Thursday, November 13, 2008

481st Fishing Report from Nicholas Dean Lodge

An intimate wilderness fishing experience is one of the elements we strive to provide guests, with old growth forests, inspiring mountain views, and wild fish. Here, Jim McDevitt plays a Steelhead taken on a dry fly from a remote river. Dale Bright Photo

Hello Anglers,

At this time of year, we are in a period of transition, with the brilliant change in fall colours to more subtle tones after a blanket of snow. It also signals the close of our guiding season, as we look forward to and prepare for another successful season only a few short months away. But it is also a time of year when the guides, including myself, get to go fishing. The only "problem" that we are to encounter at this point, is which river and type of fishing to choose from. Within a half hour drive from the lodge, there are several river systems that pull on you, making the choice all the more difficult. On one small, intimate river, we are likely to fish light fly rods with egg flies, to target the numerous Cutthroat, Rainbow and Bull Trout that gorge on the fruit of spawning Coho Salmon. Every once in awhile, one of these "trout" turn into a Steelhead too. Another river, more turbulent and typical of northwest BC rivers, even this late in the season will still give you an opportunity for Steelhead on waking dry flies, if conditions are right (and by that I mean water height and temperature). A different river, larger and more glacial and receives strong runs of late season fish, provides a great opportunity to fish large, 5 inch flies on heavy sink tips for Steelhead that push and often well exceed the 20 lb mark.

Then, there's the Skeena itself - still quite large by most standards - but a fraction of its size during average Summer flows. Here, you might find a pod of trophy Cutthroat trout, as my brother Chris and I did last year, or you might find a few Steelhead, chrome bright, waiting along its edges temporarily before shooting up into a tributary river. More often that not, I do find myself reaching for my 9140 Spey rod, a powerful Burkheimer blank that helps throw my favourite offerings into deep, secluded boulder fields and slower moving tailouts. There's just something to be said about the enjoyment of stretching out with the double handed rod, whether it's a 40 ft cast or 100 ft cast, making that ever important first mend to set up the swing, and following through in anticipation. You have to sort through a variety of different factors to get to this point - which pool might fish best given the water height and clarity, proper placement in the pool, how deep you want to fish your fly, the type of fly itself. A large fly would certainly move the most water and invoke the attention of a resting Steelhead, but it might also spook them if they've been fished over a few times. It is choices like these that make Steelhead fishing so alluring - searching, trying to find the answers, and there's only one thing to be certain - that it will be different each time you step into the river. Being in the position I'm in has allowed me to fish with and learn from some of the best anglers around, particularly our guides. Not only is their first-hand knowledge of the water and fish second to none, they are also very good teachers and have taught me both by example and by observation. In this light, it is certainly evident why guests almost always rave about our guides.

Personal reflections aside, I must say that it has been a very successful year for us, and this is directly attributable to you - our clients. It is a priviledge and honour to be able to take you out on our favourite rivers, share in the wilderness experiences to be found there, and enjoy the camaraderie that always seems to stem from an enjoyable day of fishing. As we look ahead to the 2009 season, we will continue providing our first class service and dedication to a profession that we all love, and we hope that you'll consider joining us. Whether it's swinging large flies for Spring Steelhead, backtrolling for Chinook on the mighty Skeena, waking a dry fly over boulder studded runs, or sight fishing to fresh pods of Coho Salmon, we'll undoubtedly have a package or style of fishing that you will enjoy.

Until next week, tight lines and screaming reels...

Chad Black

Operations Manager