Thursday, August 18, 2011

Skeena River Camp - More From Week 1

Don Powell and Dustin Kovacvich with a bright Summer Run Steelhead caught at the Skeena Camp.  

Following up on last week's Skeena Camp blog post, I wanted to share a few more memories and highlights from the river.  Rumours from the camp this week are that Jeff Bright landed a 20 lb Steelhead.  He's a fishy guy so it's not surprising!  More photos on the second week of Skeena Camp forthcoming.
Skeena Summer Steelhead are very hot fish - here's evidence of that!
Don Powell is an experienced Steelhead fly angler, and this week was his 11th trip with us to date! 
Good friends, camaraderie and good fishing - exactly what it's all about.
Campfires - one of the quintessential camping experiences and a great way to cap off the day.
The sunsets at the Skeena Camp are pretty nice, too.
Camp cook and guide, Yvan Sabourin, gets in on the action after serving up dinner.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Skeena River Camp: Week 1 Trip Report

The Skeena River is in prime shape and these are the kinds of fish we're finding at our on-river Skeena Camp.  Here's head guide, Dustin Kovacvich, with a 20 lb hen Steelhead he landed while doing a demonstration for clients. Al Ducros photo

Our Skeena River camp is now in full swing and the fishing has been very productive for Steelhead, Sockeye, Pink and Coho salmon.  It's a great opportunity to fish all day for a week straight - 15 hours, if you like!  Here's some photos taken courtesy of Nicholas Dean guide, Al Ducros, from earlier this week.  On Sunday, Jeff Bright and several of his clients will be at the camp - stay tuned for more photos and details on their fishing...

Guest Don Powell with a Skeena Summer run Steelhead in the teens. Al Ducros photo

Sockeye Salmon are abundant on the Skeena this year!  They're great sport, and it's possible to catch a bunch of them in a day at the Skeena Camp. Al Ducros photo

Spencer Wernett with a large "humpy" otherwise known as a Pink Salmon. Al Ducros photo

Three generations of anglers are at the camp currently, including Bill Wernett (pictured here), his son Steven and his grandson Spencer.  Some of the wading was tough for Bill, so we helped him out by setting up a chair, right on the seam.  He's been catching a bunch of fish and having a great time. Al Ducros photo

The big one.  Dustin and his 20 lb Summer Steelhead

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Skeena River Chinook - the Last Few Weeks

Big, bright, strong and over 40 lbs - a somewhat typical Skeena River Chinook Salmon just in from the salt chuck. Lloyd Martin Photo
With water levels dropping and clarity significantly better than previous weeks, Chinook fishing on the mainstem Skeena in the last week of July and first week of August was nothing short of incredible.  An average day saw 6 to 12 fish hooked, and the best day, experienced by father and son duo, Bill Stanberry and BJ Stanbery, was an amazing 22 fish hooked and 15 landed! Average size was 20 to 40 lbs, with many in the 45 to 55 lb range.  The Skeena sure is one amazing fishery - there aren't many places in the world where you can find fishing like this for trophy Chinook!  Even though our main 2011 Chinook fishery is now closed, there is still some great fishing to be had just outside Terrace.  Or, if you'd like to consider a trip for 2012, email me, or check out our Trophy Chinook brochure for more information.  Here's a few of the better fish our clients caught during the last two weeks:

Doug Martin joined his brother Lloyd for his first ever BC fishing experience, and what an experience it was!  Doug outfished his brother on a few days, and got one 60 lb monster too.  Lloyd Martin photo
Sky Richard with an average Skeena River Chinook Salmon - about 35 lbs. Lloyd Martin photo

You know it's a big fish because two grown men strain to lift it!  This is Doug's big 60 lb Skeena River Chinook. Lloyd Martin photo

Well over 40 lbs. BJ Stanbery photo
Mid 30s. BJ Stanbery photo
A chrome 45 lb Chinook for Bill Stanberry. BJ Stanbery photo

A 60 lb Chinook for Bill Stanberry - his biggest fish of the week. BJ Stanbery photo
Dustin Kovacvich and BJ Stanbery are both very tall men - 6'6" and 6'5" respectively - and this Skeena River Chinook still looks huge!  A good one in the mid 50s. Bill Stanberry photo

Even when the water was high, Sky Richard and his guest, Bill Kalm were able to find some fish on the Kalum River, by fishing seams just off the bank.  Bill Kalm photo
Bill Kalm is all smiles after landing this mid 20s Kalum River Chinook.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Prime Fall Steelhead Openings - A Great Dry Fly Week

A bright Steelhead that took a well placed dry fly, dead-drifted along a current seam in a long, bouldery tailout.  Because of a cancellation, we now have two spaces available in what can be considered one of our best dry fly Steelhead weeks of the year. 

Following up on our announcement yesterday of two spaces that recently opened up in April Vokey's Skeena Camp trip, we want to announce that we've just had two spaces come available in one of the best weeks in our Fall Steelhead calendar, from September 11 to 17, 2011.  If you're interested, please get in touch as soon as possible to reserve your space.  We can be reached at or (250) 641-1551.  Lastly, we should mention - this week is often one of our best dry fly Steelhead weeks of the year, and if you've not had a change to experience Steelhead sipping your dry fly off the surface, or slashing at your waking fly, don't pass up this opportunity...

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Skeena River Camp - April Vokey Week

Here's April Vokey with a bright Steelhead landed while fishing with us in the Spring of 2010.  April will be hosting a Summer Steelhead week at our on-river Skeena Camp in a few short weeks, and there is still space available if you're interested in joining her.
As you may know, we operate a Summer Steelhead camp on the Skeena River each year between August and mid September, which has become a very popular package with our clients.  The camp fishing focuses on intercepting the numerous Steelhead and Salmon migrating up the edges of the Skeena en route to their upstream tributary rivers.  Just days from the Ocean, these Steelhead are chrome, bright and easily our "meanest" fish of the year.  As it stands, we did have two last minute cancellations in one of our Skeena Camp weeks, which is being hosted by none other than April Vokey, a guide and fly fishing instructor who likely needs little introduction in the fly fishing world!  If you are interested in joining April during her scheduled week, August 29 to September 4, please contact me at:  For more information, check out my previous Skeena Camp blog post or our Skeena Camp brochure.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Big Chinook on the Skeena - Late July Update

Now that's a big, bright Chinook - 40 lbs.
It's been a strange year for Summer weather.  Normally, during mid to late July you'll find temperatures in the 25 to 35 degrees Celsius range and two years ago it reached 42 C - the hottest on record in Terrace!  In contrast, the weather this Summer has been cooler, overcast and with much more rain than usual.  We'll be honest - while the Skeena has been dropping into shape lately, the past two weeks have not seen great water conditions on the mainstem.  However, because we have rod days on several of the best rivers and sections of rivers like the Kalum and Skeena (Classified Section), we've been able to get our clients into some great fish, despite the poor water conditions.  So, while we of course can't control the weather, our clients can be assured that they'll have the best possible chance at getting into fish on their trip, given the water conditions. 

In this post: Derald Goyette and Adam Chelini, from San Francisco's Bay area are no strangers to big Chinook and they had a great week with Nicholas Dean guide, Greg Buck.  I'd like to give a big shout out to Derald, who took the majority of these photos.

Derald Goyette with a chromer from the first day.
Adam Chelini is no stranger to big fish.  Here's another good one caught on a clean seam off the Skeena.
A cool action shot.

Derald about to release a large, chrome buck on the Skeena.

Adam and a high 20s Chinook on the Skeena.
That's a nice, girthy fish.
Putting the wood to a good one...

Big Chinook fight hard.

Adam with a respectable fish in the mid 30s.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Kitimat River Chinook - On the Fly, Continued

Here's another 40 lb Chinook Salmon caught by Jason Drummond on the Kitimat River yesterday with guide Dustin Kovacvich.  This is the biggest fish Jason has ever landed - well done!  Happy to say it was on one of my flies too, a large two toned pink Intruder, fished just off the bottom.
Chinook fishing on the Kitimat River continues to be productive for our clients swinging large Intruder flies on their spey rods.  Indeed, it has been a great season on the Kitimat and there are still fresh Chinook pouring in each day.  These Chinook tend to keep their heads down, so it's important that you sink your fly deeply in the water column.  Jason Drummond ensured his fly was just off the bottom, and was rewarded with this 40 lb fish!  A tense 30 minute battle ensued, but in the end, Nicholas Dean Lodge head guide and manager, Dustin Kovacvich, was able to get the big fish in the net.  Well done Jason!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

More Chinook Fly Fishing on the Kitimat and Copper Rivers!

This absolutely stunning 40 lb Chinook Salmon was caught by Jeff Bright on the Kitimat River a few short weeks ago - his biggest fish ever!  And yes, it was caught while swinging a large fly on a spey rod!  Chinook Salmon are absolutely outstanding game fish on the fly, and while it's never easy, putting your dues in for a fish like this sure is worth it in my books. photo
Same fish, different angle.  Kitimat River Chinook sure are girthy, and mean.  This fish took Jeff downstream through two pools, and his guide, Sky Richard, had to give chase with the raft, manoeuvring around logs, stumps and other mid stream obstructions. photos
A classic portrait Jeff Bright portrait shot of a bright Kitimat River Chinook and the chartreuse fly that fooled it. photo
Here's a good selection of Chinook flies for using on the Kitimat, Skeena and Copper Rivers.  Big, bright and flashy is often what works best, though of course you need to factor in local water conditions too.  Chinook seem to have a soft spot for chartreuse, blue, purple and orange.
Joakim Sjoholm Lennart landed this 30 lb Chinook on the Kitimat River last weekend, by slowly stripping a chartreuse bead head fly through a slow moving back channel.  Such edges and seams are great spots for Chinook to rest on their upstream migration and it's here that they're most receptive to flies.
Don Nelson fighting a Chinook on the Kitimat River and trying to keep it out of the wood. photo
That's Don Nelson and Nicholas Dean Lodge guide, Sky Richard with a feisty 30 lb Chinook. photo
The Copper River is an excellent river to target Chinook Salmon on the fly, and Joakim landed this 20 lb fish at one of the first pools he fished.  Nice work, Joakim!
All in all, it's been a very successful couple of weeks targeting Chinook on the fly, and this season lasts until the end of the month.  Check back again soon for more updates!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Monster 70 lb Skeena River Chinook!

What else can you say about a monster Chinook Salmon like this?  This 70 lb leviathan is a lifetime fish, caught by Jim Stephenson from Upland, California.  The Skeena River produces trophy Chinook like this almost every year, and it's certainly refreshing to know that there are specimens like this to be caught on our rivers. 
Okay, so it would be nice to have a few more photos of this fish, but I think you get the idea.  There are some absolute monster Chinook Salmon in the Skeena watershed, and our client Jim Stephenson sure found this out yesterday!  He landed this 70 lb fish while fishing on the Skeena with expert Nicholas Dean guide, Greg Buck.  This is most definitely a lifetime fish and one that Jim will likely remember for a long time to come.  Well done, Jim, and congrats!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Custom Steelhead and Spey Flies - Salty Mykiss

Brent Piche is a gifted fly tyer, particularly when creating custom Steelhead flies.  We've used several of his flies in the past and have done exceptionally well with them. 

In this industry there are a lot of places where you can buy flies - whether it's at fly shops, online or other stores.  The problem is, they may not necessarily be tied with your specific waters in mind.  And, while in the case of Steelhead flies it could be argued that a lot of generic flies will work well  under a variety of conditions on different rivers, there is something to be said for patterns that have been developed and tested on a specific river or river system.  Enter Brent Piche and his new company, Salty Mykiss Custom Flies.  I've had the opportunity to fish with Brent's flies over the past year, and they have produced very well for me on the Copper, Kalum, Skeena and our favourite not-to-be-named coastal rivers.  If you're coming on a trip to fish with us, are fishing the Skeena on your own or fishing for Steelhead on your home waters, I highly recommend getting in touch with Brent.  Contact info:

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Epic Chinook Fly Fishing!

Few moments in fly fishing are as electric as the grab of a large Chinook (King) Salmon.  Here, Don Nelson and Nicholas Dean guide Sky Richard pose with a 30 lb Chinook caught while swinging a large fly on one of the Kitimat River's numerous seams.

Fly Fishing for Chinook Salmon was nothing short of epic last week here at Nicholas Dean Lodge!  Jeff Bright - writer, conservationist and Nicholas Dean trip host - joined us last week with long time repeat guest, Don Nelson to sample the Chinook Salmon fishing that the Skeena region has to offer.  In short,  they hooked thirteen Chinook last week and landed eight, averaging 25 lbs.  Jeff also managed to land a monster, bright chrome fish that is deserving of its own story, to be continued in another post...

Fly fishing for Chinook is never easy and in some sense you could say that they're sometimes even more difficult to hook than Steelhead.  But, when conditions align like they did last week for Jeff and Don, the rewards are often BIG!  Big game fly fishing, indeed...

Don's first Chinook of the week - a bright 20 lb fish.
Swinging a fly through a soft pocket, Don Nelson landed this fish after a 45 minute battle.
The Kitimat River sees a number of "Jacks" - smaller Chinook less than 65 cm in length.  What they lack in size they do make up for in aggressiveness and fight!

Sky and Don with another Jack Chinook Salmon.
A great way to cap off the trip for Don - a 30 lb Chinook from the depths of a small side channel seam.