Brian Niska takes us to the Skeena River and basin with a focus on swinging flies for main-stem steelhead. We find out how he targets migrating versus holder fish, when you should be fishing the shallow water, and how to get your swing to slow down.

This one is jam-packed with tips and takes on exact time, location, position.. it’s all here! Brian is very articulate in elaborating techniques that you can already imagine how it works. Check it out right now!


Click below and listen to the Podcast about Skeena River Spey Lodge with Brian Niska:

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(Read the Full Transcript at the bottom of this Blog Post)


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Skeena River Show Notes with Brian Niska

12:00 – Brian and Jeff Pieroway designed some Spey rods called Metal Detector

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13:00 – Brian tells the story of how they bought a guiding lodge business at Skeena riverside which was previously owned by a German family

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20:00 – Fishing season starts in mid-March at Skeena

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26:00 – He explains how slowing down the cast is the key to effective Spey casting


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32:00 – Tip: If you’re using running mono line, you don’t have access to both sides of the river, and you’re often fishing on the same side of your body, you need to find a way to incorporate some rotation to the other direction to keep your line going nice and straight.

32:55 – Tip: The older the mono line is, the better it fishes because it’s got a stretch. Don’t wait, put that stretch in as soon as you get it. A good way to get it stretched is to get it warm. Put it in a bowl of warm water and give it a good hard stretch.

36:00 – The busiest time of the year at Skeena Lodge is the end of August since most of the salmon species are available in August

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38:10 – When people say they are going to fish the Skeena, what they really mean is that they’re going to fish the Bulkley

39:45 – He talks about a picture of a 40-pound dead steelhead back in the 80s

48:45 – Brian mentioned the episode with Jeff Liskay and pointed out the tip about the importance of having a high rod tip. WFS 362 was the latest one with Jeff.

55:50 – “The anglers that are consistently successful are the ones that believe that every single bump is a fish and are willing to repeat the cast, and willing to let the fly fish its way out, they’re not rushing to the next cast.”

57:20 – They fish Skagit line most of the time and a little bit Scandi in the Winter

58:45 – Brian was on the River Rambler podcast, Episode 68

1:04:10 – The number one most common life history of a Skeena steelhead is 4 years in fresh water and 2 years in salt

1:04:30 – The Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) is a long-term ocean fluctuation of the Pacific Ocean. The PDO waxes and wanes approximately every 20 to 30 years.

1:13:00 – Early September to October is a great time to fish the Skeena

1:17:00 – Malcolm Wood is a big advocate of climate change – he makes movies about climate change awareness. His latest movie is called, The Last Glaciers

1:18:50 – Brian mentioned Bob Hooton from

1:25:50 – Advice: When you’re fishing the Skeena for the first time is plan to be mobile. Plan to fish 3 or 4 different rivers and come for as longest period that your schedule allows. And don’t fish with people in the same spot – spread the pressure out, that’s the best move.

1:27:25 – For flies, Brian uses Stewart’s Steel Pig. He recommends bringing a small and large version of the fly you’re using.

1:30:20 – Brian recommends Bob Hooton’s book, Skeena Steelhead


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Resources Noted in the Show

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Related Podcast Episodes

WFS 362 – Spey Casting Techniques with Jeff Liskay – Great Lakes Steelhead School


Read the Full Podcast Transcript Below