Any angler that has pursued anadromous fish has heard or spoken of “fresh” fish – salmon or steelhead that have recently left the salt for the river and are not only brightly colored, but strong, aggressive and resilient. Words like “chromer” and”dime-bright” are often used to describe these creatures. If a conversation about fresh fish ensues and things get a bit competitive, the ace of all aces usually is to state the fish was covered in sea lice. This description provides indisputable proof that said fish was no more than a day out of the saltwater world from which it came.
On the Dean River we use all of these descriptives when talking about the fish we pursue on the lower river, with many of the fish we catch being minutes, rather than hours or days out of the salt. At BC West we hold a trump card over those usual aces – that’s to catch a steelhead or chinook in a run we refer to as “Sub-Tidal”.
Why “Sub-tidal” you ask? This run is located literally at the mouth of the Dean. At high tide it looks like just more ocean as it sits sub-surface and out of sight. At low tide however, it shapes up into a classic piece of steelhead or salmon water. An angler may find himself working through the run on an incoming tide, watching fish rolling and jumping as they enter the freshwater currents of the Dean. And if the gods choose to smile on said angler he or she just may be yelling for a boat so that they may pursue their prize out into the open ocean of the Dean Channel!
How’s that for “fresh fish”?