Things to Do
Some of the best sport fishing in the world can be found on the North Coast. That includes both saltwater and freshwater fishing.
Salmon is the main attraction, of course, but saltwater fishing includes fish like halibut, cod and red snapper, as well as crabs, prawns and shrimp.
In the rivers, lakes and streams of the Coast Mountains you will find plenty of freshwater opportunities. Excellent bar and fly fishing for salmon and steelhead in the mighty Skeena River, and trout in the lakes and streams.
For people with their own boats, boat launching is available in Prince Rupert at Rushbrook Floats, and in Port Edward.
You can hire your own fishing guide to take you to the hotspots from the convenience of home base in Prince Rupert. For a more intensive fishing experience, spend a few days or a week at one of the many sportfishing lodges that operate on the North Coast. Some lodges take advantage of Prince Rupert Airport to carry guests, while others have their own arrangements.
Local fishing guides are numerous. Check out Tourism Prince Rupert for a list.
Prince Rupert is a city set in the wilderness, so it is no wonder that it is the starting point for many different types of outdoor adventures.
You don’t have to go far to see wildlife in Prince Rupert. Don’t be surprised if you see deer wandering the streets. Often you can see dozens of bald eagles gathered along the waterfront.
To view wildlife in the wilderness, however, you can take one of several tours. The two main attractions are whales and grizzlies.
Sightings include the large grey and humpback whales that migrate northward during the summer near Prince Rupert and the pods of killerwhales that inhabit the North Coast waters.
Also popular are the grizzly bears that live and feed in the estuary of the Khutzeymateen River. Their habitat is protected as the Khutzeymateen Grizzly Bear Sanctuary. Tours are restricted to a small number of guides who have permits to enter the park. For a list of the guides, see the Khutzeymateen Sanctuary website.
Kayaking is one of the best ways of getting up close and personal with our natural environment. Whether you take a short paddle in the harbour or venture forth on a longer tour, you’re sure to feel a part of the wilderness. One sea kayaking tour operator isBlackfish Sea Kayking. Another is Skeena Kayaking.
Two walking tours close to Prince Rupert take you into unique ecosystems. The Oliver Lake Dwarf Forest Nature Walk takes you through a muskeg ecosystem. Stunted pines give it a bonsai look. Vegetation include a variety of bog plants including carnivorous plants which come out in the summer. The walk is 8 km from town. Butze Rapids Interpretive Trail takes you through coastal rainforest to the Butze Rapids impressive reversing tidal falls.
Ocean and Rainforest
The really adventurous can experience all the North Coast has to offer by getting away to a lodge or camp. Some lodges offer ecotourism as well as sportfishing. But how about diving? Camp Oceanwild based in one of the coastal fjords, Work Channel, offers a complete package of wilderness expeditions.
Areas to Explore
There’s lots of wilderness to explore around Prince Rupert, whether you do it on your own or as part of a small tour.
The might Skeena River is BC’s second largest. In many places it washes right up against the Coast Mountains. The scenery is majestic from a car, bus or train (VIA Rail’s world-renowned Skeena line), and from a kayak or tour boat, breathtaking. Visit some of the numerous tributaries along the highway, such as Exchamsiks River Provincial Park.
You can’t escape the towering peaks of the Coast Mountain Range wherever you are in the Northwest. But if you want to do more than view them from afar, why not charter a floatplane to take you into a remote lake in the mountains.
Even though Prince Rupert is on Kaien Island, there aren’t many accessible beaches. Locals in search of a sandy beach go to one of a number of nearby islands. One of the most popular is Kitson Island, which is a marine park.
Lucy Island, an important lighthouse station near Prince Rupert, is also home to fascinating wildlife, particularly seabirds like the Rhinocerous Auklet. Tours can be arranged to visit, as well as spotting seals and sealions along the way.