For those of you who have attempted group therapy, medication, biofeedback and electro convulsive shock treatments in attempt to rid yourselves of a steelhead addiction ... and have failed, congratulations you are a steelheader, now that we are over all of that we can get serious about this thing.
Steelhead fishing is like any fishing in a way. You find a place that sounds good, you either do it yourself or get a guide, and you find a place to stay or camp.
Steelhead fishing is not like any fishing in other ways. It can be difficult to judge the timing of the run or the water conditions. A guide is helpful here. There are lots of guides out there, but some are much better than others at placing an angler in a position to catch good fish. It is great to stay near the guide. Last minute changes in plans are best done at close distance.
But in order:
The water is the main pull here, the biggest steelhead in the world run up the Skeena and it's tributaries in British Colombia. The fall run is well known, but the spring fishery is new developing thing here. Lots of different rivers can be fished from the Skeena for chrome bright steelhead and salmon.
You will meet guides that you like and may never see again. Then there are guides that become lifetime friends with. You want the guide to know the water and how and when the fish generally move thru it. He has to know which local rivers are fishable and which are not and he has to know if there is a run coming thru and where to find it. He also has to be excited to see you catch fish. The best guides become an extension of yourself, cheering for the good fish. They can end up being lifetime friends for always bailing you out and finding you great fish with a laugh. Darren Wright comes to mind.
Here we shift gears a bit. I have fished for steelhead in the Skeena and 5 tributaries for the past 18 years. My first year on the Babine I ran into Darren Wright. A great guy who knew how to fish. Then I kept running into him as he camped on the Babine and shared our lodge water. He was still a good guy and a real gentleman. The next year I come back and he is the head guide. It has been a real treat for all those years. I can honestly say that he is 99% fish. He knows what they are thinking.
Darren knows where fish are, he is always actively looking for fish in usual and unusual places. He works hard and takes pride in his work. Darren has a great sense of humor. He is a real professional and honest to the end. My favorite guide to fish with.
Kent Davenport MD