Sustut 2019 - Spey Pages
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-26-2019, 06:10 PM Thread Starter
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Sustut 2019

I first read Fennelly's "Steelhead Paradise" back in the late 1980's. Since then it has always been a dream to spend a week on the Sustut and I almost made it back when Dennis Farnsworth owned the Steelhead Valhalla. But life and kids and college never allowed it to happen. Well this year I have an opportunity to go and because of a cancellation I will be going for a week the third week of Sept. Now I probably can't afford it but I'm going anyway before I get to old to do a fly in. I know a lot of guys have a week locked in and go every year at the same time. This is once in a lifetime trip for me. From the reports I hear that the 2019 run was really bad in the Skeena system, so hopefully 2020 will see a better run. But for me its not just about the fish its about the adventure. I quite playing the fish number game many years ago. Spending a week in "Paradise" is all I'm asking for, a Sustut steelhead is a bonus. But I would like to hear from those of you have spent time there and what your experiences have been. Thanks Rob
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-26-2019, 07:51 PM
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Dream trip for sure, enjoy your time there and give a report once back!

Tight lines! B K Paige
"Occupy Skagit"
Wishin I was fishin the Sauk!!!
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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-28-2019, 04:47 PM
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Awesome Rob, look forward to hearing about the trip. I have never been, but the Sustut is top of my fishing bucket list to visit and wet a line at some point.

Even just fishing the Skeena trips in the fall was on my list for a long time until a few years ago. I had a trip planned to finally see the area for myself, some things came up and a friend cancelled and I was ready to put it off again. I decided I was going to go by myself anyways on a dyi tight budget trip and I did. I can't tell you how glad I was that I went and had a great time and this fall was my fourth consecutive year returning.

On my drive home from Smithers this fall, I stopped in at the Log Cabin pub in Spences Bridge on the banks of the Thompson River for a burger and a beer and to reminisce (I used to fish the Thompson in the fall, instead of heading further north, until it closed for good). I ran into a retired steelheader that had fished all over BC (up north, van island, lower mainland, thompson, etc) for many years. We chatted steelhead over the course of an hour or so before I continued home and he left me with the advise to keep fishing and making memories, he never regretted a fishing trip he made only the ones he didn't...
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-28-2019, 07:47 PM
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I was lucky enough to spend a week there in October 2017. Itís a beautiful river, remote as you know, with a great mix of ďclassicĒ swing water and runs where a good presentation is more challenging but with commensurate reward. The flight in is stunning if the weather is clear, and is a great start to the adventure.
The 2 lodges on the river share 3 beats divided into 2 sections each and coordinate with each other so that each boat from each lodge is guaranteed unfished water in the morning and then they swap sections for the afternoon. Over the course of a week, youíll get the be first to fish every section once.
We didnít have big numbers that week, a few guys were fishless until late in the week, but iirc everyone ended up with at least a couple. Definitely a few nice fish were caught.
Regardless of the fish numbers, youíll have a great time.
Happy to pm with more detail if youíd like.
Jed
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-28-2019, 07:48 PM
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Rob I have been going to the Sustut since 2000 if you want to catch up about it. I have stayed at both lodges as they have transferred ownership a few times and know some of the people at each one. In my experience the Sustut has the largest average fish (and possibly the largest fish period after the Kispiox) in the entire Skeena system, but itís not a numbers river and the water conditions and fishing have gotten worse in the past decade. Regardless you are going to have a great time with that attitude. I have seen too many people come in with unrealistic expectations and have a bad time.

I also am planning to be there the same week you are there so perhaps we will even be sharing a boat... John
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-28-2019, 07:56 PM
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Rob - if you get a chance to share a boat with John, you are already a winner. Great guy and a heck of a fisherman.
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-29-2019, 07:40 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks John, I sent you a pm. Rob
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-01-2020, 03:55 PM
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Sustut opportunity in October, 2018

I got to go in the second week of October, 2018. Stayed at the Suskeena Lodge. Was lucky to get my own cabin. Beautiful area. We took the helicopter option one day and it was worth it, if only that it was my first and only time in a heli. The staff and owners are nice people and the other guests were also pleasant and shared my love of fishing for steelhead. Food was good and plentiful. Hot shower and toilet in your cabin. There are bears but you carry spray should you need it and there are dogs on the property to warn you if bears are around. I think the generator is off around 9pm or so but not a problem after wading and fishing all day.

Stayed at the Prestige Hudson Bay in Smithers which was ok and had a restaurant for breakfast or dinner. The travel to and from Smithers to the lodge is very weather dependent so be prepared for delays in heading out and returning. Low, clear water and very few fish around made for tough fishing. However I did get lucky and landed both a buck and a hen in the same run on the last fishing day (each were 38" length). You are very far from the ocean on an upper trib of the Skeena so don't expect bright, fresh fish.

Overall this was a wonderful experience and I feel fortunate to have had the opportunity.

My next dream destination is the Dean. I am 73 now so decided to take advantage of these rare opportunities when they come up (and my wife is very supportive which makes it easier to justify)

Hope this mini review helps you with your trip. If you have any other questions, please PM me. Stu
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-01-2020, 04:27 PM
The Skeena in the fall
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Troutfly1 View Post
My next dream destination is the Dean. I am 73 now so decided to take advantage of these rare opportunities when they come up (and my wife is very supportive which makes it easier to justify) Stu
Stu

I'm 72 and my health could be better but I was able to fish the Dean last August.
Not a lot of fish around but was fishing dries for the 8 days I was there and managed two.
My friends did better than I.
Dean fish unlike the upper Skeena ones, are very fresh, quite large on average, and very strong.
Our group only played half the fish that took, the rest got off.
Take in the Dean if you can

And after being a walk in fisherman on the Skeena for 30 years I booked a week at a Lodge in Terrace in September for the first time.
Great experience to have a boat and guide.

So yes, now is the time to take advantage of what fishing there is in the time we have left
Good luck
Jim
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-08-2020, 12:07 AM
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Iím turning 50 this year so a bucket list trip is definitely in order. Just curious what the cost of a Sustut trip like the ones mentioned here might be? Thank all.
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post #11 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-08-2020, 03:29 AM
The Skeena in the fall
 
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Originally Posted by Steelhans View Post
Iím turning 50 this year so a bucket list trip is definitely in order. Just curious what the cost of a Sustut trip like the ones mentioned here might be? Thank all.
https://sustutriver.com/site/rates-and-travel.html
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post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-24-2020, 01:43 PM
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Rob,
I was fortunate to spend a week at the Suskeena Lodge late October 2017. You're right - it's an expensive trip but it's completely worth it. The flight in from Smithers has amazing views.
I have no experience at the Valhalla lodge, but Ange and Eric and their staff at Suskeena provide a top-notch experience. I'm still looking for an opening to get back. Suskeena and Valhalla share the 3 sections open to fishing daily, so the water is never crowded or stale. The scenery is spectacular, the water is gorgeous and the fish are big and feisty. I was told to expect about 1 fish per day and that's on average how it worked out. One day skunked, one day with 2 fish and the rest with a fish each day. The wading can be a little tricky, some of the runs have steep cobbled banks that run into the water, but most are fairly easy to navigate. Cleats or studs are a good idea. I had bootfoots and they kept me nice and toasty but most guys had stockingfoots with boots. A wading staff is a good accessory. I fished mostly 13' or 13'6" 8-wts, seemed perfect for the water. I had a shorter 11'-9" 7 wt and managed to land a 15 lb buck, but I definitely felt a bit under-gunned. Unweigted black & blue bunny and marabou flies were my go too patterns, usually with 7 to 10 feet of t-11 and 15 lb Maxima green tippet. You might be there early enough to try some surface flies too.

I hope this is helpful. Sitting here typing this out on my lunch break is bringing back lots of good memories. it's got me smiling. let me know if you have any questions.

thanks,
Rob

-edited to add Sustut prize
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post #13 of 14 (permalink) Old Today, 04:17 PM Thread Starter
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When I decided to take the plunge and do a week on the Sustut all the reports said 2019 was a bad year. Some reports attributed it to low water for a bigger part of the season. I was just reading the snow pack reports for Jan. 2020 I guess the snow pack is huge this year. I have no idea how this might effect the water levels but I hope it means better conditions for the rivers. Rob
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post #14 of 14 (permalink) Old Today, 08:37 PM
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I will return there in September for my 7th year. I have seen water high beyond belief and so low you could wade the river anywhere. Always managed to find a few here and there. You take what the Steelhead Gods give you, and enjoy the ride. It is a very special place.

Returning with the chrome. Year after year....
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