Swedish version

A Day on the Skeena River

By Luciano


We were close to the end of a beautiful October day spent on Skeena river, some miles north of Smithers. It was a cloudy day and the sunset was quickly approaching, Alberto was still fishing at about 50 yards from the shore with the water raising his waist, gently looping his Teeny T130 with a big Articulated black leech, while me and Mimmo were seated on some rocks smoking a good cigar with our rods on the knees. We were talking about what happened during the day and, of course, we had the same questions who have all when a fish is lost: do you think that if I just waited a little bit before setting the hook it would have been better? Or if I had the rod tip higher? Or if I set the hook several times while playing the fish? Or if I used a bigger hook? Or…Or…, we all know very well that all these questions will stand for the eternity without a reply, but we like, we need to ask them each time, it is part of our breed, as if we try to find out a justification or simply because after that we feel better.

While Mimmo and me were fantasizing, suddenly the silence broke: Alberto set the hook and instantly said: e’ grossa, e’ grossa!!! (fish on, it’s big, it’s big !!!). Knowing Alberto and his more than 20 years of steelhead flyfishing experience I realized that ‘big’ for him was meaning not less than 20 lbs. It had been an unforgettable vision what me and Mimmo saw: Alberto was dangerously swinging back and forth in the water pulled by an incredible force, the 11’ 8wt Diamondback rod was at it maximum point of flexibility, while the Ari’t Hart steelhead reel was close to the collapse, hissing like never heard before. I screamed: Alberto, pay attention please!! Beware that if you lose the fish now, you will swim in the water, I'm 100% sure!!! Alberto said: I have 250 yards of 30 lb backing on the reel and I’m starting to see the end…. I'm unable to stop it…..In those 10 seconds, the ‘monster’ took 200 yards of backing across the current going close to the other side of the river where other guys were fishing, it also jumped outside and our hearts stopped to breath for a while: is it a dolphin or something else??? Since the fish was very far, we were unable to give it the first estimated weight. When the big run stopped (simply because the fish reached the other side…), Alberto started to go back keeping the rod tip high in the attempt to reach us on the shore where it would be less dangerous and more easy to follow the big one.

While reaching the shore he was able to reel in some line and now he had about 70 yards of backing. As if we had not enough troubles, one more was adding up: a motor boat with one Canadian guide (Gunter Zweifler) and two Japanese clients was approaching quickly. Before I had the need to scream, the guide realized what was happening and lowered the motor speed, in that moment, the steelie jumped again close to the boat and the guide screamed: Hey, Hey, you have got not less than a 35 pounder !!!

After speaking with the clients, they decided to land the boat where we was and see the free show given by Alberto who never did anything wrong until that moment. Now the steelie was going downstream and Alberto was following it while reeling some line, but the fish was still far. Some hundreds of yards below Alberto there was a little gravel island in the middle of Skeena: that was the only place Alberto had to land the dolphin.

In fact, without thinking 2 times, Alberto crossed in diagonal the water and reached the small island not without risks, as you can imagine, crossing the current with the water raising the waist is already dangerous for itself, but if you add a big fish on the rod, it becomes worst jet, but it had not been a problem for Alberto, because his adrenaline was pumping up very fast.. At this time, the elapsed time was at about 30 min from the hookset and we were all on the shore following Alberto, laughing and screaming like supporters on a football game. It took another 10-min to land the trophy fish, after that, we reached Alberto who was completely exhausted but extremely happy. The ‘fish’ was hanging in low water kept by the tail: it was the biggest steelie I (and other guys) ever seen anywhere, there were no words to describe it, other than lose our eyes on it. The Canadian guide measured the fish: it was a male 46.45 inches in length, 26.8 girth, based on this formula: (girth squared) x length x 1.33 divided by 1000 (inches) = approximate weight of Steelhead, the fish weight would fit in the range of 44 lbs (WOW !!!). We took some pics, gave a kiss to the steelie then released it. I think to have gone through one of the strongest emotions I ever had on my life.


For the lovers:
Rod: Diamondback 11’ 8wt 3 pieces (double hands)
Reel: Ari’t Hart Steelhead with 250 yards of 30 lbs
Line: Teeny T130
Fly: Black articulated leech size 1/0
Tippet: 14 lbs Maxima
Hookset time: 4:30 PM
Time to land: 50 min.
River: Skeena
Location: Kitwanga

If you want to know more about Alberto, take a look at WILD STEELHEAD & SALMON volume 6 number 1 from Autumn 1999.

Read the following article on page 50: ‘ AMONG FRIENDS ’ a Heartfelt quests for Skeena country Steelhead. By John E. Nordstrand

PS: sorry for my bad English….

By Luciano 2002




To get the best experience of the Magazine it is important that you have the right settings
Here are my recommended settings
Please respect the copyright regulations and do not copy any materials from this or any other of the pages in the Rackelhanen Flyfishing Magazine.

© Mats Sjöstrand 2002

If you have any comments or questions about the Magazine, feel free to contact me.

Mats Sjöstrand, Sweden

Please excuse me if you find misspelled words or any other grammatical errors.
I will be grateful if you contact
me about the errors you find.