While having coffee at the Packing House in Spences Bridge I said to my friends, " Once I land my Thompson fish I'm leaving." They jokingly replied, "You could be here for ten days or more," as they looked and laughed at my 'handful' of grease lined flies. Armed with only five deer hair flies I began swinging toward the lake hole. After a full day of casting my 70 foot spey line I started to think my friends were right. To boost my spirits I kept telling myself, "You came here to land a dry fly steelhead, stay the course".
One train after another provided me with a sleepless night. My 'casa de subaru' didn't block out the relentless train sounds. When I finally awoke it was 9:00am. I hated the idea of sleeping in and missing out on prime casting time. Slowly but quietly I made my way down to the Y hole and to my surprise I was there alone. "This is it, I'm going to cast 1000 times until I hook a fish", I said to myself. I braced myself for the long hull - one steep for every 5 swings, I would hold that run until hell froze over. At exactly 9:20am I raised my first Thompson steelhead of 2014. Long story short I landed my dry fly fish and said "goodbye" to all my Packing House friends.
Running back to the beautiful Skeena I was looking forward to another great adventure. To my dismay a major cold front rolled in and locked up Terrace completely with ice. Even the Kalum was unfishable. Like any intrepid angler I checked my north coast options by looking over Terrace's 14 day weather trend. To my surprise a warm front was only a week away. As many of my online angler buddies cried out about Skeena's ice jams I promoted the Thompson, then proceeded to call a few close friends telling them that it's Skeena time. I wanted to spend my birthday fishing home waters. For 12 days the cold front blasted the Skeena and no one was fishing the river. Due to the brutally cold weather only my brother Chris Karol and a good friend Allison showed up. Everyone else fell victim to to the online chatter and went to the Thompson for their steelhead adventure. No one was taking local experiences seriously and I kept my mouth shut. It was now +5 degrees with wild ice flows. "It was now or never!" This warm front was freaking me out - Broadway Style, running to my SUV singing and dancing. A warm spell in November is exceptionally better than any day in September.
Day one of our Skeena adventure:
My brother Chris and I had a rough day landing only 4 on the first day due to ice break up. With icy movember moustaches we both knew the fishing was going to get better. With over anxious thoughts we tied flies late into the night at our camp site.
Finding ourselves alone again on the second day of the warm spell, the words "fish on" echoed throughout the valley like a constant hum. I looked down stream to see my brother fighting a fish, then I saw Allison hooking one up. The action was non stop! The ravenous fish fought like it was their first time seeing swung flies. This non stop action went on for the next 3 days. We reached 5 double headers before we lost count of our fish numbers. My books claim we landed 42 steelhead in 5 and half days. The truly outrageous thing was we remained alone on the Kispoix throughout the adventure. Every pool gracefully gave up at least 4 fish. Speechless and sore from fighting fish all week long my birthday beers went down refreshingly cold and with a hint of great achievement.
It didn't matter how many fish we landed as long as I was alongside my brother with moustaches in Movember. This is our family tradition -men with moustaches on the river every year. Chris Karol my brother. About two years ago our grandfather was diagnosed with prostate cancer but it was found early on. For my grandfather who survived WW2 and a quadrupedal bypass, the cancer diagnosis didn't seem to phase him at all. For a 85 man year old man he went diligently to his radiation treatments for 30 straight days. One year after treatment my grandfather who to me is the strongest man alive had just beat cancer! This cancer scare set off my brother to become one of Alberta's contributors to cancer research. Last Movember Chris Karol raised over $4500 for cancer research winning Banff's Movember contest. This year Chris Karol raised around $2200 and gave others financial contributions so friends could share and place in the fundraiser. I know Chris could of won but instead of fundrising he came to visit me for my birthday in BC.
My brother is now in the newspapers for his dedication to helping fight cancer. For myself as someone who has been deeply involved with environmental activism and seeing my little brother take a stand really makes me proud beyond words. I have always believed that one person can make a difference and to see my little brother take a stand, fighting for a cause, a non profit cause is most defiantly EPIC. From now until the end of time my brother and I will rock Moustaches every Movember. Because it is just so much more then just lip hair, it is something to be proud of!