A fishing trip to the fabled Skeena system can be expensive. That’s why it is important to be well prepared. Brush up on your casting, make sure your lines are working well with your rods, reels are functional, waders are not leaking, etc. Sometimes flies get neglected. I can’t tell you how often I have had clients that arrive with flies that were not suitable for the location or time of year. That greatly reduces your chance of success. Check with the lodge or local guides which flies are good before your trip and make sure to stock up on those. Either tie them yourself, or you can buy them. We have many contacts in the guiding world in the Skeena area, and all our flies are designed by local guides. Our friends from Skeena River Lodge out of Terrace, BC asked us to produce a series of flies for them that they most commonly use. Some of the patterns are established, common patterns, that we have tailored to our exacting standards and demands. The end result is a series of highly practical flies with a non-compromising attention to detail. For a trip to the lower Skeena these flies are absolutely the best.
The Pattegrisen originates in Denmark where it is used mostly for Baltic Seat Trout. It is a very popular pattern. Over the past few seasons the Pattegrisen has gained popularity as an early to mid season, fresh run, steelhead pattern for the lower Skeena. The original Pattergrisen was tied with very soft materials, in order to incorporate action to the pattern in still water. We have adapted the pattern to function better in the faster flowing water conditions of the lower Skeena. The original spey hackle has been replaced for heron substitute, which is stiffer and does not collapse. Similarly the feelers have been replaced for nutria, instead of spey hackle, which gives the pattern excellent mobility in flowing water and much better durability. The pattern is slightly weighted with a keel weight to ensure that it rides correct. The carapace was originally tied with synthetic material and has been replaced with Snow Runner, which is tougher and has far less tendency to fray compared to synthetic materials. The eyes are from Easy Shrimp Eyes. The pattern is tied on a plastic tube. The end result is a beautiful Pattegrisen variation that is extremely durable and performs better in faster currents. You can read a step-by-step article on how to tie the SRL Pattegrisen here.
Leeches are a staple pattern for the Skeena system. Two of the most common and popular colours are pink/orange and black. Our SRL leeches are tied on 3mm tubes for improved durability and better hook ups. Rather than a straight zonker strip we utilize flag cut strips for a better profile. Finished with our high quality deep recess coneheads, that are highly chip resistant. The leeches are produced at a 4″ length. For some situations that may be a bit big, in which case you can simply cut the rabbit flag and the tube a bit shorter and you are good to go. This is a simple pattern, yet when fishing it you will appreciate the attention that has been paid to the details of this pattern.
SRL Prom Dress
This pattern was originated by Scott Howell and utilizes an abundant amount of flash. The people at Skeena River Lodge were some of the first to develop fly fishing for Chinook salmon on the lower Skeena. Fly patterns for Chinook are as of yet in their infancy and many patterns used for Chinook were originally used as Steelhead fly patterns. This is the case with the “Prom Dress”. The flashy pattern lends itself well as a Chinook pattern. So we “super-sized” it and tied it on a tube. We made the pattern more durable by utilizing Snow Runner in the tail and weighted it behind the wing with a bead rather than the original eyes in front of the wing. The front of the fly is finished with our 3mm hole cones which helps protect the head of the fly and the marabou. The amount of flash in each of this flies is quite extreme. We produced them in two colour variations; blue flash with chartreuse and silver flash with chartreuse. Both colour variations come in a weighted and unweighted variation. This is a standard fly for the guides at Skeena River Lodge. If you are going to fish the lower Skeena for Chinook, this is a great standard pattern. Here is an article on how to tie the “SRL Prom Dress”.
SRL Hoh Bo Spey
Another standard and popular steelhead patter, the Hoh Bo Spey, by Charles St. Pierre. This is a very good all round spey pattern for early run steelhead. Particularly in the pink/orange version. We stuck fairly close to the original pattern, with the exception of switching to a tube for better hook holds.
This pattern was designed at SRL in order to deal with low visibility water conditions during Chinook season. The stinger style pattern has a deer hair head that is squared off in order to push as much water as possible. The idea is that the pattern creates vibration that helps to attract the Chinook during low visibility conditions. The pattern is weighed down with dumbbell eyes. The legs are formed from Ostrich Spey feather. Altogether a very interesting and specific fly pattern, and since it was developed at SRL, you can bet that it produces fish! You can read an article on how to tie the “Tsunami Squid” here.
* NOTE: All tube flies come without a hook. We suggest a straight eye, off-set bait style hook, for connected rigging. For looped riggings we suggest a 45 degree up-eye, bait style hook, off-set, such as a Partridge Patriot Intruder hook. For dry flies we suggest the Partridge Patriot Stinger, inserted up-side-down.