There have been a number of excellent books written by an assortment of authors and their passion for Steelhead. Writers Dec Hogan, Bill McMillan, Kent Helvie, Lani Waller and many others have all contributed immensely to our knowledge of Steelhead fly fishing. Local Babine guide Pierce Clegg has just penned a new book on his vastexperiences on the Babine and knowing Pierce I'm sure it will be very well done. I am anxious to receive my copy.
In 45 years of Steelhead fishing there are some of those fish that just stand out, indelibly and photographically imprinted in the mind. The first ones hooked will always be memorable, because that is the way with firsts in life.
So, the meteorologists are predicting a La Nina weather pattern for this coming season. That usually means below normal temperatures and above normal precipitation. It is set up when the equatorial currents are colder and when BC is more affected by Arctic outflow than by the warmer Pacific inflow. We have had an indication of that when the weather changed so dramatically in mid August from searing heat to below normal and wet. Now we don't always trust those weatherman but even the Farmers Almanac agrees on this so it must be true, right?
What does that mean to the angler? Simple, fish whenever you can because the season can bring early snow and/or rains.
Glancing at this year's Skeena Tyee Index for September 17, 2010 for Coho.
So far the numbers are down roughly 25 to 30% from the decade average and less than half of the 2009 returns. Earlier DFO estimates were for equal or slightly better than last season. However, so far, that is not the case. Estimates, as with the Sockeye, can be just a guessing game. But, like all fishing, the best time to fish is whenever you can. When those leaves start to turn you know your time is limited so enjoy while you can.
Just like Rodney Dangerfield who is "Getting No Respect" that phrase sometimes applies to fellow anglers, landowners, and the fish and game we come in contact with.
Let me give you a few examples.
There is a magic in September. A promise of things to come, not really rivaled by any other month. During the spring and summer we know the days will get longer, the weather will get hotter, the bugs will get more annoying, there will be more people, and it is time to get a Chinook in the freezer. However, in September there is a feeling in the air. True, we still have fish to outwit, the remains of the Pink run are present, the Coho run is just starting, most of the Sockeye are coloured up, but those are fish for the table.
In over 50 years of selling outdoor equipment, and especially fishing tackle, I have come to realize that most of the things I have learned I have learned from the customers that frequent the tackle shops. They are the real experts as they live their passion and play it forward.
A note from BC Parks
"Grizzle Bears are wild and unpredictable, use extreme caution in this (Babine River) area. Please adhere to all Park Rules as noted below.
How sharp are you? Whoa, not talking about you losing it, talking about losing fish. The single, most important, thing you can do to having more success in landing fish is to have sticky sharp hooks. Yet, many anglers forget this critical bit of advice. Over the years, we have had many anglers say they had hooked but not held onto fish. When asked if the hooks were sharp or had been sharpened, a glazed, but familiar look comes over them. Without that sharp hook, you may make many passing acquaintances but no lasting friendships. In order for that hook to penetrate a fishes hard mouth, that hook needs to be sticky sharp. Sticky means grabbing, and not sliding, on an inclined fingernail. Sharp hooks are necessary for any fishing but especially so when it comes to Salmon or Steelhead. If the fish so much as sniffs your offering you want him/her hooked. Those hooks should also be checked and touched up every time you touch bottom. Many anglers do not take the time to do this. In fact, the majority of anglers do not own a hook sharpener.