BC Honryu Fishing

Amazing looking scenery up there and very cool fish!
That looks like great water to fish, but hard to land fixed line fish in those wider sections where they can run so far.

Are you primarily hooking those fish on the drift or swing?

Definitely hear you on fish mortality. We are kidding ourselves if we think we are doing no harm to the fish and believe all of them survive post release.

I would clarify that it is not necessarily light tackle which puts the fish in greater risk of mortality but excessively long time on the line, in the net, out of the water or excessive handling. I would say that if you are engaging fish and consistently breaking off or if you are not breaking off but have no control of and end up playing a fish endlessly you are using too light of tackle. However it has been my experience here in BC where folks are more focused on catching “chromers” people tend towards much heavier tackle than necessary but those same folks might allow the fish to run longer than necessary or may beach them or may handle them excessively etc.

I would argue that the fight on a fixed line is almost always shorter because you are so close to the fish when the take happens and they are immediately fighting against the power of the rod rather than pulling line from the reel.

Personally I have only ever had a few fish that were seemed particularly tired after I netted them, but the kelt pictured above was one of these. It barely fought after being hooked and I netted it within 30 seconds despite it being a sizeable fish. It stayed in my net in the water for the whole time but was very slow to take off when I went to release it. I didn’t feel great about it and decided that in the future when I catch a kelt I will release it without netting it as they are in a very vulnerable state at that point in their life cycle.

Ultimately we have to be self aware and reflective as we try things out rather than just parroting assumptions based on what we are told by others. We should all be stewards of the environment minimizing our impact when we are out and there is much more to that than just what size/type of tackle we choose.


At this point of the year I am mostly contact nymphing the heads of runs. So mostly dead drifts with slight manipulations. I do swing streamers from time to time but as you can see the tail outs of may runs are far too large to cover effectively with a fixed line. Also it is really hard to swing a fly at the depth you need to hit fish which is what Spey rod is made for.

The great thing about the fixed line is that they can only go so far lol. A lot of the water you are seeing is pretty soft water so it is actually pretty easy to steer the fish out of the current and net it. They usually try to run back to the current and when they realize they can’t make it back they usually give up quite easily.

I will agree with all your observations and statements.

To be clear for others, what I note is just about us being realistic about C&R and mortality and then making a choice. I understand the footprint I leave and still continue to fish. That said as Travis notes, we do change certain things in our behavior.

When I watch fly fishing shows sponsored by big tackle companies, I see very poor handling of fish. Fish out of the water way too long and often fighting fish way too long. They are poor mentors to emulate and in my opinion, irresponsible. Their objective is to sell tackle and may not have the best interest of the fishery.

I agree that tons of folk who fish stout tackle do not use it properly or couple it with poor handling of fish post land. In the salt, it is a large part of conversation, especially now that the fishery is in decline. The large striped bass breeders 40-50# are all female. We often hear events where a lot of large are caught, with notes that they swam off strong. Then the next day someone finds a group of large fish beached down tide of the scene of the crime. Social media posting of hero shots doesn’t help. I have seen folk handle spent fish several minutes out of the water to get hero shots.

True stories:

I witnessed a spin fisherman catch a 27" salmon up river from me. He did the right thing, horsed it in and released it immediately. Over the next hour, I slowly made my way up to where he caught the fish. The salmon was still there recovering. I reached down in the river and touched it. It didn’t react and and didn’t move off while I fished there for the next 15 minutes. You have to wonder if it survived. It would be an easy target for a bird of prey.

In the salt I mostly spin fish and use really stout tackle. I hooked a 30# class striped bass, horsed it in, and released it immediately. The fight was under a minute. I was wet-suiting and came off my rock only lifting the head to quickly unhook the fish, revive and release. I really like watching fish swim off so I turned on my light and followed it as it lumbered off. I noticed this fish only went about 30 feet and was drafting behind a boulder in the current. As I continued to fish I would periodically shine my light on the fish and it stayed their for over 20 minutes before moving off. Many of our spots have higher predation these days. Sharks and seals. That fish would be a sitting duck/easy meal.

That fish too was challenged in recovering, even though I did all the right things. This probably happens all the time, we just do not see it.

Replacement section for the Multiflex arrived last week and I was able to get out one day. It’s been a very cool and dry spring so all the rivers are quite low and the fish are lethargic. We had some rain over the weekend and it been warming up a bit so hopefully this week things will be picking up :crossed_fingers:.

Last week I spent most of the time nymphing with a sz 14 caddis nymph. I was able to connect with a few 16-18 inch char mostly drifting off the drop off at the heads of runs. I also connected with 2 larger char using a streamer but had one break off due to a wind know in my tippet that I knew was there but ignored :man_facepalming:.

I am really enjoying using the multiflex to throw smaller nymphs very accurately, which was not really possible my other stiffer rod. It truly is a very beautifully balanced rod and the feel like I am cleaning up the issues I was having early on missing hooksets.

The rods kryptonite does seem to be when a fish is able to get downstream of you in a current. The flexibility of the rod means it is difficult to pull fish back up current so you pretty much have to move downstream to get in a position where you can grab the line and hand line the fish in. When this happens in the future I am going to try to be more aggressive in hand lining the fish as soon as possible even if it means loosing a few in order to limit the amount of time the fish spends on the line.

Here are a few detail shots of one of the fish and a shot of my fly box to give you an idea of the type of flies I am fishing.



Awesome color and markings.

Heavy current without soft water for landing is always tricky especially when a fish starts to wind sock at the end of a fight. I think you are right in your strategy. Getting to the line for hand lining quick is a good idea, but can be challenging with a long rod. Especially when the fish is green and erratic, as it is easy to find oneself in a closed loop scenario.

An idea might be to try to net it early and cut out the hand lining part. In order to do this you may need to find the sweet spot by shortening the line and engineering a long handled landing net.

In general, I find having a line that puts the fly in the ballpark of rod length, gives me more fly and fish landing control. I definitely land fish quicker and they are much easier to net without handlining.

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