I might as well talk about them! It seems that this was the year to be up on the Skeena. Steelhead were hopping into people's laps right from the get go. Everyone and their dog headed up to steelhead paradise to fish the Bulkley, Kispiox, Copper, Babine, Skeena, etc. Not everyone had spectacular fishing, but this was the year. There were pub nights, and group drifts, and jet boat congregations galore. My ex fullfilled his dream of spending nearly two months chasing chrome. My fellow steelhead bum April spent two weeks earlier in the season on those magical waters, and is just returning from excursion number two. K8 returned home from five months guiding in Alaska, loaded up and promptly headed out. Three of my co-workers spent time on the Bulkley. Friends were guiding up there. More of my fly shop customers than ever came in to stock up for their up north explorations, eyes gleaming as they loaded up on flies, lines, tippet, new waders, rods and reels. I have been regaled with stories of epic drifts, gigantic fish, the one that got away, the heralded dry fly take, the broken rods, first cast hookups...
I didn't make it up. Work, time, money... I started my first season of guiding, bought a new truck, and was banking on having November and December to fulfill my summer run fix. And now my personal steelhead Shangri-La is looking to remain closed this year. As in NO FISHING ALLOWED. As in no sagebrush, no bighorn sheep, no treacherous wades, no cleats, no Log Cabin Pub, no fifteen foot rod and the furthest cast you'll ever make. No fishing as hard as you'll ever fish to feel that line tighten, giving you the most satisfing and thrilling adrenaline rush you'll ever get from a fish. I'm heartbroken.
So now I'm trying to look forward to my local winter run fisheries, and luckily I've had a bit of help doing that as I'm presenting at The Steelhead Show on Saturday in Washington. My topic - Fraser Valley Steelhead Paradise. Its not Skeena region, its not my heaven on earth, but its all I've got. So look out, Fraser Valley steelhead. This year its just you and me.