Semi DIY Skeena?

zonk1085

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I'm looking into a week of guided fishing on the Skeena in September 2019. Coming from the Northeast the flight will be long and not necessarily inexpensive. As such I'm considering two weeks in the area especially as I may not get back there again. Cost considerations would necessitate the 2nd week as DIY.

Does the Skeena have a fair amount of easily accessible public water? Would rent a car and for lodging I'd look for a budget hotel like a Super 8. I'd assume Terrace is well placed as a central location.

Being unguided I'd approach the 2nd week at a slower pace with reduced expectations.

Any thoughts on how feasible DIY spey fishing is on the Skeena?

Thanks in advance.
 

duker

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You haven't gotten any replies to this post, so I'll pass on what I can.

Confession: I've never fished the Skeena, but I do head to that area every fall (late October) to fish for steelhead on the Bulkley. I've also fished the Kispiox and Copper/Zyometz a bit.

As for accessible public water, I'll give the standard lawyer's answer: it depends. Yes, there is publicly accessible water on the Skeena and other rivers in the watershed, but you either have to look for it or know where to find it. Some of the best spots on the Bulkley and other rivers are on private land, so unless you're in some sort of watercraft you'll have to ask permission to get across the land to fish. I'm friends with some folks who have a ranch with 3-4 km of Bulkley river front with some excellent steelhead runs, so I'm lucky. Bear in mind that any runs that are easily accessible will inevitably have other anglers there, which is not necessarily a problem unless you like fishing alone. Remember to always start at the "end" of the line of anglers, and never low hole anyone.

Terrace would be a good place to use as a base. If you're concentrating on the Skeena I think anywhere between Prince Rupert and Smithers would be a good bet. There are a lot of hotels and other types of lodging available in all those places, along with tackle shops and everything else you need for a fishing trip.

Are you considering a lodge for the first week? That's the easy--tho' expensive--option, obviously, but as an alternative you might consider hiring a guide for a day or two just to get out and see the river, then spend the rest of your trip DIY'ing it. As you may have already discovered, there's a wilderness of water there--you could spend the rest of your life and not fish it all. The Skeena is the main river, but there are many more in the watershed, most of which have salmon and steelhead in them (along with other fish).

As for tackle, well, that's a whole other thread. Do a search here for some tips. A 13'-ish 7 or 8 weight spey rod, along with a Skagit head and selection of tips, will do you fine for a first trip.

Scott
 

Ard

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Scott has provided very good food for thought, I have never been there but am familiar with areas with limited road access. If you have already made arrangements with lodging and guiding for the first week then I would advise that you look to that guide for information regarding week two. Once you are already a client I can't see that a guide would hold back in sharing directions for your second week.

You could very well find the river greatly different than anything you are used to locally. Current speeds and other characteristics that rivers of the PNW seem to share can make them difficult for visitors without boats. I'd be looking at other rivers within close proximity to your first destination. I wouldn't have a problem fishing somewhere different after a week on one river. That is unless you find the Skeena to be perfect in which case I'd stay right there.

Try to find some video of the rivers in the general area and look for those which look friendly to a man on foot. And.... pack along a PFD because like I said these rivers can be different than those at home, different and dangerous also. I was down in Oregon a few years back, I went to fish the Rogue which was big but pretty tame compared to home waters. Then I headed up to the North Umpqua for a couple days and regretted not having my PFD suspenders along because that one while smaller was much more a threat than the Rogue.
 

Car7x

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I'm thinking about this too, not just the Skeena, but other rivers with day-fish-length (is that a thing?) road crossings. We wonder if Rental cars and my backpackable 2 man (pro grade) inflatable 'yak would allow more access? We seriously would consider renting 2 cars so we could shuttle; also, I've found as a long time ski/fish bum that if it's a river community, a guy could hitch hike back up to the vehicle, leaving a guy at the 'yak with the tackle. Does this seem feasible enough to lug the (checkable, 40 lb) 'yak?? thanks in advance -
 

kevind62

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I’ve got a one man pontoon. ( convenient if I must say so myself ) :D I’ve gotten the wife to drop me off at the launch point then have her be at the pick up point at the end of the day. Works out pretty good. Not sure how that’s going to work out when I finally break down and get a drift boat.

I'm thinking about this too, not just the Skeena, but other rivers with day-fish-length (is that a thing?) road crossings. We wonder if Rental cars and my backpackable 2 man (pro grade) inflatable 'yak would allow more access? We seriously would consider renting 2 cars so we could shuttle; also, I've found as a long time ski/fish bum that if it's a river community, a guy could hitch hike back up to the vehicle, leaving a guy at the 'yak with the tackle. Does this seem feasible enough to lug the (checkable, 40 lb) 'yak?? thanks in advance -
 

Car7x

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Hey Kevin - yeah, I see that a lot on the Madison. Momma drives the pickup, drops off the old fart, goes and gets her hair done, picks him up at the next ramp down. I self shuttle a lot with my husky dirt bike on a receiver hitch and the raft on the roof or drift boat behind. Regardless of how the fishing goes, I get a nice ride in the the AM.

When you get your drift boat, just take 2 vehicles, leave the chase rig downstream, and after you drop your boat have Momma take your empty trailer rig back to the take out and swap it out for her Ferrari.
 

zonk1085

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After returning from the Skeena I can say a semi-DIY trip is a definite possibility for 1st timers to the area, although using a guide early is highly recommended. There is some obvious public water around Terrace although, as others have suggested, the guide was helpful pointing out some of the less obvious ones. You don't need many spots to fish the Skeena. Hadn't realized how massive the runs are often taking 2+ hours just to work through (cast-swing-two steps down-repeat). The Skeena around Terrace is viewed as a "highway" for steelhead and less holding water. Can be beneficial continuing fishing a run knowing fish will pass through rather than driving around to other spots. Wading can be challenging so highly recommend spiked boots and a wading staff. Also would not wade a run I hadn't fished before if the water is off-colored given the strong currents.

The Copper/Zyometz is the most popular tributary close to Terrace and is great to investigate on your own. Even as a "tributary" it's larger than the rivers I swing back east. It's classified water requiring $20/day to fish and I believe certain days of the week are closed to fishing for non-guided non-residents. There are other areas of the Skeena and it's tributaries considered classified so it helps researching before planning your week out.

Terrace also has many lodging options at various price points.

Loved the area and would definitely fish it again. More water than you can fish in a lifetime.
 

chic worthing

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You need to understand that a nonresident can not fish on weekends unless they are fishing with a guide. They started this a few years ago from pressure of the "locals" who didn't like the additional volume of fishermen on their only time to fish during the week. I suspect the pressure for this law was from the guides and not the locals.
 
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