A thousand miles. 20 hours of wheel time. Each way. I swear there is a moose warning sign every 2 KMs and for good reason. It just looks like moose territory. I’ve done this drive twice now and the only fucking moose I saw was roadkill. Bears? Yeah, plenty of those. But not one stinking swamp donkey. Even though I have yet to spot one I am damn glad for their hair.
With the poor run forecast we almost pulled the plug on any Skeena trip this fall. In the end we decided that you go to heaven even if you don’t get to screw an angel. And if fishing was hot then hook less skaters would keep everybody happy. Besides, after two weeks of living 10 miles down wind of a massive fire it would be good just to get out of town and breathe some clean air.
Its just such a pleasure to fish with Bill and his brother Mark. Launches were promptly at 10 ish. Or 10:30ish. Or 11ish. Food was as god as any restaurant I’ve been to. Crab Cakes, Ribs, Pastas. Bill even let me cook one night:
Best beer I found up there. Thats not saying much but I did dig the Rasta can View out my back door Camp Water
Last year, my first in this part of the world, I could only describe the river as perfect. Mile long runs of perfect speed and depth. It really felt like you could just start working down stream from the put in and fish all the way to the take out. This year I came to realize that there can be too much of a good thing. There is simply just too much good water. This year I began focusing on the spots within the runs rather than the entire enchilada. This is why Bill and Mark run the watermasters. They can pull over, stand in their boat, fish the best 100 feet of a mile-long run, then sit down and continue on.
Canadian Drift Boat Some nice houses Seemed like it was raining all around us but we never did get wet We fished some known floats and found some new waters. Unfortunately, we didn’t find any fish the first part of the week as the water dropped and cleared. I half-heartedly swung a few runs with a tip Monday but that’s not why I make the trip so it was back to floating lines and dry flies after that. Worked on my long line casting and got comfortable with the Delta lines again.
Finally, on Thursday Bill unlocked the code and got a couple fish in one run. After 3 days of skunkedness it was great just to remember that it is possible.
My version of Bill's version of Harry Lemire's caddis, aka the good shit
So that evening Mark and I snuck down to Harry's old run and fished the last light
Friday came and I still hadn’t even had a bump. Bill decided to spend the day getting his beautiful airstream ready for the drive home and was kind enough to drop Mark and I at the put in so we could float back to camp. As soon as we got our boats down to the river things just felt different. That quiet gurgle of the river. A crow cawing in the distance. The brutal upriver wind was replaced with hanging fog. And nobody around. No jet boats. No walk in guys. No other drifters. For once it really felt like we had the place to ourselves.
Mark: You should fish up there, Bill likes that spot.
Me: OK, what are you going to do?
Mark: Well, I was going to pass up my rocks but…
Me: Last chance dude!
Mark: Yeah, I’ll probably start there.
Me: Cool. I’m going to hit up that river right spot if its open. Haven’t been able to get into it all week.
Mark: I always see boats there but never seen anybody take a fish yet.
Me: That’s because you haven’t seen me fish it yet!
It was false bravado of a Trumpian magnitude. 4 days of diligently flogging the waters and not even a sniff. I guess I had comes to terms with my scenario and was just in a happy place anyway.
I fished above the bridge but soon decided to head down to that spot. Mark had already moved downriver so I was all alone. It had rained a bit the night before so the fresh footprints in the sand told me I wasn’t the first one there. That happens when you put in at 10. I didn’t care, I just wanted to fish that run.