brooks Creek Ranch, we encourage our fly fishing guests to review the Ranch’s breakfast menu whilst concurrently checking out what’s on the menu for fish on the river. A little bit of local knowledge goes a long way towards a successful day on the river and selection of the right fly.

The early season advice is to follow the Golden Stonefly hatch and look on the larger size with a #10-12, as the summer kicks in it’s time to switch it up with Green Drakes and Yellow Sallys at a mid size. With improved water clarity it’s appropriate to start considering black ants, hoppers, and beetles. Blue winged olives come into play whenever there is rain and we’ll give you additional advice over breakfast ;).

The other primary species on our stretch of the river is aggressive by name, aggressive by nature. The Bull Trout offers the most challenging fight on the Elk River. Found in and around Fernie, hooking a Bull Trout tests even the most serious anglers. Bull Trout often keep a low profile and will likely only be enticed out by a streamer or a Cuttie that is already on the line soanglers need to be on their toes at all times.

Reaching up to 30 inches, the larger fish tend to inhabit areas in the lower Elk River but they can be found throughout the waterway including the riverside at Brooks Creek Ranch. Aiming to hook a Bull Trout is like hunting and patience is certainly a virtue and it doesn’t stop there. Landing a Bull Trout is not unlike the ordeal described in The Old Man and the Sea, it mighttake you an hour to get it in the net.

One thing’s for sure, the pleasure of fishing in Fernie can take many forms, some enjoy simply casting into the seam from the shore while others enjoy wading the river or floating in a drift boat.

No matter what your desire, Brooks Creek Ranch will take care of everything including having a guide stop the boat on the river right by the ranch.

Whether you’re looking for a family getaway, a romantic weekend for two, or a weekend with friends we would love to have you at Brooks Creek Ranch.

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