Saturday, November 14, 2009

Steelhead Fishing with April Vokey!

April Vokey of Fly Gal Ventures is absolutely obsessed with BC Steelhead and we're excited to welcome her to the Nicholas Dean team! April is pictured above leading one of her flies through the bucket on one of her favourite Skeena River tribs...

For those of you who received last week's fishing report [if you haven't, it's available on our Fishing Report Home Page, titled 490th Fishing Report], you've probably heard the news by now that we've combined our fishing talents with fly fishing entrepreneur extradordinaire, April Vokey. In all likelihood, April probably doesn't need an introduction to most anglers, having written articles for several different magazines and guided extensively in the lower BC mainland and other locales. Still, for those of you who may not have heard of April, she operates Fly Gal Ventures, a company that specializes in guided fishing trips, fly casting instruction and workshops, as well as specialized ladies fly fishing apparel.

April will be leading hosted trips and guiding select clients in the 2010 season, so if you'd like to be one of the lucky few to join her on a Steelhead Fly Fishing expedition here at Nicholas Dean Lodge, be sure to contact her at:

We look forward to having April join our team of professionals, as we strive to provide the absolute best in guided fishing adventures for Steelhead and Salmon in the Lower Skeena watershed!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Fly Fishing for Coho - Specialized Techniques

Chrome Northern Coho Salmon such as this 18 lb fish caught by Hamish Barley can be very aggressive upon entering their natal rivers - in this case, one of our favourite Lower Skeena Tributaries - and having the right flies and techniques in your fly fishing repertoire will increase your chances of bringing these fish to hand.

When targeting Coho Salmon on the fly, it's important to keep two things in mind: the type of water that you'll be searching to find fish, and their behavioural preferences. Though you can find Coho in a variety of water types, they most often hold in slower moving pools, on the edge of current seams in what our guides call the "froggy water," and, in particular, anywhere there is cover - most notably, logs, sweepers, and mid-stream boulders. These areas afford Coho the all important features of a river that make them feel comfortable: protection from predators, and slower currents where little energy is required to hold. The nice thing? When you find Coho in these areas, they are often very aggressive.

Locating fish aside, Coho generally require that your fly be animated. It's not that you won't catch fish by simply dead drifting your fly or by swinging it in front of fish, but stripping and twitching your fly so that it looks like it's trying to escape just seems to be one of the major triggers that converts fish into players. So, if you're a die hard Steelhead angler you'll have to modify your tactics slightly. Instead of casting down and across and mending to get that slow swing, cast your fly up and across stream, mend it until it's at the right depth (you'l l have to experiment to see what level they're at - sometimes they're close to the surface, other times, they'll be hugging the bottom), then start a slow, but jerky retrieve once the line drifts down below you. Animation in the fly is best achieved by doing a fast "hand twist retrieve" at the end of the strip - this slight, but essential movement causes the fly to pulse through the water and often makes the difference bewteen an average and exceptional day.

Now, a few notes on fly design and/or choice. For whatever reason, Coho are extremely prone to attacking flies that, when you impart action to it with the rod and line, have a jig like motion. To achieve this, nearly all of our Coho flies have a large metal bead at the front, which causes the fly to dive in the water column after being stripped. The same effect could be achieved by using dumbbell or hourglass eyes, tungsten and conehead beads etc. Next, and perhaps this might be the most importast aspect of fly design - Coho flies require a very liberal use of flash. Our favourites? Flashabou, hands down, as it moves in water much better than does other materials. Using Polar Chenille is also a good choice, and incorporating these two materials into your fly design is a winning combination. In our experience, the most effective colours are varying combinations of chartreuse and silver, but blue, purple, pink and orange are all mainstays in our fly boxes.

So, armed with a little more information on Coho Fly Fishing techniques, be sure to get out there and enjoy your fishing! And, if you want to head out for a day of instruction on our favourite river systems in the Lower Skeena watershed, don't hesitate to get in touch.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Another Great Reason to Fish with Nicholas Dean...

Not unlike most other Steelhead and Salmon rivers around the globe, weather can play a significant role on the Skeena and its tributaries and, as they say, timing is everything. Rain is certainly part of the fishing equation and forms a certain fishing dynamic that anglers must pay attention to when measuring angling success. Catch the river when it's high and rising and you might find that grabbing a few beers at a local pub might be more productive. Catch the river as its dropping into shape and you might find yourself with some of the best Steelhead and Salmon fishing of your life. So what if you've booked your week at a fishing lodge and this happens?

If you're in the wilderness with access to only one river, you might find yourself with a long week ahead of you. While high waters will sometimes affect our fishing program a few days each year, fishing with us at Nicholas Dean Lodge will provide you with a sense of "fishing insurance." Let me explain further. We have rod days on over 50 different rivers, streams and lakes within the Lower Skeena watershed - both classified and unclassified - which means that even during the worst of rain storms, we're in a good position to keep our clients on the water. Moving to a different watershed for Steelhead, sight fishing for trophy Coho Salmon in the 8-20 lb range on the Lower Skeena tributaries, and lake fishing for Rainbow and Cutthroat trout are just a few examples of where we can take you. Join us for a fishing trip in the remainder of the Fall Steelhead and Coho Salmon season this year, and we'll get you on the Copper, Kalum, Skeena, and Nass River tributaries. And, in the unlikely event that the rivers rise, you can rest assured that there will still be some fishing options...

Monday, September 21, 2009

Skeena River Flow Information

The Skeena River and its tributaries are currently experiencing elevated flows, owing to significant rainfall events in the Terrace area, and higher up in the watershed near Smithers. Some rivers typically clean up faster than others, depending on their catchment area, gradient, predominant substrata, quality of riparian habitat and a whole host of other factors. To get a better idea of what's going on with our rivers, check out the Water Survey of Canada website, which has river flow data that is updated daily. Though it doesn't show all of the Skeena's tributaries, it does provide a general idea as to whether rivers are falling, rising or starting to level off.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Steelhead, Salmon and Lodge Photos

Since the new Nicholas Dean Lodge website has been up and running, I've heard lots of great compliments from clients who enjoyed the information and overall look and feel of the site. Every once in awhile though, I have also heard that "the photos are great, but I need more of them!" With this in mind, I have posted several albums on our photo gallery page, complete with photos of Steelhead, Chinook, Coho and our five star Yellow Cedar Lodge.

While the majority of images are from this current season, there are, of course, several classics for your viewing pleasure. I hope you enjoy the trophy Steelhead, giant Chinook and acrobatic Coho pics, and be sure to check back often as I'll update the albums as our clients hook into more wild fish on the Skeena and its tribs...

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Estuary Coho - An Angling Adventure...

The trip in itself could not have been more picturesque. Despite the choppy seas and overcast, rainy conditions, the stark beauty of the north Pacific was evident everywhere you looked. Precipitous mountains reaching skyward from the sea bottom created steep shores, where both old and new growth trees had taken hold. Numerous fjords, smaller channels and waterfalls snaked off towards their own river systems, and if you looked close enough you'd see the odd waterfall from the mountain sides. Half way through the journey we started our fishing by slowly drifting into the shallow estuary waters of small creeks, motor off. We were searching for Coho (Silver) Salmon, fish that are particularly wary when it comes to excess noise. Casting small Gibbs Coho 45 spoons was our preferred method of finding fish, after which we planned to switch over to our fly rods. [The above passage is an exerpt from our 488th Weekly Fishing Report. If you want to read the full story, please go to our Weekly Fishing Report page, where you can also sign up for our fishing report email list]

The miracle fish. My rod broke just below the ferrule on the hookset, forcing me to attempt to land this fish with the tip of the rod and no reel. It was team work at its best, with Connor managing the line from my stripping hand, and Dustin on the net. An exciting battle and not one that we'll likely forget anytime soon...

Dustin on the casting deck. Given the proper angle of the sun and reflection on the water, it was actually quite easy to see pods of Coho - numbering 3 to as many as a dozen fish - and watch them move off to intercept your fly. Nerves of steel and a fast, choppy retrieve are what's needed to convert a follow to a hooked fish.

Estuary Coho and the places you find them give anglers a special chance to experience fishing in a true wilderness setting.

Doing the "Coho strip." Making sure the fly pulses and moves well through the water is key to attracting and keeping fish attracted to your fly. This is best achieved by rotating your hand at the end of a fast strip, almost like the classic "hand twist retrieve."

Dustin, the king of sight fishing Coho Salmon, hooked up on a fish estimated to weigh over 20 lbs. This fish did two full circles around the boat, lept out of the water three times and took Dustin 75 yards into his backing. Hard to imagine a better game fish...

It took two sets with two crab traps to get our limit of keeper sized crabs. Talk about good 'crabbin', and definitely great eating...

Not one of Connor's finest moments, but good for a laugh! This starfish somehow made its way into one of our crab traps and onto Connor's head prior to being released back to the Ocean.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Promotion for the 2010 Season

Ever wanted to fish the world renowned waters of the Skeena River but just haven't made it there yet? Whether your preference is skating a dry fly in the tailout of a boulder-studded pool on the Copper River for trophy Steelhead or targeting the monster Summer Chinook (Kings) of the Skeena River - this is your opportunity. We are offering a promotion now that will save you money on trip costs and get you fishing. It goes like this: if we receive a 50% deposit prior to October 1, 2009, we will book you on a trip for the 2010 season at the 2009 rates. Contact us today to reserve your space during the best weeks in 2010 and see why the Skeena River and its tributaries have the reputation they do...

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

2009 - A Great Year for Trophy Chinook Salmon!

Simply put, there were some montser Chinook Salmon caught on the Skeena River this year by a number of our clients. The largest? A fish that was 49 inches long with a 35 inch girth, and estimated to be in the 80 lb range. While monsters such as these are the fish of a lifetime, the average size of Skeena Chinook are no less impressive. Spend a week with one of our guides during prime time - July 1 to August 6 - and you can reasonably expect to tie into fish in the 45 to 60 lb range. Be sure to check out these select photos of Chinook caught by clients during 2009:

This large male, caught by Andrea Scaramella in late July, weight almost 60 lbs.

Bob Cusick, right, has been fishing the Skeena each for over 10 years, in search of a trophy Chinook over 70 lbs. Though he caught two in the 65 lb range in 2008, they fell a little short of the mark. That is, until July 2009. Pictured with guide Greg Buck, Bob is holding his 70 lb Chinook - a mammoth fish that he released back into the waters of the Skeena.

And then there's the monster. Greg Buck holds client Ron Kostich' 80 lb Chinook, which measured over four ft long. This is reputed to be the largest Chinook caught on the Skeena River during the 2009 season.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Nicholas Dean Lodge on Fly Fish Map!

Ever wanted to know exactly where Nicholas Dean Lodge is situated? If so, be sure to check out and find us by scrolling over to Northern BC. Or, click on our Guiding and Lodge pages to get you there directly.

As you can see, we're stuck right in the middle of big fish country on the Skeena system, just west of Terrace - an ideal place to intercept the world's greatest Steelhead and Salmon...

Thursday, May 14, 2009

486th Fishing Report from Nicholas Dean Lodge

Remote Coastal Steelhead fishing at its best! Sonja Sorbo hooked this huge 20 lb buck in a deep pocket at the head of a shallow riffle on one of our favourite small streams. Dustin Kovacvich Photo

Hello Anglers,

After a break in my fishing reports over the last while, I'm back with much exciting news! First off, I must formally congratulate Dustin and his wife Ruby, on their new addition to the family, Cayleigh Marie Kovacvich. Cayleigh was born on March 22, 2009 around 6:30 am, and weighed 7 lbs, 1 ounce. I'm happy to report that Cayleigh, Ruby and Dustin are doing well, and that as of this writing, Cayleigh does not yet have a fly rod in her hands, but given a few more months, I'm sure that she'll have the double spey down before she can say Daddy! Be sure to check out our updated blog site at to see photos of Cayleigh, Ruby and Dustin, along with other updated fishing news.

Our Spring Steelhead opener during the last week of March posed difficult angling conditions, as we were greeted with temperatures well below zero and river levels very low and clear. Many of our favourite pools and holding water were virtually inaccessible by usual means, unless anglers were willing to embark on lengthy and often challenging hikes through snow up to one's waist. Now, as most anglers can probably attest, the measure of a good guide and lodge can often be judged on how hard its staff work to ensure clients have an enjoyable trip, and one that maximizes angling opportunity which, in these conditions, was no easy feat! To get around this, we simply had to improvise...

Our solution: a snowmobile placed strategically at the take out location, to ferry clients and our 12' Aire rafts up the river valley and a farmer's field, to trucks waiting nearby. Not an easy day by any stretch, but realistically, this logistical maneouvre made all the difference, as most fish were caught mid way through the drift in deep, slower moving pools that afforded Steelhead some security. Taft Ring, a new client of ours, fared out best during these tough conditions, with several Steelhead landed during the week, the largest of which was in the 22 lb range. Taft had a particularly deft touch when it came to manipulating his fly on the swing - most of his grabs occurred just after twitching his rod tip, to animate his fly in the slow moving currents. Congratulations Taft, and we look forward to seeing you again next year!

Certainly one of the highlights this Spring was having the opportunity to fish and spend time with renowned angler, Lani Waller. It is obvious that Lani is a wealth of knowledge when it comes to the subject of Steelhead fly fishing, and he conveys this knowledge and a love of Steelhead quite well through his stories, accumulated over many years spent on the water. His new book, entitled "A Steelheader's Way" is a great read, and one that combines Lani's advanced knowledge of Steelhead fly fishing tactics, with a unique philosophical perspective on Steelhead. I highly recommend adding Lani's book to your personal library if you're a serious Steelhead angler. Lani can be reached at

Finally, I'm pleased to say that we've now made the transition to spectacular Yellow Cedar Lodge (! This move has been a long time in the making for us, and we have been extremely impressed with the accommodations, service, and dining provided for our guests by Alf and Simone Leslie. Riverfront mountain views, private rooms with ensuite washrooms, amenities including a hot tub, sauna, games room and patio, and spectacularly prepared meals all combine to give guests a 5 star appeal. Paired up with the unparalleled knowledge our guides have of our local waters, Steelhead and Salmon fishing trips simply don't get much better. For those of you who would like a little more information on Yellow Cedar Lodge, or our first class fishing packages, please contact me today by email (, or by phone (250-635-5295).

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

Chad Black
Operations Manager
Nicholas Dean Lodge

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Yellow Cedar Lodge - An Update!

An impressive view of Yellow Cedar Lodge's inviting exterior...

Yellow Cedar Lodge has proved to be a fantastic fit here at the tail end of our Spring season, and has certainly been well received by clients. Though Dustin and I were smitten with the lodge building and its accommodations at first sight, if we knew what Alf and Simone's cooking was like, we also would have fallen easily for the culinary delights coming out of the kitchen! Wild, smoked Pacific Salmon served over sweet potato ravioli, and roasted chicken on a bed of risotto are just a few of the many incredible entrees Alf and Simone create, which, along with homemade salad dressings and dessert combine to make Yellow Cedar Lodge a destination for some of the finest dining available in the north!

The lounge just above the dining area is a great place to sit down and enjoy your favourite book, catch up on emails, or simply chat with friends.

Comfortable beds and spacious rooms with ensuite washrooms provide the ultimate in comfort and privacy after a great day of fishing.

A New Addition to the Kovacvich Family!

I am happy to report that Ruby and Dustin are now the very proud parents of a beautiful baby girl, named Cayleigh Marie Kovacvich! Cayleigh was born on Sunday March 22 around 6:30 am, and was 7 lbs, 1 ounce.

A few months back, Ruby and I were talking about just how excited Dustin was about the baby, and the length of time it was going to take before there was a fishing rod in his or her hands! I suggested, jokingly, that it was going to take less than a year. But, as you can see from the photo, we were clearly wrong - Cayleigh was born with a fishing rod already in her hands!

Kidding aside, Ruby and Dustin will no doubt be great parents and create a warm, loving family atmosphere for Cayleigh in the coming years. Join me in a toast for Ruby, Dustin and Cayleigh!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Monster Skeena Steelhead!

In mid August of 2008, Chris Gilles was lucky enough to be at the right spot at the right time while fishing on the Skeena River near Terrace. Chris, new to fly fishing, hooked this giant summer Steelhead on the very first morning of his trip. The group of 7 anglers, including myself, consider ourselves very lucky to have seen this massive Skeena Steelhead. Many thanks go to Noel Gyger for documenting this exciting experience for us all!

If you've ever wanted to fish for these incredibly hot fish on the Skeena, but haven't been able to do so, now is your opportunity! One week of prime Summer fishing for Steelhead and all species of Pacific Salmon has now become available in mid August. In actual fact, it is the same week that Chris Gilles landed his big fish. Contact me today at, or by phone at (250) 635-5295 for more details on how you can secure your space during this prime time week. On one last note: for anglers in the US, don't forget that exchange rates are now the lowest they've been in a long time. This means that you can book trips with us at a much reduced rate compared to last year, and previous years...

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Lani Waller to fish at Nicholas Dean Lodge!

In the world of Steelhead fly fishing, there are few anglers who are more well known and iconic than Lani Waller. He has long been considered one of the foremost experts on the subject, and the videos he filmed in the early 1980s on the Deschutes and Babine rivers are classics which have undoubtedly helped and captivated many Steelhead anglers along the way.

This year, we are excited to have Lani join us for a week of Spring Steelhead fishing at the lodge in early April - only a few weeks away! Be sure to check back in a few weeks as we post photos, stories, and other notes about this legendary Steelhead angler...

Friday, March 13, 2009

Nicholas Dean now on Facebook!

With the growing popularity of Facebook worldwide, we've decided to hop on board and become part of this revolution! If you're presently signed up on Facebook, look for our new Nicholas Dean Lodge business page, and join our group. Along with providing a forum to discuss the great Steelhead and Salmon fishery available on the Skeena and its tributaries, it will also give members a chance to network with other similar minded, die-hard anglers. Not to mention the many other benefits, including trip promotions, noteworthy news and, of course, great fishing photos...

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Late Spring Openings - Adventure Steelhead!

Fresh, chrome Steelhead are commonplace from remote coastal tributaries.
During the last 5 years, we have been developing an "Adventure Steelhead" program, in which anglers have a chance to fish small, not-to-be-named remote coastal rivers with epic fishing for Steelhead in the 8 to 20 lb range. These intimate rivers, which carve their way through stands of old growth forests on their way to the Pacific, attract fish which are very much comparable in size to those from the renowned Skeena and its tributaries.

But, we have to be honest about this type of fishery. It's often not an easy one, nor one for the faint of heart. By their virtue, these small streams are remote, can be somewhat tricky to wade and hike along, and Steelhead often enter the systems during late April and early May - very close to the late May and June spawn - making it a short window of opportunity to pursue them. However, when timed right, this fishery can provide some of the most memorable angling experiences you're likely to ever encounter. Add to this the opportunity to fish for aggressive Spring Chinook averaging 20-35 lbs on a local Skeena tributary, and this makes for one of the most exciting fishing packages we can offer!

If you're interested in this Adventure Steelhead and Chinook program, be sure to contact me today for more details. We currently have two (2) spaces available during the week of May 3 to 9, but expect these last spaces to fill quickly. I can be reached by phone at (250) 635-5295 or by email at Jeff Bright will also be hosting a trip in late April, and currently has space available if you'd like to join him. For more information on this unique fishery and the details of Jeff's week, check out his Remote BC Coast Steelhead and Spring Chinook package brochure found on his Hosted Travel page. Jeff can be reached at

Getting the measurements on a hard fighting Steelhead from a small stream.

485th Fishing Report from Nicholas Dean Lodge

Jason Smith cradles an 18 lb remote coastal river Steelhead
Hello Anglers,

I hope this newsletter finds you all doing well and pursuing your fishing addictions with rod and reel. Though there are a variety of reasons why, I must unfortunately report that my fishing adventures have been much too few and far between. This would, in all likelihood, explain why I've been experiencing this nagging twitch every now and again - cabin fever is certainly getting the best of me! Kidding aside, my lack of fishing has translated into some much needed time at my fly tying vise, and dreaming of those picture perfect days on the river. A day where I can feel the warmth of the sun as it rises over the mountain peaks, and sense my homemade Intruder fly, most likely the fishy two-tone pink colour that worked so well last Fall, as it swims its way through the deep slot in front of me.

The tug of a Winter Steelhead -whether it's the smashing grab of an aggressive buck, or a simple tightening of the line- is one that I think of often, but do not necessarily need for a successful day on the river. Simply spending time on the water on one's favourite run, making long, graceful casts to the far bank, and smelling a forest coming to life after a long, cold winter are some of the other great experiences that Steelhead fishing offers. Witnessing the sound of a reel as it screams in protest under the pull of a strong fish, and admiring a chrome bright fish brought to hand isn't all that bad either...

Thankfully, Winter seems to be loosening its grip in the Lower Skeena valley, giving way to warmer Spring conditions. Though it's still possible to get those rogue snowstorms in this part of the country as late as early April, the general trend is for warming temperatures and longer daylight hours. Translation: better Steelhead fishing conditions. After a long, cold winter, water temperatures are just a few degrees above freezing and Steelhead can be very sluggish on the Skeena and its tributaries, but as these temperatures increase, so too does the activity of Steelhead.

So, based on the present conditions, what do I anticipate for the early season? Because the Spring season through late March and early May sees some of the most reliable, consistent water flows over the course of the Steelheader's year, and the bulk of the Summer, Fall, Winter and Spring run fish are holding in classic runs and pools, I expect the fishing to be good. On our favourite local river, in most cases, we don't have to guess whether there are Steelhead in a particular run, or not. We know they're there. It just depends on the mood of the fish that day, and if you have the fly or lure that that particular Steelhead wants. Moreover, reports from regional biologists have suggested that when a river's Summer and Fall Steelhead runs are strong, this often correlates with Winter and Spring run fish as well. Given that the 2008 Steelhead run was one of the better ones in the last 5 years suggests that this Spring should provide reliable fishing.

Plus, the last few days that our guides have been out fishing could best be described as "epic." Sky Richard and Cam Thiessen floated a wilderness river a few weeks ago using pontoon boats and Abel crafts, which enabled them to reach waters seldom fished this Winter, and the results were worth the extra effort. Cam landed 3 Steelhead, ranging from chrome bright to lightly coloured, and Sky landed 6 of the 10 Steelhead he hooked. A week later, Dustin landed 2 Steelhead out of the 4 he hooked in a mere 3 hours of spey fishing. One was a smaller hen of 7-8 lbs, and the second of the two bright fish were 14 lbs. With water conditions only improving as we approach our March 22 Spring opener, we look forward to another great season ahead as we provide the very best in guided fishing adventures in Northwestern BC.

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

Chad Black
Operations Manager
Nicholas Dean Lodge
(250) 635-5295

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

484th Fishing Report from Nicholas Dean Lodge

No, this fish has not been through photoshop! Randy Marshall hooked and landed this monster Chinook Salmon on the Skeena in mid July this year with the help of Nicholas Dean guide, Greg Buck. The fish was esimated to weigh 70 lbs. Nelson Furtado Photo ___________________________________________________________

Hello Anglers,

For the die hard angler who likes to pursue his or her addiction, this winter has not been a good one. For most of December, a cold snap where temperatures reached lows of -25 C was commonplace, making skating and ice hockey a much better and more successful pursuit than river fishing. January snowstorms blanketed Terrace in several feet of snow on numerous occasions and even getting to the river has been a difficult proposition! This is not to say that ice fishing isn't an option - it is, and I've heard some good reports of Cutthroat being caught - but my personal preference would be for catching up on some much needed fly tying to fill the holes in my fly boxes, and dream of days to come where I can launch a long cast over favourite pools, and anticipate the excitement of the grab.

It's also a time for us to reflect back on the fishing we had in 2008, and look forward to the 2009 season. Actually, when sitting down to weigh through my options for a photo for this week's report, I had a difficult time trying to decide which one to choose, owing to the great photos taken by our clients and guides. However, I finally decided to use a photo of Randy Marshall's (of Randy's River Guiding) giant Chinook that he landed in mid July with one of our guides, Greg Buck, for the simple fact that it's a massive fish. At 70 lbs, it's the biggest Chinook I've ever seen, and the story of how this fish was caught only makes it that much more impressive.

Back in the early Summer last year, water conditions were prime on the Skeena from late June all through the month of July during the typical peak Chinook fishing period, and Greg and his son Josh took advantage of this by being on the water nearly everyday. On this particular day, they had been backtrolling on the Skeena River near Terrace with some success, and Randy Marshall decided to join them around mid day. Instead of making their usual backtrolling runs down the river, they decided to back bounce slowly down the river, targeting the deep pools of the Skeena where Chinook like to hold. Having tried back bouncing last year with Dustin, I can say with all honesty that it takes a bit of getting used to, and that my ability to detect strikes needs a little work. Essentially, you attach a heavy lead weight (or lead substitute) to your line via a three way swivel, along with a big chunk of roe and a fluorescent coloured cheater, and you lift and drop this rig off the bottom as the current pushes you downriver. Takes can be very light, so you have to be very attentive - sometimes the only thing you'll feel is your line going slack on the way down.

After starting to back bounce down a favourite run on the Skeena, Randy hooked into what felt like a large fish. Large Chinook have a tendency to test the limits of even heavy action rods and level wind reels, and this fish was no exception. After several large head shakes, the fish sounded and peeled off line as it used the flow of the Skeena to its advantage. To give them the best chance of landing this fish, Greg expertly manoeuvred the boat downriver, following the fish, until he was able to find a good location on shore to get out. Once there, Randy was able to apply enough pressure to tire the fish and work him into the shallows. With what I'm sure was a triumphant moment, Greg netted the fish in one scoop before the fish had a chance to head back to the middle of the river. Afterwards, Greg told me that the fish was so large it was difficult to fit in the net! As they set about taking a few photos of the fish prior to its release, they realized that they were even more fortunate to have landed this fish after inspecting the mouth. Apparently, a large, silver hook was still imbedded in its giant mouth, likely a remnant of a Commercial Salmon fisherman's lines, and caught within the eye of this hook, was Randy's 4/0 Gamakatsu! Now, when you sit down and think of the odds of catching a fish this size, this feat almost defies logic. I mean, what are the chances that after a Chinook made a move for your bait, that you were able to catch the eye of another hook - and have this hook stay in place? I'm sure that Greg, Randy, and Nelson Furtado (the photographer) will not forget this fish anytime soon...

On the heels of a great Chinook season in 2008, we expect the 2009 season to be a fantastic one as well. Whether you prefer to back troll down the mighty Skeena (or back bounce!), or casting spoons on the Kitimat, you can be sure that some of the largest Chinook in the world will be ascending our rivers. Of course, if you're a fly angler looking to hook into these great game fish on the fly, we do have several options for you as well, including fishing on a remote, intimate wilderness river that holds fish up to 70 lbs. To find out more about our Trophy Chinook and Fly Fishing packages, as well as many others, please visit our Pricing and Packages page on our website, at

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

Chad Black
Operations Manager
Nicholas Dean Lodge

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

A Great Time to Book for 2009!

With the 2009 fishing season fast approaching, we are gearing up for what looks to be a fantastic season. Starting with our Spring Steelhead and Chinook season, anglers at our lodge will search for large, trophy Steelhead with their favourite flies and lures after a long, cool winter. We all know how tough the winter can be for us die hard anglers, so why not start your fishing season on a high note with one of our trophy Spring Steelhead trips? In most years, the Spring yields the largest fish of the year - fish in excess of 20 lbs. Knowing that the bulk of the Steelhead return - Summer, Fall, Winter, and Early Spring fish - are holding in the pools in front of you is always something to keep in the back of your mind as you search a river's cool waters.

And, particularly for those anglers hailing from south of our border, this is a great time to book a trip. With the favourable exchange rates being what they are, a trip that is normally $3695.00 CDN converts to approximately $3050.00 USD! In all likelihood, this is probably a cheaper rate than what you might have paid in 2008! We still have some space available during our best weeks for Spring Steelhead and our other packages that we offer, including: Trophy Chinook, Summer Steelhead and Salmon, Fall Steelhead and Trophy Coho, and Early Winter Steelhead. As is usually the case, our prime time spaces tend to book quite far in advance, so be sure to contact us at the lodge today to reserve your space during the best fishing!