Often overshadowed by their Steelhead cousins, the Coho or Silver Salmon, as they’re also known, are powerful game fish, famed for their hard fighting qualities and aerial acrobatic displays. They get found in good numbers throughout the Skeena region from around the middle of August until the end of October, and our Nicholas Dean Trophy Coho package runs right through the peak summer and fall seasons. Travelling freshwater fly anglers wishing to catch these beautiful fish will cast their flies into various waterways, from the Skeena to the Kitimat to numerous intimate and scenic coastal rivers – some of the regions wildest.
Starting in early August, waves of fresh summer-run Coho ascend the Skeena and Kitimat rivers on each incoming tide. These bright silverfish are merely days from the ocean and are determined, explosive fighters, typically running anglers well into the backing. By mid-August through to mid-September, the Coho stack up off the mouths of coastal rivers waiting for the Fall rain to arrive and river levels to rise and then by the end of September, as the days grow shorter and the nights cooler, the real big ‘Northern Coho’ arrive. These giant ‘Northern’ fish are straight from the ocean and can push 30lb in weight, making them among the largest to be found in the Pacific Northwest.
When the rivers are full of these fish, they can offer some of the year’s most memorable fishing, set amongst some of the most awe-inspiring scenery on the North Coast.
The best time to fish for Coho Salmon is between the months of August and September or the end of summer and all of the fall season. The fishing on our Nicholas Dean Trophy Coho programme takes place on three main waterways, the Kalum River, the Skeena River, and a selection of intimate and scenic coastal rivers. Each river offers freshwater fly fishing anglers a different experience but the same high-quality fishing.
The Kitimat River is a medium-sized coastal river that is exceptionally productive. Dynamic in its make-up, the river frequently changes from year to year, owing to a bottom substrate that’s predominantly gravel and smaller cobble, and features well over 20 kilometres of prime Salmon holding water. On the Kitimat, it’s possible to drift fish using rafts and boats and fishing on many of its long, broad runs in the lower reaches and small pools in the middle to upper reaches is very productive.
The remote coastal rivers of Northwestern British Columbia host superb runs of Salmon and define the meaning of an intimate, wilderness fishing experience. Due to their isolated nature, the coastal rivers are not easily accessible, but getting there is half the fun. The Lodge will use Ocean boats, jet boats, helicopters and driving on logging roads – whatever it takes – to access one of the great frontiers in Salmon fishing.
Typically tannic and tea-stained by nature, the remote coastal rivers hide their secrets well, but fishing with the camps talented guides will help you get the most out of your day. In the late Summer and Fall, all of these rivers support runs of giant Coho, and one of the most popular ways of fishing for them, is sight fishing with a floating line and a streamer fly pattern. These fish are absolute chrome rockets and will test your tackle and resolve to the limit, but without a doubt, fishing for them is one of the most exciting forms of freshwater fly fishing that travelling rods can encounter.
Both the Lower and Upper Skeena are class II classified waterways. The Lower Skeena is a large, broad, flowing river fed by many famous tributaries, including the Copper, Kalum, Babine, Bulkley, Kispiox, Morice, Sustut and many others on its route to the Northern British Columbia coastline. The world-renowned Salmon run that occurs in this part of the world see’s vast numbers of migratory fish heading for these tributaries, but before they do so, they must pass through the lower part of the Skeena, where our operation is based.
The Upper Skeena, located above the town of Terrace, it’s slightly smaller in width and features more channels than the Lower but still holds an abundance of fish. With miles and miles of classic swinging water, the Upper Skeena has become an angler’s favourite over the years. Its classic runs and tail-outs, studded with large boulders, create the perfect holding water for fish to rest upstream on their migratory route.
To find out more about Yellow Cedar Lodge and our Nicholas Dean Trophy Coho programme in Canada, visit our YouTube channel.
Throughout the year, nearly all the traditional Salmon species get found within the Skeena watershed, and so do a wide range of smaller ‘back-up’ species, including Char, Coastal Cutthroat, Dolly Varden, Rainbow, and Bull Trout. However, our Nicholas Dean Trophy Coho programme does precisely what it says on the tin and concentrates on the most significant, hardest fighting Coho Salmon.
The Coho’s are known as the prince of the Pacific Salmon and are renowned for their high cartwheeling leaps, searing runs and line twisting rolls. The fish in the Skeena watershed average between 8lb to 15lb with a smattering of 20lb plus fish, although Coho to over 30lb is not unheard of. These giant hooked nosed northern fish can be sight fished when conditions allow, and there’s no better way of catching them than stalking them with a dry fly in a gin-clear, pristine wild river.
One of the bonus factors of fishing for Coho is that it usually coincides with the most beautiful time of the year, with vibrant autumns colours and snow-capped mountains as a backdrop. Picture yourself casting to a pod of three-foot-long chrome Coho, surrounded by 3,000-foot jagged mountains jutting skyward and waterfalls cascading into the lush green coastal rainforest beside you; this is a typical day on the Skeena and its tributaries.
The Steelhead Salmon on the Skeena average between 8lb and 20lb; however, there’s always the chance of a bigger specimen and each season fish to over 20lb and even 30lb grace anglers nets. An interesting fact from the Skeena is that marine biologists have caught Steelhead to over 44lb in their test fishery, and our guides on the river believe there is no better place in the world to catch a world record.
Even though this package concentrates on Coho Salmon, it’s still possible to catch many different Salmon species during your stay.
Our Nicholas Dean Trophy Coho fishing programme runs over two seasons, summer and fall. The summer season starts in mid-August and runs until the start of September, and the fall season begins in September and runs until the middle of October. The fishing is based on two anglers per guide, and all-inclusive packages are available with either five or six fishing days.
All the guides on the river are experts in their field and know the waters, Salmon species and fishing like the back of their hands. Many of the guides have been working on the Skeena for many years and have the ability to find fish in the harshest of conditions and most challenging water. All have the unrelenting desire to pursue trophy Steelhead, Salmon and Trout, helping you land that personal best and enjoy a fishing trip of a lifetime.
Most of the beats on our Coho Salmon programme are ideal for fly fishers who wish to wade to catch their quarry; however, if you prefer to fish from a boat, there are places and stretches to suit all requirements. Boat fishing on the Kitimat and the Kitimat Estuary are especially popular. A typical guided fishing day runs between 8.00 am and 5.00 pm. However, one thing that is incredibly popular amongst guests who visit the Lodge is that you can venture out without a guide and fish extra hours if you wish, putting into practice everything your guides have taught you throughout the day.
To complement the world-class guides, fishing and overall first-class Coho programme, Nicholas Dean purchased the incredible Yellow Cedar Lodge in April 2020, with the aim of offering travelling freshwater fly anglers the finest fishing accommodation found anywhere in British Columbia and North America. Situated right on the banks of the Skeena, Yellow Cedar Lodge – a Tourism BC Approved Accommodation – features large, vaulted ceilings to highlight the impressive mountain views, numerous amenities and a large wraparound deck for guests to take in the majestic riverscape.
The accommodation features both single and double rooms, with comfortable double or king beds. Each room is equipped with a private en suite and shower, with water taken from the Lodges own private well. Each room also has ample storage for your clothes and luggage and is just steps away from all the amenities the Lodge offers. Some rooms even have their own private terrace or sitting area, which overlooks the beautiful garden and river.
Yellow Cedar Lodges spacious dining room has two large tables and several smaller custom cedar tables. So there is plenty of room to relax, unwind and savour the fine dining from the Lodges experienced culinary team.
The bar – adjoining the dining room – is fully licensed and well-stocked with wine, beer and spirits for guests enjoyment. The staff are on hand with all the drink/menu lists and will be more than happy to show you.
If you fancy enjoying the latest hockey or football game or want to play a game of pool or foosball after you’ve finished dinner? The downstairs games room and bar has it all and is equipped with a 75″ HD satellite TV. Other amenities include a sauna, fully equipped gym, pool table, hot tub and Wifi, all designed to make your experience as leisurely as possible.
The Lodge has a modern, custom wader room, updated in May 2020, and it’s the area where you can keep all your fishing tackle and clothing. Each guest gets provided with a large roomy stall, and it’s here where you can leave your rods, reels and personal gear. You can also hang your waders, jacket and other layers to dry overnight in front of the gas fireplace. The Lodge is very proud of this well-crafted wader room – the finest in the north!
We are sure that you will have a comfortable stay at the Lodge as you search for that trophy, Steelhead or Salmon of a lifetime!
You will enjoy the cooking of the Lodges top-notch culinary team, headed by experienced red seal chefs Amanda & Mark Ross, who go to great lengths in providing first-class meals featuring locally sourced ingredients whenever possible.
To ensure that you are fueled up for a full day of fishing ahead, you will find a hearty breakfast each morning, which might include eggs, cereal, fresh fruit, toast, sausage or bacon, juice and coffee. Your packed lunch will be prepared for you each morning and sent with your guide.
When you return to the Lodge in the early evening, your hosts and fellow guests will join you for some fireside appetizers. Following the appetizer, guests will join a Nicholas Dean host – Chad, Dustin, Sky or Rob – for a hearty three-course meal, featuring entrees such as prosciutto-wrapped halibut with crispy yam straws or NDO’s signature braised beef short rib.
Most guests tend to work up quite a large appetite after an adventurous day outdoors, but there’s no need to worry about quantity, as food seems to always be available on our Nicholas Dean Trophy Coho programme. The only thing you need to worry about is your waistline!
If you have any dietary requirements then please let us know before you travel, the Lodge is more than happy to cater for the requirements you may have.
The Yellow Cedar Lodge is the perfect destination for the outdoor explorer. With untouched, virgin terrain and endless wildlife, you are sure to experience adventure and the native flora and fauna, unlike anything you have ever seen before. The Lodge has guides to help ensure you experience everything the woods has to offer. As well as world-class Salmon fishing, it has connections with hiking, sightseeing, halibut fishing and even heli-skiing companies.
Although the fishing days are fixed, the below itinerary is still flexible should you require additional free days to explore at the beginning or end of your holiday; we can tailor this itinerary to suit you personally. Feel free to talk to our travel consultants who can explain all options available.
Depart UK (alternative routes available)
Arrive Vancouver Depart Vancouver
On arrival, a representative from Yellow Cedar Lodge will be waiting to drive you the 20-minute transfer to the Lodge.
Overnight Accommodation: Yellow Cedar Lodge (Twin Room) F/B
Over the next 5 days, after breakfast, you will depart with your guides to different sections of the Skeena. You will be fishing for the mighty Coho Salmon. The fish in the Skeena watershed average between 8lb to 15lb with a smattering of 20lb plus fish, although Coho to over 30lb is not unheard of.
The fishing on our Nicholas Dean Trophy Coho programme is based on two anglers per one guide.
Overnight Accommodation: Yellow Cedar Lodge (Twin Room) F/B
After breakfast, your guides from Yellow Cedar Lodge will transfer you all back to Terrace airport for your return flight home.
Arrive Vancouver Depart Vancouver
Average Customer Satisfaction Score 87%
"This was the 4th time I'd fished in Canada and once again as a country, it didn't disappoint. I travelled mainly to target the Coho's and I landed plenty of cracking fish, in what was a very action-packed week. If you love your fly fishing then I'd certainly recommend this tour. The Cedar Lodge is also a beautiful place to rest after a busy day fishing on the surrounding rivers."
"Unfortunately on our week, the river conditions were a little bit off, but it still didn't stop us from catching a bunch of Salmon. Some days were harder than others, but in general, it was productive. The tiny bit of disappointment with the fishing (which was obviously out of anyone's control) was smoothed over by the stunning Cedar Lodge. The food, service and scenery were incredible and I'm already looking for some new dates for next year."
"A stunning lodge, a picturesque location, and some first-class fishing opportunities. I had a brilliant week and would like to say a massive thank you to everyone involved in planning, organising and helping me with my trip - I had the time of my life and would definitely love to return again next year. Thank you."
The season runs from Mid-August to October.
Season: August to October
Weight: 8lb to 20lb
Average Weight: 12lb
Season: All Year
Peak: August to September
Weight: 8lb to 30lb
Average Weight: 15lb
Season: April to August
Peak: June to August
Weight: 10lb to 50lb
Average Weight: 25lb
Remember that Sportquest Holidays' services are completely FREE! When you book a trip with Sportquest Holidays, you never pay more than when you book directly with the lodge and flights independently.
Prices are based on two anglers sharing transfers, fishing and accommodation (unless otherwise stated) and are correct at the time of going to press. Subject to time of year or date and currency fluctuations, these prices may fluctuate slightly due to flight price increases or fuel surcharges.
The Haida Gwaii Steelhead are some of the most potent strains of Salmon in the world and will test your tackle and angling ability to the limit. Many of the fish caught are fresh from the sea, and the neon glow from their bright silvery scales have the ability to illuminate an entire pool. These winter-run fish are well known for their strength and impressive size.
Our famed Nicholas Dean Steelhead fishing packages cover the whole of the Steelhead season in Canada, fishing on the mighty Skeena River and all of its watershed. These ultra-chrome rockets on the Skeena average between 8lb and 20lb; however, there’s always the chance of a more significant specimen and each season fish to over 20lb and even 30lb grace anglers nets.
Flowing for an incredible 570 kilometres, the Skeena River is the second largest river in Canada, behind only the Fraser. Originating in northwestern British Columbia, the river and its basin is one of the most famous spots in the world for Salmon fishing. The river and its tributaries host vast numbers of migrating Steelhead, Chinook and Coho.
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If you are looking for a Fishing Lodge that puts you and the fishing first, then look no further. Goodnews River Lodge is the ONLY full-service lodge on the entire river system. Experience the solitude and peaceful beauty of Alaska; it’s just you and the fish. No crowds, no flying to the “best” river. It’s all here on the Goodnews River.