The Mykiss Guiding 2002 Season

The early season...

Ray Christensen "lets the monkey out", at the Airport run on a turbulent late September afternoon, with lots of water to aim at...

And what a season it was... To be sure it was a season of extremes. I started the guiding season on Sept 15 after five days of steady rain with the rivers rising, following a very fine early season of medium to low flows with some of the better dry fly fishing in recent years. Oh well, as they say, "You should have been here yesterday..." But there was more in store for us this season. From the highest water that I have ever fished and guided in to some of the very lowest, clearest and coldest flows; it was indeed a season to test and reward the ardent steelhead anglers that we all aspire to be. In the end (actually somewhere towards the middle) it proved to be one the finest seasons of classic "wet-fly swing" steelhead fishing that I have ever seen on any river.

And the story begins ...

Although the start of the season was difficult and it seemed like it might never end, there were some very dedicated, and very understanding clients: truly seasoned and experienced anglers, who persevered and performed through the high and dark water. What a time...

We fished the edges, we fished the soft seams, we fished it wherever it could be fished.... We drove to the ends of the Earth looking for water with even a margin of visibility, and a good chance of catching a steelhead (but we did find some great rainbows...)

During the difficult times this season, the old Zen proverb "Chop wood carry water" came to mind. At times there was no glory, you just kept your head up and continued casting. For those who did just that, and in the early weeks got some breaks with the water conditions, there were rewards. Such is the way of steelheading most of the time.

It was really quite tantalizing during those high, dark water weeks. The river would keep its secrets for days, then the rain would stop, the waters would start to clear, and the fish would start to find the fly. There were fish in the river, lots of fish, they just couldn't see anything for days at a time. So when the conditions would just start to come into shape, that patient, steady, work-like angling approach really payed off.

During this time the Resthaven beat proved that it is truly one of the high water fish holders on this river. So many soft edges to probe. We all learned the lessons during this time of the value of very light tips in very high water, as we were so often swinging into soft, even shallow little edges.

One of the common features of fishing the high water was having the bush right at your back. Sometimes, but rarely, having to brave swift currents up to your waste to "make the cast".

I remember one occasion with Bob Pauli where we walked into a spot on a particularly tough day and we literally bush-whacked while wading in hip deep strong currents. We were fishing in the bushes....literally.

However Ray did find one below you never know.


Here Bob Dishman steps into it and puts it out to where the fish are...


Image courtesy of David Sakura


These images are typical of what the river looked like in the first three weeks of the season: high and murky (if not just plain "out").

We didn't see the beach for days at a time, just high water and bushes.

...and only a few fish.

Here on a high, remote beat we look into the water and and discuss the high-water strategy...usually, "fish it in close..."


Image courtesy of David Sakura

While conditions were very unfavourable for David Sakura (pictured at right) and Bob Dishman, it must be noted that they had the honour of being the first guests to stay in the new guesthouse. They were true anglers who put everything they could into the situation and will be back to see what happens next season.



David Sakura maintaining his vibes while enjoying the comforts of the cooler when the comforts of the river were hard to come by...note water color...and level.


Image courtesy of David Sakura


One of the significant features of the early season was the traveling we did to find water and fish. When even fishing Resthaven or some other high water beat was futile, we went looking....

Our travels took us far and wide, mainly higher up the river systems looking to get away from whatever colour contributors there might have been lower down on the rivers.

We found steelhead...and we certainly did find some very beautiful spots; some with great cultural history behind them as they were part of the old village sites of the local first nations people.

In any case adventure was always close at hand...

Bob Pauli shows off a handsome fresh run buck caught in one of the little soft "spill-overs" in the high water on the Resthaven beat.

A well earned fish I can say with confidence.

Ray Christensen walks among the giants in an old growth forest in the upper reaches of the watershed. On his way no doubt, to (or from..) certain glory...

I love this picture, as in a way it kind of summarizes the early season. A remote beat high up the system looking for some break from the colour in the water. While there were not too many walking days, we did on occasion "take a hike" in search of clearer water. Which did pay off more than once. Not only in fish, but in new water, new experience and just being in beautiful places...There was definitely a sense of adventure to some of those days where we were in places you normally wouldn't be when the fishing is all happening down on the regular beats. It is an interesting change from the usual routine on the river...for a day or two that is....then that "usual routine" - of catching some fish on the same old water - starts to look very appealing once again.

And so things did finally start to change and the normal routine of floating the river and fishing the runs got back on track. I did not miss my early season morning routine of driving down to the bridge to check the water conditions just so I could make plans for the day.

Luckily, in this case, all things must come to an end. And so by the time Bob Pauli and Ray Christensen had left at the end of September, the rivers were on their way down. It turned out to be the real transition time of the season where the waters (and weather) finally started to settle down and the mid-season magic was about to begin...

The Mid-Season
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The Late-Season

Todd & Kathy Stockner

Mykiss Guiding Services

Tel: (250) 842-6401


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