Nicholas Dean Lodge

466th Weekly Fishing Report from Nicholas Dean Lodge

For Tuesday, March 18, 2008 to Monday, March 24, 2008


The wildness of a remote coastal river in Northwest B.C. is just one element of what makes up a great angling experience in the Spring months. Here, an angler drifts a fly well down and into the pocket of a turbulent seam. Dustin Kovacvich Photo


Fish Tales

Hello Anglers,

Spring is here. It doesn’t seem to matter how many times I say it, or write about it, it just keeps on sounding better. The sun is shining, air temperatures are warming, and I know that this will start making the Steelhead “happy,” more aggressive. Though it’s still possible to wake up to cooler temperatures in the morning and possibly a few snow flakes, daytime temperatures have been consistently increasing. Luckily, this has coincided with our first guests of the season. Jeff Bright and Martin Walker of San Francisco, California have been fishing with us over the weekend, and experienced good fishing on their first few days. When I first picked them up at the airport, they had some time to spare and had requested to do some fishing, so dropped them off on the Skeena. Jeff fished down through the long run first, and picked up a 13-14 lb buck that took his Pink fly on the swing. He also had a few other grabs, but these didn’t turn into hook ups; all in the space of a couple hours of fishing. On the next day, Martin had the good fortune of landing a great Steelhead of 17 lbs, and which fought very well. A resident Rainbow Trout also took his fly and put up a strong fight despite the leverage of Martin’s spey rod. Jeff also managed to land a chrome bright 10-11 lb hen Steelhead, while Martin and his guide Jeff Langley were photographing a cow moose that was on the other side of the river.

One of the benefits of having a warmer Spring is that the snow on logging roads to our favourite coastal rivers tends to melt a little faster. This enables us to access these remote rivers and intercept their runs of Steelhead. A large portion of the time spent fishing these little gems is by sight fishing, not unlike that of New Zealand. Except of course that you’re using larger flies and the Steelhead that you cast to can reach 20 lbs. It is exciting fishing by any standard, and is legitimately the “wilderness” fishing experience that a lot of anglers desire, but sometimes few get the chance to experience.

Finally, as our thoughts turn to the warmer days of summer, we also anticipate the fishing to come. Our Spring Steelhead season makes a smooth transition to Chinook fishing during the months of June and July. Starting in early June, we fish the Kitimat River for aggressive Chinook Salmon that average 20 to 40 lbs. In its upper two drifts, we focus on casting large, heavy spoons like the Gibbs Coho or Kit-A-Mat to woody structure and seams, or back trolling large plugs. These fish are usually in great shape, white chrome and can be very difficult to land once hooked. Fly fishing with large, chartreuse coloured flies with lots of flash can be incredibly effective in pools. In the lower tidal portion of the Kitimat where the use of jet boats is permitted, we usually backtroll with plugs and find that the quality of fish there is tough to beat. Because the river is fairly shallow, the Chinooks often take to the surface with an exciting intensity, and go on long, reel melting runs. Then, later in June and July, the legendary Chinook of the Skeena start to make an appearance. These are the fish that can reach sizes up to and over 100 lbs, and which have made the Skeena as popular as it is. We still have some space available in our Spring Steelhead season, as well as our popular Chinook season. Prime time spaces are often booked well in advance, so if you’ve been wanting to sample the Skeena’s world famous Steelhead or Chinook Salmon, don’t hesitate to give me a call today.

Until next week, tight lines and screaming reels…

Chad Black

Operations Manager

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Nicholas Dean Lodge 2008 Season Records To Date:

Steelhead: 17 lbs, Caught by Martin Walker of San Francisco, California 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

Steelhead continue to be the focus of most of our angling effort in the Skeena and its watershed. Fresh fish have been moving up the Skeena and, combined with holdover fish, have provided good fishing. A friend mentioned that he may have even hooked into his first Spring Chinook of the year. These fish will return in stronger numbers as the spring progresses. Though Cutthroat trout fishing has been poor lately, Dolly Varden, Bull and Rainbow Trout have been aggressively hitting flies and spoons.