Monday, January 18, 2010

Adventure Steelhead Fishing with Jeff Bright!

Jeff Bright with an 18 lb late Spring Steelhead caught on one of the larger coastal rivers we fish. With warming air and water temperatures, these bright fish can be extremely hard fighters. Jeff Bright Photo

Our Adventure Steelhead fishing program on remote rivers off the northwest BC coast is one that you've probably heard me talk about from time to time. Large Steelhead in small, untouched rivers, where angling pressure is minimal or altogether non-existent, with opportunities for sight fishing are but just a few of the virtues this fishery has to offer the adventurous angler. And, joining us nearly every step of the way in discovering this fishery - from stumbling over deadfalls, baring evil devil's club and arriving back to the lodge in the wee hours of the night - has been author, photographer and Steelhead Flyfisher, Jeff Bright.

Jeff has utilized his dedication and passion for Steelhead fly fishing, combined with his artistic talents as a writer in producing a first rate article on Steelhead fishing on the remote coast, which can be found in the premier issue of the online magazine, The Contemporary Sportsman. It is a pleasure to read and does well to capture the experience and excitement of fishing for Steelhead on small, remote coastal rivers. Enjoy!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Skeena River Fishing Tips: the Hawaiian Punch

The Hawaiian Punch may look like one of the more outlandish Steelhead flies you've ever seen, but the fact that it shows up well in murky or slightly stained river conditions on the Kalum and Skeena Rivers, combined with its fish-catching abilities has made it one of the most successful flies in our fly boxes . Rodney Daw Photo

In conjunction with our Skeena River Fishing Reports for 2010, we've decided to include a section on "Skeena River Fishing Tips" to help give our readers information and direction on the best techniques, tackle and presentations when targeting Salmon and Steelhead in northwest BC rivers, like the mainstem Skeena, Kalum, Kitimat and Copper. So, whether you're a spey caster who loves swinging large Intruder flies or a trophy Chinook angler after the giant leviathans of the deep, there will be something for you to enjoy which just might help you land that next big fish you've been dreaming about.

For this week's Skeena River Fishing Tip, we'll be looking at the Hawaiian Punch, a true standout wet fly pattern for Steelhead and Salmon that our guides and clients have used with great success. The pattern was devised several years ago by lodge manager and head guide, Dustin Kovacvich, when he was experimenting with flies to target the large Steelhead...

on the Kalum River. When Dustin first arrived onto the Skeena scene in Terrace 15 years ago, he had been very successful during the months of August and early September using a bottom bouncing rig that consisted of orange, chartreuse and cerise yarn. Combining this colour combination with materials that impart movement in the water - a key consideration when tying Steelhead flies - namely, rabbit strips and marabou, Dustin figured that he had the making of a great pattern. After a few successful outings and several Steelhead hooked on the fly, Dustin started having clients fish this fly with confidence on rivers such as the Kalum, and Skeena which have a slightly murky, glacial green colour, or, during high water conditions when visibility is reduced. The recipe for the Hawaiian Punch is as follows:

Hook: Eagle Claw 1197N Sizes 1 and 4 or substitute
Thread: Fire Orange
Tail: Fluorescent Chartreuse Rabbit Strip
Body: Cross Cut Fluorescent Orange Rabbit Strip
Hackle: Cerise Pink Marabou
Topping: Pearl Flashabou

Variants: Bead head, tube fly, or Intruder style

Lastly, if you've wondered how the fly got its unique name, it was named by guest Nick Anderson because it reminded him of the little guy on the Hawaiian Punch can with the funky hair! If you're planning on fishing the Skeena River near Terrace BC, or fishing your home Steelhead waters, be sure to give the Hawaiian Punch a few casts - I'm sure you'll be pleasantly surprised with the results! For more information on recommended gear while fishing the Hawaiian Punch on the Skeena system, be sure to check out our Fly Fishing Gear and Equipment lists.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Tying Steelhead Flies at the Franklin Club

First off, I want to wish everyone a Happy New Year and hope that you enjoyed some quality time with family over the holidays! When I was back in Ontario doing just that, I had the opportunity to stop in at the Franklin Clubto give a presentation on Fly Fishing techniques in the Skeena River system, and tie a few of my personal favourite Steelhead and Salmon flies. The Franklin Club is celebrating its centennial year, making it one of the oldest fly fishing clubs in Canada! In fact, Rick Mercer recently ventured to the Club as part of his quirky, but very humourous Mercer Report. Check out the video page on the Mercer report site, and click on Episode Number 8. Below are a few of the flies I tied, with photos courtesy of Franklin Club member Rodney Daw.

My version of Ed Ward's popular Intruder series of flies, dubbed the "Terrace Intruder." The two toned pink colours in this fly make it stand out particularly well in glacially stained waters, making it a perfect fit for both the Copper and Kalum Rivers.

Flash and bright colours are two of the most important considerations when designing Coho flies. Hence, the simple name: Coho Flash Fly. This fly, in a variety of colours works well when fished down and across with an increasingly fast stripping tempo.

The Grantham Sedge is our go to fly when searching for aggressive Fall Steelhead on the surface. An ingenious tyer named Ron Grantham found that by tying the wing on a piece of weed wacker cord protruding from the hook shank will help keep the fly waking longer than most other flies. Adding a few turns of red dubbing at the butt can be a great addition.