The final week of the 2008 lodge season at Nicholas Dean began with a day on the renowned Copper River. With two-hand rods and jumbo flies, the host and frequent guest Martin Walker set out prospecting for silver...High, cold flows presented a challenge; finding a reach where the river spread and slowed would be the first order.
Late in the morning, fishing a run with a favorable combination of depth and current speed, Martin brought this lovely hen to hand. One day in, one nice fish recorded.
Knowing more time on the Copper would ensue, and hoping for lower flows, Martin and the host chose to explore a small stream in the Skeena IV area on day two. After a considerable hike upriver, Martin connected with a well-proportioned hen. (Check out the marquee photo.)
Hats off to the guides and staff at Nicholas Dean Lodge for making each trip in 2008 a memorable event. And to all who joined me, I'd like to shout out a trophy-sized THANK YOU! It was a great pleasure to share a year's fishing with you all. Whether old friends or new acquaintances, I hope we'll be fishing together again soon!
Until March 22...
Best regards, good fishing & happy new year!
1 January 2009
The final two days of the trip were occupied floating and hiking on this same rugged stream. Its riffles, pools, boulder gardens and pocket water were a joy to fish with either a single-hander or a light spey rod. Over the course of these two days, a few more steelhead were caught and released, but overall, the fish became more difficult to move to a fly. Like the fog that crept in at the end of each day, winter would soon be settling into the Skeena Valley.
Not finished with the day, Martin encountered a second steelhead...then had an encounter of a different kind. This time with a fearsome, hairy beast: a wolverine. Apparently disinterested in fly fishing, after a quick survey of Mr. Walker, the critter ambled off into the brush.
Keeping the emphasis on variety, the pair fished a middle Nass tributary the following day. The host hooked two, landed one.
Back on the Copper, day four was a tough one. Rain brought the river up even higher and sent the fish even deeper.
The following day, floating with Nicholas Dean guide Sky Richard, Martin and the host would have better fortune. In the first pool fished, Martin brought in this exquisitely hued steelhead.
Two pools later, the host joined the fun with a ten-pound male fish...In the next pool downriver, each angler had a chance, but both fish evaded the hook. From that point forward, the Copper would keep its treasures securely hidden.
After a cold night, the river cleared and dropped several inches, seemingly a turn to favor the angler. But neither Martin nor the host...
could find the right fly or a willing fish. All too soon the day closed with a dramatic, stormy sunset.
With a change of venue, luck turned: On the Copper's major tributary, Martin started the day with a pretty henfish.
Then followed with a sturdy, red-sided buck. Add two more and Martin had a fine total of four steelhead hooked and landed.
The host added two more steelhead before day's end, including a brilliant hen. Notably, this spirited fish took on a long cast, rising high in the water column, taking the fly in full view. Guide Sky's decision to leave the main Copper for better days was precisely the right move!