Sunday, August 21, 2016

Pursuit of Coho

This week I was out on the Skeena system again, this time chasing coho with my single hand fly rod and spey rod.

When we arrived at the Skeena, things looked promising. We set up camp and fished that evening at Ferry Island. There were coho and sockeye surfacing close to shore. Despite the water being colored up, and after a few fly changes, I did manage to hook a sockeye on the fly on a charteuse fly I nick named the "pick your prom dress" (a hybrid between a pick your pocket and a prom dress fly). This was my first ever sockeye on the fly.

The next morning we fished Ferry Island for a couple hours with no hook ups. So off we went to fish the Kitimat river in search of coho. We hit numerous locations and all we saw were zombie chum and spawning pinks. Nothing worth catching. I did manage a small cutthroat and a very nice resident rainbow. We retreated back to Ferry Island where we were camping. That evening we had no more fish to hand on the Skeena.

Thinking that the river may be more clear up stream we drove past the Copper river and found a spot to park way up stream to try our luck. Apparently luck didnt make the drive out with us and were were skunked, and demoralized. This was our last full day out there and nothing really to show for it.
That evening I did manage to hook in to a beautiful chrome coho on the spey back at Ferry Island. I had given thousands of casts over the last few days and only had my fly line knot up a couple of times. As I mentioned earlier luck was not there with us and as I was u tangnling a knot in the fly line near the reel was when the fish hit. I had it on, it turned towards me and I stripped lime mad to keep the tension on the line hoping I could play the fish without having to untie the knot at the same time. Well the coho wanted nothing to do with it and tore off in a big strong run. I had a decision to make. Let the fish run and pull the knot through the eyes on my spey rod or grab the knot before it went through and pray the fish turns. Not wanting the knot to rip off the eyes on my rod I grabbed the knot. Unfortunately the fish did not turn and it snapped me off. After a few choice words I tied back on a new fly and continued to fish. No more action that  night.

Back at camp, demoralized and exhausted we discussed our next steps and decided to leave and hit the Bulkley on the way.

The Bulkley was a little more clear than the Skeena and the dip netters at the Morricetown Canyon were getting sockeye, coho and even a steelhead. The first spot we found we saw a fish in a tail out and I got him to turn to my fly twice but couldnt elicit a bite. So, we moved on. We had a tip on a location and thought we would try it.

The Bulkey was a beautiful river and I cant wait to get back. We found a peach of a run, perfect for swinging flies. There was evidence of coho remnants in the water and two people were leaving with coho they had caught. Our hopes were high and it didnt take too long before I had a fish hit, although it snapped me off after a few head shakes. As the afternoon wore on the fish were rising here and there and we fished a seam where we kept seeing them rise. Out of nowhere I had a big hit on my fly and a brief fight with line peeling before it snapped me off. Awake and pumped I fished through that spot hoping to convince another to bite and it paid off. A fish hammered my fly and promply took off out towards the current giving a nice cartwheel on the way. It wasnt a chrome coho that was for sure, it seemed to have a bit of colour but I was happy I was into a fish. As the fight went on the fish bull dogged and stayed low in the water trying to get into the heavjer current. Eventually I had him on his way in and I got my first good look at him. It was a Steelhead! Nerves were high and so was my excitment as I worked it in and landed it. This was my fist fly caught steelhead and what a beauty. After a couple quick pictures it was on it was back in the river.

A short while after that my fishing partner was into a fish that hit like a freight train. The fish was quickly peeling line and burning his fingers before it broke his fly. It was a tank of a fish. It hit hard like a steelhead and I'm sure it was bigger than mine. Both fish hit on a black and blue intruder style fly.

Cant't wait to get back to the bulkley!

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Terrace and Kitimat

This week I was out in the Terrace and Kitimat area with my family on a camping trip. Naturally I took a few rods with me. I mean you can't camp along the mighty Skeena River and not fish it.
The first couple days posed a challenge fishing wise. We fished near the campsite, on the main stem Skeena and got nothing. Not even a bite. Talk to one old guy there who had fished six days with nothing to show for his efforts. The frustrating part was there were fish rolling frequently, close to shore, but none were biting. We tried flies, spoons, spinners and bar fishing. Most other people on the shore were bar fishing and no one was even getting a nibble.

The third day we decided to give the Kitimat river a try. We arrived at the river and hour before high tide in the area thinking a fresh push may come in with the tide. To our amusement, at the end of the gravel road just off the dyke road, there was a sign saying no camping or parking within 30 meters of the river bank (or something to that extent). We had a laugh because just beyond the sign and right on the river bank were a couple of campers. Then we looked to the right where the road turned and our jaws dropped followed by howls of derisive laugher [Bruce]. We saw about fifty more campers just down the road, again right on the bank. We had our laugh and moved on.

When we got out of the truck we hike a kilometer or two and found a nice pool. Out came the rods and not the reels. Unfortunately I left my reels back in the truck so I hiked back to get them. When I finally returned it was time to start working the water. It took us longer than I thought to get the first fish but after that the flood gates opened and many more were landed. We landed a few decent chum and a bunch of very chrome pinks. Three of which came home with us. Among the catches I was also fortunate to hook a real nice looking cutthroat that was about 12 inches long and put up a scrappy fight on the fly rod.

All in all a good day out despite not finding what I really wanted. A big ol' Kitimat chinook. Maybe next time.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Too many project.

Too amny projects to do. Thats what uas got in the way of me fishing. It has also been far too long since I have written on my blog. I have managed to get out fishing this spring. I took a trip to Dragon lake in Quesnel for the day, fished for bull trout on the Nechako River in Vanderhoof and most recently a morning trip to Cobb Lake.
Dragon was a beautiful lake, big rainbows and tight lips. Saw some amazing fish cruise by but none that wanted to play so there isn't much to say there.

The Nechako proved to be fruitful this spring, just after ice off. I found some riffles where the bull trout were hiding and landed six of them unfortunately the biggest popped the hook. A bulldog fly, similar to a redish brown wooly bugger, was the ticket and the takes were aggressive.
Cobb lake was an early morning trip today. I took my pontoon out and found many rising fish early. I lost track of the number of rainbows I caught, and even managed one brookie. All were caught on a black doc spratley fly both trolling and anchored and casting to risers. As the campers started to head on to the lake after their late breakfast the bite slowed.

Unfortunately fishing has had to take a back seat to building a chicken coop, but that will be done soon and the local rivers and streams are opening soon.

Monday, December 7, 2015

The ice has arrived

Well despite mother nature's best efforts, the cold has arrived and with it the ice fishing season. Now if I could only find time to get out more often. Thankfully, winter break is coming up which means two weeks break.

I did manage to get out for the first trip this season. I wasn't there for long due to the onset of darkness in the late afternoon. I unfortunately got to the lake late, and had to make two trips there, because the first trip I had forgot my auger and had no way to penetrate the six inches of ice.

On my second attempt that day, auger in hand, I fished for about an hour and a half and managed a small rainbow and a brook trout. The procured deli shrimp I use when fishing under the ice proved its effectiveness again.

Hopefully a more fruitful and lengthy day of fishing is in the near future. After all, its just the start of the hard water season.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Something different

Some of my recent available days for fishing have turned into hunting days. This is my first hunting season and the first couple times out I saw nothing but a few rabbits and a grouse. I was fortunate enough to take a couple short trips with a friend who is knowledgeable in the area of hunting. In those two short trips I either learned quickly or luck came my way because this morning I finally saw some big game while hunting this morning.

I went out for first light, parked and walked up the gravel road to the next logging road and began hiking up the hill. The ground was frosty and crunchy so I took my time and when I reached the crest i was able to look down on a clearcut and up the other side. Out came the binoculars and low and behold there was a bull moose slowly making his way up the other side of the block. Unfortunately for me he had too much antler for me to shoot it legally. He wandered up the block and slowly dissappeared into the trees.

I glassed the rest of the large block and spotted another moose. This one was a cow and was wandering the block. I watched for about half an hour as it slowly left the block, heading out the other side.

On my trek back down the trail, a few hundred yard back from where I had turned around and I spotted a black lump down another side of the ridge. Up came the binos and there sat another cow moose. This one I was able to get to within 150 yards where I sat and watched for 15 minutes. The moose just sat and watched me. Too bad theres no cow season or I would have taken the shot. She was sitting pretty.

Off I went, back to the truck and driving down the road again. I didnt see anything else except a nice black bear in the middle of a cut block.

Maybe next time a legal bull will show itself.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Stellako on a dry fly

I had a bit of time this weekend and my choice was take the boat out to a lake or wade the Stellako river again trying to fool rainbows with a dry fly. Well, dry fly fishing won, so off I went.

Last night I tied up a few dry fly patterns and had one on and ready to go before even reaching the river. Having fished it just last week I already had a plan for where I wanted to fish and went straight for those spots.

Despite some pretty good wind, all it took was one cast and I was already into fish. A healthy rainbow who put up a nice fight and some acrobatics came to hand and was released. The first stop produced a few decent fish and then went quiet. I wandered downstream, hooking into a few small fish on the way. I stopped at a nice pocket of water and happened to look upstream just in time to see the back end of a black bear duck into the shrubs on the opposite bank. As I looked down stream around the corner I could see another black bear, on my side of the river, standing on the bank.
I figured I had better leave them alone and went back up stream to where I started.

When I reached the head of the river, the rain and hail decided to make an appearance which made my decision to leave a little bit easier.

Today wasn't the fast and furious action of last weekend but some nice fish were caught. I think something was trying to tell me to put away the fishing rod and pick up the rifle. I saw six deer on the short drive to the river and two bears on the river. We'll see what happens next weekend.

The fly of the day was a cinnamon caddis type pattern, larger than I would have thought seemed to be more effective in bringing the rainbows up.

Hook: standard size 10 or 12 dry fly hook
Thread: 8/0 tan thread
Body: rusty brown dubbin
Body hackle: brown dry fly hackle
Rib: extra small copper wire
Wing: elk hair

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Stellar day on the Stellako - Dry Fly Fishing

This morning I woke up to beautiful sunshine as fall approaches at a steady pace. I grabbed my fly rod and off I went to what has to be my favorite trout stream, the Stellako River. Thinking there would be sockeye in the river I packed some egg patterns I could drift under them to entice the many rainbows lurking behind them looking for an easy meal. Along with the egg patterns I packed some stone flies in olive, tan and black (all of which were effective this time last year). Lastly, I threw in some dry flies, and among them a few cinnamon caddis.

When I arrived at the river there were a couple of guys pounding the water near the inflow from Francois Lake. With a smile and a nod I walked on by, down stream, to find some water of my own. I didn't have to go far and I found some pockets of water amongst shallows. Thinking it looked fishy I tied on a cinnamon caddis a sent out my first cast. Should have started the Gopro before I cast because that first cast yielded a 12" rainbow. Oh well, next fish maybe? After releasing the little rainbow I turned on the Gopro and kept fishing the pockets of water as I waded down stream. Every pocket of water gave up fish. Some more than others and some bigger than others. Put it this way, I didn't have to work for any fish today. The rainbows must have got the memo and were hungry. I lost count of how many fish I landed, the majority of which were around 8" but there were some big fish in there too. I landed a handful of 14-16" acrobatic and strong rainbows and fought a beast that I thought was a sockeye before it leaped into the air and showed its chrome.

I had a bunch of new egg patterns I wanted to try out on this trip but couldn't bear to stop fishing dries. Some of the takes were aggressive and the fish flashed up from the bottom and slammed the fly. Other takes were a slap of the fly to drown it and then they would take the fly. I missed a few being too over zealous and trying to set the hook at the sight of the first splash. It's so hard to hold back and wait before setting the hook. The water was crystal clear and you could see the fish holding, flashing or coming up for food. At one point I watched a little rainbow snap at my fly on the surface four times as it skated across the current before it finally got a hold of it. Very fun to watch.

If you are up in this area I would highly suggest a stop at this little gem of a river. Bring lots of flies, they trashed a number of mine.