Nicholas Dean Lodge

473rd Weekly Fishing Report from Nicholas Dean Lodge

For Tuesday, May 13, 2008 to Monday, May 19, 2008


The very happy bride and groom, Mr and Mrs. Kovacvich, at their wedding last Sunday May 18, 2008. The ceremony, family and friends present, combined with fantastic weather made for a great day, and one I’m sure that Dustin and Ruby won’t soon forget.


Fish Tales

Hello Anglers,

Judging by the photo and its caption for this week’s report, one might not guess that this is actually a fishing report. But, it’s not every day that Dustin and Ruby get married, so I thought that it would be appropriate to briefly describe their great wedding day (and maybe with a few fish stories to follow) last Sunday. Earlier in the week, there had been a lot of concern about the weather, as Dustin and Ruby were hoping to take some photos outdoors, and the weather was forecast to be overcast and rainy. Luckily, the weather forecast changed for the better, and Sunday can best be described as a “bluebird” day, which certainly made the day that much more enjoyable. As is usually the case at weddings, Ruby and her bridesmaids looked beautiful, and Ruby’s dress in particular had special significance. Her mom, Rosemary, with her incredible creative and sewing talents, had been working on it for the past few months, and the result was quite impressive. There had been a lot of hard work put in by family and friends, and I know that Dustin and Ruby are very appreciative of the support and gifts they received. On a personal note, I had the privilege of being one of the photographers, and was honoured that Dustin and Ruby included me in the wedding. Congratulations again to the happy couple, and wishing you all the best in the years to come…

With all the lead up to the wedding, it was common to drive across the Skeena River on the way to the hall, allowing us to monitor the rising height of the river. Though it hasn’t reached levels as high as last year, it’s not that far away either. The three days of heavy rain we received last week, in combination with warm weather, have elevated and discoloured the Skeena and its tributaries beyond fishable levels. As a result, the best course of action for die hard fishers would be to target Chinook Salmon, Halibut and other bottom fish in tidal waters, or lake fishing for trout. Hooking into large Chinook on the Ocean that are headed to the Skeena can make for a great day, and our preferred guide is Ernie Webb (erniesoutdoors.com). It is this time of year when fishing chironomid pupae and brown, black or maroon coloured leech patterns can yield surprisingly good results on small lakes for large trout. I spoke with Sky yesterday, and he was headed to a few of his favourite lakes to check on their trout stocks. Knowing him, he’ll come back with lots of fish stories which I’ll elaborate on in future reports…

And the last story I’ll report on today, but certainly not least, is the day I spent with friend and fellow guide, Andrew Blix, on a remote coastal river last week. Dustin had taken a few clients into the lower reaches of this river (you may recall this from my last report), and experienced fishing that can best be described as “epic.” Given that he had fished through the lower end the week before, we reasoned that some of the fish would likely have moved into its middle reaches, so we concentrated our efforts there. It was simply what you would call a “wilderness experience.” The river, small and intimate, did not have any footprints, aside from those of the odd grizzly or moose, and the old growth trees reached high above the forest bed that we treaded down. After a great walk through this coastal rainforest, we arrived at the river, and immediately, I almost went for a swim. I’d have to say that this is one of the more challenging aspects of these rivers – you need to be a strong wader, and have a smart game plan. That I did not go for a swim I’ll attribute to two things – the advice of Andrew to turn back and start a little higher, and the stairmaster that I’d been using frequently at a local gym. Swimming aside, as Andrew settled into his first run, he hooked a fresh fish within 10 minutes of starting, on a black and blue Intruder style pattern fresh from his fly tying vice. The fish tore off downstream, and ran quickly out of the pool from where it was hooked, and into the holding water that I’d been fishing. It was obvious that Andrew was well into his backing, and that he was excited – he was doing the big fish dance, clambering from rock to rock while trying to gain back line that the Steelhead had pulled off. I grew concerned when I saw the tip of his fly line not moving in the current, thinking that the line was caught on a mid stream boulder or log, and made ready to wade into the flow. Luckily, Andrew could still feel the headshakes of the fish and knew it was still hooked. A few tense moments later, we had the fish tailed in the shallows, snapping as many photos as we could. The fish, a fresh 12-13 lb buck, was an exceptional fighter and exploded back into the river as we angled it gently back into the tea-stained flow. A great start to a day that would only get better…

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: 23 lbs, Caught by Martin Walker of San Francisco, California on a Skeena River Tributary

Chinook Salmon: 40 lbs, Caught by Bob Cusick of Edmonton, Alberta 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

High waters have placed many limitations on the type of species you can fish for currently in the Skeena region, but there are still options if you’re willing to look. Fishing in the Ocean for halibut, bottom fish or large Chinook can be very productive, as can lake fishing for trout. I’ve heard reports that even flooded backwaters and beaver ponds have yielded great trout fishing lately. Once waters have receded, Chinook Salmon fishing will improve, and our “Tropy Chinook” season will be underway. More on this in future reports…