Nicholas Dean Lodge

434th Weekly Fishing Report from Nicholas Dean Lodge

For Tuesday, April 24, 2007 to Monday, May 07, 2007


Scott Ellsworth hooks up in a crystal clear, not-to-be named Steelhead Coastal River. Inset, a fine representative of the beautiful Steelhead found in the Skeena Region.


Fish Tales

If you were to ask those who have been fishing in the Skeena region during the past few weeks how things have gone, you would likely get responses ranging from “fantastic,” to “very slow.” And for the latter, as most fishermen realize, you have to expect this somewhat when fishing for migratory fish. In some rivers, fish hold only briefly on their journey upstream, while others tend to take up residence in pools of different rivers. This does not take into consideration water levels and temperature, fishing pressure, fly/bait presentation, and a whole host of different variables. My point is that there are an incredible combination of variables that exist when fishing for Steelhead, and which must generally come together for an angler to be successful, which only makes catching one that much more special. Many have argued that what is so captivating for Steelhead anglers is the unknown, not knowing how big the next fish might be that you hook on that next cast, and it is this captivation that lives on and drives us…

When our group of guests had arrived at the airport a few weeks ago, some of them were greeted with the unwelcome sound of a flight representative announcing that their luggage had, for some reason, been left in Vancouver. After many long, frustrated phone calls with the airline company, their luggage finally arrived and they made off to go fishing. On a long, riffly pool on the Skeena, Scott Ellsworth landed a white chrome Steelhead of 16 lbs, and Bill Peacock had the pleasure of cradling a 14 lb Steelhead. Although I wouldn’t exactly like having my luggage delayed, I probably wouldn’t mind if in the end there were a few Steelhead in the teens on my line! Cal Nakanishi landed his personal best Steelhead at 18 lbs, and on the last day of fishing, he hooked into a very fresh, strong Chinook that he had to chase downstream to land. This first Chinook of the season was 25 lbs, and came to a silver spoon on Cal’s first cast! And it was great to have George and Tom Zengel at the lodge this year. A few years ago when George was turning 50, Tom had decided to take him on a fishing trip as a birthday present, and this year, George was doing the same for Tom. We are very happy that they gave us a try, and both George Tom hooked into Steelhead in the 14 to 16 lb range. We look forward to hopefully seeing them both again in July for some trophy Chinook fishing. Rick Jorgensen and Bruce Slightom were both very experienced anglers, and with Sky’s expert guidance, hooked into some very fresh, very chrome, and very hot Steelhead, and even a few Chinooks on the fly. In fact, the fish were so hot that they nearly resembled summer-run fish and the anglers had a hard time keeping the fish on their lines! However, on the last few days in particular, the hooks held a little more, and some of the prettiest Steelhead that I’ve seen this year were landed.

However, the fishing last week was relatively slow for Terry Thomas’ group. A number of possible factors might have been responsible for this: higher water levels, changing water temperatures, more debris in the rivers (there is a type of algae that typically is denser in concentration when the water levels rise), fewer numbers of fresh fish, overwintering fish moving to spawning beds, angling pressure etc. Still, there were a few quality fish caught by Craig Dennis, Sam Dasher, Terry Jenkins, and Don Powell, and I would like to take this chance to thank the group for having patience and understanding when the ‘catching’ part was lacking. We really had a great time with them and they were a lot of fun to be around.

So, the Skeena tributaries, though not producing large numbers of fish, were consistently giving up a few fish. And for some anglers, it was the first few trips of the season to some secret coastal rivers for large, Spring Steelhead. These rivers are small compared to the size of the Skeena, and average 25 to 40 feet wide with cobble and sandy bottoms, and sparkling, gin clear flows. If you are lucky enough to be on one of these rivers, you will undoubtedly be impressed not only by the fish in the river, but everything else around you as well. These are places where there generally aren’t roads, the sounds of industry are absent, and the only sounds you hear are the cries of bald eagles and the soft gurgling of the river in front of you.

At this point in the 2007 season, our spring is coming to a close, as the Skeena and surrounding tributaries will likely be entering their flood stages within the next few weeks. However, we are expecting the Spring 2008 season to be another fantastic one, with even more opportunities for trophy Steelhead fishing on coastal streams in the more remote reaches of northwestern BC. If you are interested in the prospect of tying into huge Steelhead in the clearest, most wild rivers that you can imagine, please give me a call to reserve your place today. As a bonus, we are currently offering trips in 2008 at our 2007 prices. However, this won’t last long, so take advantage of this today!

Before I sign off for this week though , I would like to say how great it’s been meeting all the guests here at the lodge, and listening to their great stories and learning from them; I hope to see you all again soon in the near future. And for those whom I have not had the chance to meet, I hope that you are enjoying at least a few of my stories, and hopefully we’ll have a chance to cast together on the banks of these great rivers sometime…

Until next week, tight lines and screaming reels…

Chad Black

Operations Manager

Nicholas Dean Lodge

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Nicholas Dean Lodge 2007 Season Records To Date:

Steelhead: 27 lbs, Caught by Yvonne Williams of Vancouver, BC on the Skeena River

Chinook Salmon: 40 lbs, Caught by Bob Cusick of Edmonton, Alberta on a Skeena River Tributary

Coho Salmon: Out of Season


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
Halibut
Sea-Run Cutthroat Trout
Dolly Varden
Bull Trout
Rainbow Trout

Steelhead fishing can be very good at times, but has been spotty the last few weeks. With Spring Run Steelhead nearly at an end, our focus will turn to the building Spring Chinook run. They are now in the rivers in fishable numbers and a few guests have experienced excellent fishing for them. Trout fishing continues to be very good as a result of the downstream migration of Salmon smolts to the Skeena estuary.