Nicholas Dean Lodge

492nd Fishing Report from Nicholas Dean Lodge

For Sunday, November 22, 2009 to Saturday, November 28, 2009


Spring Steelhead fishing near Terrace is probably one of the most overlooked seasons on the Skeena system, despite its reputation for large fish. Taft Ring can attest to this, having landed this 23 lb Steelhead on his second day of fishing!


Fish Tales

Hello Anglers,

Around this time of year, I always find myself reflecting back on the season – of enjoyable dinners and converstions had with clients, tying flies in anticipation of the next trip and yes, the cliched big fish stories told at the lodge which usually don’t involve myself. So, for this week’s report, rather than one specific story, I decided to do put some of these memories on paper – let’s call them the 2009 season highlights…

Starting our Spring Steelhead season at our rustic and comfortable lodge on Kalum Lake Road, we hosted a number of clients who focussed their angling efforts on a few Skeena River tributaries and the big river itself. Like most other years, there seemed to be proportionately more large Steelhead landed in the Spring than at other times of year, and Taft Ring took top honours, landing a 23 lb Steelhead on the fly (this week’s report photo). During that same week, we had the pleasure of hosting legendary Steelhead angler Lani Waller who had recently penned his newest book, “A Steelheader’s Way.” Lani is a charismatic yet genuine, humble man whose passion for Steelhead and Steelhead fly fishing is infectious and derived from many years on the water. Having the chance to meet and share stories with Lani was certainly a highlight of my Steelhead fishing career, and I suspect for those anglers who also joined us that week.

From mid April through mid May, we continued to develop one of our newest fishing programs – Adventure Steelheading – on small, not-to-be named coastal rivers. Why Adventure Steelheading? Well, many of the coastal rivers we fish aren’t the easiest to access and demand a fair amount of hiking and wading on the part of the angler. On a few rivers in particular, we’ll start the day by driving down a logging road, launching in the Ocean, jet boating to the river’s estuary and from there move from pool to pool in search of Steelhead that average 12-15 lbs. This year, Sonja Sorbo took top honours with a 20 lb Steelhead landed in early May – one that I’m sure she won’t easily forget!

Perhaps one of our most significant announcements this year was our partnership with five star Yellow Cedar Lodge. Beginning April 20, we moved operations to this incredible facility, and clients enjoyed some of the best fine dining, hospitality and amenities in Northwest BC. Building upon our sucesses this season, we look forward to working with Alf and Simone at Yellow Cedar Lodge during the 2010 season as well.

It was another great year for Trophy Chinook Salmon on the Skeena and Kitimat Rivers during the early part of our Summer season, complete with some absolute monster fish. If you saw my Trophy Chinook of 2009 blog post a few months back, you will have probably already seen a few photos of these incredible fish. Congratulations go out to: Andrea Scaramella for a 60 lb fish he landed in late July, Bob Cusick for his 70 lb lifetime fish and Ron Kostich, with an 80 lb buck which is reputed to be the largest Chinook caught by any angler during the 2009 season.

As many devoted Skeena Steelhead anglers are aware, Steelhead numbers on the Skeena during early August at the Tyee test fishery were some of the highest reported in the last 10 years, which is certainly encouraging. Steelhead fishing on the mainstem Skeena near Terrace followed suit, particularly in late August and early September, with many large Steelhead in the 18-23 lb range landed. Dennis Channing landed a chrome bright 23 lb Steelhead on the Skeena in late August with Sky Richard, which was featured in our 488th Fishing Report.

Our Fall Steelhead and Trophy Coho season is always one of our most popular seasons, and 2009 was no different. We hosted several groups through September and October and, fishing overall was quite good. Many anglers had the opportunity to experience the magic of seeing a large Steelhead rise to a waked dry fly – certainly one of those defining experiences in one’s angling career. Fabrizio Oliva was one of our more lucky anglers this Fall, as his first Steelhead landed was a 20 lb fish from one of our remote wilderness rivers. If this wasn’t enough, he followed up with an even larger Steelhead stretching to 22 lbs a few days later on the same system! Perhaps one of our biggest success stories this year, however, was the marked improvment in Coho Salmon returns for the North Coast – nearly every system we fished this year had an abundance of fish, and the fishing was unparalleled! Top rods went to Gary Bartholomew and Deb Morrow who fished with us in late October, and landed over 60 Coho in one day…

On the whole, the 2009 year was a successful one for us, and we owe much of this to you, our clients. We would like to thank each of you individually for your patronage and company in your quest for exciting fishing experiences, and hope to see you in the 2010 season or in the near future.

From all of us here at Nicholas Dean Lodge, I’d like to wish you a safe and happy holiday season this year…

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

With air temperatures dropping well below freezing, fishing conditions are somewhat more difficult this late in the season. It’s not to say the fish aren’t there – they are – but, when your guides freeze every 4 or 5 casts it’s slightly more difficult to focus on your presentation. On our warmer days, however, I have heard reports of anglers catching a few Steelhead on the Skeena and its tributary rivers, particularly in slower moving pools. With the last of the Coho Salmon spawning in local rivers, trout fishing has improved markedly, and targeting these fish with small flesh flies and single eggs are likely the most productive methods of fishing.