Another Season in Steelhead Paradise

From the moment I leave Smithers in early November until the moment I return in August I am always thinking about Frontier Steelhead Experience. Every season poses its’ own sets of challenges. Whether it is low tyee net counts to abnormally low water. We as fishing guides must be able to adapt on the fly and overcome these challenges. I have been coming a week before the season begins since I started working here three years ago.  I feel this gives me a good foundation to be as successful as possible through the early parts of the season.

The mental preparation is often the most challenging aspect of a guides life. Knowing that you’re trying to gear up for two and a half months straight of being on the water, the pressures of finding fish in such long river systems, and re-learning your jet boat lines as the water levels change so drastically year to year. The sheer amount of amazing steelhead water from Terrace to the upper Morice is mind boggling. Early season we are searching for the ten miles of river that are holding fish out of the 150 plus miles of good water. I typically spend everyday on the river during the week I am here early. Covering as much water as possible, searching for new travel lanes and pinch points that could hold the elusive Steelhead. It requires taking a lot into account. What has the river been doing as of late, what will it be doing over the next week, what have the net counts been. All of these factors have implications of where the fish could be and we use these to put our clients in the best possible water to catch fish. This year we worked as a team and spread out fishing all the way from Skeena West up to Bymac. Giving daily reports and creating a better picture of what these fish are doing.

The first thing on the checklist when I show up is to prepare my office. Jet boats are the most pivotal tool we have in this region and ensuring that mine is in tip top shape is essential to having a worry free season. A full day is important to make sure everything is working as it should. Making some upgrades to enhance the experience. Plus stockpiling the necessary maintenance equipment so I am able to keep my boat in peak condition throughout the season. Putting it in the water on my canyon beat and running some of the lines without guests gives you the confidence back and gets you ready to bring clients with you. Safety is always the number one concern with boating and making sure the lifejackets are in adequate shape and the throw rope isn’t tangled are important things to check. Which leads to organization. It is key to any successful season and that is especially true up here. With the long days and early mornings not having to think of where your stuff is makes life easier. Taking the extra couple minutes at the end of every day to prepare you for the next is essential.

The most enjoyable part of preparing for the season is getting back together with the close knit family we have here. Sharing the stories from the off season and spreading our excitement for the incoming guests. These are the people that make the next two and a half months amazing for not only the clients but to work
alongside of as well. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

Danny Hollins is guide is the Skeena Region and lives in Kamloops, BC the rest of the year. He can usually be found on an interior lake somewhere, on the Olympic Peninsula chasing steelhead or learning more about fish science.

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