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!

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