Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Skeena River Fishing Tips: Fishing Sink Tips

Matching your sink tip to the prevailing water conditions can help you present your fly effectively to Steelhead like this.  jeffbright.com photo

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 the 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.

3) When not to use sink tips? When fishing small, clear coastal rivers in the Spring, heavy sink tips can often spook wary Steelhead. In this case, a long leader with a small, weighted fly that is cast well above the target area will help you avoid spooking finicky fish. Same goes for Winter fishing when river flows are at seasonal lows.

4) Bring a range of sink tips with you on fishing trips. You never know what to expect on the river and from pool to pool. A wide range of tips, including Type 3, Type 6, and varying lengths of T-14 and T-17 will enable you to cover a broad range of depths and currents. My personal favourite is the Descension Sink Tip system developed by Dustin Kovacvich and the other Nicholas Dean Lodge guides, which include varying lengths of lead core (LC-13).

5) Match your sink tip to the pool you're fishing. This might seem a rather obvious one, but many anglers will simply fish the same tip from pool to pool, regardless of the depths and current speeds. Each pool has its own seams, features, and current speeds, and keeping your fly in the strike zone requires a dynamic approach. If you feel that you're not getting down enough, go a little heavier. If you're getting snagged every other cast, lighten up.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Our Italian Partner - Le Reve House Adventures!

Two happy Italian clients with a bright chrome Steelhead caught on the Skeena during early August.

At the core of our business, we work very closely with several outstanding booking agents, who are committed to providing the best fishing trips and value for their clients worldwide.  Over the past three years, we've partnered with Stefano Gay of Le Reve House Adventures to introduce many enthusiastic Italian anglers to the epic fishing available in Terrace on the Lower Skeena River.  Whether it's been fly fishing on the Kalum River for monster Steelhead, spoon fishing for Coho or backtrolling for the largest Chinook Salmon in the world on the Skeena, Stefano has helped introduce many clients to the world class fishing available in Terrace. 

Based out of Vancouver, BC, Le Reve House Adventures specializes not only in coordinating fishing and travel arrangements for clients at our lodge, but also ecotours and other outdoor pursuits.  If you're considering a trip to our lodge or would like to do some whale watching or hiking near Vancouver, I encourage you to get in touch with Stefano at info@lerevehouseadventure.com.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Fishing Deep With Lani Waller - by Jeff Bright

Lani and Nicholas Dean head guide Dustin Kovacvich discussing fly selection streamside prior to stepping in the water.  A very knowledgeable, yet humble man, Lani is the type of angler who speaks with passion when it comes to Steelhead and the journey we take as anglers in pursuing them.  Jeff Bright recently had a chance to interview Lani on his Steelhead fishing experiences, and can be found in the latest issue of Chasing Silver magazine.  

In early April 2009, we had the good fortune of hosting legendary angler, Lani Waller, for a week as he pursued fresh Spring Steelhead in lower Skeena valley rivers.  During this time, several clients - and certainly Dustin and myself included - enjoyed his company and his stories when it came to Steelhead fishing.  Particularly those of memorable fish, legendary pools and all the little things that make for a great fishing tale.

Through his many articles, books (the latest of which is titled "A Steelheader's Way") and popular Steelhead fly fishing videos produced in the late 80s - some of which featured fishing on the Babine, a popular upper Skeena tributary - Lani has garnered much respect in the fly fishing community and has no doubt become one of the leading experts in his field.  
During his Spring Steelhead trip at the lodge, Jeff Bright had the chance to discuss some of the finer points of Steelhead fly fishing, ranging from tackle and techniques, to conservation and his philosophical approach to these migratory fish.  Jeff's interview, titled "Fishing Deep with Lani Waller" can be found in the recent issue of Chasing Silver magazine, a relatively new magazine based out of Finland.  Tight lines!