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.