Sunday, August 24, 2008

BC Steelhead on the Fly

Last week I had the great fortune of reuniting with two of my good friends from Japan (Dr. Kawano and Mr. Sakai-san) in British Columbia. We met in Vancouver and flew to the Kalum River Lodge in Terrace, BC for 6 days of guided steelheading on the world famous Skeena River. The Skeena has the largest run of wild steelhead in the world and currently holds the world record for the largest steelhead.

The first day, Dr. Kawano landed the first steelhead of the trip. The guide (Andrew Rushton)estimated it at about 20 lbs. He said this is a "dream fish". The fact that it was taken on a fly rod makes it even more special. Steelhead are protected and it is illegal to keep them in Canada, catch and release only. So after a few quick photos we allowed the trout to continue his journey upstream to spawn. Unlike salmon, steelhead do not die after spawning, they return to the sea and will spawn many times in a lifetime.

Mr. Sakai-san caught this beautiful steelhead. It measured 40 inches long and had a 20 inch girth. According to the steelhead weight formula, it weighed 21 lbs. It had great coloring around the gills. A steelhead is actually a sea-run rainbow trout. So they often have greenish backs and red/purple on the sides, especially during spawning.

I caught this steelie on a single hand 9 wt fly rod. Estimated weight is 13 lbs. These fish are incredibly strong. Most anglers consider the steelhead to be the strongest sportfish in the world pound for pound. I can believe it! I landed 5 steelhead for the week, size ranged between 12 and 15 lbs.

Mr. Sakai-san doing battle.

Nakamoto-san, another guest at the lodge, caught his first ever steelhead.

Arimoto-san shows off his first steelhead.

This is a chum salmon (in spawning colors) caught on the Kittimat River.

Coho salmon.

Tony, the assistant guide caught the largest steelhead of the week, about 25 lbs!

Group photo wearing our Skeena 2008 commemorative shirts. Me, Mr. Sakai-san and Dr. Kawano

Everyone caught a lot of fish and had a great time. We have already started discussing our 2009 fishing trip. Some possibilities include New Zealand, Patagonia and Christmas Island. But who knows?

If you would like to take a trip to BC for steelhead fishing, I can highly recommend Andrew Rushton's Kalum River Lodge.

1 comment:

  1. Hi David:
    We really had a good fishing this time thanking to good weather and excellent run of fish.
    Steelhead is a dream fish for fly fishermen! I have been hoping to catch the fish for more than twenty years. And you caught as many as 5 steelies in less than two years after you have started fly fishing. It is too quick and too luxurious/happy for you! You may have "a goddess of fortune" in yourself.
    Anyway, we had an unforgettable trip this time. I enjoyed spending the days with you very much.