Saturday, 9 July 2016

Fishing The Hogs: Skeena River July/2016


July 1st. long weekend coming up so that means a trip up north to Smithers for a visit with son Andrew, wife Sue and grandson Ronen. It,s also time to fish the hogs on the Skeena River, hogs being Spring or another name Chinook salmon. Pack up the camper for this 8 day trip and head out on the road. Ruudie the Golden gets to come along. Smithers is about an 11 hour trip on generally good paved roads. Spend the first night at 10 mile lake Provincial Park just west of Quesnel.

Pull in for lunch the next day at Beumont PP in beautiful warm sun at the boat launch. Lots of people swimming and sun bathing  at the beach. Hasn,t been a warm summer so far.
Roll into Andrew and Sue,s driveway late afternoon.
Ronen can't wait to go fishing with his daddy. He has a lot of hours as captain in the driveway.
Drive a few hours west past Terrace along the Skeena where Grandma holds Ronen by the big, cold Skeena River. We will be camping just up River of this spot on an island. Mountains still have a fair bit of snow on them but we are in luck as the river is green, not muddy.
Andrew heads out to the launch area 5 km down river with Ruudie checking out the fishing spots.
Grumps(Dave), backs up the camper and boat into a channel of the River and Andrew launches the riverboat and gets ready for the trip back up the River to pack in the gear and people to ferry over to the island. Grumps drives the camper back up River near the pick up spot.
Here is Andrew motoring upriver with his 16' Prince Craft and 30hp Mariner jet.
We carry  a bunch of camping gear down the bank and load up the boat for the short 10 minute ride to the island.
Andrew heading back for more gear.
Looks like Pat has already started on some afternoon snacks after all of the gear has been dropped off and I think she is already into the wine.
Ronen looks happy and eager to get after them hogs.
Andrew sets up the rods while Ronen shares his expertise.
Work time. Long range forecast is for cool, wet weather which means lots of firewood has to be cut as the wind up the Skeena is cool this year.
That chain sawing can tucker a guy out. Down for the count.
Andrew making the short hop to pick up Steve, a long time friend who has kids similar in age to ours.
Rods are all rigged up, campfire is burning, drinks are dispensed and now it is time to catch up on the local gossip. Pat and Dave spent 30 years raising a family in Smithers and even though they moved away 11 years ago, the town still has warm memories for them.
Momma grizz leaving the island. Andrew said they had never seen even a black bear while fishing so this came as quite a surprise.
Jill and Pete Krause, old friends who are with a large fishing group down the river come up for a visit. They said that no one was catching any fish.
As they were leaving, the bell on one of the rods started to ring and Andrew sprints down the shore to set the hook on a Spring.
Not a big fish maybe 26lbs but things have been slow so we decide to keep it. You are allowed 1 spring/ person/day and 2 in your possession.
This is a beautiful cobalt Spring because although they are spawning, we are not that far from the ocean. They become much redder as they get closer to their spawning creek or River.
Even Grumps is a winner.
Shortly after, Steve gets lucky.
Looks like a junior grizz comes onto the island to see what all the noise was. Maybe it was the roe which we left for the 4 Bald Eagles which caught his nose.
Steve's wife Irene pulls in a beauty.
It starts to get dark and drizzly. Some years it can be 32C on the River during this early part of July. Not this year. Cool and wet. We had the campfire going all day most days.
No bites for awhile so lots of time to chat around the fire.
This is the first time for our new MSR HubbaHubba tent. Not a drop of moisture inside and it did rain hard at times and the wind blew. This is our 3rd MSR 3 season tent and we have been out hundreds of nights backpacking, canoeing, cycle touring and mostly we have never had and issue with this tent.
Andrew taking People and supplies back to their vehicles on the highway and then motoring back downriver to the launch site.  Dave, Pat and Ronen and Ruudie jump into the truck and camper and drive down to meet Andrew.
We stop at a rest stop for lunch, the Outfitter and Bigfoot, 2 generations of campers. The 9.5' Bigfoot is the same one that Andrew grew up in. How somethings never change.
Time to process the fish. Andrew has done this so much and can finish the whole process, filleting,shrink wrapping a freezing the salmon in short order.

Quite the production, just like a commercial fish cannery. We leave to drive back to Coldstream with our packaged fish and say our good byes. Next time we head back up to Smithers will be Steelhead fishing which will be around the Thanksgiving weekend in early October.

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