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