Nicholas Dean Lodge

462nd Weekly Fishing Report from Nicholas Dean Lodge

For Tuesday, January 29, 2008 to Saturday, February 02, 2008


A picture perfect moment, showcasing what makes the Skeena Region so famous – wild mountains, a wild river, and large, wild fish. Here, Sky releases a Chinook well over 50 lbs. Cam Thiessen Photo


Fish Tales

Hello Anglers,

It is unfortunate, but the cold snap that I wrote about last week has continued on and beleagured us die hard fishers, preventing us from fishing our favourite pools. With warming temperatures (though still sub zero at the present time), rivers should again be fishable soon. Really, we should probably be considering ourselves lucky to be able to fish as much as we do in the Winter season though. From both personal conversations and a few anecdotes in his book, “Skeena: Steelhead River Journal”, famous Skeena angler Rob Brown has suggested that cold, frozen weather used to be the rule, not the exception in Terrace. Rob said that when he first arrived in Terrace about 25 years ago, he said that it was just plain cold. Temperatures were often -10 to -20 C, and the rivers weren’t always fishable – not exactly the best conditions for Winter Steelhead fishing! So I guess the moral of the story is that if we have to wait 2-3 weeks to get out fishing, we should probably just take it in stride and appreciate that the next trip won’t be that far away.

When it comes down to it, a little cold weather might not be a bad thing. When I used to live in Ontario, rivers were typically frozen or closed the majority of the time, but this meant that I had a full fly box in anticipation for the next Spring trip. I suppose a well learned fisher would probably use this downtime to either replenish a fly box that is a little lacking, or grease up the gears on a favourite reel. Either method will no doubt stimulate thoughts about what’s to come on the river, while helping you be prepared. While I can’t say that I’ve used my time wisely in either of these respects, I have used this time to read through a well versed Steelhead angler’s prose. When I was first getting really interested about Steelhead, there was an article in Fish and Fly magazine, by renowned Steelhead angler Dec Hogan. Though I can’t remember the article’s title, I do recall that it had a picture of Ed Ward, the famous originator of the Intruder fly and Skagit casting, and discussed tactics on how to target Winter and Spring Steelhead in the rivers of the Pacific Northwest. At Christmas time, I was lucky enough to have received Dec’s book, “A Passion for Steelhead,” from my younger brothers. While I must say that I really enjoyed the practical applications that the book has for Spey casting – when to use a double spey and when not to, how to analyze runs and pools – it was really the first chapter, “First Cast” that I found most interesting. This chapter described Dec’s evolution as an angler, how he became engrossed in fishing. How a young boy’s curiousity and desire to be outdoors eventually intertwined him with fishing for Steelhead. Perhaps the reason why I love this chapter so much is that my upbringing and ties to fishing weren’t so different than Dec’s…

On a different note, you may have noticed that the picture on this week’s report doesn’t really have a lot of similarities to the type of fish or fishing that we do at this time of year. Rather, this is my way of fondly reminiscing about the past year, perhaps even warmer weather, but mostly about the fish. The day that Sky landed this big Chinook he was out with guide Cam Thiessen and I was to meet them at the boat launch a little later in the day. When the guys pulled up and I readied my gear into Cam’s boat, I asked how the fishing had been. Casually, Sky’s response was “not bad.” It wasn’t until a few minutes later that Cam told the truth about what the morning’s fishing had been like. One fish around 55 lbs, one around 40 and a few others in the mid 30s. Though we all know Sky can be very humble at the best of times, it really struck a chord with me. You would consider that “not bad?” Such experiences like this really put things into perspective and make you realize exactly what’s available on your doorstep. Only in the Skeena…

If you’re interested in sampling what the Skeena and its tributaries have to offer in 2008, we have recently had a few cancellations in our prime weeks for both Spring Steelhead and Trophy Chinook in the summer months. For both fly and conventional anglers alike, the Spring months provide some of the best, most reliable fishing for Steelhead all year long. Fish have been entering Skeena tributaries since the Fall, and with the Winter and Spring run fish migrating steadily in waves, there isn’t a better chance to connect with some truly large, trophy fish. In July and August, the weather is warming, and the big Chinooks are moving up the deeper pools on the Skeena. There are few places in the world where you can legitimately say that the Chinooks average 20 to 50 lbs, but the Skeena is one such place. Make your cast for them today and see why they’ve been called “Kings.”

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
Sea-Run Cutthroat Trout
Dolly Varden
Bull Trout
Rainbow Trout

Fishing conditions continue to be poor in the Skeena region near Terrace. A mid-Winter cold snap has left rivers frozen, and very little, if any, fishable water. Even the mighty Skeena, with its large, broad flows has more resemblances now to a skating rink than one of BC’s largest rivers. However, it is expected that temperatures will warm up this week, and fishing should resume shortly thereafter. In the Prince Rupert harbour, there have been reports of a few Winter Chinook being caught, but significant winds and large waves the past few weekends curtailed any plans that we had to target them.