Who wants to go fishing?

Imagine yourself sliding into a bubbling hot tub after finishing a gourmet dinner as the sounds of a cool winter night fill the air. You close your eyes and imagine what tomorrow will bring: the long hike through mossy rainforests, the deep wade in tea coloured water, the technical casts and hopefully the explosion of silver on the end of your line. Then your buddies voice cuts through the vision - "Hey! Exactly how many flies DID you lose on that tree today?"

Welcome to the Queen Charlotte Islands, home to wild steelhead, virgin rainforests and uncrowded fishing. And, The Masset House, a B&B located on a secluded harbour of the city of Masset. During the summer months the Charlottes are chock full of salmon and halibut fishermen, whale watchers, hikers, kayakers and the like, but once winter comes these isolated islands grow quiet and peaceful. The salmon runs have finished, the tempermental winter weather arrives and days grow short. However, towards the end of November, an incredible run of totally wild steelhead begin their migration up their home rivers, and a relatively small handful of anglers brave blowouts and down pours, snow and ice, brutal winds and bushwacking to have a chance to hook one of these magnificent creatures.

Pound for pound, QCI steelhead rival Thompson or Dean River fish for their strength and stamina. Average size fish are 12 lbs, with fish up to 25 lbs or more hooked every year. And these are not your typical winter fish. Perhaps due to genetics, or the darker water, or the lack of pressure on them, often times they will be found in shallow water of 1-2 feet deep. The are excedingly aggressive towards the fly as well. Most steelheaders will have to adjust their methods if they want to fish these waters effectively. Classic looking water often is barren, and it's that slot on the far side that requires a deadly accurate cast underneath overhanging branches that will produce. In a typical week, anglers should expect at least a couple of hook-ups (weather dependent, of course), but during a good push multiple hook-ups per day can and do happen.

As the days start to lengthen and temperatures begin to rise, another overlooked but world class fishery picks up - wild sea run cutthroat fishing. These small fish are some of the most beautiful of their species. Averaging 14", they are heavily spotted and show a definite bronze hue due to the tanic river waters. They are also incredibly aggressive towards the fly and are terrific fighters. Fish up to 24" are not uncommon, and local waters are full of these fiesty trout.

Michael & Young Fly Shop is offering hosted trips through Masset House for one week, leaving March 2. For $2899.99 Cdn you will have provided for you your flights from Vancouver, BC to Masset, luxurious lodging, gourmet meals and transportation to and from the rivers. If you are interested, please contact Michael & Young via email at info@myflyshop.com or by phone at 1-800-663-6407

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