News from Oscars in Smithers, British Columbia, Canada - part 14


Fishing Report, September 20, 2018



No change since last week. Extremely low water which doesn’t look like is going to get better in the next week. With cold temperatures and sun/clouds in the forecast, we are looking at consistently low water which isn’t helping the runs long-term.  

But on the brighter side of things, steelhead fishing has improved a little bit by the end of last week. Currently there is lots of steelhead in the system. The downside is that Coho fishing is still very difficult and that there are very few Coho to be found.


Not much has changed on the Morice and is fishing similar to last week with steelhead fishing being spotty.


There are some steelheads in the river, however we would strongly advise not to fish the Kispiox at this time. The water is extremely low and is extremely dangerous at these water levels for both fish and people.


Slow and steady with some fish in the system. No one seems to pulling record days, but they are out there if you are patient. Like all waters in the area it is low so a lot of the runs aren’t fishing like they would normally.


The river is low and clean with lots of Coho pooled up in specific spots. Early morning fishes the best if you are going to search out the spots.



This article comes as a throwback filled with some great steelhead tips written by Bob Melrose. The article comes very timely in talking about low water fishing for steelhead, which is what we are seeing pretty much all year.  If you like this article, you can find more of Bob Melrose’s work in our archive.  


Written by Bob Melrose

As mentioned in an earlier story there are many methods, presentations, lures and flies that will take Steelhead. Your favourite is guaranteed to catch more fish because it spends more time in the water. On any given day an anglers survey will show a wide variety of gear that has tempted those beautiful fish.

When you hear what other anglers have caught fish on we sometimes think that they will take anything. We have all had those days when they seemed to take a wide variety of offerings. However, some days, we call them "humility days" when they have lockjaw. They are still there they just aren't hungry. Frustrating yes, but no time on the river is ever wasted. 

There is a time in mid fall when the water temperature reaches around 40F.(4.5 Celsius) when most Steelhead will no longer rise to the dry fly. The river also becomes very low and clear. The combination of cold and low and clear water can make the fish a little "spooky." They seek deeper water and more protective cover and are more sensitive to disturbances. It is the time for "finesse presentations and stealth wading."

Many anglers fall in love with the big Intruder type of flies and seductive 4-6 inch long bunny/marabou leeches. They are proven performers but at times when those fish are spooky many anglers will downsize their offerings. Instead of the #2/0 snakes they have had success with #4 or #6 patterns.

Undertakers, Blue Charms, Caddis, Burlaps, Silver Hiltons, Skunks, Steelhead Spratleys and many of the classic Atlantic Salmon patterns will take fish. All these flies can be "riffle hitched" to show a side profile with even more effectiveness.

One year the water was very low and clear and fishing was very slow. A visiting group of anglers, very good experienced guys, would come in every couple of days. They would show me pictures of some of the fish they were getting and the flies they were using. All the flies were in the size #4-8 range. This group was doing better than anyone else I talked with.

That weekend we tried some small patterns with great results. As a buddy remarked "Sometimes they don't want the Full Meal Deal" they just want finger food. I can't resist some of those big creations but the fly box with those exquisite little flies is always handy.

Low clear water also applies to a finesse presentation for the gear angler. Big lures, splashy entry doesn't work for spooky Steelhead. Downsize your gear to the smaller Mepps and Vibrax spinners, Gibbs Koho #35, Pixees, small Gooey Bobs, single artificial egg with or w/out wool, 1/4 or 3/8 ounce jigs.

Many times from a high vantage point we have watched Steelhead holding in a pool. Noisy wading and/or a big lure in those low and clear conditions send them scurrying for cover or deeper water. Wading like a great blue heron, slowly and quietly, and light tackle will yield better results.