Sign up for free epic news

Guides Life

Don’t fish a bad cast

< >
<
>
Warning: This post is bad advice for beginners.

In the guiding business patience is a virtue.   All guides have there own variety of “go to” phrases that flow out so naturally and often you don’t even notice them being said.  Should of been here yesterday, never leave fish to find fish, A bad day's fishing is better than a good day at work. All of these can be heard echoing along every river system in North America daily.

However there is one phrase I am trying to put a stop to and that’s “fish every cast no matter how good or bad it was, steelhead don’t care if it was a pretty cast or not.”  I feel the opposite.  Just like Pavlovs dog I don’t think people who are interested in improving should get a taste of cheese for a poor cast and inevitably a poor presentation. This equals poor condition...

Pinky Out Steelheader

< >
<
>

My buddy Lightnin' always says that when someone is being uppity or sophisticated that they are carrying themselves with their "pinky out". It is a reference to the posh tea drinker that sips all snooty like, with one pinky out, straightened and off the handle of their cup. There are many things besides tea drinking that one can call someone out as being pinky out, but only one that I will proudly claim I am dead guilty of.

I swing flies for steelhead. Period. There is no other method of fishing I will consider to target steelhead, ever, but the swing. I don't nymph, I won't throw bobbers, and I sure as hell ain't stooping to any lesser forms than the fly. In this regard, I am a pinky out Steelheader. Swing only, nothing else is worth my effort, I just can't be bothered.

I came about this elevated attitude...

Lacrosse training for fishing guides

< >
fly fishing, lacrosse
<
fly fishing, lacrosse
>

Lacrosse is a growing sport out west, but out east where I grew up it was pushed on us harder than the french language.  At an early age lacrosse sticks were put in our hands and we were taught how to scoop up grounders, cradle, and hum an indian rubber ball a country mile.  I still love the sport, but looking back now I realize it taught me a skill set I would use the rest of my life, netting fish.

After working in Alaska for 12 years I figure I have probably netted a couple hundred thousand fish.  I take pride is swiping a fish well before he's really ready to be landed. I have caught them mid air on jumps half way through a fight and I have dug several feet bellow the water and scooped unsuspecting fish out before they knew what hit them. I keep loose by cradling rocks with my net on the...

Is your guide a stud or a dud?

< >

Sometimes in the fishing business you book a trip with someone and they stick you with the guide of their choice.  You are often at the mercy of ‘luck of the draw’ at this point.  Its like when you go to a trout lodge and half the guides are young, fresh out of college kids, taking a year off to full fill a bucketlist dream job for a year before they get a “real job”.  You know you are going to catch less fish that day than the guy who has been guiding there for 10 years and is a lifer.  Day in and day out, first year guides on a new body of water will be out performed buy the vets.

So how can you tell if your fishing guide is feeding you a line of crap about his experience or not? Well its easy, follow this list.

When you jump into his truck have a look a the windshield, if it doe...

Fishing between the runs

< >
<
>

One of the reasons a lot of people prefer early season steelhead fishing over late season is that the fish are much more aggressive to a dry fly.  However another attraction to catching steelhead in warmer water temps is having the opportunity to fish some very interesting water . With warm water the fish will search out fast, highly oxygenated spots to hold. With even a couple rocks to lay behind the fish will find extemely fast water to relax in.  Often times these are very random spots that very few people would ever think to fish. For me that opens the doors to my favourite thing - catching fish for the first time in new water. 

Fishing the same beat several times a week I will eyeball a spot for days as I boat up and down the river.  If it continues to look good I will eventua...

Spey rod for the big ones

< >
<
>

I have a new favorite setup for the big ones.

It used to be that when we went after big salmon we had to fish 14 to 16 foot rods in 10wt. As a steelheader, I have gotten very comfortable with my shorter 12.5 to 13.5 ft rods and do not like casting the extremely long rods that much any more. I like the compact lines and compact casting strokes that go with the shorter sticks.

This summer I got to fish for monsters in a few amazing places, and fell in love with a new heavy duty spey rod that everybody should love for big fish.

Sage figured out the need for the shorter 10wt and knocked it out of the park with this one. The 10130-4 Sage One, 13ft 10wt rod, is phenomenal. Short, lightweight and powerful it launches laser beam loops with even the nastiest tips and flies. A very clean and smooth rod tip...

Its all about the staff

< >
<
>

Anyone in the service business knows they are as only good as their staff.  Here at Epic we are the management team that operates several lodges in BC. The guides, the chefs, and everyone else involved work hard as a team to make each one of our operations a success.  It is the same group of guys working the Bulkley/Morice in the fall at Frontier Farwest as it is hiking the many rivers of Haida Gwaii in the winter at Copper Bay Lodge.  Working together throughout the year at multiple lodges and locations makes us a very close knit crew.

In the summer Epic runs Bulkley Basecamp which is a very complicated, logistical puzzle where we set up several camps on the coast allowing us to access prime water during the peak of king salmon runs.  This summer we ran 5 separate camps and fished 5 differe...

Tools of the Trade

< >
<
>

One of the fun things about guiding is having the ability to target all kinds of species throughout the year. As much as I love steelhead I also enjoy all the other fish that we catch.  In the summer I find myself chasing kings one day, and trout the next, and in the coastal camps we have to be ready for our nightly dungeness crab and BC spot prawn missions. To be ready for any of this on a moments notice it takes serious organization.  These are the items and systems I use that make life easy.

On our trips to the coast there is an app that we all won’t leave home without. We aren’t exactly salt of the sea types so having this set up makes us feel a lot more comfortable.  We start by putting our ipads in the waterproof Ipad case by Otter.  We get the app...

Don't always judge a run by the surface

< >
<
>

Throughout a calendar year we spend a lot of time guiding on many different rivers with wildly opposite characteristics.  The micro runs of Haida Gwaii to the marathon runs of the Skeena all make for new and interesting challenges. It is easy to fish a river once and point out the “A” water where you can watch your undulating fly walk through at a perfect speed.  However life just isn’t always so simple. 

Rivers are always rising or dropping, and this can really change the features of a run no matter how big or small the river is.  Another monkey wrench thrown in is that the currents underneath the surface can be very different from what you see or feel on the surface.

After you guide on a stretch of water for years you inedvidibly end up watching people fish runs at...

Spey Fishing Seasonal Diary

< >
winter steelhead bc
<
winter steelhead bc
>
Winter 2014:

As I look back at the lower Skeena, winter started on November 16th. That was the day I stopped chasing the summer steelhead run on the upper tributaries. My sights were set on the fall/winter run on the lower Skeena system. Unlike most anglers I was determined to stay with my long head spey lines throughout the winter. The reason for this decision was that I found the mainstream Skeena remained at an all time low. There was no reason to use heavy tips!

During November and December I had very few hits. The fact of the matter was that I found the fall steelhead run were almost entirely tuned onto egg patterns. From a observational perspective it looked like everyone using egg pa...

Pages

Mailing list