It can be the coldest, windiest, wettest winter day, and Joel will come rowing down the river with a grin on his face (probably because his guests just hooked a couple). Oh yeah, he’s a true steelhead junkie. He is a technician when it comes to finding steelhead on the Bulkley and Morice rivers. He is a scientist with his lines, constantly changing his methods to match the conditions. His knowledge comes from experience. Furthermore, he’s been a key ingredient to the success of the Frontier Steelhead Experience from the beginning and will anchor the staff for years to come. He has quickly become one of the most respected guides in the region and is part of the family, Derek and Andrea.
Joel’s skill set far outreaches 90% of angling guides in the world. Educated in tourism and wilderness survival, most guests would choose Joel over Bear Grylls if they became stranded in the wilds of BC. After 16 seasons guiding on the Bulkley River, it is fair to say he is as good if not better than any other angler on the system. Beyond that, no one works harder or tries harder on every given day. If things are slow, and Joel feels he is in between pushes of fish, he will pull his boat and follow his gut. The countless times he has found fish following his gut when no one else can is truly unprecedented. What impresses most people in the industry who do this for a living is how much steelhead water Joel is now intimate with. Covering hundreds of miles on the Bulkley, he has helifished all over the upper Skeena; he has floated and guided on the Babine; and he knows the entire Morice as if it’s his second home. Joel is now focused on learning the upper Copper River and another Skeena Trib he has sampled. If you ever get a day to fish with the great Joel Gourley—run to the boat, don’t walk.