Exploring the Phillips River

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

This spring, our Sonora eco-adventure tour and fishing guides have been exploring the Phillips River and getting to know this beautiful river valley even better than before. Sonora Resort purchased a brand new jet boat to use for our freshwater fishing trips and we’ve been spending many hours on the river getting to know every bend, riffle, rapid and river bank. The “River Run” is sweet little boat - a 17ft Custom Weld aluminum jet boat with an inboard jet, lots of power, and room for two guests plus the guide.

The journey from Sonora to the river mouth takes about 40 minutes, and the scenery in the Phillips estuary is spectacular. We have often spotted grizzly bears on the grassy shoreline of Phillips Arm as they feed on the long, green grass. Once we traverse through the estuary and up into this small and pristine river system, our guides navigate upriver to the best fishing pools, where we beach the boat and then wade out to cast. Guests have the option of either fly-fishing or casting spoons with a spinning rod, and we have tried both to find the fish. Small coyote spoons and muddler or minnow pattern flies have been the hot ticket so far. As it is early in the season, we have been catching primarily Bull trout (char) ranging in size from 1-8lbs as well as beautiful cutthroat trout. Later in the season we expect Pink and the occasional Chinook salmon to enter the system on their way upriver to spawn.

We have also been exploring the Phillips River valley from our van and by foot to see some of the damage that the big spring snow melt has done to the hillsides. A few small landslides had blocked the road but were in the process of being cleared when we were last exploring. In one slide, the water had carved its way through a rocky cliff creating a new and interesting little waterfall just a short hike up from the logging road.

Every time we, Sonora guides, go to scout out fish for fishing trips or check out the river before we take guests up, we are blown away by the beauty of this pretty little valley – somehow it never gets old. The Phillips River system is full of gorgeous scenery and offers fantastic angling and wildlife viewing opportunities. Sonora Resort offers full day guided freshwater fishing trips for up to 2 people from either our jet boat or as a walk-and-wade trip depending on the water levels. The half-day Phillips River experience is another great way to visit this area, as our knowledgeable guides will travel by boat to the mouth of the river, slowly searching the shores of Phillips arm in hopes of spotting grizzlies on the shore. Once at the Phillips River dock, guests travel up the logging roads by van stopping at several spots along the river to take in the scenic vistas, look for grizzlies from a bear-watching tower, photograph waterfalls and learn about the history and ecology of the surrounding area. 

We would love to show you this amazing corner of the world on your next trip to Sonora. 

Kaitlin Ross
Marine Operations Manager