Finally, it was time again to head back! There has always been a special connection to this region since my first visit while working on a lodge in Skeena region. This place has everything you want as a fly fisher. We decided to give it a try in late September in order to fish different rivers and experience the real "steelheading" again. I called our good friend Willi and bookings were made. Steelhead fishing in late September, it doesn´t get any better. You can fish all of those famous rivers which offer an amazing scenery, combined with having the chance to catch a 20+ lb steelhead. The Skeena tributaries have the perfect size for swinging flies, you will not be disappointed. Each day we discussed options for the following day, low fish numbers and a lot of rain made it quite tricky but we were able to develop a good schedule fishing different water each day.
In the end it was the: Kitimat, Skeena, Bulkley, Babine and Copper. Each of those rivers produced hook ups, the Skeena was very slow during our time as there were only a few fish running. Absolute highlight of the trip was our heli trip to the upper Copper, that´s what you call real steelheading. Amazing scenery, mountains around you and one pool nicer than the other. Our hook up ration was actually not too bad, I was expecting slower fishing in general due to the low steelhead numbers but we were lucky. The landing part was however very frustrating this time. Lost ones that were "ready" or already seen in the net, we had it all, ask us :-)! Sometimes you win....we lost most of the time haha. Interesting fact was that the fishes we saw all had a very good size - I lost a really good fish after several runs into the backing while fishing on the Bulkley.
The coho fishing was in terms of our landing ratio much better and we were able to experience two amazing days on the Kitimat while drifting with Maurice. In total, we had 8 great fishing days within our circle of friends and family, it is still THE destination for steelhead and with a great plan as well as flexibility you will get your chances. The tradition and mysticism around this region is real every time and gets under your skin. Lets hope we all can enjoy this fishery for a long time and people understand one day what they will loose if things develop the way it is happening now.
Huge thank you to Willi, Peggy und Maurice who again found a really nice home. The setup contains everything you will need during a trip and they make sure you will feel like home. "Steelhead heaven" we will be back!