Please note that for the purposes of this post, we’re talking about run timing at BC West, our lodge on the Dean River. We fish the bottom 5 miles of the Dean, right to the river’s mouth. This means, of course, that all anadromous species in the Dean enter our water first, and leave our water first. Everything happens later on the waters further upriver.
Chinook salmon start to enter the Dean in early June, often during the high waters of runoff. By the second or third week of June, the lower Dean is generally in enough shape that fly fishing is a productive option. The second half of June is the period during which we host guests who are primarily interested in swinging flies for chrome Dean chinooks.
The months of July and August generally line up with the peak fishing for steelhead on our piece of the Dean. No two summers are alike as far as water conditions are concerned, but most often the river will be lower in August than it is in July, which makes for the best dry fly fishing in August. July and August tend to have the warmest, sunniest days of the year in Coastal BC. You thought that ‘BC steelhead fishing’ meant numb fingers and rain with a chance of snow? Not on the Dean – we spend a lot of days catching steelhead in our shirtsleeves.
During the second half of August, we also start to pick up a ‘sleeper species’ on the Dean – the coho salmon. Just like their cousins the chinook and the steelhead, Dean coho are stronger, hotter and more resilient that any other coho out there. Hook a few Dean coho on swung flies and you’ll see what the recent fuss is all about.
Chinooks mostly in June, steelhead mostly in July and August, and some coho in August too. That’s pretty much our run timing on the Dean.