Epic 2020 Christmas Gift Guide

Well from COVID closed borders to cancelled flights and low returns, the 2020 fishing season has hardly been a win in northern BC. The steelheader in your life has likely sat on the sidelines waiting for the coach to put em back in. In the meantime here’s some do’s and don’ts to help get your loved ones one step closer to a flawless fishing trip next fall.

5 do’s!!!!

1. Patagonia Zip Front Waders- I know, I know, your friend told you Prada-gonia doesn’t survive seasons in the north but I can truly say any grievance you had should remain in the past and this latest round are on par with the best out there. Ample room in the legs and chest, comfortable feet, knee pads and an amazing functional zipper (ay-yo!). Best place to pee in these waders? Wherever you feel like. Parking lots, greasy tailouts, driveways and anywhere but bathrooms – too easy for that now. Get these. You’ll be glad you did. Note: If you’re even kinda tall definitely get the longs.

Swiftcurrent Zip Waders

2. The Beetle Skater- Fish Mad Man flies are considered legal tender at Bulkley Basecamp and “beetles” the local term for all floating, flashy, rubber legged monstrosities, are acceptable currency to purchase single malt whiskey, cigars and all nefarious contraband. The darkest corners of the camp are frequented by “beetle pushers,” mysterious hooded figures that resemble gruff fishing guides. If you want to do it legally try contacting the Danish company personally.

Cool Skaters

3. Petzel Actik Core Headlamp- Anglers are all about dawn and dusk and any low light hour is the most productive. Fish are more trusting, sit in accessible places and are far more aggressive but the dark brings it own set of challenges. A really good headlamp is one of those gifts you never thought you needed until it opened your eyes- pun? Not sure that qualifies. This headlamp can be charged by USB or take AAA’s and provide 450 crisp lumens. Better yet, the battery life is brilliant. Now that’s a light pun!

Petzl Actik Core Headlamp

4. Sagebrush Dry Daypack- I suggest this gift every year for the angler in your life and this year is no exception. We see them all the time and many of the staff are serious fans. Strong taped seams, dependable zippers and fully submersible technology means this will keep all your other christmas gifts bone dry. Furthermore, it comes in bright colors that don’t look like every grey rock on the bank. Medium is plenty for the boat or an easy day. Large for winter layering.

The Pack

5. 100 pack Owner SSW- Hooks? Lame gift right? No they aren’t. Good hooks are among THE most important considerations in fly fishing. Everything from the moment you hook up is stacked against you from acrobatics and energy to tackle. If your hooks are anything but sharp and strong, don’t bother. It’s basically slicing with a dull knife. Might work but why. Owners are strong, work with all style flies, incredibly sharp and just all around reliable. This is the one gift you could give that could mean the difference between the fish of a lifetime and a disappointing ending. Ask for straight eye 100 packs. They don’t sell them but enough people asking lets hope they start. Visit your local shop!


Bonus- The Support Smithers Local Guide– well this time has been a challenge for all of us and our friends and family in the north are no exception. Maybe consider supporting some Bulkley Valley Business and make your loved ones next trip to the region more memorable! Telly’s Grill is our favorite spot to get dinner in town and are known for their cocktails and Mediterranean themed entrees. Call 1-250-847-0017 for gift certificates. | Smithers Brewing Company is the perfect place to wash down dinner with 10 beer lineup from familiar favorites to a changing mosaic of unique creations. Gift certificates 1-604- 640-2739. | Everyone needs lunches for the river and snacks for touring around town and Frontier Steelhead’s own Brandi Collins has crafted a unique catering service Riverside Kitchen in Telkwa, BC. Riverside provides an impressive artisanal list from homemade soups and snacks to charcuterie and hearty meals. 1-778-239-0004 | We always try to get everything we need before going on vacation but without exception somethings always missing. Oscars Source for Adventure tackle shop is your answer in Smithers for forgotten goodies or that Burkheimer Fly Rod you never knew how badly you needed. 1-250-847-3377 for gift cards. |

5 Don’ts!!!

1. Needle Point Octupus Hooks- this ones personal. While I can’t speak for all steelhead guides and I can’t really think of any that would want me to, I can say switch your hook. They are sharp. They do set deep. Buuuuuuuut they buckle under pressure faster than teens playing spin the bottle. In a previous lifetime as a guide on the Dean there was an important saying. “With gammies and 15 lbs leader you won’t lose many. Just the big ones.”

2. Floating Poly Leaders- from 100 feet away you look down river to see an angler wind up, create an impressive d loop, load the road deep and crack a GUTLESS forward cast. Poly leader. The extra stick these create on the water is far worse than the little bit of time you can save by tying one on. If you want a strong leader, that rolls over way out there and is easy to use try the 40-30-20 recipe. Use equal lengths of all three to create the size you want. There’s also the 40-30 leader recipe if you want to be able to turn over a brick at 100 feet. Don’t mind the haters.

3. Boa Boots- any wading boots with Boa tighteners are a definite NOOOOPE. While incredibly convenient and great for skiing, rivers are far too full of sand and gravel for the system to be functional. Even more difficult is trying to repair the device when stuck on the river. I know I just ruined your day and now you have to tie your laces again. The worlds not fair!


4. Jumbo Critter Fly- when shopping for a gift at the tackle shop it’s easy to be talked into beautifully tied intruders and done correctly this is a great gift. The problem however, is a lot of fly doctors out there subscribe to theory that more is better. The bad news is too much material makes flies difficult to cast and impossible to sink. Your fly might look cool but you won’t.

5. Catching More Steelhead w/ Jim Teeny DVD- all the oringal 3M videos are still on DVD including this one. It’s not that this isn’t a great video it’s that you don’t have a DVD player.

2 thoughts on “Epic 2020 Christmas Gift Guide

  1. Cool list, Stevie! I’ve looked at the ‘gonia waders with lust. The only negative I’ve heard is you don’t need a vasectomy after wearing them because it comes built in – I guess that potentially takes some of the sting out of the price and also probably why you recommended the long option. Merry Christmas!

    1. Haha! Well guess I don’t have kids so there’s that. But I find them super comfortable and easy to take on and off. Might not seem like a lot but my decision to fish each time is can I justify the effort of adorning my outfit or not.

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