Helicopters, remoteness, big steelhead and first water all day long made this trip a dream come true
Fishing a remote British Columbia River is a steelhead fisherman's dream come true no matter how often accomplished. It just never gets old. And Roy Gray and Chris Oneill will attest to that.
Both Roy and Chris were flown into an unnamed river in a small helicopter where the pilot feathered the chopper in sideways. “Those guys made it look easy,” says Gray, noting that they avoided overhanging trees with a surgeon’s precision. When the bird touched down the two California steelhead junkies were stoked. They unloaded their gear, including pontoon boats, camp gear, food and personals for five days. “As the chopper took off out of sight we came the stark realization that the two of us were truly out there ... and on our own,” says Gray, admitting that it’s a weird feeling. Despite the fact that both have guided in Alaska when they were in their 20s. “But now with families at home, the stakes are different.”
No floating back to camp, no hiking out to the road (no road to hike to) or calling on the cell (no cell service of course) should something go terribly wrong. Only a distant GPS rendezvous point 40-plus miles down a river with Class III and Class IV rapids to navigate, and yet undetermined bear populations. “Heck we couldn't even get a fishing report prior to the trip,” joked Gray. “This area just doesn't get fished.”
The pair figured it would have steelhead, but they were taking a major chance. “All I knew is Chris spent an awful lot of time trying to find a river with an assumed steelhead run where we had first water every day, all day.”
As they say, proof is in the pudding.