Nicholas Dean Lodge

458th Weekly Fishing Report from Nicholas Dean Lodge

For Tuesday, December 18, 2007 to Monday, December 31, 2007


Amidst a Spring Snowstorm, Lance Boen and Sky Richard found a reason to smile – a high teens Steelhead that put up a great fight. The 2007 season was a great one for us and we look forward to another successful season in 2008. Martin Walker Photo


Fish Tales

Hello Anglers,

Season’s greetings! First off, I must say that I love this time of year. No matter what is going on, it’s a great time to sit down with family and friends to relax and enjoy some quality time. Whether you’re sitting down having a drink or sharing that story about the big Steelhead that got away, it’s certainly a refreshing time of year. Being in the position that I’m in allows me to hear a lot of your fishing stories and, of course, getting out on my own has created a fair number myself. Perhaps one of my fondest memories was fishing with my brother in late October of this year. We were fishing a local Skeena tributary, and the river was quite high compared to its normal low flows. When we arrived at the river, there were a few anglers in my favourite section, so we waded in above them and proceeded to rotate effectively through the long stretch. There was one particular seam in this section that always seemed to hold a good fish or two. The bottom of the river there is comprised of relatvely small substrata, and the Steelhead hold in depressions along the river bed, which are often signalled by a seam on the surface. Chris was working the water closer to mid river, and to cover the water as a whole more effectively, I had waded out further and was fishing the far bank behind him. Drifting a large egg pattern, I could feel it bouncing slowly near the bottom, occasionally hanging up on a small boulder, and sometims even a clam. As I approached the seam, I wanted to be sure that I covered it thoroughly, by fishing it at different angles. Because of the swift flows, and having waded nearly up to my chest, it was not easy to make the 65 foot cast.

After a few sloppy casts (yes, I’m admitting that – you can’t say that I’m not an honest fisherman!), I got the fly where I wanted it to be: about 15 feet upstream of the prime lie. I mended the line a few times, making sure not to move the fly from its drift toward the seam, and after that, could tell that the fly was near the bottom. One of the things about fishing in the west that I’ve come to learn is that more often than not, if you do make a cast that you think is perfect, and you say to yourself, “that cast deserves a fish,” more often that not, you do. Luckily, on this particular cast, this proved true. As the fly reached the “bucket,” my line stopped – not a dip, not a hesitation – but a full on jump upstream. When I set the hook, a chrome torpedo jumped 3 feet out of the air. Chris was in awe. My reel was making sounds that I’ve never heard it make before, and could see my fly line quickly make way for the fluorescent orange backing. A couple hundred feet below, Chris and I saw the fish breach again, tail walking downstream. It does not take one long to realize why these fish are the magnificent beings they are – they fight with such intensity and vigour that even hooking one briefly is to be appreciated. Unfortunately in this case, I would not have the chance to lead the fish into the shallows and to grasp its thick tail. Rather, this time, the fish won. As it continued its fight downriver, it made one final surge, and my fly popped free. With a fish as chome and beautiful as this, you can’t help but be a little disappointed that it came unbuttoned, but it is really the experience of the chase, the anticipation, and the grab that holds you, beckons you to keep on fishing in both fair and poor fishing conditions. Count me in for snowstorms and Winter Steelhead when I get back to Terrace…

Stay tuned for next week’s story and adventure and, as always, we welcome your feedback and any stories that you might have from fishing with us or on your home waters. And with 2008 coming along, why not try casting your favourite fly or spoon to some of the largest Steelhead and Salmon in the world? Beginning with our Spring Steelhead season, which starts in late March until early May, there is incredible fishing to be had, albeit in a relatively small window at this time of year. Whether it’s swinging huge 5 inch flies through a mid-sized Skeena tributary, or stalking and sight fishing Steelhead up to and over 20 lbs on remote, not to be named coastal rivers, we have the experience and knowledge to make your trip a success. And this is just for our Spring season. Chinook Salmon to 100 lbs, Summer Steelhead to 40 lbs, and Coho Salmon to 30 lbs are all a possibility in the Skeena watershed. Make your cast for them today!

From all of us here at Nicholas Dean Lodge, we wish you all the best for a great holiday season and a successful, prosperous year in 2008.

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: 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

If you can manage to get away from the big turkey dinners at this time of year for a few hours of fishing near Terrace, you would probably be well rewarded. Though there is ice on the banks of most rivers and there are some sections which are frozen, Steelhead can be receptive to large flies fished on stout tippets, despite the low water conditions. Just be sure your flies have some lifelike motion in them. This translates to some form of rabbit or marabou included in a fly’s recipe and design. Using small olive nymph patterns can be very successful for Cutthroat and other Trout species in slower moving pools.