Okay, here we go with the fish pix. As guests of our friend Will (who also kindly took these photos), and the Heiltsuk First Nation, Yvon and I knew there was some self-imposed pressure on our hosts. No matter how much we told them we were just happy to be there to experience the place (and we were), I think anyone who invites fishermen to their home waters wants to show them how good it can be. We were more than happy to oblige, and fortunately, the steelhead were as well. That’s Yvon taking some pressure off Will by putting the pressure on our first fish.
The fish we found were mostly in pools that don’t even exist on a high tide. Instead of long, meandering, silt-bottomed tidal pools, these rivers are filled with great structure and big rocks in tidewater. When the tide recedes, the pools reveal themselves, along with some very aggressive fish. Not a lot, but enough to reload the good water, and with nobody else fishing, we were able to take full advantage.
Another interesting discovery is that the fish, from chrome bright to slightly colored, were all coming in on the tides. I think this is a factor of how little time coastal spring fish can spend in freshwater–some of them are ready to roll the minute they come in. Every fish pictured here had sea lice, regardless of color or maturity. Above: Chrome!
While Yvon was old-schooling ’em with floating line and tiny comet (at one point, as the tide filled a pool and the current quit, he went full Bill Schaadt with a shooting head and slow-strip retrieve to hook a fish after I’d quit), I followed up swinging a bit of a sinktip and joined the fun.
Here’s another one of Yvon’s floating-line fish, below. A nice hen showing some color but it had just come in on the tide about a half an hour earlier.
This big buck, below, has to be one of the most beautiful steelhead I’ve ever seen. Absolutely pristine, with thick shoulders and gorgeous colors. Must have been four-inches across the back, too.
And then, we were back to work, hoping the tide had brought in more shiny presents. Awesome. Stay tuned for more from the BC Coast…