Nicholas Dean Lodge

457th Weekly Fishing Report from Nicholas Dean Lodge

For Tuesday, December 11, 2007 to Monday, December 17, 2007


The author with a bright chrome buck Steelhead that smashed a 5 inch marabou leech pattern on the main channel Skeena River in January. These are the type of high quality fish that are available through the Winter months and into late Spring. Sky Richard


Fish Tales

Hello Anglers,

I’ve been keeping tabs on the Terrace weather through the weather network, and though I wouldn’t want to rely on this as an accurate source of information, I’ve talked to Dustin and Cam Thiessen, who have mentioned that temperatures have been a lot milder, consistent with the weather man’s reports. With these milder temperatures, it will be a little easier to fish the Skeena and its tributaries, without having to deal with iced guides every couple of casts! I can fondly remember doing some winter fishing with Sky Richard earlier this year on my very first trip out on the Skeena after I arrived in Terrace. Though the weather was cool, ranging from -2 to -8 degrees Celsius, the fish were certainly there and were receptive to large marabou flies swung on heavy tips in moderate-fast flows, and type 3 sinking leaders in the smoother, shallower waters. On this particular day, Sky was the first to hook up, and landed a slightly coloured buck around 10 lbs. Not long after, we went through the “sweet spot,” which in all likelihood was the same location that would later be named “Yvonne’s rock.” What I thought was a dorsal fin on the surface caught my attention, and I cast my ugly articulated pink fly towards the spot. My line stopped abruptly and, thinking that this was probably just the bottom, I lifted the rod to free the fly. As you can probably guess, it was not a rock but a bright Steelhead that wasn’t very happy to have been hooked. And despite the cold water temperatures, the fish fought admirably, much more than I would have expected. My Islander reel screamed in protest several times before Sky had the chance to grab the fish for me. It was the first good sized Steelhead that I’d landed, and staring at it in the shallows made me realize just exactly why Steelheaders are the crazy bunch they are. It was a beautiful fish, with large, broad shoulders and a hint of pink in its cheeks, healthy, and full of fight. Holding the fish in the water made my hands freeze, but it really didn’t matter. To borrow a phrase from Jeff Bright, it was an “impossibly beautiful Steelhead.” Well worth staying out in sub zero temperatures and less than favourable conditions…

So to know that fish like this are moving through the Skeena’s low water flows and into its tributaries makes me itch to get out. And knowing that the tributaries have been gathering her Steelhead since late summer makes it even sweeter, as most pools you’ll be fishing will have decent numbers of fish in them. Now you just have to try to target the more aggressive fish which are, more often than not, large bucks that can sometimes rip the rod out of your hands on the take. Just prior to leaving Terrace, Sky, Jeff Langley and I were fishing a long, slow moving pool that is both a guide and guest favourite, and Sky landed a large buck around 18 lbs. Perhaps most thrilling with this fish in particular was “the grab.” Sky was throwing a large black articulated leech, and on this particular cast, the fly was delivered straight across and slightly downstream. After mending the line with the long Spey rod, and that perfect instant just before the fly started to swing, Sky said that his line jumped upstream about 5 ft and stopped. Gotta love it. When it comes to this kind of Steelhead fishing, I have to agree with one of our fellow guests, Michael Mathis. On his email signatures, it says “it’s all about the grab.” Indeed…

If you’re thinking of a trip to the Skeena region, this is a great time to book your trips. There is still some availability in our most sought-after weeks in the Spring, Summer, and Fall months. Whether it is fly fishing for Steelhead, or fishing with conventional techniques for Trophy Chinooks and Coho, we are sure to have an experience that you will enjoy. Contact me via email or phone Dustin at the lodge to reserve your space today!

Until next week, tight lines and screaming reels…

Happy holidays!

Chad Black

Operations Manager

_________________________________________________________________________________________________

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
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

With this week’s warmer temperatures, access to Steelhead and other Trout species has been improving. If temperatures stay consistent, Steelhead fishing should be very good in the coming weeks. Cutthroat, Rainbow, Bull trout and Dolly Varden will be receptive to nymph and streamer imitations fished dead drift and with slight twitches. Feeder Spring Chinooks should provide good fishing in the waters off Prince Rupert soon.