Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Nicholas Dean Lodge: Recipient of Fly Fusion's 2012 Lodge of the Year Award!

We are absolutely ecstatic to announce that Fly Fusion Magazine - Canada's most widely read fly fishing publication - has chosen us as the recipient of their 2012 Lodge of the Year award!  We have worked hard over the years to establish our business as a first class operation on the Skeena system, and with our partners Alf and Simone at Yellow Cedar Lodge, we are excited and overwhelmingly appreciative to receive this award!  The feature article on the lodge will come out in Fly Fusion's Winter 2012 issue, slated for early January.  In the meantime, if you'd like to stay current with Lodge of the Year news, be sure to follow the Nicholas Dean Lodge and Fly Fusion Facebook pages...

Steelhead Dry Flies - Fish Madman

The "Steelhead Skater" is a Nicholas Dean Lodge guide favourite and has caught many, many Steelhead off the top over the years.  The addition of a hitched tube - a method popularized in Europe for Atlantic Salmon fishing - will help increase the "wakability" of the fly and keep it on top even in fast water. Jesper Fohrmann photo

Dry fly fishing for Steelhead in the Summer and Fall on tributaries of the Skeena is one of the most exciting and desirable fishing experiences in our Steelhead calendar.  Whether it's waking dry flies in long, riffled pools or dead drifting dry flies to rising fish, there's nothing like seeing a Steelhead come up to the surface!  Having just received some outstanding dry flies on tubes from Jesper Fohrmann, you could say that I'm already anticipating this season!  Jesper runs Fish Madman, a website dedicated to anglers fishing dry fies and riffling hitches for Atlantic Salmon and Steelhead.  If you're looking for well tied dry flies for your fishing, or want to learn more about these flies and their tying methods, I encourage you to check out Fish Madman.

The Grantham Sedge is just one of those innovative patterns that's worked well for us over the years.  The original design has the deer hair wing tied down on a piece of weed wacker cord protruding past the hook eye, which helps stabilize the fly on the surface.  My guess is that this Grantham Sedge, tied on a hitched tube will do just fine too!  Jesper Fohrmann photo

Monday, May 9, 2011

Lodge Record to Date: Skeena Chinook Salmon

Now that's what you call a Chinook!  Can you imagine hooking (let alone landing) a monster this size on the fly?  That's exactly what Brett Hallinan of San Jose, California did last week while fishing with Dustin Kovacvich, our head guide here at Nicholas Dean Lodge.  The 35 lb behemoth (yes, we think it looks much larger than that too) took over half an hour to land.  This is the largest Chinook our clients have caught to date in 2011 thus far, and will no doubt be the first of many!  Jason Haase Photo

Starting this year, we're going to post photos of our "Lodge Record Fish To Date,"on our blog for Steelhead, Chinook and Coho Salmon - be sure to check back soon!  Featured in this post is a 35 lb Chinook Salmon caught last week by Brett Hallinan on his 15 ft 10 weight spey rod.  Fly Fishing for Skeena Chinooks is part of what we call "big game fly fishing," and is fast becoming one of our more popular seasons.  The best part?  The season is just beginning.  If you'd like to join us, we still have space available during our prime Summer season, starting in mid June and lasting through the end of July.  Summer Chinooks average 20 to 40 lbs, are very aggressive and fight extremely hard - think about 40 lbs of fish hell bent on getting back to the salt - sometimes there's not a lot you can do but just hold on and hope!  For more information, contact me at or check out our Chinook Fly Fishing brochure.

Nicholas Dean Lodge Draw Winner!

And the winner is - Gary Whipple!  Gary will receive a  free Nicholas Dean Lodge winter hat (we call them toques here in Canada) and Fly Nation DVD featuring the Skeena Steelhead show.  Many thanks go out to all who submitted their comments, suggestions and constructive criticism of our fishing reports and what you'd like to see in the new report.  We'll consider all of your comments in creating the new report, and will transition the report over to the new format in the coming weeks...

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Skeena Spring Steelhead 2011 - Part 2

David Higman is an experienced Steelhead angler who has fished extensively in BC, and if you've followed David Lambroughton's "Fly Fishing Dreams" calendar over the years, you might recognize him from its pages.  David and his Dad, Dan Higman, encountered many fresh Spring Steelhead on the Skeena, hooking seven on their first day.  Adam Tavender Photo
In part two of our Spring Steelhead season photo essay, we'll look at photos taken during mid April on the Skeena River and its tributaries  At this time of year, we'll typically fish the Skeena, Kalum, Lower Copper, and Kitimat Rivers, as well as several unmentionable remote coastal streams that flow directly into the Ocean.  Why unmentionable?  Because very few anglers fish these sorts of places and, on average, the Steelhead in them can be quite large.  These types of streams offer a high quality, true wilderness experience with just the rivers, fish, old growth trees and vistas of the coastal BC rainforest.  Access, weather and timing are all variables that are perhaps even more important to consider than fishing the mainstem Skeena and other larger rivers, and sometimes it seems these elements can conspire against you.  But, when all these elements align - and they often do - the experience is a rich and very rewarding one... 

A great sunset on a clear night from the patio of Yellow Cedar Lodge.  Brian Flegg photo
Coastal BC mountains in all their glory - yes, the scenery is good here too!  Brian Flegg photo

Doug Flegg has been fishing with us every Spring for the past 6 years, and is always keen for a hike in to remote rivers off the northern BC coast, or others close to home.  Brian Flegg photo

Searching for a chromer on the Skeena...Brian Flegg Photo

Mike Kenyon and his wife Yvonne Williams are long time repeat guests who have fished with us every Spring for as long as we can remember.  [Back in 2007, Yvonne caught her first Steelhead while fishing with us - a 28 lb broad shouldered buck on the mainstem Skeena!]  Both Mike and Yvonne have fished at a lot of different lodges and destinations globally, and we're flattered that they choose to join us each year.  Here, Mike is into a good fish on the mainstem Skeena.  Brian Flegg photo

Gotta love bright Spring chrome.  Brian Flegg Photo

This bright Steelhead made Mike's day.  The only problem - having a guy as big as Dustin makes fish look much smaller than they actually are!  Brian Flegg photo

One of my favourite types of shots in Steelhead photography.  Despite seeing a number of these Steelhead portraits over the years, each one is inherently different, with so many different variables at play - angle of the sun, water clarity, depth of water the fish is in etc.  One thing is for certain - Steelhead are exceptionally beautiful creatures.  Brian Flegg photo

Now that's what you call a V loop! Brian Flegg photo

Ted Simon, a toxicologist from Georgia, joined us for the first time this Spring.  He's pictured here with a bright fish caught on a favourite remote coastal river.  Ted Simon photo

A remote coastal river.  Who wouldn't want to fish here?  Ted Simon photo

Ted Simon with a chromer on the "big" river - the Skeena. Because of its large size, many clients are often intimidated by the Skeena until they realize the majority of the fish travel between 10 to 40 ft from shore.  Identify the fish lane, make short casts and you'll find fish.  Well done Ted!  Ted Simon photo

Greg Buck and a guest exploring the aquamarine flows of the Kalum.  Adam Tavender photo

Smaller rivers just have that intimate feel to them and, for me, the adrenaline rush is particularly heightened as your fly swims convincingly through the bucket...Yvonne Williams photo

Doug Flegg with a good one from the coast...

...And another one.  On this day, Doug hooked five bright Steelhead less than a mile from the salt...

Mike Trainor landed this bright doe while fishing on the mainstem Skeena.  Mike Trainor photo

What guests come back to every night at Yellow Cedar Lodge - absolutely stunning food.  Red Seal chef Alf Leslie knows what he's doing in the kitchen...Adam Tavender photo

The wader room at Yellow Cedar Lodge is always a busy time in the mornings and bustling with anticipation as clients get ready for the day.  The wader room has a gas fireplace that kicks out a lot of heat, ensuring that waders, jackets and your fishing gear are dry and ready for the adventure that awaits you.  Adam Tavender photo

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Skeena Spring Steelhead 2011 - Part 1

George Widener's first Skeena Steelhead - a super bright, hard fighting 18 lb buck.
Our 2011 Spring Steelhead season is well underway, and clients have caught some exceptional fish since late March.  One of our most popular seasons, Spring Steelhead fishing on the Skeena and its tributaries in March, April and early May can be very rewarding, offering you a shot at some of the largest fish of the year.  Fishing multiple rivers during the week is certainly one of the allures of this season as well!  What follows is a three part photo essay of the fish we've been catching lately, the often dramatic landscapes and rivers where we find them, and life as a guest at Yellow Cedar Lodge where we base our operations. 

Dan Doughty with a bright 12 lb buck. Greg Lobdell photo

Searching for Spring fish on a smaller river, Greg Lobdell found this 14 lb buck in a long, boulder studded run. Dan Doughty photo

George Widener with his second Spring Steelhead of the day on the mainstem Skeena

Full of energy even after the fight...

Another mid teens buck from a small Skeena trib.  Don't let the growing trend in spey fishing for Steelhead fool you - fishing a single hand rod is still a very productive way to fish for these fish, and certainly one of the most enjoyable!

Bob Budd hooked this heavily spotted fish in a long, smooth boulder strewn run.

They don't get much fresher than this...

Despite its run in with a seal, this hen is still a stunning example of why Skeena fish are so special.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Spring Steelhead on the Skeena - Adam Tavender Photography

A few weeks back, Adam Tavender joined us with several of his friends and clients for some Spring Steelhead fishing on the Skeena and its tributaries.  Adam is the former owner of Nakia Lodge on the Dean River, and has also managed Steelhead camps on Russia's Kamchatka peninsula.  In short, he's no stranger to Steelhead!  Nowadays, he's focussing more on photography and getting those classic portraits and landscape shots that make fishing for Steelhead so interesting.  There's a good chance that you've seen his work in various fly fishing magazines, the latest of which is the cover shot of April Vokey in Fly Fisherman magazine (featuring Nicholas Dean Lodge too!).  On his recent trip to the Skeena system, he took some incredible shots and we wanted to share a few of these with you: Adam Tavender Photography - Spring Steelhead on the Skeena