Nicholas Dean Lodge

455th Weekly Fishing Report from Nicholas Dean Lodge

For Tuesday, November 27, 2007 to Monday, December 03, 2007


Dusty Schad poses with a chrome bright Summer Steelhead caught on the main channel Skeena in early August. These incredible fighters start entering the Skeena in late July and can provide fantastic fishing through the month of August. Dusty Schad Photo


Fish Tales

Hello Anglers,

The temperatures in the Skeena region near Terrace have dropped off significantly in the past week and a half, which has had some implications for fishing – both good and bad, depending on how you look at it! The obvious is that it’s cold. Cold fingers, hands and feet are the norm for this type of fishing, particularly for fly fishers. The water temperatures are also quite cold at this time of year, so the act of stripping your fly line off the water, be it Spey casting or fishing with a single handed rod, means that you’ll be in contact with the cold all day. For those float fishing or using other conventional methods, line spray is a little easier to deal with and keep warm. However, if you bring that extra thermos of coffee and a big lunch, and don’t get sick of picking ice out of your guides, there are good numbers of fish in the rivers and very few anglers on the river – a great combination indeed. In fact, Jeff Langley, one of our knowledgeable guides, stopped by yesterday and mentioned that he landed a big winter buck Steelhead that went 39 by 21 inches – a fish over 20 lbs.

With these kinds of fishing conditions, one can’t help but let the mind wander to warmer climes. Take, for example, August on the Skeena. The temperatures are usually quite warm and can be downright hot, so wet wading with socks and a wading boot can be a great way to cool off. And the fishing can be outstanding. There are steady streams of Sockeye and Pink Salmon migrating up the river, and can provide fast, one-after-another action. Because of the sheer numbers of fish moving past you and the quality of the fishing, it is a great time to take out younger kids and perhaps those new to fishing. Particularly in the first part of August, these fish are very chrome and are at their peak condition for fighting. I have to say that my first experience with Sockeye this year really opened up my eyes to these great game fish. Cam Thiessen and I were fishing a long riffle outside Terrace on the Skeena in early August this year, and aside from a boil or two on the surface of a seam a few hundred feet below, you wouldn’t have thought that there’d be anything particularly special about this spot. After making a few casts though and having my fly swing through the riffle, my line stopped abruptly and a silver torpedo jumped out of the water. After a strong, though brief fight, the Sockeye was at my feet and I unbuttoned the fly. And that was more or less how it went for the rest of the evening. There was one memorable fish in particular that had to make me laugh. It took just as my fly was starting to swing, and after I set the hook, it suged 40 ft upstream toward me, instead of doing the usual racing downstream type fight. Though it all happened in a few seconds, I saw the fish streak almost right in between my boots, and at that same instant, it threw the hook and headed back into the depths of the Skeena. Evidently, the fish had spit the hook such that the line wrapped around my arm, with the hook almost embedding itself in my skin. Kudos to the fish…

Perhaps what holds the most allure for this time period, however, is the chance of hooking into a chrome Summer Steelhead that will kick your behind once hooked. If there was one time of year that you wanted to hook the meanest, most hard to land Steelhead, this would be it. The Skeena’s large volume of water gives the fish a large playground to run in, and these fish use it to their advantage. The fish have a long ways to go – they must reach upstream tributaries such as the Babine, Sustut and Kispiox to name a few – so they are on a definite upstream mission. And anything that gets in the way of this mission is not treated very friendly. While at the Skeena Camp this year, Bill Lenheim landed a gorgeous 16 lb Steelhead that fought very well, but what seemed to excite him even more was the fish that he hooked afterwards. It was a big fish, one that Bill hooked about 10 feet from shore. The fish then proceeded to melt line off his reel while travelling up and across stream. It is certainly one thing to have a fish almost spool you or put up a great fight while travelling downstream, but some of the stronger Skeena fish will do the same while travelling upstream. As in, they’ll take off upstream and won’t stop. Luckily a few of the places that we fish on the Skeena near Terrace have flows where there is a large seam and backwater channel. This enables the fish to be pulled into the slower moving, eddy-like water where they’re a little easier to control. This is how Dusty Schad, pictured in this week’s report, landed his big 20 lb Summer Steelhead. An incredible Steelhead, for sure.

If you’re interested in fishing with us for Summer Steelhead and all species of Pacific Salmon in 2008, we have a few different options for you to consider. There is space available in the lodge, where you can enjoy the great meals provided by Jean Pelletier and her sister Ray, and relax with your favourite drink in the living room. For those anglers looking for a more adventurous trip that is a little easier on the budget, we also have a Skeena Camp situated right on the banks of the Skeena. At the camp, you can live and breathe fishing all day long, from early in the morning to as late at night as you wish, on your own schedule. With food prepared by Dustin and the guides on a stove or camp fire, this an experience that you’ll be sure to enjoy. Contact me today for more details and a customized quote for your next trip of a lifetime…

There is also one last quick note that I wanted to mention – I will be heading back home for holidays to visit with my girlfriend, family and friends over the next 4 weeks, but will be checking my email periodically. Please be patient and I will do my best to get back to you in a timely manner. Alternatively, Dustin will also be available by phone here at the lodge if you would like to contact him.

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: 20 lbs, Caught by Derrick Ames of Fergus, Ontario on a Skeena River Tributary


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
Sea-Run Cutthroat Trout
Dolly Varden
Bull Trout
Rainbow Trout

Steelhead fishing has been fair in certain sections of the Skeena, and especially in overwintering tributaries. However, with the recent plummet in air temperatures, it will be a little more difficult to effectively fish for Steelhead owing to the likes of frozen guides, flies, and fingers! Nonetheless, the fish are there, and it’s more about finding the best day to fish for them. The same can be said about trout fishing, though this type of fishing can be a little more productive at this time of year. With water levels dropping, trout will be more susceptible to small and medium sized nymphs, and perhaps a little less to egg patterns.