paved road, ferry, and plane, the Skeena River Valley is filled with
both unique wilderness experiences and the 'standard' British Columbia
fare of deep fjords, dramatic canyons, sheer mountains, rivers thick
with salmon, old-growth forests, and an abundance of wildlife.
Nestled up under
the Alaska Panhandle, the province's northernmost coast, the Skeena
Valley is home to the Skeena River, the second-largest river in
British Columbia. The Skeena River originates at the southern end
of Spatsizi Plateau, in a valley between Mount Gunanoot and Mount
Thule, south of the Stikine River watershed. The Skeena is approximately
580 kilometres long and drains some 54,488 square kilometres.
Over five million
salmon return to the Skeena River every year, making this a premier
salmon-fishing area. The Skeena watershed offers some of the largest
steelhead and salmon in the world. The average chinook caught weighs
in at 16 to 23 kgs, but they can be 40 kgs or larger. Fish for coho
in the Skeena River and its tributaries, the Kasiks, Gitnadoix,
Exchamsiks, Exstew, Lakelse, and Kitsumkalum Rivers, as well as
the Kitimat and Nass River systems.
Runs peak in
September and October, although coho start to appear in July and
don't completely disappear until December. Be sure to get a license
and read up on the latest rules and regulations before hitting the
rivers and lakes. You can pick up a list of local guides and outfitters
from the nearest Visitor Centre.
The Skeena River
is an important transport artery, particularly for the Tsimshian
and the Gitxsan First Nations. Their names mean "inside the Skeena
River" and "people of the Skeena River" respectively.
The rare Kermode
bear (Spirit Bear) lives in and near the Skeena Valley from Prince
Rupert to Hazelton. The region is also home to many black bears
and brown bears. Grizzly bears are less common in the area but the
Khutzeymateen Grizzly Bear Sanctuary
is located nearby.
Towns: Prince Rupert,
New Hazelton, Kispiox
Exchamsiks River Provincial Park
Gitnadoiks River Provincial Park
Foch-Gilttoyees Provincial Park and Protected
Kleanza Creek Provincial Park
Seven Sisters Provincial Park & Protected Area
Kitwanga Mountain Provincial Park
Bulkley Junction Provincial Park
Seeley Lake Provincial Park