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The Spatsizi Wilderness is one of the largest parks in Canada.

You are standing in a river. Your closest human neighbours are likely at least a few hundred kilometres away – though the predators and prey that populate one of the great pristine wildernesses left on Earth are there, seeing you even if you don’t see them.

The water flows around you as you cast your line in rhythm with the wind.

“Fly-fishing is really hard to explain to people who don’t do it,” says Jake Daly, managing host and wilderness guide at Spatsizi River Outfitters in northern British Columbia. “It’s definitely not about catching fish. It’s more about finding an anchor to ground yourself. It’s what can only be described as a spiritual experience.”

Most of the fishing at Spatsizi River Outfitters is catch-and-release, Daly points out. The week-long fly-fishing adventures at the company’s fly-in-only lodge located on Laslui Lake, the headwaters of the Stikine River in Spatsizi Plateau Wilderness Provincial Park, are more about the scenery and the experience.

At nearly 700,000 hectares, the Spatsizi Wilderness is one of the largest parks in Canada, twice the size of Yellowstone Park in the United States.

Spatsizi means “red goat” in the language of the Tahltan people, whose territory encompasses the park. It’s named after the mountain goats that make their home here and roll in the dust that’s laden with iron oxide, turning their white coats red, according to BC Parks.

From the base camp of the lodge, guests can fish the headwaters of the Stikine, Skeena, Nass and Arctic watersheds, including the storied Firesteel River that ultimately flows north to the Arctic Ocean. The local species include rainbow trout that can grow to 26 inches long, the iconic Arctic grayling, and prehistoric-looking bull trout that can weigh over 15 pounds.

“Up here, the populations are so healthy because there’s so much food. It’s just overall a healthy, intact ecosystem,” Daly says.

The breadth of insect species also helps the fish populations to thrive, he explains.

“It’s a prolific fishery. It’s also just a beautiful place,” he says. “It’s not uncommon as you’re fishing to hear something coming along the banks and look up and have a caribou coming towards you, or a moose or a black bear.”

Guests often see a herd of mountain goats tucked into a mountain face on the daily fishing excursions.

While people are scarce, wolves, black bears, grizzlies and other wildlife are not. The lodge has safety protocols in place but it’s quite easy to avoid any conflict with creatures in this vast wilderness, Daly says.

From the air as they fly in and out, or on one of the daily fishing excursions, guests often see a herd of mountain goats tucked into a mountain face, or a lone caribou standing against the backdrop of the Skeena Mountains.

“We spend the day out exploring and fishing and, once in a while, we’ll cook up a trout and have it for lunch. Then, once we get hungry, we fly home and have the best dinner of our lives,” Daly says.

Though remote, Spatsizi River Outfitters is not meagre. The cabins, constructed by founders Reg and Ray Collingwood decades ago, are built with hand-cut logs and include luxury bedding, hot showers and private washrooms.

“It’s not uncommon as you’re fishing to hear something coming along the banks and look up and have a caribou coming towards you, or a moose or a black bear.”

Jake Daly, managing host and wilderness guide at Spatsizi River Outfitters in northern B.C.

The meals incorporate locally foraged fare and may include specialties such as spruce tip pesto chicken, sous-vide local yak, Yorkshire pudding with a wild morel mushroom demi-glaze, or a local moose sirloin, finished with a fireweed sabayon.

“Not only is food something to look forward to at the end of a long cold day of fishing, but it also allows us northerners the chance to show people from a variety of places unique fauna and foliage from our area,” says Emma Anderson, one of the chefs. “One of our main chefs is an expert forager and carves out time to pick spruce buds, mushrooms and other fun local finds.”

A week at Spatsizi River Outfitters is a luxury that will cost $9,800 per person, which includes the round trip by floatplane into the lodge, meals and daily guided excursions either by jet boat or plane.

Daly considers it a privilege to be in such a place.

Guest must make their own way to Smithers, B.C., 674 kilometres north of Vancouver by air or 1,150 kilometres by road. From there, they’re flown a couple of hours further north to the lodge for a week.

Visitors have included CEOs, movie stars and professional athletes but also fathers and sons, women travelling solo and an eclectic mix of expert fly-fishers and novices, Daly says.

“We’ve built a little off-grid oasis,” he says. “It’s very luxurious … but it’s definitely wild and remote.”

The lodge doesn’t have cellphone service but it does have internet. Daly says the owners and staff take seriously their role as stewards of the land, hence the catch-and-release principle and sustainable approach to food.

Daly considers it a privilege to be in such a place, recalling one of his best days when he was guiding a pair of father and son duos fly-fishing on an area lake. The fish were biting all morning and, after a couple of hours, everyone sat down to enjoy the view.

“Right then, across this small stream from us, the largest moose I’ve ever seen walked out of the bush onto this hill. It was like a postcard,” Mr. Daly recalls. “It just stood there looking at us and none of us said a word. It’s moments like that where you realize we live on an amazing planet and we’re lucky to get to do this.”

If you like that, you’ll love this:

Kesagami Wilderness Lodge

Located on Kesagami Lake, north of Cochrane, Ont., this fly-in lodge is known for its wildlife viewing as well as its traditional angling and fly-fishing for trophy northern pike and walleye. Guests enjoy a shore lunch of fresh-caught walleye – one of the smaller fish, as the lodge has a conservation fishing policy to catch and release the 30- to 40-year-old trophy walleye that make it a premier fishing destination. Guests catch and release all pike and keep only a few smaller walleye for their plates during their stay but don’t take any home when they leave, part of Kesagami’s commitment to stewardship of the species.

Tsylos Park Lodge and Adventures

Chilko Lake and the Chilko River in B.C. – 50 kilometres long, azure blue due to the glacial waters flowing from the snow-capped Chilcotin range of the Coast Mountains – are in and of themselves bucket-list worthy. Fly-fishers are drawn to the untamed Chilcotin region in search of wild rainbow trout and experienced riders can arrange horseback riding as part of their adventure. And, there is a hot tub.

Weber Arctic

Fly-fish for Arctic char in the northernmost fly-fishing adventure in the world. This nine-day, $24,500 trip-of-a-lifetime includes helicopter flights over the Northwest Passage, with views of polar bears and other wildlife, visits to archeological sites and lectures from Arctic adventurers, as well as guided fly-fishing in one of the most remote reaches of the Earth.

Alberta Fly-Fishing Adventures

Based out of the Crowsnest Café and Fly Shop in Coleman, Alta., Alberta Fly-Fishing Adventures specializes in lessons for all range of experience levels and guided day trips throughout southwest Alberta in the beautiful Rocky Mountains. Guided walk-and-wade trips or float trips in a raft take visitors to the Oldman, Crowsnest, Castle or Waterton rivers headwaters, where they cast for a broad variety of trout – rainbow, bull, cutthroat, brown – against stunning backdrop of the Crowsnest Pass.