Hidden Gem: Reel North Adventures is making waves in Prince George and beyond

The family business is popular for its guided tours and women's retreats.

Credit: Reel North Adventures

The family business is popular for its guided tours and women’s retreats

Jerry Daoust was set to launch his fishing charter company in 2017, but then his wife Regan was diagnosed with breast cancer. “It was very, very roller coaster-y for us,” says the Prince George local, who wanted to continue working as a project manager for the Northern Health authority and operate Reel North Adventures as a family business on the side. 

With visions of elaborate eco tours, overnight packages and women-specific excursions in the northern half of B.C., Daoust stalled until his wife was cancer-free, but still can’t say that the 2019 launch of his sole proprietorship was smooth sailing. COVID was a hiccup, he admits, but it also peaked people’s interest in outdoor activities during that time. So, with a pandemic response plan in place, Daoust worked closely with Destination BC and Tourism BC to keep the boats afloat. 

“My passion has always been the outdoors,” he says. “I wanted to have a way to build that passion into a business and be able to share those things with other people and give them the same experiences that I’ve been able to have.” And so far he’s managed well with his team of assistant angling guides—AKA his wife, his father and a handful of friends. 

Reel North’s all-inclusive adventures 

As a fishing charter, about half of Reel North’s trips take place in Prince George. The rest are carried out through partnerships with different host accommodation providers (like Nass Valley Lodge) to explore more remote spots in Smithers, Terrace, Burns Lake and the Cariboo. Daoust claims that day trips for salmon and steelhead and wild rainbow trout are popular picks at Reel North. He’s also proud of the fact that the women’s retreat (complete with guided fishing, accommodation, meals and nature activities) sells out every year.  

“[Regan] gets the credit for this,” says Daoust. “Women’s fishing is hugely popular and lots of women want to get out there, but my wife—and some of her friends agree with her here—felt a little intimidated on the water, just with the ‘boys club’ type mentality sometimes.” Even excluding those retreats, he points out that women make up 55 percent of Reel North’s clientele.

Kids seem to love it, too. “There’s this family I guided and it was just so cool teaching their four-year-old and five-year-old, not only just to cast and do everything, but they were actively fishing by themselves,” Daoust recalls. It was, like, over a 12pound cohoAnd that’s the craziest thing I’ve ever seen for a four-year-old.” 

Since 2019, the total number of Reel North trips has gone from 10 to 27 per year—a point where Daoust now sees it as a sustainable business he can commit to full-time. In fact, he just bought a farm to convert into a bed and breakfast with cabins: “The last four years I was able to make do with one foot in the pond. With both feet in the water, I’m excited to see what the next 10 years will look like.”