RDS and the Upper Pitt River

   It is no secret that since our humble beginnings we have been fishing and travelling extensively with RDS's own Moses Itkonen. Himself a retired pro skateboarder who is one of the founders of the Red Dragons. A company born from a crew of Vancouver skateboarders in the 90's which grew to be the biggest skateboard influenced brand to proudly come out of  Canada!

   It only seemed fitting and inevitable that we would join forces and launch a collaboration! 

   Ty put ink to paper and came up with an amazing vision that melded the now iconic RDS logo and one of our favourite fish, the Brook Trout. Once we had the art nailed down, we were off and running.  

   To celebrate the collaboration, we knew we had to organize an epic fishing trip. We had an idea that we wanted to stomp a river, but being June, most rivers were flowing very high and the only real option was the upper Pitt River. As fate would have it, ex-pro skater and RDS alumni, John Hanlon was a guide at the very respected Pitt River Lodge.

   A call was made, some dates were thrown around, and before you knew it, we had scheduled a guided trip up to one of the Lower Mainlands best Bull trout fisheries. 

   Now that we had a date, the only thing left was to find someone to document it for us. Well, obviously we were only going to ask our close friend and fishing partner, Neal Lally, who also happens to be an extraordinary nature photographer. Neal was more than happy to be invited. The Upper Pitt had long been on his bucket list. 

   With the crew set, we just had to wait for the day to come. Which it did!

We all met up at the dock on lower Pitt lake. It was sunny and calm. You just knew the day was going to be special. The water on the lake was glass. 

   On the dock we were greeted by Dan, the owner of the Pitt River Lodge. He sailed down the lake early in the morning to pick us up and ferry us back up to the top end of the lake. The Upper Pitt river is only accessible by boat or air. There are no roads to get you up there. The boat ride took about 45 minutes and we all took the time to take in the calm morning atmosphere. You could see fish rising on the lake and beams of sun light shooting down from the trees as the sun crested over the peaks that close in around Pitt lake. 

   Pitt lake is the very deep. About 470 feet deep, and it pretty big. A long narrow 24km long lake from inflow to outflow. As the Lower Pitt river is pretty short and directly connected to the seaward end of the Fraser River, it finds itself being the largest tidal lake in the world. 

   John Hanlon met us at the dock when we landed at the top of Pitt Lake. There was a truck waiting for us and we loaded up and headed up the road to the Lodge, where John had already loaded up a raft and gear onto another truck. We geared up and headed up the road to our drop off point. The plan was to have John guide us back down the river to the lodge, hitting as many runs and holes as possible on the way.

   The Upper Pitt River winds down from glaciers in the Garibaldi Range of our Coastal Mountains. It is cold and fast and after the canyon it opens up with many channels and a wide flood plain. It holds Steelhead, resident Rainbow Trout, sea run and resident Cutthroat Trout, Bull trout, Dolly Varden, Coho and Sockeye Salmon. This is not a dry fly system. Here you are swinging meat!


   After a short drive up to the put in spot we got the boat into the water and started making our way down river. John manning the oars and keeping an eye out for juicy water. At the first run we came across, John beached the raft and we all got out and immediately started tossing line. He pointed out where we would want to target and sat down to watch us fish. Literally 10 minutes in, Ty hooked into a good one.

   Not only was it a good one, it was a steelhead! His first ever! It was a beast and hurled itself into the air trying to spit the hook a number of times before John was able to get it the net.

   We admired this beauty of a fish, high fives, cheered, and then quietly watched it swim away. It was a great start to the day. 

   From there we hopped back in the raft and John started navigating us down river to the next run.

We beached and fished a few great looking runs but nothing was biting. Either our flies were not tasty enough or the fish were just not there. Even though we still had so much day ahead of us, we were starting to get worried. Maybe Ty had cursed us with catching such a great fish at the start of the day.

   John guided us around a bend to a spot he was sure would produce. A slower deep run tucked up right against the shore. His instincts were true as we all proceeded to land a fish. Nice healthy bulls just feet from the shore.


   From there on it was go time and we started catching fish at every run. They were all just holding farther down the river system on this day. We even forced Neal to put the camera down and get his fly wet, which resulted in him and Tyler doubling up. Two fish in the net is definitely nothing to complain about.


   We fished right down to the lodge and caught our last fish right where we pulled out.


   After gearing down and getting prepped for the boat ride back to Pitt Meadows, John gave a tour of the lodge. They really have a special set up there. Its a beautiful 3000 squarer foot Fir log lodge with riverside cabins to stay in. There is a fleet of river rafts and guides to get you down river and into fish!


It is truly a piece of fishing heaven. If you are interested in breathtaking scenery, insane fishing, and unmatched hospitality, please click the link below and find out how you can get up there. Its worth it!


   For more info on our collaboration or to order any of the offering, head over to RDS Apparel or scroll through our fly shop. 

   Thank you to the Pitt River Lodge for hosting us, John Hanlon for guiding, and Neal Lally for the beautiful photographs. This trip would not have happened if it wasn't for your time, skills, and generosity.

   Of course we cannot thank Moses Itkonen and Dave Boyce from RDS Apparel enough for the opportunity to collaborate with them! 


Gone Fishin!



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