Our good friend, Peter Humphreys, has just returned from Hodson’s Dean River Lodge with the following report:
“Following the beautiful heli ride in, we arrived at Hodson’s camp greeted by the Dean River, low, clear and in superb shape. On the water by noon, it didn’t take long for fly lines to be drawn tight and reels set a screaming. All the guests landed a fish on their first day and a special mention to Sandra Bracken who landed her first BC steelhead in the first few casts of her trip – congrats to Sandra! This set the tone for the next few days as we realized we’d walked into a river full of fresh steelhead eager to snap at our flies. Several boats reported double digit days, many fish taken on dry flies and greased line tackle. Is there a bigger thrill than raising a steelie to a waking dry? I don’t think so, especially surrounded by breathtaking scenery in the Dean valley. Mid week we lost a day to heavy runoff from an over night rain, but in true Dean style she dropped in quickly and allowed us to fish the following day in tough conditions with low visibility. The camp still managed several hook ups and landed a handful.
Unfortunately it started raining cats and dogs all afternoon and through the night. The river rose steadily. From my cabin in the early hours of the morning we could see head lamps buzzing around in the dark, obviously preparing for very high water, securing boats and making ready. As daylight broke the river was over it’s banks, approaching the cabins and still raining hard. The Hodson’s crew asked us to get packed and put waders on. A plan had been hatched to fly us across to Stuarts tent camp which was high and dry on the opposite hill. Last night, Danny wisely parked the helicopter up behind the new lodge so it was never at risk of being swept away. A few nervous moments as he ran shuttles in the chopper across the river to dry ground. Danny H is one cool cat and deserves much praise for his cool, calm approach. Safely at Stewarts we were welcomed with steaming cups of fresh coffee and cookies. We sat around a camp fire under the tarp and watched the river rising. I’m glad we left when we did. The sound of 100 foot trees toppling in the river, giant boulders blasted down and banks being ripped apart was indescribable – you had to be there to believe it. What an amazing adventure. Thanks to the Hodson’s crew for taking such great care of us.”
Hodson's Lodge before the rain
Hodson's Lodge during the rain
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Dear Fly Water Travel Team,
As I unpack my bags from our trip to Bolivia, I can’t help but reflect on what an amazing experience we had and wanted to write a quick report. In short, we had one of the best journeys of our lives!
The interaction with the local people, fantastic accommodations, great guides and staff, and phenomenal fishing combined to make this trip so special.
When we landed at the Asunta lodge the local members of the Tsimane tribe came readily to meet us. I had brought some candy and my fishing partner brought some cute hair clips that his young daughters had chosen for the local girls. I was really impressed as the older children guided the young children to the front to get the candy. They were so kind to each other. The hair clips were a real treat for the young girls in the tribe. They traded the clips and took turns helping each other put the clips in their hair. I noticed one little girl that had a bag that she kept all of the treasures that the fishing guests had given her. The guides and the staff at Untamed Angling treat these people with the utmost respect and kindness and I could tell the feelings were returned as the local people hugged the guides and the guides joked with and put their arms around the young men in the village the way one would a little brother.
We left the village and took a short boat ride to the lodge. We were greeted with fresh fruit juice and refreshments. Both lodges were beautiful and the food fantastic. The beds were very comfortable and the bug nets kept all the critters out. There were many insects in the jungle and riverside but most did not seem interested in us. The lodges are made out of striking local wood and are a comfortable base when not out exploring the rivers. The lodges are decorated with pictures and art from the local people. I thought that the bow and arrows hanging on the wall were decorative but one night one of the head guides ran in and exclaimed “there is a family of wild pigs close to the lodge,” and grabbed one of the arrows off the wall. He gave it to one of the locals and the arrow was later returned to the wall with blood on it. I understand the locals dined on pork that night!
The guides were world class. They possessed a deep expertise in the local culture, jungle, rivers, fish and fly fishing. At the first lodge we fished with Jean Baptiste Vidal who is the Kau-Tapen manager in Terra Del Fuego when he is not in Bolivia. I had friended him on Facebook a month or so before the trip (highly recommended) and brought him some hard to find tools and a highly coveted copy of the Drake magazine. He and the other excellent guide Fabien had tied us 40 custom flies for $7 each. The flies were the best quality flies I had ever seen and were museum quality. They also fished like magic!
At the second lodge we fished with Fernando and Pablo who are from Argentina. Pablo was incredibly skilled and encouraging when we asked him to help us fine-tune our technique. He got so excited when we made a perfect cast, “that was huge!”, or when we would land a big one. Fernando is a professional photographer who has a deep spiritual tie with the local people, jungle and rivers. He would stop as we hiked through the jungle and point out the trees that the locals used for making rope and hunting bows.
All of the guides are teamed with one or two locals and it was fascinating watching them work together. They respect each other so much and work together as a perfect team. Countless times a native guide would climb a boulder and find fish that we would not have seen even with polarized glasses. We took a break from fishing for a short while one evening when returning to the lodge and watched the local guides hunt wild turkeys. They could call them from the trees with nothing but their voices. That was a really special experience.
The fishing was exactly as advertised. There were a few days where we hiked and fished our hearts out and the fish were spooky or did not seem interested in anything we had to offer. There were also days where it seemed each accurate cast to a sighted fish or structure would be rewarded by a split second strike! These Dorado are ferocious predators and a joy to fish for. The Pacu were more subtle and elusive like a permit and were pure power when on the line!
My favorite two fish were so different. The first was with Jean. We brought our dug out canoe around a corner and came to view a magical cathedral in the jungle river! A gust of wind had blown flowers and fruits down from the trees and covered a pool the size of a football field. About 15 Pacu were gently sipping the flowers and fruit off the still surface. Jean quietly said that he had never seen this many Pacu in a pool feeding in this manner. He said you have traveled a long ways for this experience lets just watch for a moment. Then he tied on a special floating fly he had tied just for this situation and after a couple of near misses, I made (luckily) a perfect cast to a Pacu who went right for it! The fight was electric as the Pacu tore my line out many times and was eventually landed for a quick picture and release. As I was bringing the Pacu in Jean would remind me to enjoy and savor the special experience. What great advice! I hope I remember that experience forever.
The second fish was more of a chaotic burst! I really wanted to catch a big Dorado out of a feeding frenzy and had come close a few times. It is really an amazing experience to be within 10 feet of 5-10 20lb Dorado pushing hundreds of 2lb Sabalo into the rocks on the shore and devour them as white water splashes 3 feet in the air! On the last hour of the last day Fernando and I got our best chance. We had already landed quite a few “Muy Grande” Dorado and I already was considering it a perfect day when we saw a huge rush of white water in a side pool of the Lower Pluma River. Quickly doing the “stingray shuffle” we hustled over to intercept the monsters as they came over a riffle and re-entered the main channel of the river. I made a short cast of maybe 10 feet to a group of 3 huge Dorado who were coming straight at us looking like bullies who had just kicked some serious butt in a neighborhood brawl. One of the monsters took the andino deceiver and rushed straight at me within 6 inches. I did not have a chance to set the hook and did a 180 degree spin as the fish raced past me and did the most aggressive strip-set of my life! The fish took me into the backing in seconds and went airborne 7 or 8 times before we tailed him for a quick picture.
My partner’s favorite fish came 15 minutes later. He hooked a 3lb Dorado and it jumped up on a log and flopped a couple of times. My friend said to Fernando that he was going to shake it off but Fernando said to watch for a second and that there were some huge fish in the pool. As Fernando was finishing his sentence a monster with a 5 gallon bucket mouth full of sharp teeth came lunging out of the water and devoured my friend’s fish! Somehow, the hook transferred from the victim to the huge Dorado. My friend said the take was so ferocious that it actually scared him. After a great fight we took some pictures of the fish and laughed as it splashed us on its way back to the pool. I was laughing as the little 1-2” Dorado kept trying to bite my fingers while I took the submerged video. We all just sat there in the water not believing what had just happened and feeling incredibly lucky to have had the chance to experience it. Fernando taught us to say thank you to the river in the Tsimane language. It was a deeply touching afternoon.
Please feel free to share this with anyone you care to. I hope that I have presented some of the flavor for what this adventure is about.
Give us a call at 800-552-2729 to book your dorado fishing adventure at Tsimane Lodge!
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Fly Water client Ed Rinker was rewarded for toughing out this year’s volatile weather conditions. Ed arrived at the Secret System under poor conditions and then had them improve. He caught this massive buck on Morrish’s #6 Pom Skater. Then he got weathered in an had to spend several extra days in camp.
Nicely done Ed!
Give us a call at 800-552-2729 to book your next BC Steelhead Adventure!
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Posted in Uncategorized on September 22, 2011|
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Running the upper falls of the Kisaralik River in western Alaska
Rex Bryngelson recently returned from a float trip down the Kisaralik River in western Alaska. Take a look at some of his images on our Facebook page here. Also, check out the slide show on You Tube.
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from our good friend, Brian Schneider, Manager of Silver Hilton Lodge:
Week 1 was bad for conditions but since then the river continues to drop and is in really good shape. It is still higher than we would like it but that is the way it is going to be for this year. Lots of extra water in the system!
Fishing has been a struggle until recently. It seems the first wave of any real numbers has finally arrived.
Here’s a nice fish Bret Rutherford caught at Silver Hilton Lodge last week:
Fishing on the Kispiox River seems to be picking up as well. After a tough week on the Babine Bret went over to the Kispiox River and landed quite a few fish, including this one weighing in at 25 pounds!
Give us a call at 800-552-2729 to book your next fishing adventure!
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Well it has been a wild ride on the Skeena system for the first half of September.
A massive warm storm ravaged the Bell Irving, Nass and Damdochax Rivers early in the month. It was an epic storm not unlike the one that beat the Dean River up last September 2010. It also took its toll on the Skeena system, essentially blowing anglers out of their weeks on the Babine, Sustut and other related systems. For all of you who took the short end of that stick, we are sorry. The returns seems about the same as earlier predictions. The run seems to be in keeping with the 10 year average and roughly 60% of last year’s record return. But with the impaired water conditions, the fish have been getting off easy and the anglers have been doing most of the suffering. With that said, in recent days the conditions have really improved and we expect the fishing to do the same.
from our good friend, Derek Botchford, at Frontier Farwest Lodge:
“Steelhead season on the Bulkley has been about as consistent as Tiger Woods golf stroke. I have seen an angler hook 15 one day and none the next. The fish are happy as can be with the endless high water. They frolic among seams buried underneath the raging water, occasionally taking the time roll to the surface, winking at anglers as they pass by. High water creates vindictive fish. They move up the river like teenagers hiding from the cops. However, our guides are trained assassins. We have had to hunt them down, corner them, and unleash an arsenal of flies in their general direction. We are lucky to guide on some crystal clear waters where we can actually look for fish. They have stayed out of the classic runs and have been hiding in the fast, over looked sections in between the runs. With high water and temperatures the fish may not always do what you expect them to. Creativity on the river can make or break a day. Here are some early season fish on the Bulkley/Morice at Frontier Farwest Lodge.”
Last night I spoke with folks on the Kispiox and the river is in great shape and fishing well.
The Babine is finally dropping into shape and the fishing should start to see a noticeable improvement.
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Posted in General News on September 16, 2011|
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Join Fly Water Travel’s Charles Gehr at Tou Velle Park this Saturday for Two Hands @ Tou Velle. This free spey casting event is sponsored by Anderson Custom Rods. Gary Anderson will have his two-handed rods there for people to try out. Bob Meiser will also be in attendance with his line-up of spey rods. On-water presentations throughout the day will address various aspects of spey casting and tackle.
This event is free to the public. Parking at Tou Velle Park costs $5 at the gate.
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