Nicholas Dean Lodge

448th Weekly Fishing Report from Nicholas Dean Lodge

For Tuesday, August 07, 2007 to Monday, August 20, 2007


Fresh, chrome, and high flying – all reasons why we love Skeena Steelhead. This 12 lb doe smashed guide Sky Richard’s fly on a slow downstream swing. Heather Smith Photo


Fish Tales

The past couple of weeks have been very busy ones for both the staff here at the lodge, and for the guests. Busy in that guests have had to “deal” with multiple hook ups and often 20+ fish days. When I heard the term “Salmon and Steelhead Superhighway” in reference to the Skeena, I wasn’t entirely sure as it to its meaning. Sure, the Skeena is obviously the road of many different species to upriver tributaries, but it really makes you stop to think about HOW many fish are using the road. The past two weeks, with nearly ideal water conditions (visibility of approximately 2 ft and that Steelhead green colour) have been conducive to great fishing for our guests here at the lodge, as well as the guides on their time off. It is a strong year for the Pinks, and this has certainly reflected in our fishing. Swinging Red Skeena Series flies proves irrestible to many of these strong battlers, and due to their numbers, provides great sport. Moreover, Sockeye are a common catch daily, as have the first early runs of Coho on the main Channel Skeena. And the ever elusive Summer Steelhead have started to make an appearance, with fish in the 7-25 lb range landed. As is customary though, a large percentage of Steelhead hooked are simply too hot to handle…

Early last week, our guides had the pleasure of taking out Jeff Paffrath and his family and friends. They had come from doing some saltwater fishing in the Queen Charlottes, but wanted to switch gears a little and pursue some Steelhead and Salmon with flies. And they did more than pursue. Catching would likely be a more appropriate term. On their second day of fishing for example, their guides Greg Buck and Sky Richard estimated that between the 6 guests, they landed between 250 and 300 fish. The majority were Pinks, but there were also a fair number of Sockeye and Coho, and Dusty Schad had the exhilerating experience of landing a white chrome 20 lb Summer Steelhead. How sweet it is – my bet is that Jeff and his crew are hooked on Skeena fish!

And last week, the lodge was filled with several great members of Toronto’s esteemed Franklin Club. The Franklin Club is comprised of approximately 200 members who have developed a great facility and retreat for members to converge and relax with their families and friends. The members came from a variety of fishing backgrounds, and managed to catch quite a number of fish on the Skeena. In fact, they developed a wee competition whereby the angler who caught the most species of fish would win the “Annual Franklin Club – Nicholas Dean Lodge Trophy,” as well as a pot of money. Congrats go out to Gary Baldackin, who is the 2007 winner, after catching Pinks, Sockeye, Coho, and a Steelhead around 12 lbs. It really was a great opportunity to meet some knowledgeable, fun individuals, and I think that I can speak for the rest of the Nicholas Dean staff in saying that we look forward to having you all back in the future! A special mention also goes out to Bob Bellucci – thanks for your patience while fishing Bob.

Cam, Cassie and John Bordignon also attended the lodge last week with the Franklin Club, and put on a bit of a “clinic” on how to catch Skeena fish. Though John is a very good, persistent angler, both Cam and Cassie had not done much fly fishing before. After a few casting sessions with Dustin though, and a keen willingness to learn, both Cam and Cassie started hooking into fish left, right and centre. In fact, I would go so far as to say that they outfished their dad…It certainly is very refreshing seeing people you teach taking an active interest in the sport. Cam was on fire, having hooked all kinds of Salmon, and landing one nice Steelhead of 10 lbs on his first day, and a great buck around 15-16 lbs on his second day. Cam is also the drummer in a popular rock band called “The Reason,” not to be confused with the song called “The Reason” by Hoobastank. Definitely check them out if you have a chance – I highly recommend it.

And finally, some food for thought this week…our guide Cam Thiessen took Paul Kirby out fly fishing on the weekend, and after catching a bunch of Pinks and Sockeye, Paul latched onto something bigger. Much much bigger. And when a big fish turns on the Skeena, it doesn’t take much for several yards of backing to scream out of your reel. So while I would like to say that Cam and Paul landed this fish, alas, it was not the case. However, they did manage to get it within about five feet from the bank. Cam’s words: “it was the biggest Steelhead that I’ve ever seen.” He put the fish at least 45 inches long, which if you check on Sturdy’s formula for calculating the weight of Steelhead, is well over 30 lbs…

Definitely food for thought.

Until next week, tight lines and screaming reels,

Chad Black

Operation 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: 55 lbs, Caught by Mike Bingham of Sheridan, California on the Skeena River

Coho Salmon: 12 lbs, Caught by Adam Chelini of San Francisco, California on the Kitimat River


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
Pink Salmon
Sockeye Salmon
Chum Salmon
Halibut
Sea-Run Cutthroat Trout
Dolly Varden
Bull Trout
Rainbow Trout

Pinks and Sockeye continue to be mainstays on the Skeena, and have been caught in great numbers over the past few weeks. However, Steelhead and Coho runs are increasing, and some trophy Steelhead up to 25 lbs have been caught. Despite the fact that the Chinook fishing near Terrace has closed, there are still a number of other areas where they can be targeted. Good fishing is still available for these giants, just be sure to check the regulations before heading out. On the lower Skeena, Dusty Schad landed a 50 lb monster about a week ago. The Coho run on the Kitimat appears to be building and good fishing can be had in the lower section, though the Chum run has started to taper off. Halibut fishing has been consistently good, and trout and char fishing can be great for those anglers willing to do some looking around. With all of the migratory salmonids entering the Skeena and its tributaries though, most anglers will be found targeting these fish instead of trout.