Suskeena LodgeIf you are a steelhead fisherman you will have heard of the Nass, Kispiox, Dean and Skeena Rivers. Their names are magical to the steelhead fly fisher.
At the very beginning of perhaps the most famous of all these legendary rivers lies the Sustut River, "Mother of the Skeena". The Sustut Valley remains pure and clear and breaks cleanly into pools and runs that may never have been fished. The Sustut flows as it has always flowed, and the steelhead come as they have always come, every Autumn. Unlike any of the other great steelhead rivers in the Skeena system, there are no roads to the Sustut. Reflecting the uniqueness of the Sustut River steelhead run, the Provincial Ministry of Environment has wisely accorded the Sustut with a "class one" status.
Suskeena Lodge consists of five fully appointed private cabins, and a spacious dining room and lounge in the main lodge building. Meals are substantial and well presented, featuring local seasonal delicacies, fresh baked breads and garden fresh produce. Suskeena Lodge guests have time in the evenings to relax and tie flies, read through some of the titles in the fishing library and socialize with fellow anglers.
Prior to the arrival of the steelhead, the pools and runs of the Sustut River fill with over 20,000 Chinook salmon. These fish, often called kings, because of their immense power and huge size, average thirty pounds and can be readily taken on the fly. A third of the clientele who come to Suskeena Lodge come specifically for the Chinook and it is with their arrival that the season here begins.
By the first of September, the steelhead can be seen through the clear low water of late summer, holding in groups in the tails of the Sustut's pools. September first through the fifteenth is the best time of year for the dry fly. It is common during the last week of September to see huge steelhead rolling to take the odd Caddis, or breaching periodically in the glides and runs between pools. A visible fish is almost always a taking fish. Every year, guests at Suskeena land fish over twenty pounds on dry flies as small as #12. As the leaves start to turn in the first part of October, frost coats the banks in the morning to be melted by the slanting sun. The Sustut begins to cool and anglers must seek the steelhead in deeper water.
October fishing is usually done with an eight- weight rod or Spey rod and a shooting head, sink tip or full sinking line. The steelhead run builds throughout October until the close of the season on November first and it is in the latter part of October that the true giants are usually taken.