The lure of the north resonates in every hunter’s dreams. Big animals, wide open spaces and endless wilderness are just some of the images that come to mind when one thinks Northern BC. Perhaps these dreams come from the years of researching the Backroad Mapbooks and seeing vehicles come down south with trophy caribou racks and wall hanger moose. Nonetheless, hunting in Northern BC should be on every hunter’s bucket list!
Savvy hunters know that the annual LEH (limited entry hunting) guide offers many unique opportunities. Although the odds for some of these once in a lifetime hunts are low, there are a few hidden gems in the mix. One in particular is the caribou moose combo tag for the Spatsizi Plateau area.
Part of the reason for the good odds on this tag is the difficulty of access to this remote area of BC. Unfortunately, the guide outfitters in this part of the country cater to out of country hunters and their packages are not in everyone’s budget. Nonetheless, they can still be a helpful resource and were more than helpful in setting up a recent trip the Backroad Mapbook founders, Russell and Wesley Mussio did.
However, getting up north as a DYI hunter is still a challenge. Although many drive from the south, this can be a two or three day trek just to get to the hunting grounds. Indeed, Northern BC is a big place and anyone who has driven the Stewart-Cassiar Highway knows it is a long, lonely highway with not much to see over long stretches. Still it is amazing to see how big BC really is and to see the small roadside communities up north and the people that live here.
Of course, maps are a big part of any hunting adventure. For this trip, the brothers brought along a good selection of maps including the Northern BC Backroad Mapbook, the BC GPS Maps, various Backroad TOPO Maps and even the Backroad Navigator app. All offered their own unique display and helped locate a few old roads, swamplands and trails that moose might venture on. The first couple of days were spent exploring the low lands around the Klappan River and area. Although a couple bull moose were seen, they were smaller and not up to northern standards.
To get to caribou, you need to get to higher elevations and thus the Spatsizi Plateau has long been a good caribou destination. The options to get there include a very long, challenging pack trail in, the aforementioned guides, or chartering a floatplane. Although the charter sounds expensive, the flights out of Tatogga Lake are reasonable, and the flight up to camp Cold Fish Lake offers some amazing scenery and the unique thrill of landing on a mountain lake.
Perhaps one of the best kept secrets in BC is the camp at Cold Fish Lake. This is hardly a ‘camp’, with several cabins housing bunk beds with mats and wood stoves, a large cookhouse, a separate shower house complete with warm water, and even an electrified meat locker for successful hunters. Thank you, Nature Trust of BC, for providing such a wonderful resource in the backcountry of BC!
Adding to the appeal of this camp are several trails to explore, the lake which offers amazing trout fishing and canoeing amid the snow-capped peaks, and helpful on-site hosts. Bringing in your own canoe is highly recommended if flying in. The Mussio brothers did just that and were able to land several nice rainbow trout in the three pound range.
Unfortunately, getting to the hunting hot spots around the Plateau is not quite so easy. The valley trails are muddy and well trodden by horses making for knee deep mud at times and the trails up to the Plateau are steep and challenging. Nonetheless, the view from the top is worth the trip. The fact there are trophy caribou and larger than life moose within ‘walking distance’ of camp is a bonus.
Those looking for a trip of lifetime might want to put the Spatsizi Plateau on the list. Although, it is not easy to get there and requires hunters to be totally self-sufficient, if you are an experienced backcountry adventurer the rewards are well worth the challenge. Adding to the appeal is the lure of trophy caribou and moose, the eclectic people you meet, and the vast, untouched wilderness you will discover.
With a population of 186 people, this isn’t technically a ghost town, but the current town is a far cry from the 15,000 miners who lived in Yale during its peak. Known as “the wickedest little settlement in British Columbia,” Yale was a rowdy frontier town that served as the gateway into the Fraser Canyon. This was the last place for miners to indulge in their vice of choice before heading up the Cariboo Wagon Road, and it became notorious for violence and debauchery. When the construction of the CPR rendered the Cariboo Wagon Road obsolete, the city declined. Close to 100 years later, this was repeated when the Coquihalla Highway diverted traffic away from the town. Today, Yale is a sleepy town that still holds onto its gold rush heritage with a museum, several heritage buildings, interpretive programs, a living history exhibit and more.
Make the most of your time hunting in the backcountry across Canada with Backroad GPS Maps and Backroad Mapbooks. Hunters looking for more detailed and easier to read maps should also consider our lightweight and durable Backroad Topographic Maps that highlight each WMU. We can also add BC Limited Entry Hunting boundaries to any TOPO map. Check out our Topographic Hunting Maps.
Have we missed your favourite place to hunt in Northern BC? Let us know in the comments below or share your own hunting adventures with us on Instagram using #brmblife for a chance to win prizes and be featured on our feed.