Friday, December 3, 2010

Skeena Camp 2011 - Mint Bright Steelhead at an Exceptional Value

Why the Skeena Camp?  Because you can hook into and sometimes land big, bright fish like this.  Jeff Bright bested this 18 lb buck after a long, dogged fight that took him well into the backing.  Strong rods, heavy gauge hooks and tippets down to 20 or even 25 lbs are common tools required to land these fish.

Simply put, the Skeena River is a super fish superhighway - a travelling lane for the largest Steelhead and Salmon in the world.  In Summer and early Fall, the lower main channel Skeena hosts vast numbers of migrating Steelhead, Chinook, Coho, Sockeye and Pinks headed for numerous upriver tributaries.  To take full advantage of this fishery and offer a high quality, high value adventure, we set out to create an on-river Skeena camp that would appeal to both novice and seasoned Steelhead anglers.  That was back in 2005 and, since then, we've gotten the camp down to a science and is now one of our most popular packages with clients.  And, why not when you're hooking into the big Kispiox, Sustut, Babine, Copper and Kalum fish when they're in peak condition on the Skeena and just days from the salt?  If that's not incentive enough, the ability to fish for up to 15 hours a day just might be, since it's light out till after 9 pm.  After all, you're right at the water's edge and can fish as much or as little as you like, on your own time.

To top it off, we've teamed up with some great trip hosts for the 2011 season.  If you'd like to join one of our hosts or come on your own, I encourage you to read on!

Peak times for the the Skeena Camp in 2011 are:
  • July 31 to August 6
  • August 7 to 13
  • August 14 to 20 - with host Jeff Bright
  • August 21 to 27 - with host Jeff Bright
  • August 29 to Sept. 4 - with host April Vokey
  • September 4 to 10 - with hosts Nick Pujic and Paul Castellano
What follows is a slideshow courtesy of Jeff Bright (, Steelhead fly fisher extraordinaire and Nicholas Dean Lodge booking agent.  Jeff's been with us every step of the way in developing the camp into the high value package it is today and, given his remarkable talents as a photographer, has been able to capture the flavour of the camp, in terms of the fish, accommodations, food and overall experience. 

Normally, my catch phrase is "tight lines and screaming reels," but in this case, it's more like "tight lines and smoking reels..."  Enjoy the photos!

Sheree Kajiwara and camp guide/attendant Connor Sabo with an exceptionally bright Steelhead that taped in just over 16 lbs. 
Just back in the bushes and on one of the best runs on the middle Skeena, our camp is both scenic and productive - two very key considerations when looking for that ideal site.  Clients sleep on cots with foam pads in individual tents, affording both comfort and privacy.  
 Lunch is served!  Vegetables and chicken bugers fresh off the grill are typical lunch fare at the camp.  Unfortunately for Yvan Sabourin, our camp cook, many clients simply can't be pried off the river when a wave of fresh Steelhead are passing through.  Being an avid angler himself, Yvan of course understands...
Yvan making last minute preparations for a hearty dinner: grilled steak made to order, mashed potatoes and a fresh garden salad.
Summer Steelhead are strong and beefy right to the tail - part of the reason why only two thirds of them are typically landed!
Richard Izmarian and head guide Dustin Kovacvich take a few moments to admire a bright Steelhead only days from the Ocean.  Hooking into these bright fish is one thing, but landing them can be an entirely different proposition...
A large, fast flowing river combined with super hot, strong fish equals sizzling runs way, way into the backing.
 Coho salmon - an incredible game fish in their own right - start to show up frequently on the Skeena in early August, and the run continues to build through the end of the month and into September.  Aggressive, high flying and acrobatic, these fish average 8 to 15 lbs and often fight so hard they're mistaken for Steelhead.
 Will Colson from Chico, California has been a guest at the Skeena Camp since its first inception back in 2005.  You won't meet a nicer angler who genuinely enjoys the feeling of being on a wild river with wild, bright fish.  And, he's one heck of an angler too...
 Patience and persistence is key in this migratory fishery, and Cindy Charles displayed both.  Cindy kept her fly in the water and consistently hooked - and landed - several Steelhead like this mid teens buck.
 Long time repeat guest and veteran rod maker Martin Walker got in on the Skeena Camp action this year, and no one was more difficult to get off the river than Martin.  This fresh 15 lb buck is evidence why.
The early bird gets the worm, as they say, though at the camp, it more often refers to Steelhead.  I set the alarm for 4:50 am one morning and joined Will Colson and Jeff Bright for an incredible two hours of fishing before breakfast.  Two Steelhead, several Coho and many Sockeye later, I was a very happy angler...
Fresh, Summer run Steelhead on the Skeena are undoubtedly exquisite fish and remind us just how valuable they are.
 The definition of white chrome - a shimmering, silver body and translucent fins.  Steelhead don't get much fresher.
If there's one thing that may have jumped out at you by looking at these photos, it's likely the brightness of the fish.  That's because they're arguably some of the freshest, strongest Steelhead you'll ever encounter - anywhere!  Steelhead with sea lice are a daily occurrence, so you know these fish aren't far from the salt.  And, they act accordingly...
Don't miss your opportunity to join in on some of the best fishing available on the Skeena in 2011!   If  you have questions about the Skeena Camp or want to join us for the fishing adventure of a lifetime, don't hesitate to get in touch with either myself ( or our trip hosts:

Check out our Skeena Camp Brochure for more information on this exciting trip...

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Steelhead and Soul Fish 2!

Mikey Weir of Burl Productions, the guy who produced the epic fly fishing video SOULFISH several years ago, is up filming his Steelhead Fly Fishing segment for SOULFISH 2, his latest film. Joining him is professional snowboarder and fly angler, Eric Jackson, and April Vokey, owner/operator of Fly Gal Ventures, and Nicholas Dean Lodge booking agent/trip host.  SOULFISH 2 is slated for completion in 2011 and needless to say, we're very excited about being involved in this unique project!  Be sure to check it out!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

THE Skeena Steelhead Trailer

The reel deal: the Skeena Steelhead Trailer from Fly Max Films/Fly Nation TV:

Fly Nation TV: Skeena Steelhead Trailer from Nick Pujic on Vimeo.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Fly Max Films and Skeena Steelhead

Last week I posted a link to Fly Max Film's Facebook page, which features our Skeena Steelhead Trailer - a brief but infectious glimpse at the amazingly good Steelhead fishing the group found while staying with us and Yellow Cedar Lodge a few weeks ago. However, if you're not on Facebook, you might've been left wondering what the buzz was all about. Fear not! The new Fly Max Films website is now up and running and the Skeena Steelhead Trailer is the current featured video. And, don't worry, I'll let you know when the final cut is out...

Monday, October 4, 2010

It's Here - Fly Nation' Skeena Steelhead Trailer!

Just one of many memorable moments while fiming with the Fly Nation crew in mid September.  Here, Andrea Charlton and Dustin Kovacvich display a Steelhead double header - one of two on this day!  Nick Pujic Photo
A few weeks ago, the Nicholas Dean crew and our partners, Alf and Simone at Yellow Cedar Lodge had the pleasure of hosting Nick Pujic, Tim Myers, April Vokey (of Fly Gal Ventures) and Andrea Charlton of Fly Nation on their quest to sample our Fall Steelhead fishery and get it on film.  The result?  Epic footage which includes Steelhead double headers, Steelhead sipping dry flies off the surace and an adventure only to be found in northwest British Columbia.  If you're on Facebook, be sure to check out the following:

--THE Skeena Steelhead Trailer - A short exerpt of the forthcoming final cut. Warning - this will make you want to go Steelhead fishing!
-- Join the Nicholas Dean Lodge Facebook Group for updates on our fishing, promotions and more,  and the Fly Max Films Facebook Group for updates on their incredible film work and worldwide fishing travels.

Stay tuned for more photos and video updates over the coming weeks and months!

Monday, September 27, 2010

2010 Discounted Steelhead Weeks - Great Fishing and Great Value!

Alistair Robjent of Robjent's Fine Country Pursuits joined Pete McLeod in early September to see what our Steelhead and Salmon fishery was all about.  With the fishing exceptionally good on both wet and dry flies, it was indeed difficult to get Alistair off the river!  Pete McLeod and his staff operate Aardvark McLeod, a travel company dedicated to providing the best in international fly fishing trips.

It's been an absoutely stellar Summer and Fall Steelhead season thus far on the Lower Skeena system near Terrace.  Near record numbers of Steelhead have returned this year and our fishing has been far and away the best it has been in years!  August on the Skeena Camp saw more Steelhead hook ups than in any other previous camps; I say hook ups because many of these fish were simply too fresh and too hot to land!  Now, many of these fish will be in the Skeena's tributary rivers,where our clients have enjoyed exceptional days of Steelhead fishing.  

If you've ever been interested in fishing the Skeena and can sneak away for a week in the next month, I can assure you that this season is not one that you'll want to miss!  And, since we've had a few recent cancellations, we are offering discounts off select weeks - which make it that much more attractive. Dates, rates and availability are as follows:

-- October 3 to 9 - one space available
-- October 10 to 16 - two spaces available
-- October 31 to November 6 - four spaces available

Normal 2010 rates are: $3595.00 CDN plus taxes (double occupancy) and $3795.00 CDN plus taxes (single occupancy); Discounted rates are: $3200.00 CDN plus taxes (double occupancy) and $3400.00 CDN plus taxes (single occupancy).  Rates based on 5 days of guided fishing, all meals and 6 night's accommodations at our partnering facility, Yellow Cedar Lodge.

Contact me at or (250) 641-1551 for more information on your trip of a lifetime!

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Skeena Summer Steelhead at a DISCOUNT PRICE!

A "proper" 25 lb Skeena Steelhead landed during mid August - peak run timing on the Skeena for these migrating fish
With a recent cancellation during one of our best Summer Steelhead and Salmon weeks of the year, we are offering trips at a discounted rate of 20% off. So, that means our lodge trips are starting at just $2850.00 CDN - which includes 5 days of guided fishing, all meals and 6 nights at Yellow Cedar Lodge.  The ever popular on-river Skeena Camp package is priced at $1860.00 - for 5 plus days of fishing! If you've been thinking of going on a Steelhead trip but for whatever reason it hasn't materialized, this is YOUR chance at what may be one of the best Steelhead returns on the Skeena in years.  Steelhead numbers past the Tyee Test Fishery are nearly double the historical average, meaning that you've got an even better chance at hooking into the Skeena's monster fish - fish aproaching and well over 20 lbs that are just plain mean!  If one of these trips picques your interest, contact me today ( or 250-635-5295) for more information, or check out our Summer Steelhead/Salmon and Skeena Camp brochures...

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Co-Ed Learn to Fly Fish Weekend with April Vokey

Are you Interested in learning how to fly fish and having a shot at some of the most prolific Steelhead and Salmon fishing in the world?  Or, perhaps your significant other has been hinting that they'd like to join you on one of your fishing adventures?  If so, block off your calendar from August 6 to 8, 2010.  April Vokey of Fly Gal Ventures will be teaching and hosting a weekend retreat at our five star lodge, which includes 3 days of fishing/instruction, 2 nights accommodations and all meals.  This learn to fly fish retreat is limited to 8 anglers, so booking early is recommended.  Cost is $895.00 CDN/person.  For more information or to confirm your space, please feel free to get in touch with either myself ( or 250-635-5295) or April at:

Steelhead on the Remote Coast - A Story in the Making

In early May 2010, the Nicholas Dean guide staff and the folks at Yellow Cedar Lodge had the pleasure of hosting some of the most well known anglers in the fly fishing community: Steve Rajeff, world champion fly caster and chief rod designer at Loomis, Ross Purnell, editor of Fly Fisherman magazine, Bruce Holt, communications director at Loomis, and April Vokey, world class writer, guide and operator of Fly Gal Ventures.  Collectively, the group searched for bright Spring Steelhead on the Skeena and Kalum, as well as small remote rivers off the BC coast as part of our Adventure Steelhead program.  What follows is a brief report on their trip - of memorable moments and memorable fish; however, be sure to look for April's feature article in a future issue of Fly Fisherman, slated for late 2010/early 2011.

On a remote stream off the north BC coast, April Vokey fights a bright Steelhead under the guidance of Nicholas Dean Lodge guide, Dustin Kovacvich. Ross Purnell photo

Coastal river Steelhead are both strong and brilliantly coloured.  Here, Ross Purnell of Fly Fisherman magazine snaps a few of April admiring her fish.

With warming water temperatures, coastal river Steelhead are both aggressive and exceptionally strong fighters.

Yellow Cedar Lodge - our partnering five star lodge where April, Ross, Steve and Bruce relaxed in the evenings after chasing Steelhead on the Skeena, Kalum and remote coastal rivers.  

An 8 lb hen that fell to a well presented marabou fly, swung on a tight line. April Vokey photo

Can you tell that April is happy to be out Steelhead fishing? Bruce Holt photo

 Fishing the "Picnic Table" from the high bank side.  On the Kalum River in low water conditions, many pools tend to swing and fish better when fished from the bank you'd normally fish in higher flows.  Here, April bombs one out amongst classic west coast mountain views. Bruce Holt photo

Bruce Holt and Sky Richard with a nice Steelhead from the Upper Kalum. Bruce Holt Photo

 Steve Rajeff airing out a long one en route to the Skeena's far bank. Bruce Holt photo

Ross, Steve and Sky pause for a few brief moments before getting back on the water. Bruce Holt photo

 Lower 16, as it's affectionately known, is a massively long, slow moving run that Steelhead love to hold in.  Lengthy casts and a long slow, swing are needed to cover this run well. Ross Purnell photo

Accessing remote coastal rivers is never easy, but herein lies the adventure.  On this day, Dustin, Ross and April launched a jet boat in the Ocean, travelled many kilometres and then scrambled along the rocky river bank lined with devil's club.  But, the rewards were well worth it...Ross Purnell photo
Single hand and switch rods are ideal tools to use while fishing small streams.  Plus, they're a lot of fun to fight fish on. Ross Purnell Photo

A sea run hen fresh from the Ocean - only a kilometre away.  Ross Purnell Photo

Ross with a good one from the Upper Kalum.  Bruce Holt Photo

 Nicholas Dean guide Greg Buck knows the Skeena's waters intimately, and where to place his fly when searching for fish like this. Ross Purnell Photo

Bruce and his nice pink shirt.  Oh, and a nice Steelhead too.  Ross Purnell Photo

 While world record casts are not required on remote coastal rivers, some degree of precision is.  Placing a weighted fly into specific lies amonsgst boulders and logs can be somewhat challenging at first, but once mastered is an extremely effective technique for fooling fish in pocket water and other difficult to reach places.  Steve Rajeff is surely a master at this, as well as distance casting.  Ross Purnell Photo

Coastal river scenery is breathtakingly beautiful...Ross Purnell Photo

Steve demonstrating his double haul technique.  Ross Purnell Photo

Sky Richard with a chrome bright Spring Steelhead from the Lower Kalum.  Ross Purnell Photo

Ross and Steve admire a chrome Steelhead in the Stumble run - aptly named for the many large boulders scattered throughout the run and which makes wading somewhat challenging.

April swinging through a run just up from tidewater.  Ross Purnell Photo

 Steve launching yet another one, bound for the far side.  Ross Purnell Photo

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Spring Steelhead with Brian Chan!

Well known stillwater angler Brian Chan admires a hard won 10 lb Steelhead he landed on a local Skeena tributary. Brian Chan Photo

A long time ago when I first started fly fishing, a few friends and I went to the Izaak Walton fly fishing show in Toronto, and happened to see a very interesting presentation done on fly fishing strategies for trout in stillwaters, by Brian Chan. Little did I know that many years later I'd have the chance to fish with this well known angler on one of my home waters here in the Skeena region!

Brian, a retired fisheries biologist for the province of BC, is probably one of the most well known writers on stillwater entomology, presentation and fishing tactics, and I've read his articles in many different magazines over the years. So when our good friend Rob Vodola invited Dustin and I to fish with Brian, we jumped at the opportunity! Though low water conditions and cool, stable weather made the fishing more difficult than usual, Brian and Dustin both landed some quality Skeena fish. More below:

Dustin fights a behemoth from river left, as Rob helps direct the fish into the shallows.

The last critical moment of the fight, when many Steelhead are lost. Constant tension, keeping the fish' head in the water and nerves of steel are needed to land big fish in the shallows.

A trophy Spring Steelhead. At 39 inches long with a 19 inch girth, this fish was pushing 20 lbs and a handful even for an experienced angler armed with a spey rod.

A colourful selection of flies for Spring Steelhead fishing in a variety of water conditions.

Working deep, slow pools with a large pink and orange fly proved to be the best presentation with cold water temperatures and sluggish fish.

Though Brian has now retired from fisheries biology, he now operates guided fly fishing trips on his home waters near Kamloops. For more information, go to