Sport fishing column for Dec 31 to Jan 7, 2013

One of the many blessings of living in our BC lower mainland is that while one fishery is in respite another takes it's place. And so as we close out 2013, bidding fare well to the salmon in our rivers, we enter 2013 welcoming the steelhead. For this occasion I have selected another piece on steelhead fishing from "The Anglers Coast, authored by Russell Chatham.

"He decided upon a certain riffle that had attracted him earlier, and on the way there he passed a smooth run-one he'd fished the day before-where a fly fisherman was fighting a steelhead. Moments later he arrived at a bridge where a spin fisherman was absurdly playing a fish from the high span. He turned onto a dirt road that followed the river. Warm light flowed against the hills, and over the bright red sumac a covey of quail whirred. It was a good sign to have seen two fish on?

A brilliant female lay forward of the rest. She was broad and heavy, her sides like mother-of-pearl. She held like a sentinel, as if challenging the river and the flickering sunlight. The angler cast, quartering down, mended his line once, then waited tensely as his fly swung around. The cast was essentially no different from any other, over water much the same as that above and below. But when the tiny fly tilted into the steelhead's sight, she struck like a teased viper, spending a violent rush of water back among the other fish.

He saw the boil but there was simply no time to react; his flyless leader streamed away in the current. The fish leaped high into the air, somersaulting back. Again it jumped, tail-walking sideways, and he saw it framed against the willows on the far side. Finally, upstream, it came out in a long, graceful arc.

He was stupefied, and for a long time sat dejected. Why me, he thought, but later he began to see it as a success of sorts. After all, a fish did take the fly;"

Happy New Year to all and may your New Year be fulfilled with a blessed journey.

The Report

Our lower mainland lakes are full winter mode, which means you can expect the fish to be slow and sluggish. For better success try a dead slow troll or retrieve during the warmest part of the day. Also allow extra time for the fish to close its mouth on the hook before you attempt a hook set. Try: Chironomid, Bloodworm, Coachman, Zulu, Wooly Bugger, Dragonfly Nymph, Damsel Nymph, Halfback, Sixpack, Micro Leach, Big Black, Doc Spratley, Pumpkinhead, or Baggy Shrimp.

The Fraser River is fair for cutthroat. Try: Rolled Muddler, Professor, Anderson Stone, Black Stone, Zulu, American Coachman, Flesh Fly, or Chez Nymph.

The Harrison River is fair to slow for cutthroat and rainbow. For rainbow try: Kaufmann Stone, Big Black, Black Gnat, Souboo, Zulu, or Renegade.

The Chehalis River is low and slow.