Fernie, British Columbia

Fernie Wilderness Lodge

Fernie, British Columbia

Fernie Wilderness Lodge

Why We Like It

Some of the finest native cutthroat trout rivers in the world flow in and around Fernie, British Columbia, all within quick striking distance of Fernie Wilderness Adventures. If you are into dry fly fishing and love to see quality trout rising through crystalline currents—all day long—this is the place to be. These native westslope cutthroats are super aggressive and run large—an average fish stretches between 14 and 16 inches with plenty of chances to sink a green drake or some other attractor pattern into a bonafide 20-incher. Plus, you’ll occasionally catch wildly aggressive native bull trout stretching past 30 inches and you’ll do so surrounded by the incredible Canadian Rockies.

Season

June - November

Species

Bull Trout, Cutthroat Trout, Rainbow Trout

Accomodations

Rustic and comfortable lodge setting

Occupancy

8

Lodge Features & Amenities

Beginner Friendly

Bespoke Package

Couples Friendly

Diehard Approved

Family Friendly

Wi-Fi

The Fernie Wilderness Lodge Experience

Guests choose from five incredible area waterways including the Elk, Wigwam, Bull, and Flathead rivers, as well as the highly accessible Michel Creek, which lodge owner Kim Sedrovic calls, “the best cutthroat trout fishery in North America.” Guests can choose to float or wade for these cutthroats and bull trout while matching a variety of hatches throughout the four-month long season. Fortunately, you don’t have to make a perfect match—these cutthroats are more aggressive than rainbows and browns and will pound high-riding attractor dries including Stimulators, Elk-Hair Caddis, and all sorts of foam flies. The bull trout smack streamers and, on occasion, a cutthroat trout or whitefish that’s attached to the end of your line, an event that FWA guide Curtis Hall calls “shark attacks.”

After a long day spent casting to cutthroats, guests kick back in a relaxed lodge atmosphere that includes the option of soaking in a classic wood-fired hot tub. Home cooked meals are simple and satisfying. The lodge treasures social interaction and storytelling and doesn’t offer Wi-Fi (bonus!), but there is cell service on site. The comfortable, fun-filled lodge serves the adventurous angler very well. Itineraries can be customized daily depending on where and how guests want to fish and what they prefer to catch—bulls or cutthroats, float or wade, or a mix of each.

This is river fishing for native westslope cutthroat and bull trout at its finest. Guests choose from five incredible area waters, including the Elk, Wigwam, Bull, and Flathead rivers, as well as Michel Creek.

The fishing season begins on June 15 as spring runoff diminishes and the rivers drop into shape. The cutthroats must feed heavily and put on weight during their short four-month long growing season. For that reason, they don’t have time to be picky—they rise for dry flies every day of the season, especially to big, foam-body attractor patterns. Hatches start with golden stoneflies in June and July, along with green drakes. Terrestrials, including spruce moths and winged ants, round out the summer and early fall menu, followed by predictable fall blue-winged olive hatches on a daily basis.

In short, this is world-class dry fly fishing for aggressive trout in fantastic surroundings. Each of these rivers offer unique opportunities. Here’s a sample of what you’ll find:

Elk River
This is FWA’s showcase stream and a must-hit for every visiting angler. The Elk is glacier fed, 140-miles long, and offers incredible numbers of aggressive native westslope cutthroat trout. The river flows through some of British Columbia’s most stunning scenery and is the perfect size to float, meaning anglers can sit or stand comfortably in a raft and cast those bushy dries to the banks. The average cutthroat ranges between 14 and 17 inches and big bull trout are an added bonus. Strong golden stonefly hatches come off when the river opens in June, followed by green drake emergences, which guide Curtis Hall calls “The Elk’s bread-and-butter hatch.” Hall also describes the Elk as “beginner-friendly.”

“The Elk is not as technical as some streams in Montana,” Hall said. “And because the fish are so aggressive we can fish short, stout leaders and big foam flies. The fish just crush them.”

Michel Creek
Lodge owner Kim Sedrovic calls the Michel the best cutthroat trout fishery in North America. And there’s good reason for that accolade—the creek offers great access, easy wading, native cutthroats that average 16 inches long and sometimes climb into the 18- to 20-inch range, and plenty of good hatches to match.

During summer, the Michel offers a predictable green drake hatch that comes off each morning. When it’s on, anglers easily cover this “smallish” creek and raise those big cutthroats to easily-visible dry flies. It’s endlessly fun fly fishing with abundant road access.

Wigwam River
The Wigwam pushes through a narrow,f steep canyon before dumping into the Elk River south of Fernie. Fishing this stream offers a wilderness experience replete with large cutthroats and bull trout. During a good year, some 4,000 to 7,000 bulls ranging between 3 and 15 pounds push into the system. Anglers catch these fish on streamers that imitate cutthroat trout and whitefish. Because the Wigwam often flows gin clear, anglers can spot dozens of bulls laid up in the deeper holes, waiting to ambush their unsuspecting prey.

Bull River
The Bull River is split between two sections—the upper and the lower—and each offers strong attributes. The Upper Bull is a high mountain freestone stream offering lots of cutthroat trout that range between 10 and 14 inches. Because the upper river doesn’t produce a lot of bug life these fish feed voraciously, attacking dry flies without hesitation. Most notably, these trout are genetically isolated and have not changed one bit in thousands of years. If you are a connoisseur of pure-strain fish perfectly suited to their environment, this is a must-do day trip.

The Lower Bull is all about bull trout and some large cutthroats. The bulls are available in July and August as they follow kokanee salmon out of Lake Koocanusa into the river. While some bull trout on their spawning runs elsewhere can get tight-lipped during summer, these fish behave differently—they are bright, super aggressive, and simply interested in eating as many kokanee as they can. These fish hammer streamers that mimic those salmon and they range to 10 pounds or more.

Flathead River
The Flathead flows through one of the greatest wilderness corridors in North American, and fishing this broad river is an experience you’ll remember. While casting streamers on the Flathead, anglers should keep an eye out for Rocky Mountain elk, mule deer, bighorn sheep, and, yes, grizzly bears. Bear sightings are relatively common, as are hookups with bull trout that measure more than 30 inches long. Cutthroats are available and, as elsewhere, they smack high-riding dry flies.

Boats and Equipment
Whether floating the Bull, Flathead, or Elk rivers, anglers cast from McKenzie-style driftboats or fully outfitted rafts. Anglers should arrive with multiple fly rods in hand, including a 9-foot 5-weight or 6-weight for dry flies and cutthroats, and a 7- or 8-weight streamer rod for bull trout. Loaner equipment is available.

Fernie Wilderness Adventures is a backcountry mountain lodge built for serious anglers who want a quiet, warm place to relax while maximizing their time on the water. The lodge offers rustic rooms with private or shared bathrooms. The lodge is powered by solar panels and a generator—the rooms do not have phones or television, but a cell phone booster is located in the common lounge.

Cuisine
Two home-cooked meals day and a sack lunch round out the food service here. Often, guests can request particular meals then arrive at the lodge after a long day on the water with their choice ready and waiting.

Connectivity
Cell service is available in the parking lot and near the cell signal booster in the lounge.

Non-angling guests can wander around the popular mountain town of Fernie and check out the shops, eateries and pubs, or simply pick up a camera and explore the forest and rivers while shooting images of wildlife and spectacular mountain scenery. Rafting trips are available too.

Guests can fly into Calgary, Alberta; Kalispell, Montana; or Spokane, Washington, and drive to the lodge or fly directly into Fernie for pickup.

Multi-day packages (prices per person)
3 Nights/2 Days $1,855 + tax
4 Nights/3 Days $2,715 + tax
5 Nights/4 Days $3,575 + tax

Included
Accommodations
Meals
Non-alcoholic drinks.
Guided wade and float trips
All flies, leader, and tippet
Fly rods and reels if needed.

Not Included
Airfare to and from Fernie, British Columbia
Fishing license
Alcohol
Guide and staff gratuity.

Bookings are confirmed with a 50% deposit, made no later than seven days after booking a trip. Balance must be received no later than 90 days prior to the first day of the trip. Notification of cancellation must be received 90 days prior to the first day of the trip in order to receive partial or full credit for an alternate date. All payments are final and nonrefundable, with the exception of a medical or family emergency, deemed reasonable at GFFI’s discretion.

Booking a trip or making a deposit represents that the client accepts all terms and conditions. GFFI’s terms are in addition to any terms and conditions of each individual lodge that GFFI represents. Please read those terms carefully—lodge terms, which may differ from GFFI’s terms, supersede any agreements between GFFI and a client.

Request More Info

Name(Required)
Hidden
Hidden

Get in touch today to start planning your next fly fishing adventure!

You’ve got fly-fishing travel in your blood. We make high-adventure happen.