Fd: Can you tell us a bit about how the idea of setting up a fly-fishing operation came up?
Well I'd been guiding in Alaska for a number of years, and when the season would end up there I'd come back home here and our fall fishery would always be just starting to kick off! So I used to talk to my guide buddies and my cousin Noel into coming over for fall fishing trips and we got to talking about how good the fishery is and how it would be cool to set up a quality guiding and media operation. So it just kinda grew from there.
Fd: Can you explain (if possible) the steelhead addiction to someone that has not yet tried it?
Haha it's really hard to explain. It kinda takes over you slowly. You just sorta get into fishing for steelhead and start to figure some things out and catch a few. Then you keep progressing a bit until you become pretty proficient at it. And the next thing you know, it literally becomes the only thing you can think about. You start really pushing yourself with different techniques always looking for that next grab or next run perfectly suited for swinging a floating line. You daydream about early fall days when the water is just right and the fish are super aggressive, the ones where the grabs are like sticking a fork into an electrical outlet. Then you just kinda realize that the sport and the fish own you, and you're pretty okay with that.
Fd: What about the lake run browns? What are the main differences with river-resident browns?
Well the first big difference is size. Our average lake runs are generally between 5 and 8 pounds, but we see them up to the lower teens pretty frequently. Even for trophy trout rivers, those are some big trout. The other one is just how finicky they can be. Like browns everywhere, at times they can be gluttons and at other times they can suffer lockjaw. But because the urge to spawn is such a huge driving force for these fish, and generally the creeks we fish for browns are smaller systems- something they aren't used to coming from the big lakes- many times they can be tough to coax into striking.
Fd: Why do you think every fly fisherman should visit your destination?
We just have so much to offer in terms of variety. We can do pacific salmon, we can do steelhead, we can do lake run browns, we can even do limited atlantic salmon, and we have a heck of a nice fishery for lake run smallies.
Fd: During which months are the seasons open over there?
Well it depends of the target, but usually we fish from September through June. July and August are our slow months, and during the winter we have to deal with freeze ups, sometimes for a number of weeks at a time. The seasons go like this: pacific salmon: September-October; steelhead: October- early May; browns: October- March with peak in October -December; smallmouth and atlantic salmon: May and June.
Fd: What kind of fly-fishing gear should anglers take for a week over there (depending on species)?
Like seasons, gear is dependent on the species. For pacific salmon, 8 and 9 weight single handed rods and spey rods; for steelhead, browns, and atlantics I prefer 7 weight switch rods and 6 weight spey rods; and for smallmouth I like 6 weight single handed rods for stripping streamers and 6 weight speys for swinging.
Fd: What are the top 5 flies that should be included in our boxes?
Depends on the technique, but if you're swinging blue and black streamers or purple and black streamers for colored water, white streamers and tan streamers for clear water, and chartreuse streamers or black and pink streamers for swinging salmon.
If you're indicator fishing, it is really hard to beat a glo bug in effectiveness. And the woolly buggers. They just kill.
And if you're fishing smallies, olive woolly buggers or olive zonkers will get it done.
Fd: How's the programme for a typical fly-fishing day?
Typically, I meet the people I fish with bright and early in the morning at the hotel they are staying at. We try to be on the water before first light because that first half hour before the sun really comes up can be on fire. Fish hard all day. If we're doing a drift boat or rafting trip, I pull over and cook us a hot lunch. Then we fish till about 4 or 5 in the evening. When we fish a day I really try to make it a full day so we can make the most of our time.
Fd: What about the lodging options?
There are a number of hotels in the area that I have my clients stay at. They run from economy rooms up to really nice lakeside hotels with fine dining attached. It's really up to client wishes and I try to tailor every trip accordingly.
Fd: Any other advice for those visiting your area?
Ya, keep an open mind and stay flexible. This is a different type of fishery than anywhere in the planet. We have a mix of gamefish that have now become naturalized to some of the most beautiful watersheds in the country so it really is a great experience just to get out and fish. If you come to the area with an open mind and stay flexible when conditions change you are going to have a great time.
Fd: Any dream destinations on your personal list?
Haha where to begin? I'm a pretty big spey bum so the places I'd like to get to are where I can swing some really nice runs. I've always wanted to get up to BC for steelhead. It's pretty much the holy land for anyone who fishes steelhead so I'd be crazy not to dream about getting up there. I'd also like to do wild atlantics somewhere, maybe Norway. And I'd be lying if I said I haven't thought about getting down to Argentina for some sea-run browns haha. So I guess that's my list.
- You can visit and contact Fish Lake Run Outfitters on our Travel Directory, right here: Travel.