Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Trip Report: Nicholas Dean Lodge - Day 3

After being lulled to sleep by the sound of pounding rain we woke up to the smell of sausages, french toast and were also greeted with the sight of buckets of rain pouring down. After breakfast we split up and headed out. Ray, Bob, Mike and George were headed back to the Skeena to wrangle more salmon and hopefully rope a steelhead, while John and I headed out with our guide Sky to the Copper River. With the raft loaded in the back of the Ford F-350 XL we headed for the river in hopes of seeing semi-clear water. Last nights rain had a good chance at blowing out the river, by the time we got a good look at the water Sky determined that the Hershey chocolate like color was unfishable. Time for plan B! Plan B was another river (Fish River, aka a secret) no too far from the copper.

Fishing this river was not for the faint of heart, it was a challenge with its steep walls, quick water and tight casts. To get to the runs we charged through fast water, jumped from rock to rock and even did a little accidental swimming, all this during a downpour... love it. After reaching the first pool our guide set us up with sink tips and huge flies (pictures to come) in hope of triggering a chromer. After struggling a while to get the presentation just so we finally hooked a fish, a nice steelhead! After more rock hopping, white water wading and bushwhacking, we came to the next spot. By now the river was rising and beginning to turn off color. John was up... after getting the right swing to come around he got a grab... missed it, doh! With the water rising and becoming harder to fish we headed out, and it was no easy out! Just read the first part of this paragraph in reverse and you'll get the idea... All in all we had a great time. I am sorry to say we have few pictures because of the rain (no waterproof camera).

Back the Skeena we went with hopes of giant chrome. After a short drive and mild walk to the river we began casting… more like began hooking. John hook and lands a nice sockeye, then another, then something hit his fly like a freight train and in no time was in backing. This was a huge steelhead that while in the heavy current decided to go upstream and subsequently break him off! DANG! Not too much longer I got the grab of a lifetime… it shocked me and again in no time I heard my nail knot tear out of my guides. Huge chrome was hurling itself out of the water doing cartwheels and blistering runs. Sky came blasting down the river to chase the fish. Eventually we landed it and below you will see the proof! While catching my breath John hooked another rocketship that also handed his fly back. Some time went by then ANOTHER! This fish didn't want to stay around either. All in all John hooked 5 chromers, 4 of which would have been legendary... they still are! That’s enough about us, the rest of the gang has a killer day as well.

Out on the bars of the Skeena the fish were on the grab, on the move, and Bob was on a roll. He hooked several hot coho, pinks and even hooked a beefy steelhead.

George kept things on the level landing this perfect coho, these fish are nuts!

Mike landed a studly steelhead amongst many salmon. Ray hooked the beast of the day, a great chromer that put her dukes up. Sadly, the fish slipped out of the guides hands and headed up river, way to go Ray.

For tomorrow look for details on the flies, techniques and more pictures!