The Steelhead in the lower Skeena River are something to write home about. Down in the water around Terrace you get first crack at all of the fish headed to the most famous steelhead rivers in the world, like the Kispiox, Sustut, Babine and the Bulkey… but they are still chrome bright down here. There is no better recipe in the steelhead world for you to go get spooled by a silver bolt of lightning.
The sea-going rainbows of the lower Skeena start to enter this massive drainage in late July, and continue to enter right through the Fall. And again, these will be the same fish targeted in the legendary tributaries upstream a month or more later, rivers regarded as the best in the sport. Fresh fish continue to accumulate in the river right through the end of October and into November. The Average annual return to the Skeena River system is over 100,000 fish annually and in the lower river anglers get a shot at all of them.
Sink tips are the best tool for the job in the lower river, but every once in awhile the conditions may allow for some very good fishing with the floating line as well. Weightless flies are often prefered as the fish will hold, or be running very far to the inside of the runs, and you will want the fly to swing all the way in without hanging up. Weighted flies can be productive as well, especially in deeper or faster water, and through the later part of the season when the water temperatures become increasingly cooler and fish are more reluctant to move long distances to a hit a fly.
The Skeena flows west from its many headwater tribs, over 300 miles inland, until it reaches the ocean at Prince Rupert. Skeena Spey Lodge is only about 90 miles upstream in the town of Terrace. The lodges location makes it exceptionally easy to get to, only about a 10 minute drive from the airport. The lodge has a diverse option of different beats they can cover, with 5 different beats on the mainstem, as well as access to some of the smaller Skeena tributaries such as the Kalum. This ideal location makes for minimal travel time to the various boat launches.
Accommodations at Skeena Spey are very comfortable. Beautiful A-frame cabins, which were all just recently remodeled, can accommodate single occupancy anglers as well as Double or even triple occupancy. All cabins also have in-room toilet and shower facilities, and comfortable queen sized beds with wonderful comforters and linens. The lodge itself is very warm and inviting with rustic wooden walls and furniture, a fully stocked bar and a full sized pool table. Guests can expect delicious hearty meals both in the lodge and on the river. More importantly however, the fishing is 1st class!
As with all steelhead angling, if you’re looking to catch obscene numbers of fish, this trip probably isn’t for you! Skeena Spey clients can generally average 1-3 hook ups per angler per day, but keep in mind this is not always the case! There are many days that accomplished anglers and good students will grossly exceed these numbers, and other days when even the best effort won’t come close to putting a fish up. Steelhead fishing is not a numbers game, it is about catching the most prized freshwater game fish that swims. Anglers willing to fish hard, listen to their guides, and put in a long day, will have the best potential of landing a trophy.
Steelhead on the Skeena average 8-15 lbs, with chromers up to and exceeding 20 lbs caught on a regular basis. The first fish arrive in July, and by the middle of August top quality fly fishing is in full swing in the lower Skeena. Fish continue to accumulate in prime holding water right through the end of November. So when is the best time to visit? The answer is whenever you have time to come!