HOW A CHINOOK JUNKY GEARS UP
CLOTHING AND ACCESSORIES
The weather can be very unpredictable even during the summer period in BC. and it can change radically within very short time so it will be very sensible to bring both something that will keep you warm and dry in rainy and windy day and on the other hand something that is more comfortable, when the sun is dancing for 18 odd hours a day.
Hooded rain jacket: High quality Gore-Tex type products are the best, but they must be seam sealed and of quality construction to perform properly. Simms and Patagonia make excellent Gore-Tex rain gear. Rain jackets specifically designed for fly fishing are best.
Waders and wading belt: Gore-Tex or breathable waders are highly recommended. These waders provide a breathable waterproof barrier that maintains your warmth and comfort throughout a day of fishing. A wading belt should always be worn with your waders for safety. Simms and Patagonia make the best performing and highest quality waders and wading gear.
OTHER ESSENTIAL CLOTHING
Wading boots: Felt-soled wading boots are essential for safe wading and all day comfort while standing in the river. However, please ensure that all felt-soled boots are cleaned thoroughly prior to your trip, to ensure that invasive species like Didymo or mud snails are not transported to BC’s rivers. High quality wading boots also provide excellent ankle support and are exceptional for hiking to and from rivers. Vibram soles are available on many boots and are a good second choice. Studded boots are generally not required on Skeena region rivers, but are acceptable if you feel more secure wearing them. Note: Ensure your wading boots are large enough to accommodate two pairs of socks.
Gloves: Wool or fleece fingerless gloves are great for wind-chilled boat rides or for fishing on cooler days and mornings.
Hats/caps: It is recommended that you bring your favorite “nice weather” lucky fishing hat! This hat should have a good-sized brim (with dark underside) to shade your eyes during sunny conditions. A second wool or fleece-lined hat should be brought to serve you on wind-chilled boat rides and during cold/wet weather. This hat should be capable of covering your ears.
MISCELLANEOUS FLY FISHING EQUIPMENT
The following is a list of miscellaneous but essential equipment you will need during a day’s fishing in the Skeena region.
Fishing vest/hip-pack/chest-pack: Rain jackets designed for fly fishing generally have enough storage for fly boxes, tippet materials and other items. However, a vest, hip-pack or chest-pack may be useful to carry additional items or reduce the weight or bulk of your jacket.
Boat bag or backpack: A waterproof boat bag or dry bag is very handy for storing extra clothes, tackle, camera equipment, etc.
Line clippers, pliers/hemostats, and hook file/sharpener: These are essential items to carry on the river. Steelhead have tough, bony mouths and are notoriously hard-fighting fish. All steelhead fishing in British Columbia must be with single, barbless hooks. Therefore, the angler with the sharpest hooks often catches the most steelhead. For steelhead fishing, a high quality hook file is a wise investment!
Camera: Waterproof or splash-proof digital cameras are handy and help take great photos on your trip.
Polarized sunglasses: High quality polarized sunglasses are a must. Not only will polarized sunglasses protect your eyes from an errant back cast and reduce unwanted glare, they may also help you see that steelhead following your fly as it swings to shore! Sunglasses also help reduce windburn on your eyes while motoring up and down the river in jet boats. Bring a backup pair, as well.
The consensus among guides and experienced Chinook fly fishers is that rods should be short and stout, and reels should be able to stop a speeding truck. In Chinook fly fishing, more so than in any other fresh water fly fishing, your reel’s braking capability can play a huge role in whether or not you ever see the fish you’ve hooked. If it sticks or doesn’t react precisely to on-the-fly adjustments, don’t use it.
A guide endorsed rig might consist of a 13-foot double-handed rod for a 9- or 10-weight line, a saltwater reel capable of holding over 200 yards of 30-pound backing, 100 feet of 30-pound-test running line, a 650- to 750-grain Skagit head, and a sinking tip made of 10 to 20 feet of T-14, T-17, or T-20, if you really want to get down and dirty.
RIO’s Heavy MOW Tips use the same tungsten “T” designation but come in a neatly packaged set of tips with different lengths of sinking line and a rear floating portion you can loop directly to your Skagit line. The floating-to-floating connection reduces the hinging effect you can get while casting, and as a result, MOW Tips have become incredibly popular with Chinook anglers.
To connect the fly, use a short section of 20- or 25-pound nylon monofilament. Long leaders allow your fly to ride up, short leaders keep your fly right in the face of prospective customers.
On the business end of the leader, specific fly pattern is generally not critical. But design is. Large silhouette, ample flash and movement, and varying degrees of buoyancy are key elements in the construction of an effective Chinook fly. Intruders, rabbit leeches, and wrapped marabou on tubes or shanks with #1 to 1/0 trailing hooks are the most common. Blue and chartreuse is a killer combination, and standard steelhead colors such as pink, orange, red, purple, black, and blue will all work at one time or another.
An ocean-bright chinook over 20 pounds — they’ll go 60 or better, depending on the river — will test your skill, as well as every element of your tackle. A landing rate of 50 percent is commendable. Unless you’re very lucky, you just don’t land all the fish you hook.
Each item in your rig is important in the equation. However, paying close attention to three things can greatly improve the score.
1) Leader material should always be fresh and leaders changed every day and after every fish. Intense summer sun and the abrasive glacial rivers can quickly cloud monofilament and weaken it.
2) Choose burly knots such as a triple surgeon’s for looping leaders to sink tips and use a no-slip mono loop at the fly. Chinook salmon tend to hold in deeper, structured runs, and your leader will spend a good deal of time grinding on the stones. A visibly abraded knot will likely fail and should be immediately retied. Snap-test all mono knots each morning and frequently throughout the day.
3) Use heavy-wire, short-shank hooks such as the Mustad 60500BLN size 1/0 for both tube and shank-style flies and use a proper hook hone to keep them sharp. Thinner-wire hooks may be sharper out of the package, but they will bend open and can continue cutting, perhaps even completely though the mandible of a Chinook over the course of a protracted battle. In my experience with spring and summer Chinooks, there is little issue getting the hook to penetrate — grabs can be thunderous. Keeping the hook the in, however, is a different matter.
King salmon are notoriously strong, and undoubtedly, there is a physical requirement in pursuing them with a fly rod. But often it is the diligent, meticulous angler who earns the most time with a hooked fish.
As the flies for Chinook in general are big and special designed, will recommend you use the flies your Fishing guides will supply you with or to vist our Local Tackle dealer in Terrace