Nicholas Dean Lodge

436th Weekly Fishing Report from Nicholas Dean Lodge

For Tuesday, May 15, 2007 to Monday, May 21, 2007


A few of the best things in life: spending time with significant others in the outdoors, and anticipating the next pull. Chad Black Photos


Fish Tales

Currently, the Skeena Region in the vicinity of Terrace is at a precipice, for fishing at the very least, and maybe for a few other things as well. The recent weather patterns, hot and sunny, though very pleasant, has created the anticipated conditions required for snowmelt. And with the snowpack being what it is, there is a very real possibility that the flooding in the next month or two could very well prove to be the flood of the century. Over the past month, the Skeena has steadily increased in volume and though it hasn’t breached its banks yet, it’s not too far off. It’s one thing to look at the actual Skeena valley itself and see all the snow on the mountain peaks, but it really is something else when you consider the number of other major tributaries of the Skeena that face similar conditions: the Kispiox, Babine, Sustut, Morice, Bulkley, Zymoetz are but just a few in this large watershed, not to mention the many other unmentionables. So while it is likely that the fishing in the main channel Skeena will be curtailed for a long time, or at least restricted to a few clean seems, I don’t want to paint the picture that there isn’t any fishing available. Quite the contrary. There are others, like the Kitimat, which will also rise, but which tend to fall quickly and are not blown out for extended periods of time. At this point though, it is a bit of a gamble to book week-long trips, so we are recommending day booking packages only until the start of July.

Anyways, more about the fishing and such…Early last week my girlfriend Katy flew out here for a visit, and naturally, being in the Skeena Region, we just had to do a little fishing. Katy generally doesn’t do a lot of fishing on her own, in fact I think that she hadn’t fished at all until she met me. Makes me wonder if she’d still be dating me if she had realized 4 years ago just how much fishing is a part of my life!! At any rate, we found ourselves driving for 2 hours before we breathed in the characteristic Ocean air in Prince Rupert. Our mission was to sample some of the great crab fishing there, and troll around for some Spring Chinooks. The former worked out very well indeed. After a few relatively “empty” traps (which means undersized crabs and females in the Prince Rupert waters that you cannot retain), we started getting a few more of substantial size, and before long, Katy, Dustin and I were enjoying a tasty crab shore lunch. Things always seem to taste better in the outdoors and when they’re fresh, and the crabs were no exception. However, I swear that when it comes to trolling in the Ocean for salmon, I bring the worst luck possible. We trolled around for approximately 8 hours with nary a sniff, aside from a few snags on the bottom. After a few hours, Dustin suggested that we try doing some jigging for flounders, which sounded like a good idea. I can’t explain why, but Katy kept on catching one flounder after another on one side of the boat, and all that I could show on the other side was one very small fish that was literally the same size as the lure. However, I did catch one very large crab, one type of saltwater sculpin, and the ugliest fish that I’ve every seen, let alone caught. The next time you’re on the internet, try Googling a “Brown Irish Lord” and you will see what I mean.

Katy and I also did some river fishing on the main Channel Skeena and a remote coastal stream in the Nass, which was very enjoyable. I would have to say that the Nass Region is probably one of the wildest regions that I’ve ever been in – on our travels along the river, it was not uncommon to see absolutely incredible trees whose trunks were likely 5 men’s arms widths around, black and grizzly bears, and bald eagles. Though we were not expecting to catch numbers of fish in the river, we did manage to hook one very bright hen Steelhead around 8 lbs. With the warming water temperatures, the fish put up an incredible fight, and broke my line in the shallows just as I was about to tail it. Greg Buck and Mike Bartlett have also been out quite a bit for Spring Chinooks in the Skeena Tributaries, and have reported excellent fishing for some very large, chrome fish. Backtrolling diving plugs and float fishing with bait have been the most successful techiques, and on most days, Greg and Mike have landed 6 Springs or more up to 40 lbs.

Hope that you all are doing well and that the fish are biting wherever you might be…

Until next week, tight lines and screaming reels.

Chad Black

Operations Manager

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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
Coho Salmon Out of season
Pink Salmon Out of season
Sockeye Salmon Out of season
Chum Salmon Out of season
Halibut
Sea-Run Cutthroat Trout
Dolly Varden
Bull Trout
Rainbow Trout

Though Steelhead are not present in as high of densities as earlier in the Spring, Steelhead fishing continues to be reasonably good for drop backs and the odd chrome fish. Fishing for Spring Chinooks has been superb, with a number of fish caught between 30 and 40 lbs. These are very strong, bright fish that often require a boat to land as you chase after the fish downstream. Most Trout and Char caught in the past few weeks have been incidental catches to the larger Steelhead and Spring Chinooks, although there is good fishing to be had on a few Skeena Tributaries with fry and nymph patterns.