Take off for a trip to beautiful
British Columbia, a hotbed for the growing sport of
heli-fishing, where the salmon are as plentiful as the
settings are remote.
I'm not an expert fisherman, but I know that choosing the right
equipment is important. That's why I went with the helicopter.
The increasingly popular sport of heli-fishing, it turns out,
doesn't involve herding salmon from the air. The flight is more a
means to an end. And in my case, the end was a rain forest stream
as spectacular as it was remote.
I had arranged my angler's adventure through the luxurious King
Pacific Lodge, located 300 miles north of Vancouver on British
Columbia's beautiful northern coast. Heli-fishing trips are offered
in a handful of wilderness areas, including the Lake Taupo region
in New Zealand, Russia's Kola Peninsula, and the many lakes of
Yellowstone in Montana, but B.C.'s natural splendor and solitude
and teeming seas and streams make it the granddaddy of them all. In
fact, fishing is a $600 to $800 million a year industry in B.C.,
with approximately 600,000 licenses issued annually.
The beauty of the helicopter approach to the sport works two ways,
and the first has nothing to do with fishing. It's a thrill simply
to rise up and soar over some of the most gorgeous scenery on the
planet. Secondly, the heli-option brings you, in minutes, to areas
that could otherwise take days to walk into (rugged terrain with
little or no roads). Anglers appreciate, too, that the rivers
aren't stocked, so they get a genuine wild fishing experience.
My salmon-seeking soiree began with a brief fly-fishing lesson. The
next day, after being outfitted with all the necessary gear
(including fishing licenses), I joined two other budding anglers,
the pilot, and a fishing guide aboard a Bell 206 chopper carrying
our equipment, an emergency satellite phone, chairs, snacks, and a
couple of packed lunches.