Nicholas Dean Lodge

465th Weekly Fishing Report from Nicholas Dean Lodge

For Tuesday, March 11, 2008 to Monday, March 17, 2008


Martin Walker probes the tailout of a long, smooth pool as it tumbles into the head of the next run. This is classic Spring Steelhead fishing and photography at its finest. jeffbright.com photo


Fish Tales

If there was ever a question when Spring might arrive, it would seem that we now have the answer. Warmer, longer days, accompanied with light to heavy rainshowers have been dominating the local Terrace weather and, frankly, we’re enjoying it! It’s been a long, cold winter, and myself and the rest of the Nicholas Dean staff are eagerly awaiting warmer days and tight lines. While skiiers and snow boarders might not like the weather, as it marks the near end of their season, anglers have a lot to look forward to in the upcoming season. The rivers are in great shape, and judging by the excellent fishing we experienced in the fall and early winter months, we expect that fishing during the Spring Season should be quite good. With each new freshet, waves of fresh, chrome Steelhead will be entering their natal streams, pausing briefly in mid-stream pockets and seams, awaiting the slow swing of a marabou fly or lure as it swings past them…

When it comes down to it, it’s all about the fish. The fish really do tend to put things into perspective here, at least for me. While the Skeena and its tributaries have been the subject of intense debate and controversy over the last couple of years, the arguable fact of the matter is that the largest race of wild Steelhead in the world still return here. And for whatever reason, whether its their unaltered genes or not, these fish have an aggressive side that is beyond believeable at times. If a few anglers could see the size of flies that currently reside in my fly box, they’d probably ask if I were using them for pike or muskie fishing, and not the silvery trout species they were designed for. Six inch long concoctions of marabou, flash and grizzly hackle, these flies were tied with big fish and big rivers in mind. Though each river and its fishery have individual characteristics that make it special to those who fish it, there is something different about fishing the Skeena knowing that a 20 lb Steelhead, or a larger fish might be holding in the pool in front of you. For me, it makes that extra bit of difference in setting up your swing, mending, and covering the water as best you can.

Fish this special are of course something worth fighting for, and I’ve been overwhelemed with the amount of support that anglers, guides, lodges, and concerned citizens have had for these great fish. Skeena Steelhead do have their obstacles, but a growing awareness within the angling community is helping to make a difference in their conservation. One of the best articles I’ve read in a long time was written by Dylan Tomine in a recent issue of Wild on the Fly magazine. Dylan took a critical look at the state of Steelhead stocks from their southernmost range in California, to stocks in the Alaskan coast, identifying problem areas, but also how we can help make the future for Steelhead a brighter one. Whether it’s writing letters to government officials, joining not-for-profit organizations like the North Coast Steelhead Alliance (www.ncsteelheadalliance.ca), or participating in online conservation discussions, it’s important to know that we can make a difference in this fight.

One individual who has been a huge proponent of Steelhead and of their conservation is writer and photographer, Jeff Bright. Jeff is the author of Found in a River: Steelhead and Other Revelations, and his prose throughout the book is only matched by the superb photography that accompanies each page. For many Steelhead anglers in the San Francisco Bay area and the Pacific Northwest, Jeff’s name is syonymous with conservation and impressive photography. If you would like to see some of the finest photography centred around Steelhead fly fishing today, I encourage you to take a look at the photographic art work featured on his website (www.jeffbright.com).

Until next week, tight lines and screaming reels,

Chad Black

Operations Manager


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

Rivers are running low and clean, and Steelhead fishing has been rewarding for anglers fishing down deep and amongst boulders. Large flies in pink and orange and black and purple have been effective, as have spoons and yarn flies. Dolly Varden and Bull Trout have been very aggressive, and are making more of an appearance. Trout fishing should improve as more salmon fry hatch.