summer steelhead vancouver island


Steelhead migrate to spawn during the summer months and the winter months. Part of the appeal of this fishery to me is the element of surprise – my first summer steelhead was caught on the Stamp River while fly fishing for Coho. They differ in the timing of their return to the streams. It's common for this river to have the largest returns of steelhead on Vancouver Island and some anglers say you can fish for Steelhead any day of the year. Very aggressive, they will actively chase down a swung fly or small lure, even rising to a dry fly, making them an excellent fish on the fly. Steelhead sizes range from 4 to 30 pounds with the average being 8 pounds. We'd like to camp, not in any campgrounds but rather more secluded, and plan on moving about to get a feel for your beautiful island. Long before the Kispiox and Sustut, the Dean and the Thompson became the renowned fishing destinations they did the Stamp River, on the central west coast of Vancouver Island, near Port Alberni had a well established reputation among the steelhead angling elite. In the Keogh River, on Vancouver Island, smolt-to-adult steelhead survival sits at four per cent, down from 15 per cent before 1990. As with all Vancouver Island Steelhead Rivers, it’s very important to be up to date on regulations for this river as it is considered one of the most confusing regulated rivers, so ask for help and then check for yourself to ensure accuracy. Access to the Mahatta River is over rough logging roads from the northern town of Port Alice. Babine River Upper Skeena tributary. Curtis Leyenaar - October 27, 2020. One of the hardest things for me is patience, seeing the fish in action, but resisting the urge to act and set the hook, instead letting it take the fly and turn away, hooking itself solidly in the side of the mouth in the process. The skilled fisherman can get 20+ steelhead in a single day. Even now, twenty-five years after Earl and I had our great day, not many people fish the river and very few know it well. It boasts easy access and lots of steelhead. Even the smaller steelhead in the Nimpkish will fight like a large Steelhead of the other southern rivers. Angler, Writer, Photographer & Island Angler's Fly Fishing Columnist. Gear fishing is very productive from October to December, best with egg patterns. The fish in this Vancouver Island Steelhead river are known for their fight. Unlike winter run steelhead, whose single minded pursuit is spawning, the smaller summer run fish are more apt to rise up to take a fly, moving into freshwater when they are still immature to hold until spawning. In Region 1, all wild steelhead are catch and release only. This river is very beautiful, flowing green with great riffles and is perfectly suited for sports fishing. Fly fishing for Steelhead on Vancouver Island in British Columbia Canada. day after day. Vancouver Island is a haven for anglers who seek the thrill of catching wild steelhead! It does get float plane service if you’re into that sort of thing. Delicate, accurate presentation is usually more important than any specific fly pattern. So because of this it is suited to great gear fishing. The Mahatta River flows westwards from O’Connell lake into Quatsino Sound on the northwest coast of Vancouver Island. The Vedder River is heavily enhanced by a hatchery on the upper reaches; this hatchery supports the steelhead run that returns in the winter months. There a few ways to fish this river, and the best way, in my opinion, is by drift boat. The run is from early June until late July. The highway follows this sparkling and fishy river course, through the high peaks of the Vancouver Island Mountain range alongside elk meadows and small lakes, to meet the Heber River, the Gold River's premier summer steelhead tributary. There is plenty of room, the river isn’t crowded with anglers and you’re surrounded by the tall trees that the west coast is famous for and it’s surrounded by a quiet hiking trail. Fortunately the Nimpkish Resource Management Board is changing that and returns are increasing again. This is what gets you into the best fishing holes. Steelhead average 22 to 32 inches and weigh 8 to 10 lbs, but have been known to reach over 30 lbs. Part of the appeal of this fishery to me is the element of surprise – my first summer steelhead was caught on the Stamp River while fly fishing for Coho. Practice “keepemwet” fishing to do your part to release fish in the best condition possible and reduce your impact on the fish. Hatchery enhanced waters include the Stamp, Quinsam, and Quatse rivers. Look for routes for the fish to swim upriver taking the path of least resistance and for holding lies to rest in between. Lots of high teens to over 20 lb Steelhead inhabit our Vancouver Island rivers. Check the Freshwater Fishing Synopsis on the specific stream you are fishing for specific closures, restrictions and open dates, which are intended to protect steelhead returns. Summer steelhead are most often found on the west coast rivers of Vancouver Island (most notably Gold River), however they are also present in a few select east coast island rivers. There are various access options that accommodate all levels of anglers. For that reason, we must treat this fishery with the utmost respect to sustain future runs. 9. These trophy rainbow trout enter rivers in December through April. Post was not sent - check your email addresses! It has good road access from highway 28 out of Campbell River and it’s a beautiful drive through Strathcona park. It’s hard to say what is more satisfying, the anticipation of watching the steelhead rise, sip the fly and explode into full on beast mode or the actual experience of a fish, hell-bent on escape, on the end of my line. Our favourite are. The fish in this Vancouver Island Steelhead river are known for their fight. Given the general downward trend in anadromous fish returns, we can only assume that the run size has not increased. All of these Vancouver Island Steelhead rivers listed have their own character and need a little time and practice to get to know. During the winter months (Dec.-Apr.) Even the smaller steelhead in the Nimpkish will fight like a large Steelhead of the other southern rivers. There is no hatchery program here and an old mill sits down at the estuary. Sockeye, Chinook, Pink, Coho, and Chum salmon are all found in the rivers surrounding Vancouver, making Vancouver steelhead fishing just the icing on a delicious cake. The Nimpkish river is the largest river on Vancouver island and the legend  Roderick Haig-Brown called it The Big One. Naturally, small, dark flies and lighter tippet usually present better in low and pressured waters, although some days steelheading means that nothing you tie on the end of your line will be right. Angler, Outdoor Writer/Photographer and Island Angler's Fly Fishing Columnist Fly fishing for smallmouth bass, Island Angler June 2017, page 7, Beach Fly Fishing For Pink Salmon, Island Angler August 2017, page 6, Backroads, Backpacks & Fly Rods, BC Outdoors Magazine, Nov/Dec 2020. You’ll need the help of a local or a guide for access points as they’re well hidden and very difficult to find. Old rumours say that an Orca made Muchadhat inlet home and ate all the steelhead but they’ve since recovered. And we’re definitely addicted to being out on the flow, chasing the fulfillment of the tug after a solid bobber down. Naturally, small, dark flies and lighter tippet usually present better in low and pressured waters, although some days steelheading means that nothing you tie on the end of your line will be right. Summer-run steelhead still return in healthy numbers to the Skeena and Dean systems. We use 8wt fly rods with sinking tips while in pursuit of these spectacular fish on the fly. All of these Vancouver Island Steelhead rivers listed have their own character and need a little time and practice to get to know. The Cowichan sees steelhead, salmon, and trout returning back to its clear flows. You can also hike in if you know where to go or if you have a jet boat you can launch from Port Renfrew. A skilled angler can land several medium sized steelhead in a day out on this pretty river. Obviously, in high, fast conditions for winter steelies, sinking lines are the most effective. The Vedder River is a great local river close to Vancouver, it’s located approximately one and half hours east of the big city, in Chilliwack. GORDONRIVER: SUMMER STEELHEAD COUNTRY ... until the mid-seventies and beyond that the Gordon began to be known as a great stream among steelheaders of Southern Vancouver Island. This river has seen some very hard times due to unsustainable logging practices and the steelhead counts were way way down during the 80’s and 90’s. The possibilities are infinite – drifting a dry fly such as Roderick Haig Brown’s steelhead bee; skating a Grantham sedge cross stream; swinging a soft hackle wet-fly; traditional grease lining broadside with a Blue Charm; or dead drift nymphing a Kaufman stonefly, worm or later in the summer, egg pattern. Practice “keepemwet” fishing to do your part to release fish in the best condition possible and reduce your impact on the fish. Summer-run Steelhead range in size from 3 pounds to 15 pounds, and have a very explosive nature. Head out aboard a Bell 206 Jetranger Helicopter in search of salmon and steelhead in the remote coastal rivers along the coast of Vancouver Island. You’ll need the help of a local or, The Stamp is a great fly fishing opportunity but once the salmon spawn occurs these steelhead won’t even notice a fly. Seasons: Winter and Early Spring are the best time to fish this river. Chasing Chrome: Vancouver Island Steelhead. It must be the rugged northern spirit. 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