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.