Nicholas Dean Lodge

425th Weekly Fishing Report from Nicholas Dean Lodge

For Tuesday, January 23, 2007 to Monday, January 29, 2007


Sky Richard muscles a Winter Steelhead

Chad Black admires a 16 lb buck

Another chrome beauty of 13 lbs


Fish Tales

The past week in the Skeena Region has been a tale of odd weather: early in the week it was warm, which caused a lot of snowmelt, and when combined with steady rain, resulted in some high waters in our rivers. And our basement. The flooding has somewhat subsided, in both our rivers and our basement, which has created ideal conditions. The Kalum, Copper and Skeena have come into shape and are fishing well. In fact, Sky Richard and I made it out fishing on the Skeena yesterday, which resulted in the most fantastic winter wet fly fishing I have ever experienced. The story goes something like this:

The first thing that Sky said to me as we walked to the river was, “just promise me that you don’t wade into the river past your knees- 90% of the fish are really close to shore.” Little did I know how true that statement would become. We started off swinging relatively “small” flies, with Sky using a 3 inch pink and purple leech, and myself a black and purple egg sucking leech of the same size. After working our way down through the smooth glides and shallow pocket water, a steelhead hit Sky’s fly just at the last moment in a foot of water on the dangle- a term we fly fishers use for that period where your line has straightened out on the swing, and just before you pick up your line to cast again. About 5 minutes later and a couple of runs into the backing later, Sky landed a nice male of around 10 pounds.

With renewed confidence I began working out my line, casting about 70 feet to cover as much water as possible. And whether I actually saw something or not, or if my imagination was running wild, I’ll never know, but I thought I saw a fin a mere 15 feet directly in front of me, in 2 feet of water. Just to make sure, I made a short cast a little ways above “the spot.” What happened next was a bit of a blur, but all I knew was that a freight train had hit my fly and was making its best effort to see what things were like on the other side of the river. The fish fought as hard as any fish that I have hooked- but the 15 lb Maxima held and Sky helped tail the fish in the shallows. I could not believe the size of the fish, and how chrome it was. I have fished for Steelhead back home in Ontario for about 10 years, and had never seen a fish like the one that I was looking at. Sky estimated the fish to be about 15-16 pounds, and about 3 or 4 days out of the Ocean. Incredible.

At any rate, I think that I have found a new obsession. This obsession does have some implications though- the fish well and truly kicked my behind (my arms were aching by the time I got the fish in)- and this was a winter-run fish, which are very good fighters, but apparently no match for the summer steelhead. I guess that if I want to even try to hook into the monster summer-run fish, I will have to work out a little more and be in better shape!

And I do have to give a special thanks to Sky- both him and Dustin have been very helpful in teaching me about the ways of West coast Steelhead. On this day, I was fishing towards the end of the run, and was getting into some shallow riffles. My experience has been that Steelhead generally don’t hold in water like that, so I have to admit, I was a little skeptical. However, Sky really recommended fishing down through the riffles, and I am not one to go against a guide’s recommendations (since I am one myself). The lesson was a valuable one, for when my swing was sweeping through the shallow water, I felt a very solid whack that actually pulled line from my fingers. Soon, I had the chance to admire another gorgeous fish about 12-13 pounds. Thanks again Sky.

I hope that you are doing well and if you want to experience large, wild Steelhead on the fly, or the smashing take of 5 different species of Salmon, please don’t hesitate to give me a call here at Nicholas Dean Lodge. It is an experience that you will never forget.

Until next week, tight lines and screaming reels.

Chad Black – Operations Manager


Fishing Conditions

The chart below provides an overview on the current river fishing conditions by fish species:

Fish Species Poor Marginal Fair Good Excellent
Steelhead
Chinook Salmon Out of season
Coho Salmon Out of season
Pink Salmon Out of season
Sockeye Salmon Out of season
Chum Salmon Out of season
Halibut Out of season
Sea-Run Cutthroat Trout
Dolly Varden
Bull Trout
Rainbow Trout

Fishing in the Skeena Region has been fantastic for chrome Winter Steelhead. Though water temperatures are very cold, Steelhead are pushing up through the Skeena towards its upstream tributaries.