Friday, July 27, 2012

Nicholas Dean Outdoors - same great company!

The fantastic Yellow Cedar Lodge - first class accommodations and fine dining in Terrace, and home base for all Nicholas Dean Outdoors clients while on their inclusive lodge trip.  Yoshi Aoki Photo
Recently, you may have noticed that our blog name was changed from Nicholas Dean Lodge to Nicholas Dean Outdoors.  This is just one of a few changes that we'll be making to better reflect our working relationship with Yellow Cedar Lodge, the facility where our clients stay for the best of accommodations and fine dining in Terrace.  In the early years of the business, we operated a full service facility just off Kalum Lake Road on the outskirts of Terrace, and branding Nicholas Dean as a lodge made the most sense then.  However, with the move to Yellow Cedar Lodge several years ago this has proved to be a little confusing at times for clients.  So, to minimize this confusion and further enhance branding for both ourselves and Yellow Cedar Lodge, you will now see our brand as Nicholas Dean Outdoors.  Rest assured, however, that we're the exact same staff and company that you've fished with and come to know previously at NDL!  Plus, we also think that Nicholas Dean Outdoors has a pretty cool ring to it.  :)

Friday, July 20, 2012

Record Chinook Salmon at Nicholas Dean to Date

Lloyd Martin's monster 55 lb Chinook landed on July 18th, the largest caught in 2012 thus far.

This is the largest Chinook caught at Nicholas Dean to date in the 2012 season and was landed by Lloyd Martin after an epic battle that saw the fish landed over a kilometre downstream from where it was hooked.  Great work Lloyd! 

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

More Summer Chinook on the Fly and the Arrival of Chum Salmon

Nicholas Dean guide Sky Richard with a Chinook just under 40 lbs, caught by client Ruud from South Africa.
We are still feeling the effects of the large snowpack and cool Spring, as water conditions have still remained high on the Skeena and the majority of its tributaries.  However, the Kitimat River has still continued to provide reasonably good fishing on most days, and there are still some absolutely huge Chinook in the system, along with the arrival of the numerous Chums and Pinks.  One of last week's highlights?  Client Ruud from South Africa experienced what he called the "fight of his lifetime!"  In a long, slow moving pool with a soft inside seam, he hooked a very large Chinook estimated in the 45 to 50 lb range, and he fought it for well over an hour before the 20 lb tippet broke on a mid stream snag.  The Kitimat can be notorious for all the wood in its substrata, which sometimes makes for an unfortunate ending with big fish.  But, you can bet that this experience will be etched in his memory  for a long time to come....

Ruud with a good Chinook caught on his new Hardy Sintrix spey rod, stripping flies on the borders of a small back channel.

Fresh, chrome bright and likely less than a day from the Ocean - even smaller Chinook fight extremely hard.

A bright Chum from the lower Kitimat river.  These fish are spectacular game fish, but unfortunately don't receive the credit they deserve.  Hook one or two of these fish in the 20 lb range and you'll know what I mean...

Our Chinook fly fishing program combines classic swinging on larger pools and runs as well as retrieving flies along seams and back channels, where the fish like to rest.  Some Chinook are light biters, but others like this one absolutely hammer the fly!

Dustin with another nice Chum on the Kitimat River.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Patagonia Provisions: Salmon Jerky

Just came across this video today while on the SkeenaWild Conservation Trust website. This is such a great example of a project and company that has clear goals for utilizing a natural resource to create a high quality product, while at the same time minimizing impacts on other non-target resources. In this case, it's smoked salmon jerky that is caught sustainably by first nations fisheries at their terminus, which allows more abundant stocks to be targeted, while protecting non-target species like Steelhead, Coho and Chinook, as well as weaker stocks in other rivers. Kudos to Patagonia and its partners in this project! On a more personal note, I've sampled each of the different jerkies and can confirm that they are tasty - give them a try yourself!
While this isn't exactly related to Nicholas Dean itself, we're happy to promote projects that support sustainable fisheries in the Skeena region - and this is certainly one of them.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Summer Chinook Fly Fishing on the Kitimat River

Despite challenging water conditions, the Chinook Fly Fishing experienced last week was nothing short of remarkable. Here, Sky Richard poses with a chrome bright Chinook just shy of 40 lbs.
As is often the case with fishing, varying water levels, clarity and weather conditions have all had an influence on fishing during the past two weeks of our Chinook Fly Fishing season.  A large snowpack - rumoured in the 180% to 220% range, depending on who you talk to - combined with unseasonably cool weather had delayed the freshet that normally has subsided on the Kitimat River and other Skeena river tributaries by mid June.  Jeff Bright and his client Don Nelson were on the back end of this freshet, but still managed to hook into and land several Chinook between 15 and 35 lbs in the last week of June.  With water levels being close to perfect this week for these anadromous freight trains - decent flows, with just enough clarity for the fish to see the fly - our clients experienced outstanding fly fishing in what was the best week of fly Chinook Fly Fishing we've experienced - ever!  Here's a few photos from clients Adrien and Phil from the UK.

Floating on the Kitimat - an enjoyable way to fish this productive river.

Adrian Whitfield with one of many Chinook that he landed while spey fishing with our guides last week.

Combine large, extremely hard fighting chrome bright fish and the often pleasant weather of Summer, and you've captured our Chinook Fly Fishing program.

Dustin Kovacvich and his clients hit the run just right on this day - this is one of 9 landed that day, with 16 hooked in total! This is absolutely an exceptional day by any standard - in most cases, 1-3 grabs in a day is a more realistic expectation.  So, when these kinds of days come along, they are not soon forgotten!

Admiring a big, bright Chinook on the Kitimat River.

Of course, a big part of our fishing program regardless of the season - camaraderie and just enjoying time spent on the river.