Hello all its been some time since the last fishing report. We have been ‘ex-streamly’ busy after our 5 weeks of Steelhead Boot Camp (http://westcoastfishing.ca/steelheadbackroads) catching up on the ‘honey do’ list around the lodge and chasing the kids to their activities. I am excited to say after 2 years we now have another licence to access the Upper Skeena allowing only a few anglers per week to angle some of the finest Summer Run Steelhead water in the world! Having the opportunity at throwing a fly at Kispiox, Babine, Bulkley, Morice, and the list goes on “Steelhead” at their prime before entering their Native Rivers to winter over, and take on the spawning colors with their mates. What makes this fishery so special, is the location and water we are casting flies in. These Trophy Steelhead are only miles from the tide water during the beginning of the migration while the bright & fight of these blinding chrome fish scream down the river lighting up your reel and putting your skills and tackle to the test! The Salmon migration is in full swing with Chinook rolling through the region 6 rivers Skeena,Kitimat,Nass are now producing good numbers of chrome healthy Chinook Salmon. There have been reports of Sockeye and Chum Salmon entering the Skeena and Kitimat. All region 6 rivers have come into shape quickly do to a low snow pack, giving guides and resident anglers early opportunities at Fresh Salmon with the odd late running Steelhead. We still have some spaces available for Summer Run Steelhead also have Coho, Salmon, Steelhead & Trout combo trips.
I would like to Thank all our past and present Guests for supporting our family run fishing lodge we look forward to hearing from you Tight Lines Gill & Mandi McKean. Dakota landing a nice Chinook on the Kitimat River Kitimat River Chinook Hand tied flies here at Westcoast Fishing Adventures California guest Gary holds up a beauty Buck Shining sun and Northern hospitality make for a winning combination.
I finally got to fish in the Steelhead boot camp! This was at Home Pool! Click HERE to see the You Tube Video! Enjoy! or click here: https://youtu.be/zRGN5yLaoXY
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Fishing is our Addiction!
Guiding is our Passion!
Adventure is in our Blood!
Gill McKean hosts the 2015 Guide School with KDC Students
These past two weeks have been very fulfilling, productive and accomplished! Gill has been teaching 3 Kitselas students on how to become an accomplished Guide here in the Terrace, Skeena, Kitimat & Nass regions.
These students are very eager to learn and are doing exceptional. The first two weeks was a classrooom setting, with the past three days located ‘on the water’ field trips, with special guests Sheldon & Monty from Kispiox River Adventures.
We all had a great time, they taught the students a lot of realistic information on how to become the best guide, have fun, be safe, take care of clients, casting skills, rafting skill, and most importantly how to reel in Steelhead!
Many thanks to Sheldon & Monty for taking the time to share your knowledge with our students!
We look forward to the next two weeks of hands on, learning how to raft, drive jet boats and of course more casting, catch and releasing.
Skeena river fishing guides prepare for spring steelhead season after a warm winter and little snow pack we are left with just one month before the start of our spring steelhead season. Now after attending ISE Sacramento & Denver Fishing Shows and meeting so many great people just refreshed and rejuvenated us, now don’t misunderstand me the show days are long but after 18 years of doing ISE shows there is no end to the laughter,smiles,hand shakes and good people in the show it self as well as all my guests that have patronized our business for so many seasons it’s amazing I Thank every one of you for supporting my addiction to the great out doors and the experience I get to share and pass on to you the micro share holder’s of Westcoast Fishing Adventures. Now enough of the mushy stuff and on to Steelhead & Salmon fishing swinging bugs and feeling for Tugs is why were here and at days end we drink some Beer with a fire a glow in the melting snow we share our stories of gray shadows below. There just a little poem for you, I am getting more excited by the day to get this season under way we will be setting camp in March with our first guest from Denver Colorado braving the season opener March 1 to the 6th. We will be offering Spring Steelhead on the Main stem Skeena 2 this season as well as the Moose river experience we have not decided where the camp will be placed so I will leave you hanging all I can tell you is we will be ready and the camp will be comfortable just as it has been for the last 5 years. I would also like to touch on another fishery that we enjoy every season from late September to the end of October Silver Salmon fill some very beautiful remote rivers these can only be accessed by jet boat or helicopter making these fisheries very exclusive. Steelhead can also be taken during the same trip so many rivers and so little time this is what has kept our guests coming back two to three times in one season. Because you never know whats around the next bend !
Tight Lines to all Gill McKean.
Come And Join Us for Another incredible season 2015
Just a recap of some of the moments and people that made 2014 one to remember !
Available Dates – April 26 to May 2 Spring Steelhead.
May 3 to May 9th Spring Steelhead & Chinook Salmon.
May 10 to May 16 Spring Steelhead & Chinook Salmon
Skeena River Fishing Guides Return From 2015 ISE California and Colorado.
We have just finished up four Sport Show days in California and four Sport Show days in Colorado at the International Sportsman’s Exposition. It was very nice to meet up with clients in California who have helped support our family run business. Within the 36 hours, 4 days at the Sacramento show, we spoke to many people who were very interested in the Skeena region, Steelhead and Salmon, as well as great people re-booking. We also spent 36 hours within 4 days at the Denver show, which we haven’t attended the Denver show for quite a few years, and it was nice to meet a new crowd, answer new questions, see new faces. All’s we can do is wait and seed how many, out of the dozens we spoke to, will actually book an Adventure with us (=
We will be back in the Skeena Country tomorrow evening and preparing for the upcoming Spring Steelhead Season, as we are 90% booked with the Last week in April as well as the first two weeks in May available. So should any of you have interest please call or email to inquire.
March 10-17 2015 I have put together a ‘boys’ trip to Christmas Island, there are five of us booked, with room for two more, should you be interested in coming with us contact Steve McLaughlin ASAP 1-303-494-1375 or email@example.com and cc me in the email. This will be an amazing time fishing for Bone Fish, GT’s guided by Mike Hennessy from Hawaii On The Fly.
Attached are a few photos of our USA Adventure, as well as a picture of Mandi who tried to win a 4×4 tent trailer, but won second prize, a Grub Hub Camping Kitchen that we will get great use out of! Way to Go!
When Andrew Fairclouth hooked, played and released the first steelhead of his life, a nice 12 pounder, there’s no way he could have known that a dozen casts later he’d make fly fishing history. But that’s exactly what happened on a spring day just a few seasons ago in northwestern British Columbia.
“He thought that fish was the best thing since sliced cheese,” says Fairclouth’s guide that day, Gill McKean, who owns West Coast Fishing Adventures in Terrace, B.C. “Andrew had come all the way out here from the U.K. to hook a steelhead on the fly and he was really happy about it.”
After the fish swam off, McKean tied on a new tippet for Fairclouth and replaced the fly, a “Gill’s Creamsicle,” which is basically a pimped out orange bunny leech of his won design. Fairclouth then waded back out to the same spot and resumed casting. “He pretty much was still in the same spot where he’d caught the fish, though I was trying to get him to cast a little further out,” says McKean.
When Fairclouth finally hit the sweet spot on the distant seam, another steelhead ate the fly. This one was different than the first…much different.
“It was a super aggressive fish and it hit that fly just as it touched the water,” says McKean. “It wasn’t messing around. The water in that spot’s about 5 feet deep and that steelhead came straight up and attacked it.”
When it felt the sting of the hook, the fish boiled and McKean got his first glimpse of the leviathan.
“It looked like a washing machine out there, eh!” he says. “At first, I figured it had to be a big early spring Chinook. Though it doesn’t happen all the time, we have caught a few big kings in late April while fishing for steelhead. Then I saw some red on him and knew it was a steelhead. At that point, the thing just went totally berserk and ran like hell out of the pool and downstream.”
The fish was so hot that all Fairclouth could do was hang on. He leaned into the beast as much as he dared with his 8-weight Thomas & Thomas, but the steelhead continued to rocket downstream. Like a bad movie slowly unfolding right in front of him, McKean watched helplessly as the hooked locomotive streaked right for a big logjam at the bottom of the run. As a last ditch effort to avoid certain heartbreak, he raced down the bank and got ahead of the fish. McKean then waded out into the middle of the run in hopes of getting the fish to turn back upstream. Eventually, he succeeded and Fairclouth was able to work the giant steelie back into the pool.
The flight raged for close to 40 minutes — towards the end of which the reel wiggled loose of the reel seat. After that little situation was contained, Fairclouth was eventually able to lead the great fish to the shore.
“As we got it to the bank, we just stood there staring at the thing,” says McKean. We couldn’t believe what we were seeing. It was huge and so thick all the way from the head down through the tail. It’s girth never snaked out like a lot of fish do. And its adipose fin was like a rudder – it was massive and looked like one off a big spawning male Chinook. I had a tape in my pocket and we got some quick measurements – the fish was 41.5 inches by 25.5 inches. It was unbelievable, man – definitely the biggest steelhead I’ve ever touched.”
And that’s saying something, considering McKean lives and guides in a region that produces more monster salmon and steelhead than anywhere else on the planet. He’s caught and guided people to countless 20 plus pound steelhead, including a line class 28 pounder taken on spinning gear and a fish or two in the 30-pound range.
“Up here, we come across 20 pounders fairly regularly, depending on the year and individual season,” he says. “Moby was in an entirely different class all together.”
While Moby was never weighed prior to release, he was very likely in the mid 30’s. Using Sturdy’s Weight Formula (length x girth squared x .00133), which was developed for Dean River steelhead, you get an amazing 35.8 pounds. The Skeena/Kispiox Formula (length x girth squared divided by 775) designed to estimate the weight of the extra girthy fish those drainages are prone to produce, gives you 34.8 pounds.
In either case, Fairclouth’s steelhead would eclipse the fish long accepted as the world fly rod record of 33 pounds, set by Karl Mauser in 1963. Just for kicks, I called the International Game Fish Association, which keeps all-tackle, fly and line class records for dozens of fresh and salt water species to see what the official fly rod record for steelhead currently is. Interesting enough, Mauser’s fish was never recognized by the IGFA, according to Becky Wright, IGFA’s World Record Coordinator. The organization doesn’t have a category for steelhead and instead puts all rainbows – anadramous and otherwise – into the same group. Right now, the all-tackle mark for the species is that freaky 43-pound, 10-ounce triploid mutant from Lake Diefenbaker taken last year. In the fly department, the largest fish is a 30-pound, 15-ounce rainbow from Germany’s Ruhr River – obviously not a steelhead, either.
So, had McKean and Fairclouth gotten Moby’s official weight, he’d likely be in the record books as the largest recognized steelhead taken on a fly in the world. Of course, with the take of wild steelhead banned in B.C. (we here in the states should follow suit!), getting weights of big fish without causing them too much unnecessary stress is a bit problematic. To that end, fish even larger than Moby have been caught and released in recent years. The largest I’ve found while searching the internet was a 46.5 x 26.8 incher hooked in the Skeena by an Italian angler that may have been as large a 44 pounds! Still, Fairclouth is among very select company having landed a steelhead in the mid 30-pound range…on a fly (and don’t even get me started on the fact that it was only his second-ever career steelie).
Now, the story of Mody doesn’t end there. While catching a fish like that gets very close to “miracle” status in its own, it’s also a wonder that there’s even any photographic evidence of the event considering what happened after McKean put the measuring tape to the fish.
“Andrew insisted on holding Moby up for a photo,” he says. “But he couldn’t hold on and dropped the fish back into the water. The hook was still in his mouth but the line got all twisted around the rod and reel – it was a total cluster!”
As Moby regained his wits, he started heading back towards deeper water. That’s when McKean made a heroic dive and got a grip – just before the line came tight against the tangles.
“I held him up really quick,” says McKean. “And then we whipped off three pictures – which turned out to be the last three shots on my roll of film…”