Posted by: williekp | September 30, 2019

Well the Skeena trip is over

Overall it has been very disappointing. We were fishing for migratory fish returning to the river to spawn and the simple fact was that the run of returning fish just didn’t materialise and therefore the river was pretty barren. You go to places like British Colombia because this sad situation has already materialised in the UK. Not enough fish are completing the cycle of going to sea and returning to spawn in their rivers of birth to provide the next generation. This situation is definitely not down to recreational anglers like me. We release unharmed all the fish we catch. Commercial fishing and possible changes to habitat out at sea have to be at the root of it but there is insufficient data to really get to the bottom of it.I really feel for businesses like the Skeena Spey Lodge who do their best to provide a great experience. No matter how hard they try, if there are no fish in the river, anglers will be planning to go elsewhere and their businesses and livelihoods will suffer.

On to the fishing. By the end of our first week Mike and I had fished hard and been rewarded with just two missed chances where something grabbed the fly but got off within seconds. This was unbelievably disappointing. It really wasn’t in the plan to go to British Colombia and catch nothing. It was Mikes’s last day and we got scheduled to make a 56 km trip up river by jet boat to try to catch up with some of the fish who had already swam past us at the lodge. We went with a great guide Rob who appears in many You Tube videos chasing Steelhead. Search Captain Quin Steelhead to see some. Rob also runs a jet boat and if you are out there as a tourist look him up .

Well he did the business. I had a steelhead first and Mike hooked up shortly after, much to everyone’s relief.

I managed. A Coho which is the Pacific silver salmon later in the day.

On the way up the river we noticed a sad sight on the river’s edge. It turns out that someone had shot a young grizzly bear who’s body was in the river.

Rob reported the find to the Conservation Officer who came out to investigate. He found the gunshot wounds when he skinned the bear. A week later I went up river again with Rob and we relocated the bear’s body which had moved significantly due to a flood in the river. The area is heavily populated with eagles, which is how we found the carcass again. They had done a good job of fattening themselves up on the poor bear.

Again with Rob he managed to find me a small Coho. What follows are pictures of the same fish illustrating what you can do to either record things straight up or a bit more ‘fisherman style’. All the following pictures are of the same fish!

Amazing what holding it out. A bit for the camera can do! Here is one I couldn’t hold out because it was too heavy and another one that needed two to hold. They are tarpon caught in Cuba.

I mention Tarpon and Cuba because Thomas Cook used to take us there and following their collapse it is unsure we can get there next year. That was the next trip to look forward to apart from two weeks time when Mike and I will make our annual pilgrimage to the Tweed to look at the river and catch nothing. Watch this space!

I’m about to hop on a plane heading home. Two weeks is long enough and I am looking forward to seeing everyone again and getting back to a bit of golf and racquetball.

Regards to all till next time


Posted by: williekp | September 16, 2019

Another trip to the Skeena in British Colombia

I’ve come back to the Skeena Spey Lodge in Terrace BC and I’m pleased to say that my friend Mike has actually made it this year after having to cancel last year when he broke his wrist just before coming. The Skeena is a huge river and you fish it with a double handed rod in order to cover enough water to find the fish. The target species is Steelhead which is the American equivalent of our sea trout with their native rainbow trout replacing our British brown trout. They grow pretty big and I was lucky enough to catch and release a really good one in 2018.

2018 Steelhead

Look at the width of this fish!

This is the UK equivalent that you tend to fish at night for in Wales.

Steelhead are rare and protected. You need a special licence and it is all catch and release Fishing with a single barbless hook.

We arrived Saturday mid day and were luck enough to get a bonus half day’s fishing to get the cobwebs off our casting and see if we could connect with anything. We both blanked and my casting needs a bit of work and some tweaks to my setup on my reel.

The clip above is me casting on my stronger side. I am useless on the other bank when you need to do everything ‘left handed’Yesterday was our first full day and my shoulders are hurting already. You can see from the clip above how big the river is. The runs of Steelhead and our other target species the Pacific silver salmon or Coho are down this year but we are hoping that the fish will arrive during the time we are here.

We fished hard yesterday but no target species were caught by anyone at the Lodge. I managed to connect with a new species for me which is the Bull Trout.

Bull trout with my Steelhead ‘Intruder’ fly showing

Jet lag is an issue as we are 8 hours behind the UK. I am writing this in the middle of the night wide awake. I woke up at 1 am on the first night and didn’t really get back to sleep.

That is pretty much it for now. Hopefully connect with something a bit better today. We are travelling quite a few miles down river today to try to intercept a small push of new fish into the system.

Posted by: williekp | April 17, 2019

A few fishing pictures from Cuba

I managed to lose my phone here on the first night fishing so my pictures are few. There will be some more when I get home from a friends compact camera that we can’t access here. Overall the trip has been a great success fishing and otherwise. We will be back next year I hope.

Posted by: williekp | January 23, 2019

Back skiing after a 10 year break

I’m in Tignes in the French alps . That is Mont Blanc in the picture above. I got an invite to join some old airforce friends at one of their apartments. I haven’t skied for 10 years and this is the first outing with my two new hips. Started out a bit wary but a change of skis at the end of the first day and a few miles under them and I feel back to where I left off. No off piste but the conditions are not right for it currently. Hips got tested with a spectacular slide down a black. My own fault.

The French get some things right. One of them is tarteflette and a glass of red for lunch. Off limits at home but …..

One thing in common with all my old airforce pals is that it doesn’t matter how long it has been since you last met up, it is as if there had been no gap but the old stories just get funnier. The best one this week was in a conversation about people’s marriages. It went like this, “yes old Eastie, feel a bit sorry for him, he’s the only bloke I know who’s been married 3 times and never had an anniversary “.

There are a couple of lively spots on the mountain as witnessed below but at 8 € for a bottle of San Miguel we quickly moved on.

Later Wolfie disclosed the secret of his ski poles, which are hollow and have the handy property of acting like big hip flasks.

Tia Maria or Cointreau , hey ho. I’ll wrap up for now with a couple more pictures. Wish me luck to get back in one piece. I have a lot of golf and racquetball to catch up on.

Posted by: williekp | December 22, 2018

Merry Christmas 2018

Christmas 2018


Click on the link above for a Christmas update.



Posted by: williekp | September 20, 2018

A small indulgence and some local trouting

I have been a member of Beaconsfield Squash Club for more than twenty years. I play regularly. I have competed in many club competitions and won nothing. That was until last week. Before I went to Canada I entered a competition called The Walton Shield. It is handicapped according to league position. You had to play four games and win them all to win it and to cut a long story short, yours truly won it!

My thanks go to my opponents and the organisers. There has been a gap in my life’s achievements which has now been filled by my ability to look at my name on a winner’s board at the Squash Club. It is not a major trophy, but at my age it will do. Picture of board said board with name may follow.

My fishing buddy Bill invested in membership of a nice piece of the river Kennet to have access to chalk stream fishing for trout and grayling. He kindly hosted me yesterday for a final chuck for this season. We both had success with all the fish safely returned. It was a tricky day with 40mph gusts!

Many thanks Bill for a great day out and a day off my diet!

The next instalment won’t show any pictures of fish because we are going salmon fishing on the river Tweed. There has been a shortage of rain and fish this year and currently neither are predicted for our visit. An update will follow.

Posted by: williekp | September 5, 2018

A picture is worth a thousand

Pleased to say yesterday and today have been better fishing. Yesterday we fished the lower Kalum River which is a tributary of the mighty Skeena. It is still a pretty big river but the fish seemed to prove easier to find. I had 5 hookups. Two steelhead, one which broke me off and one I lost at the net but the tug is the drug so all well with that. I hooked a chinook which is the biggest of the salmon species. It took me about 300 yds down River before it spat the hook. I might still have been playing it now had it not gotten off. I dread to think what a big fresh one takes to get to the net. The other two pulls were a bull trout which came to the net and something else mysterious which we didn’t get a look at.

Today I was back on the Skeena and accompanied by my new fishing dog (wolf). I managed to catch a species which should be abundant but which is proving elusive this year. That is the silver salmon or Coho. We got one to pose for its picture but the other got off. C’est la vie.

Coho release

Coho posing

Bull trout

New best fishing dog.

I am honoured tomorrow because the chap who owns the lodge here is one of the best Spey casting instructors around. He is coming out of guiding retirement tomorrow to help me get to terms with casting from my wrong side. Think of it as learning to write left handed with a hook flying around your ears.

Watch this space.

Posted by: williekp | September 3, 2018

You can always tell when the fishing isn’t all that great

I have been getting to know the natives.

Dare I say sleeping with the natives. But I have competition.

They say steelhead are ‘the fish of a thousand casts’. I have been doing some figuring. It takes about 90 seconds to retrieve the last cast, put out the current cast and fish it through. That means about 40 casts per hour. Fish a 7 hour day and you have racked up about 280 casts so one fish every 4 days. Yesterday was day 5 since I had my fish so I am overdue. Having said that, I hooked up yesterday afternoon, only for it to come off as soon as I put any pressure on it. Hmmm, better angling today I hope.

The bears are everywhere !

Let’s hope for a bit more fishy content tomorrow.

Posted by: williekp | September 1, 2018

A few pictures to capture the atmosphere of this place.

Early start 6amimg_1848

Putting in at the boat slipwayimg_1839

Cody and Coal the fishing dog

Fish on

Spectacular scenery on a wild riverimg_1836

Look at those shoulders

Happy angler Willie with first ever Steelhead 37inches about 18 lbs

Premature death of a set of wading boots. Don’t buy Korkers.

Leaving the Kalum River Lodge now and moving to the Skeena Spey Lodge

Let’s hope for a bit more action over the next few days.

Posted by: williekp | August 28, 2018

Fishing the Skeena River with Kalum River Lodge

8cf23eae688bf783e9e267513fcf0e8a104B2FED-8511-45F6-96DF-46AC652C12C173ACF916-C250-4549-BBEC-514E0A62A198Well I made it to Terrace but there were 5 hours to kill between landing and getting picked up to go to the lodge. I found a hotel but it didn’t do my diet any good. The lodge is beautiful, single rooms en-suite, lovely communal areas, good food and well organised. I feel like a bit of an interloper. My buddy Mike is not here due to an unfortunate accident with his wrist. Everyone else here has been coming on this week for multiple years. They all know each other and the proprietors like family and stories of fish caught and fish lost abound.

Yesterday was the first day on the river which is always stressful. What kit to take, how many layers to wear, what flies to fish, fitting in with one’s boat partners and the guide, etc etc. It all distracts from the primary purpose of having fun and catching fish. Both my boat partners had fish to the bank within a few casts and by going home at 1600 I had really nothing to show for my efforts. Back to. U-Tube to find out how to cast this different line and hope I would do better today.

Up at 5.10 to breakfast , Travel to the boat launch and find 3 boats waiting to put in. Despite the fact that the river is vast, there are only a few favoured ‘spots’. This leads to a sort of race to get one, which we lost yesterday. So we ended up fishing a run about half a kilometre long. It all started happening for me then. I was casting better with a couple of tips from the guide. I was covering the water and suddenly got the tug and big fish up out of the water in the middle of the river. Just as quickly it was off again. I didn’t think I would get another chance.

But I did. And with an even bigger one. So here are some of the pictures of my first ever steelhead. It measured 37 inches long , about 20 pounds. I am reliably informed that people have fished for these their whole lives and not caught one this size. Muggins here does it on his first try. It was like winning the lottery. Enjoy.

P.S. I look stressed in the photos because the single barbless hook had fallen out and the fish was very lively and not interested in posing for photos whereas I may never get another moment like today.

Thanks for reading and hopefully more to come.

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