The Mahatta River flows westwards from O’Connell lake into Quatsino Sound on the northwest coast of Vancouver Island. Access to the Mahatta River is over rough logging roads from the northern town of Port Alice.
The river is small but very productive. The summer run of steelhead is just incredible. The run is from early June until late July. The fish tend to congregate in a few of the bigger pools as the water can get quite low in the summer, which means that when you get to one of these pools, the fishing can be just awesome. You will find good numbers of rainbows and cutthroats as well. There is a winter run of steelhead but the river is closed to fishing from November 1st to April 30th to protect this run.
Camping facilities are available at recreation sites on the river and at O’Connell lake, there is a boat launch at the Mahatta River Logging Camp. When you are heading out to this area you will come to the Mahatta River mainline just past the Cleagh beach turnoff, if you go left you will come to O’Connell Lake where you will find a very nice rec site and if you go right you and travel a short distance, you will reach another crossroad. Turn right here to head to the camp and the boat launch or turn left to follow the river as it heads on its way to Koskimo Bay and the estuary. The road does not go to the bay but heads away from the river and takes you to Le Mare Lake where there is some pretty good fishing and then winds up at Gooding Cove where you will find a very nice rec site at the end of a pleasant trail. Along the way, there are various old roads and trails that will take you to great little hidden bays and beaches.