Oct 11th, 2019
Our friend Will Johnson from Ashland Fly Shop recently returned from Skeena River Lodge in British Columbia. Here’s his report. Thanks, Will!
“If you are a committed Steelhead Flyfisher and you are at it long enough you will probably make your way to British Columbia and the Skeena System. Getting on the plane and returning home after my first year I swore to try and come back annually, and I have been hosting groups every year since. It truly is a paradise for the Steelhead angler. This season was ominous before we even lifted off as news of the run in general was a poor return. But as seasoned Steelhead fishermen we were overly optimistic, and felt if there is a fish to be had, by God we’ll find it. Spirits were high.
Thankfully the fish gods took pity on us and we ended up with great weather conditions for the week, which as you know is half the equation. We were met with dropping, clearing rivers and overcast skies almost daily. B.C. is a bit of a mind trick because the rivers fish so beautifully you think there just has to be a fish in every run. You are perplexed if you get through a sweet tailout without a grab. Needless to say, we were fairly perplexed for the week!
We persevered and all ended up hooking and landing at least one fish each for the week. Among those were some very nice fish. We felt pretty happy with these results considering what we were up against. And some days we hooked several! We certainly missed our share as well. Which is a real challenge when you are not sure you are going to get another shot for the day.. or longer. But this is part of the game and what keeps us coming back.
I made a really good connection with the Sage 7130-4 X on this trip. I committed to fishing it for most days as I had not spent a solid amount of time with this model. It performed beautifully. And it needed to–as I pushed it to it’s, and my own limit most days as long casts were in order when we fished the main Skeena. Tapping into this rod’s power is something spectacular for a 13’ 7wt. It unloads like a tightly wound spring and can cover a tremendous amount of water. I fished a 525 Rio Skagit Max on it and went between a 15’ Type 3 & Type 6 tip with a modest sized fly. The rod handled this with ease. It cemented my regard for this rod as an all around 7wt with exceptional feel and versatility. It covered all the water I fished that week with ease and I never really thought of stringing up another stick.
B.C. has really captured a place in my heart and I still feel the same way I did after my first trip. I will continue to try and get back up there to swing flies in those rivers every year. To that end I typically host a group trip in the fall, and I’m adding a spring group trip for 2020 that I believe will be a new tradition as well. All of my hosting is done through Fly Water Travel and Skeena River Lodge. Fly Water makes the logistics of getting there and back and knowing what to expect as simple as possible, and Skeena River lodge has exceptional, hard working guides and staff that put us on fish and make us comfortable while we are there. What more could you ask for! If you have an interest in joining me on one of my hosted trips, please don’t hesitate to inquire! I always love to talk about steelhead fishing.”
Ashland Fly Shop