Brian Niska is on site at BC West this week, chasing chinooks with an intrepid group of anglers. They arrived on Saturday, and Brian immediately sat down and sent us a write up on the flies he’ll be fishing during his trip. Thanks, Brian!
Chinook Flies for the Dean River
It’s 10:30 pm here on the Dean and I’m writing this from the comfy couch in the BC West clubhouse, listening to the wonderful sounds of the Dean river delta. The chorus of the forest is mixed with a faint snoring coming from the cabins nearby, as hopeful anglers the rest up for their first full day of chinook salmon fishing tomorrow.
As many anglers know, the Dean is a world famous steelhead river, its wonderful and wild summer run steelhead lauded for both their size and strength. I have to tell you the chinook salmon here possess these same attributes, only in mega sized proportions. These fish can reach weights in excess of 40 pounds and will swim back to the ocean, with all of your line, despite your best efforts to control them. Chinook fishing takes place at the start of the season when the river is high and powerful, and a fish over 30 pounds in the heavy current is truly a test for the sturdiest of spey rods.
This year the water is up and visibility is less than 2 feet so it’s important that my flies get down and get noticed.
Here are a few of the bugs that will be in heavy rotation for me this week. All of these are super-sized: check the 2/0 hooks on the prawn patterns for scale. I’m on a bit of a bright and flashy kick so there’s lots of rubber, plastic, flash and vibrant colours in these flies.
Flies in the photo above, listed from the left…
- Mikey Prawn: Mike Orlowski’s ever evolving steelhead classic tied jumbo size and rigged with a 2/0 ready for chinook action. Over the past few years this is the most productive pattern I’ve fished for both steelhead and chinook salmon.
- Mike’s Tiger Prawn: Building upon the success of his Mikey Prawn, Mike O has a fresh design for chartreuse loving tidewater chinook/king salmon. This week is the first lab test – further testing will be required in the first two weeks of July at Alaska West.
- FlashBang: my own tie inspired by Scott Howell’s Prom Dress. This fly has similar profile to the Intruder and has layers of colour and flash that are sure to get noticed, even in low visibility water conditions.
- Pink Intruder variation: Mike Orlowski’s interpretation of Ed Ward and Jerry Frenchs’ popular Intruder pattern. With a huge profile and lots of movement, this fly gets their attention.
- Purple Prom Dress: This version of Howells’ fly was spun up by Joe Richter and offers fantastic visibility and flash. Joe tied me a whole box of these and they show up great in the coloured water. Thanks Joe!