SKEENA RIVER FLY SUPPLY TEAM
Skeena River Fly Supply Team
Innovation is the key-word around which our team revolves. Our Fly Supply team members are all passionate about fly tying and fly fishing in general and, very experienced in their areas of expertise. This allows us to test and communicate new ideas and materials. Our blog page allows you to participate in the discussions and be part of that process. Please join us: it is a lot of fun!
Jaap Kalkman, Owner
Growing up in The Netherlands there was no lack of waters to fish. From a very early age my brother and I would explore the canals, lakes and marshes in our area. We soon found that fly fishing provided us with the biggest challenge and ended up traveling all over the world to remote areas in search of fish and adventure.
One of our trips brought us to British Colombia and the Skeena region. It was clear to me that I had to move to this fishing paradise, so I did. Now I had hundreds of rivers to explore and miles and miles of wilderness. Word got out that I was a fishin’ fool and I was asked to guide for Jim Ismond on the Bulkley. I guided for him until he sold the lodge and was consequently asked to guide for Bob Hull from Steelhead Excursions. I guided for Bob for another 20 years or so after which I retired from guiding.
Over those years I continued to travel all over the world to explore remote fishing locations. One of those trips, with Jerome Wohe from Skeena River Lodge, let to the start-up of Tapam Lodge in Nicaragua.
Fly tying was always an integral aspect of my fishing. I greatly enjoy finding new ways to reach goals, even is the goal is as simple as catching a fish! During all the years of guiding and fishing I had come up with many ideas but was never able to fully realize them. So I decided to start up a company that would allow me to realize those ideas.
Skeena River Fly Supply is a work of passion for me. It allows me to produce products that are innovative and of a quality that I like to see.
I have great support from friends in the guide world and fishing friends from around the world, some of whom are part of our team. I hope you will enjoy this site and our products.
Derek lives in Kitimat, British Columbia and is a Steelhead and Salmon guide for Spey Lodge on the lower Skeena valley, Nass system, and north coast of BC. He is also a member of the Mackenzie DTX Prostaff team. But above all else he is a fisherman. He grew up in the Great Lakes region of Ontario.Where he lived until his early twenties. At that point he packed up a few belongings and headed west for the Skeena and its Steelhead. He loves to chase big sea-run fish which are fresh from the sea.
This love takes him to destinations around the world. From Eastern Canada for Giant early season Atlantics to Rio Grande in Argentina for sea run Browns, Tarpon in Cuba and Roosters off the Coast of Panama. Its a good life. Tying flies to catch these great fish is one of the fun parts of what he does. Cooking up new patterns and seeing them take fish is a cool thing. “Skeena River Fly Supply offers the best quality materials available. I am very happy to be part of the Fly Supply Team”. Be sure to check out the Derek Barber Signature series of flies!
Growing up in the Yukon, Chris George spent many years fishing and exploring waterways with a fishing rod and canoe paddle in hand. Upon moving to Smithers, British Columbia in 2004, he noticed there were some amazing salmon rivers around. After a few seasons of catching salmon, the most violent fly take and arduous fight introduced him to the wonderful world of steelhead fishing. He’s been hooked ever since. Chris began guiding in 2010, becoming a part of the long tradition of guides at Frontier Farwest. He’s settled into the valley for good, with a river front house and a 6 month guiding season.
The art of fly tying has captivated him, and many days are spent sitting at his desk looking over the Bulkley River. “My favourite fish will alway be Steelhead because of the amazing surface action, especially dead drifted flies to insect eating, free rising steelhead. For me there is nothing more exciting than walking into a run and realizing there is a 10-15lb fish subtly taking bugs off the surface.” Steelhead aside, Chris spends months every year pursuing Chinook salmon on remote and coastal rivers in Northern BC. “The strength of those fish is pretty incredible! Its humbling to be spooled by a fish you know isn’t heavier than 20 pounds. I’ll be pursuing these fish for a long time to come.”
Chris George is a steelhead guide, part-time commercial fly tier and part of the Skeena River Fly Supply Team. As with our other series of flies we only produce flies that have been tested and are known to work, designed by people with extensive experience; this way you will know that you can have faith in a fly that you bought from us. Our flies are known for their quality, and this Chris George Signature Series is no exception. Chris mostly guides on the Bulkley in the fall and on the coast in the summer and winter. His series covers a broad range of steelhead flies for British Columbia.
We are very happy to welcome Alex Belonga to the SRFS team. Alex’s enthusiasm and skills will make a very nice addition to our team. In trying to create a well-rounded team Alex will also be able to contribute aspects of the Great Lakes fisheries and flies and designs involved in that. Alex is a custom fly tier (Straits on the Fly Custom Flies) and has designed the Sculpin Munker for the Greats Lake steelhead. The pattern will be great for a variety of applications. Here is Alex!
Well, I’m 37 now and I grew up in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula in the town of St. Ignace. It’s right where Lake Huron and Lake Michigan converge, and Lake Superior is only 45mins north of us. It truly is a sportsman paradise due to its location, and offers incredible opportunities for the fly fisherman. We have healthy runs of Atlantic Salmon, 3 of the pacific salmon species, Steelhead (lake run rainbows), plenty of trout, bass, pike, panfish, Musky, Sturgeon, etc etc ……..and one of my favourites…..Carp! I was born and raised here, although I spent 7 years traveling as a merchant mariner on the Great Lakes and Gulf of Mexico.
My wife (of 13 years) and I have 4 kids and own/operate a garden centre/floral shop here in St. Ignace, so we stay busy and active year round now! Horticulture is my profession, but fly fishing and fly tying has now reached a point where I’m consistently busy with that as well……..back to fly fishing……
I got into fly fishing here about 8 years ago, but soon gravitated towards the 2 handed rods. Something about it was just captivating I suppose! I cut my teeth with the Spey rod chasing Steelhead and Chinook on the St Mary’s Rapids. (I believe Derek Barber too began there??) It’s 45mins to the international bridge from my house, which is where you cross into Ontario. I remember my first steelhead there on the swing also, hard to forget those kind of memories.
I started tying and selling flies September 2018 (you gave me my first account!) and that has kind of become a passion or addiction! I find tying to be very therapeutic and it’s hard to fish someone else’s fly now. Something about catching fish on something you created is really rewarding to me. And just the creative aspect of it draws me.
I particularly like scandi hairwing styles and natural hair styles that incorporate similar principles. I always thought they were quite beautiful, and so most of what I tie is dealing with natural hair materials like: Snowrunner, Marble Fox, American Opposum, etc. I find these patterns move incredibly well and are great steelhead & Pacific salmon materials as well. 2 of my favourite patterns for Chinook, the Runner and the Kings Candy, are natural hair materials and I was able to bring to hand my first Skeena Chinook on those patterns!
In my spare time I love to play and listen to music, fish with a 2 hander, read books, and just hang out in the back yard with my kids. As far as music goes, I like so many different genres it would be impossible to write out what I like…….totally depends on the mood or the day. I generally always love to tie with music on. As far as books I like a wide variety as well from Stephen King, to Lord of the Rings, historical fiction, and classics like treasure island. The author I have the most books of is Clive Cussler, kind of run of the mill but really good stuff too.
I’m not sure where the fly tying aspect of the business will go, but I’ve been dreaming and scheming of getting a boat and guiding in the summer months here. The carp fishery is really unique and incredibly fun! In the fall, we also have a nice run of natural reproduction chinook on my local river, and they are targetable in late august as well. I suppose we will see how it all plays out, but nothing would make me happier than to design specific flies for our area and take people out and help them not only get into fish, but enjoy the Straits of Mackinac region of the Great Lakes.