Nicholas Dean Lodge

494th Fishing Report from Nicholas Dean Lodge

For Sunday, February 07, 2010 to Saturday, February 13, 2010


 

Fishing Report

With warming water temperatures and fish so fresh they’re bearing sea lice, the Spring holds much to look forward to after a long Winter. Dustin Kovacvich knows this, having helped a happy client land this Steelhead in early May. Don Powell Photo


Fish Tales

Hello Anglers,

The past week in the Skeena region near Terrace has been one dominated by mild, warm weather, which has made for ideal mid-Winter fishing conditions. At this same time last year, many of us die hard anglers were sitting anxiously indoors tying flies and preparing gear, waiting for temperatures in the -25 C range to subside – so, it’s been nice to have a mild February for a change! Warm air temperatures have helped melt shore and anchor ice to open up rivers, and give Winter anglers a shot at both Steelhead and the many trout species inhabiting local rivers.

Taking advantage of this warm weather, head guide and lodge manager, Dustin Kovacvich had two excellent days of fishing on two different tributaries of the Skeena while fishing with Nick Mattner, owner of our partnering lodge, Yellow Cedar Lodge. As Nick had never cast a spey rod before, Dustin showed him the basics – where to place the anchor, several of the different spey casts and how they differed from a single hand rod. To reduce Nick’s learning curve and to help deliver the moderately sized flies and sink tip to the heart of the run, Dustin had Nick fish with a Skagit line, a great choice for both beginners and advanced anglers alike. As luck would have it, Dustin hooked a Steelhead in the few brief minutes he was demonstrating how to cast, though it unfortunately came unbuttoned. However, Nick had several oportunities of his own, hooking another three Steelhead and landing one small fish in the 4-5 lb range. Hooking four Steelhead from one pool on an early February day sure is a nice way to introduce an angler to Winter Steelhead fishing…

On another day, Dustin and Nick cast large, olive strip leeches into some of the deeper holes on a small Skeena tributary, looking for its large bull trout, dolly varden and cutthroat. Though they didn’t find any cutthroat trout, they did find several bull trout and dollies – twenty fish which ranged from 18 to 26 inches. Though they are often overshadowed by their larger Salmonid cousins, the trout fishing on the Skeena system is nothing short of superb for anglers willing to target them with specialized techniques.

In other news, if you’ve been keeping up on our blog, you’ve probably noticed a few posts about our good friend and booking agent, Jeff Bright, who has recently written two articles featuring our lodge. In the Contemporary Sportsman, a new online magazine, Jeff described his adventures while chasing Spring Steelhead in remote rivers off the northwest BC coast. This “Adventure Steelhead” program is one that Jeff has helped us develop, and he captures the excitement of fishing these small, intimate waters and the experiences to be found in them. And, in the current issue of Chasing Silver magazine, Jeff interviewed renowned Steelhead angler, Lani Waller, during the week he joined us at the lodge in the Spring of 2009. For those of you who have followed Lani’s many articles and movies over the years will no doubt appreciate his perspective on Steelhead, their conservation, and even a few of his fishing tips gleaned over many years spent on the water.

Lastly, if you’d like to join us for a trip this year, I highly recommend you consider our Spring Steelhead fishery – especially considering that we’re offering a 10% discount off the 2010 rates during select weeks. See our “Promotional Section” below for more details.

I hope that this finds you doing well, and that you’re enjoying the Olmpics!

Best regards and tight lines,

Chad Black

 

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NICHOLAS DEAN LODGE PROMOTIONS: Spring Steelhead Fishing

The scenery is breathtaking; snow-capped mountains and towering conifers dominate the landscape. Fishing conditions are prime; the rivers are running low in a seductive shade of light green. Alders are budding red and ruffed grouse are drumming in the thickets; the land is coming to life after a long winter. It’s Spring Steelhead season in beautiful Northwestern British Columbia, a wonderful time of renewal — and a wonderful opportunity to hook the fish of a lifetime! From July to May Steelhead enter the Skeena system. In spring, the culmination of the year’s run will be holding in tributaries such as the Kalum and Copper. These fish are the large, wild Steelhead for which British Columbia is world famous. They average 8 to 15 pounds, but a few leviathans pushing the 30-pound mark may very well be lurking within casting range. In this season, you’ll find chrome-bright fish only days from the sea, fish with prominent red stripes and fish of every coloration in between. This is Spring Steelheading at its finest. Around the third week of April, super-aggressive “Springer” Chinook begin to arrive. These chrome-fresh Salmon average 15 to 40 pounds — but can exceed 80! Known for their savage takes and powerful fight, Springer Chinook are world-class fly rod gamefish. Our Spring Steelhead and Chinook packages are among the best values we offer — and among the best to be found in guided angling for trophy Steelhead and Salmon.

We currently have space available during our Spring Steelhead season and will be offering a 10% discount off the 2010 rates during the weeks of:

— March 14 to 20

— March 21 to 27

— March 28 to April 3

If you’re interested in our Spring Steelhead and Chinook program, be sure to contact me today for more details. I can be reached by phone at (250) 635-5295 or by email at chadblack@nicholasdean.com

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SKEENA RIVER FISHING TIP: Fishing sink tips: what kind and how deep should you be fishing?

Sink tips are an integral part of a fly fisher’s arsenal when presenting the fly to a Steelhead or Salmon, yet there are many misconeptions as to when you should fish them, how deep you need to be, and so forth. And, while Steelhead seem to break every rule in the book at times, these 5 general principles will usually serve you well on the river:

1) Consider water temperatures, time of year and the fish you’re searching for. During the Winter, Steelhead are often lethargic and most times won’t aggressively chase down a fly unless it swings past their nose. This is particularly true for those fish that may have been in the river for a few months (exception: fresh, Winter run fish can be quite aggressive despite cold water temperatures). So, err on the heavy side when fishing sink tips in cold water, particularly in deeper pools and runs. Late Summer and Fall run fish can be very aggressive and willing to actively chase down a fly because of warmer water temperatures, so it’s not necessary to fish deep in the water column. In this case, a Type 3 or a type 6 is usually all that’s needed.

2) Make sure that you’re not down too deep. If you have to unsnag your fly every other cast, your sink tip is too heavy for the water in front of you and will prevent you from fishing it effectively. The sink tip should touch the bottom every once in awhile to let you know you’re in the zone, but not much more. Click here to see the rest of the article.


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 water temperatures increasing, Steelhead have been much more receptive to flies, spoons and other presentations than they were earlier in Winter. Though there are some fresh fish moving in the Skeena system, a bump in water conditions will likely push more fish into tributary rivers. I’ve heard reports of Winter Chinook caught in the Prince Rupert harbour and in Douglas Channel near Kitimat. Trout fishing continues to be epic, with olive rabbit leech streamers easily being the most productive pattern.