Formerly known only to anglers living in the lower Skeena valley, spring steel heading here is now gaining an international reputation. For anyone who has cast fly through the clear, crisp air in March, April and May, it's not hard to appreciate why this is so. Spring steel heading in Skeena is done when the water is low and as clear as air. The steelhead are hard; they shine like newly minted coins; they fight well; and they are readily found with a fly.
In March, when the land is still hard and the snow shelves are stacked along the river bank like thick sheets of glass, a fast sinking line is the order of the day. In April, when the buds are out and rivers are beginning to rise in height and temperature, a slow sinking line is fine.
The air is full of fragrance and the land is green by May. This is the month when the last of the Spring steelhead can be persuaded to come up for a surface fly. Spring is also a good time to find sea run cutthroat trout, dolly varden char, and bull trout, all of which are on the prowl for emergent salmon fry, and can be fooled with a minnow pattern fished at the end of a floating line and a long leader.
Summer and Fall Steelhead
The Skeena valley is resplendent in the summer: the fishing is as brilliant as the brilliant green landscape, and angling possibilities seem as endless. This is the time when the summer steelhead of Skeena surge up the Skeena and her tributaries. The fish bound for the upper branches of the river - the Kispiox, Babine and the Sustut - are the largest of their species. The possibility of catching one of these great fish is distinct; the chance of catching a world record is remote, but possible.
When the Skeena giants reach their home rivers they have burned a lot of energy. In the Skeena waters our giants know so well, the same fish can be intercepted from a few to fifty miles above tide, when they are fresh and strong. Fastening onto a fish of these proportions in the lower Skeena is combat: it's the angling thrill of a lifetime.
Fishing the main stem for Skeena Giants is fishing that demands long rods and long casts. Spin fishing there can be spectacular. Fewer steelhead are hooked on the flyrod in the Skeena than are hooked in her tributaries, but those hooked are well worth the effort.
Summer steelhead are arguably the best fresh water game fish in the world. With their aggressive natures and the penchant for floating flies, the summer steelhead of Copper (Zymoetz) River are fish the kind of steelhead that have given the species their well-deserved reputation. A floating line, a seven or eight weight rod, and reels with a robust drag, that carry plenty of backing are a necessity for summer steel heading.
Our Boats and Guides:
"Getting to the fishing is at least half the fun", says Skeena Wilderness's senior guide and owner (Chief Executive Officer) Stan Doll. After the first day out you'll agree heartily. Whether it means roaring down the Skeena in our inboard, covered jet boat, jetting up a river in a sled, bouncing through white water in our Mackenzie style aluminium drift boat, drifting over pellucid pools in a double ended drift raft, or cutting through the salty chop in our regal Grady White outboard, getting there is always an exhilarating adventure. We get you to the fishing quickly and safely while ensuring your comfort. Come ride with us!
Born in Terrace, Stan Doll began fishing almost as soon as he was able. He was one of those kids with a talent for fishing: a natural with an innate ability to read water and find fish. Fishing the rivers accessible by bike, Stan still managed to catch hundreds of salmon from the Skeena, Kitsumkalum and the Copper rivers.
Stan was drifting the rivers at fourteen by the time he was sixteen he had his driver's license, the use of a power boat, and access to all the rivers on the lower Skeena. By the time he was a young man, Stan had beached a staggering number of Chinook salmon, the largest weighing in at 86 pounds, as well as more, and larger, steelhead than even the most dedicated steel header can expect in a lifetime of angling - including a trophy male of 32 pounds.
At 60 Stan Doll enjoys a well deserved reputation as the premier Chinook guide in Terrace. With 36 years of fishing journals and forty years of angling experience behind him. Stan is arguably the most productive steelhead and Coho guide in Skeena, and unquestionably one of the area's most skilled boatsmen as well. Stan Doll has had a profound enthusiasm and love of fishing and the outdoors, qualities he enjoys sharing with others, as his two sons will tell you.
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