|Articles and Reports compiled by Noel Gyger .
Drifting in Paradise - upper Kalum River
© 1998 by Noel F. Gyger
We begin guiding from drift boats on the Kalum River March 15 through April 30. It is eight miles from the lodge to where we launch the boats. As we round the last corner to the launch we always comment on how crowded it is. Referring, jokingly, to the fact that we are the only boat and fishermen here. The reason for that is because the water is too low for jet-boats and that our take-out ramp is located on private property through a locked gate.
The five mile drift has 27 of the best Steelhead pools in the world! Here they are in order:
The "Put in" - This is where we launch our drift boats. A good pool in its own right when it is not windy. If the wind is blowing from the north expect clearing and good weather, but if the wind blows from the south expect a stormy day. When the bite is on we can hook Steelhead in every pool.
Pensioners Hole - Named after old timer and longtime friend, Mr. Les Bryant, after he hooked a big Chinook there in early April and fought it for over an hour before landing it. The pool is accessible off the main road by walking down an old creek bed.
Camp Creek - If it is windy at the put-in we head here where there is no wind. This is a classic Steelhead tail-out. Double headers were hooked just up around the corner where the water tails-out.
Haig & Haig - This pool was named in honor of our guest Hendy Heggie. He landed a big Chinook and a Steelhead there on the same day. I told him I would name the pool after him so he suggested naming it Haig & Haig.
Joint Hole - This pool does not have much current but at times it does hold Steelhead.
Moose Kill - Named after a pile of moose hair was noticed. The moose was killed by a pack of wolves. The biggest Steelhead landed here was by Bruce Knudsen, around 25-pounds. Bruce hooked the same fish two months later.
Ghost Hole - Named because it is not supposed to exist. We have been trying to keep it a secret because many Chinook hold up here in May. A ghost mysteriously rolls stones into the river, especially on sunny days.
Glacier Creek - This used to be the Steelhead boundary. A few years ago you could retain one Steelhead per day per person downstream from here. It's now all catch and release.
Clint's Hole - Clint Derlago, a former guide, found this hole and it proves to be productive when the water is on the high side. Once you leave this hole you may not see another person for the whole drift.
Kiss Hole - This was named after a fellow from Saskatchewan who won a lot of money in a Lottery. He said: "Noel, I have so much money that I don't have to kill another fish. I just give them a kiss and let them go!" Good enough for me, this guy gets a pool named after him.
Virgin Hole - Sneaker hole that one could miss easily. If you are a little short on time you may want to skip this one.
Upper Not Yet - Out of the 27 pools this one has the worst hookup ratio.
Lower Not Yet - What crazy names for pools. We were pulling plugs, coming to what looked like the end of the drift, someone asked if they should bring the lines in. I said "not yet" and at that same moment a rod ripped over and we were into another Steelhead.
Kenai Run - This is one of the top three pools. I was guiding a fellow from the USA and he said that the run just looked like the Kenai River in Alaska. So we named this pool in honor of that great river in Alaska.
Jones Hole - Mr. Jones was our first guided guest on the Kalum River back in 1988. He and his family camped at this spot. It's a good pool with a lovely view of the mountains. Guests usually pull out their cameras when we come to this pool.
Double Header - This is the half way point of the drift. We've come down river about two and one-half miles. Double header refers to hooking two Chinook at the same time. We were pulling large tadpole plugs. This is a deep pool, about 10 feet in the deepest part.
Upper 16K - (metric for 10 mile) Also could have been called the Osprey (Fish Hawk)Hole because of their nest that can be seen port-side on top of a tall dead tree. Very nice pool where numerous double headers have been landed. It is a good flyfishing pool.
Lower 16K - This is the "BEST" pool. It is also called 10 mile. This is the pool that started it all. Way back on May 23, 1983 my friend and I landed an 83-pound Chinook Salmon. Through all the years it has constantly produced the best Steelhead bites. Our 32-pound "lodge record" Steelhead was landed here.
Horseshoe - This is one of the top three pools. The run literally horseshoes right around. When coming into the pool the sun is on your neck and when you round the corner the sun is in your face. It holds a lot of fish. Very seldom do you float through here without hooking a fish. It's one of those pools that you can spend the whole day at. Numerous double header Steelhead have been hooked here.
Hawke Hole - Named after Marvin Hawke. He landed the biggest doe Steelhead that we've ever seen. It must have been close to 30-pounds. It is a wonderful run and is very good for the fly rod.
Picnic Table - Also known as Fire Pot. Through our private gate one can drive here with a vehicle. We have camped here often and for a time there was a picnic table left there. It is a very good Steelhead pool but is an even better Chinook pool.
Eddy Morris Hole - Eddy and Les Bryant's hot shot rods doubled over at the same time. I thought the fish had crossed lines&but no&they both had a Steelhead on. A rare event with Steelhead because as soon as someone hooks up all the other lines are cleared. This is another good run for the fly rod. My flyfishing video starts out with a Steelhead being hooked here.
Tagawa Hole - Named after a Japanese fellow with that last name. He had walked down the beach and in the clean water he could see Steelhead.
Marshall Brothers Hole - This pool was discovered after the two brothers hooked numbers of Steelhead here. Even a triple header one time. There is a BIG rock out in the middle that the Steelhead like to hang around. This rock is also our marker rock. We use it to record water heights. In March, about three feet of this rock is showing and by early May the water is just cresting over it.
Red Rock Hole - Also known as Kevin Jasper's. The red shale rock is clearly visible on the left (port) side of the river.
Loser Hole - What a name for a pool. We have a lot of fun with it. It got the name from losing so many Chinook the first Friday in May, many years ago. We kept hooking them but losing them. Finally, after many hours we finally landed one.
Last Chance - Like the name says, this is the last pool and a great run. Don't miss the take-out because just around the corner below starts a vicious canyon. No boat can go through it and survive nor can any jet boat come through it from the lower end. This is a natural barrier.
There you have it. The record number of Steelhead landed in one day is 17. I have that particular day recorded on video in " SEASON REVIEW 1996". The largest Steelhead weighed 32-pounds and was landed in April by my son-in-law Dennis Therrien.
British Columbia -- Seasons Of The Kitimat by Justin Gyger
The Kitimat river is located 45 minutes south of Terrace, B.C. It is a medium size river which boasts an excellent run of wild and hatchery steelhead. This jewel has produced trophy steelhead reaching into the 25-pound class.
Steelhead can be caught on a variety of methods such as hot-shoting, fly fishing or spin fishing. The method we employ most often is hot-shoting. Hot shots work well because the oarsman is actually doing most of the work. All the client has to do is sit back, relax and enjoy the scenery, until there is a good strike which requires a hook set.
The Kitimat is also well suited for the fly fisherman because of the numerous shallow tailouts found along our five mile drift. Fly patterns such as egg imitations, woolly buggers or any classic attractor patterns will work. Water conditions on the Kitimat play a very big part, as with any river, to determine which method or colors you need to employ.
When the water is low and clear during the month of May, any method will work although this is when I choose to fly fish. If the water colors up, even a small amount the fly bite will drop off, but steelies can still be taken on the hotshots or roe (providing their is no bait ban). When hot-shoting in clear water metallic colors such as silver or gold are your best bet for hook ups while in off colored dictates the use of non-metallic finishes such as pinks, purples or chartreuse. When hot-shoting for Kitimat Ironheads #35 or #25 hotshots are used. We use the larger #25's towards the end of May because of the possibility of hooking a large Chinook salmon which slowly begin entering the river at this time. The earliest Chinook caught this year was a 40-pounder caught by Gunnar Larsen of Denmark.
Spring salmon fishing is in full swing during the last two weeks of June to the first week in July. When these Kings enter the river at this time they are bullet chrome silver and so fresh that they still have sea lice on them. Hot-shoting for these 40-pound brutes with magnum size plugs is one of the most productive techniques we use. Although casting lures or bottom bouncing spin in glows can also be very productive. Fly fishing is a possibility providing the water stays low enough to allow your fly to get down to where the slabs are resting.
The Kitimat river has an average size of approx. 30- pounds with monsters topping 50-pounds are not uncommon. The Kitimat River record is a 74-pound mammoth King. Towards the end of July the big Chinook start to darken but still provide good sport fishing. Also, at this time fresh Chum can be hooked using the methods suggested, especially fly-fishing. When using a fly rod it is important to remember to use at least a 9 weight rod and plenty of backing. Almost any bright pattern will work although blue flys are my personal favorite. The peak of the Chum run is usually around the last week of July and continues the first week of August. Providing the water conditions are favorable, fisherman can expect 12-25 hookups in a single day. Most of the Chum range between 15-20-pounds, some can reach the impressive 25-pound mark. Chum are extremely aggressive, their fighting abilities and power rival that of the mighty Chinook and their acrobatic qualities can be compared to the fighting Coho. For lots of great action on a fly rod Chum are probably your best bet on the Kitimat River.
Every year there is a "super" run of Coho that start entering the river around mid August with the run peaking around Sept 5th.
The Kitimat River provides an excellent fishery for young and old alike from mid April to October. The weather can be a little unpredictable in early spring and mid fall so be prepared when you head out for a day of great fishing on the beautiful Kitimat.
12 Seasons of Fishing the Kitimat
© 1992 by Noel F. Gyger
Years ago in the 1950's and 60's, the Kitimat River was almost destroyed by man and nature. The usual culprits, pollution, over-logging and logging too close to the river banks combined with exceptional heavy rains to cause floods which changed the river's course and damaged the natural spawn.
To offset these damages, the Kitimat River hatchery was completed in 1983. It was built with funding from the Federal/Provincial Salmonid Enhancement Program (SEP) at a capital cost of $10 million. The SEP program is designed to rebuild endangered salmon and steelhead to their former levels of abundance. At the Kitimat hatchery stocks of five species of salmonids are incubated, reared, and returned to their natal streams. As a "satellite" facility, the hatchery operation enhances outlying areas (Bish Creek, Dala and Kildala rivers) as well as the Kitimat system. A unique association with Eurocan Pulp and Paper Co. provides warm water to the hatchery for fish rearing and pumphouse de-icing.
In the summer months, guided hatchery tours are available. Hundreds of thousands of juvenile coho and steelhead can be observed. Also, depending on circumstances and time, large adult chinook may be observed. Children in particular take great pleasure in feeding the juvenile coho. The life history of the various species at the hatchery is described. Appointments are necessary due to limited space and high interest in the operation.
With these hatchery returns added to the natural wild stocks, sportfishing is absolutely fantastic!
The following year-round diary for sport fishing on the Kitimat River was written by the late T.H. (Tom) Martin (a very good friend and sportsman). Tom passed away in 1987.
Steelhead and cutthroat trout -- most steelhead in the Kitimat River will be in the eight-to 12-pound range, although with a little luck, you can pick up the odd steelhead in the 20 to 25-pound bracket. Any steelhead over fifteen pounds is considered large for this river. Depending on the type of water you are fishing, you can vary your terminal tackle to the method you prefer to fish, as the water temperature will now be slowly increasing. By far the most popular method is the use of roe. Small lures, Gooybobs, Flatfish, Spin-n Glows and even flies, will produce well in the right water condition. For cutthroat flies are by far the best, although small lures and bait do work.
Steelhead, cutthroat and chinook (springs) -- The first part of May is still good for fresh steelhead, but by mid-month, you will get more and more dark fish. Fishing for cutthroat is still good for all of May, but will taper off as the river starts to pick up glacial silt at the end of May or the beginning of June. Springs will be starting their migration up the river, but fishing strictly for springs at this time will be slow on most days. What I usually do is fish for steelhead for the first two or three hours of the day and if I'm not hitting steelhead, I put on a large flash lure and try for springs. Although the river does not have many cutthroat trout, there are a fair number of them. Most cutthroat you catch will be from 3/4 to 1 3/4 pounds. A 2 1/2 pound cutthroat is large for this river, but I did land a beautiful five-pounder on a fly last year.
Chinook (springs) -- The first week or so can still be a little slow for springs, but by the 10th of June, you can expect to catch these large fish regularly. Springs up to 45 pounds are common on this river, and with any luck at all, you can expect fish up to 50 pounds. There are larger springs in the river, but it is not very often they are landed, since the majority of people fish from shore and once a chinook is hooked, it either heads for the ocean or finds some snag in the river to break your line. These larger springs are not as common as they are in some other rivers in this area, but if you can manage to land one, or even have one on for any length of time, it will be an unforgettable experience.
Chinook (springs), coho -- The whole month is good for fresh, silver, spring salmon. At the beginning of the spring run, I usually fish with lures and then switch to Spin-n-Glows as the run progresses. As the end of the run approaches, I use smaller and smaller Spin-n-Glows if water conditions permit. With the warmer waters of July, springs put up a much better fight and it is not uncommon to see even the largest of these fish become airborne numerous times in their fight for freedom.
By the end of the first week in July, I start to fish exclusively in the upper reaches of the river. Coho begin appearing in the river now, but they are mainly small fish in the two-to six-pound range. Coho are seldom taken at this time of year in the lower part of the river, they seem to congregate in the slower moving, deep pools above the townsite.
Springs, coho, cutthroat -- At the beginning of the month, there are plenty of fresh springs in the river, but by mid-month, most of these fish will be turning colour or will already have turned. This is the time of year when I have good luck fishing for Chinook with No. 6 or No. 8 Spin-n-Glows, in the quieter, deeper holding pools upriver. The end of July and beginning of August is also when I get the majority of big springs.
All through the month of August, the number of coho in the river keeps increasing and by the last week of August, the larger, northern coho have started their migration upriver. These northern coho are larger than the earlier run of fish and weigh between 10 and 16 pounds with the average weight about 12 or 13 pounds. Some of these coho can weigh up to 26 pounds. When summer is just about over, the glacial silt in the rivers starts to disappear and as this happens, the river clears and fishing for cutthroat improves dramatically. As I've mentioned, fly-fishing for these sea-run trout is the best method, and the "Flatfish" plug is another good bet. When fly-fishing, use bright attractor fly patterns.
Coho, cutthroat -- As long as there is not too much rain and the river remains relatively clear, fishing for coho is fantastic in this semi-warm month of the year. Fresh coho are steadily coming in and the fish stack up in the holding areas waiting for high water conditions. The fish will hit anything, even straight white wool on a hook. Even fly fishermen may be in for a surprise.
Coho, cutthroat -- This is a good month for both of these species. As long as the river remains clear, the fishing can be great. But as soon as the fall rains begin, causing the river to come up and get muddy, the fishing will be over for coho. Virtually all the coho will turn dark and a lot of them will disappear into the small creeks which now have enough water for salmon to spawn. This usually happens sometime around the end of the first week or if we're lucky, just after the middle of the month. If you want to fish for cutthroat, these beautiful sea-run trout are still in the river well into November and even later if the river does not freeze over.
OCTOBER to FEBRUARY
During these months, when the Kitimat River is not producing, don't give up. There are other rivers in the area that will still produce some very good fishing for steelhead if you want to brave the chilly rains and cold weather of winter. Three of these rivers are the Lakelse River, Kalum and Copper rivers. These rivers can still have coho in them in October. The Lakelse River is one of the best fly-fishing rivers that I know of, and the only way I personally fish this river is with a fly-rod, catch-and release.
With year-round fishing, we live in a fisherman's paradise, and I fully intend to make use of that fact for as long as I'm able.
KITIMAT RIVER HATCHERY PRODUCTION
SPECIES NO PROJECTED
Chinook 2,000,000 60,000
Coho 600,000 60,000
Chum 7,000,000 150,000
Steelhead 50,000 3,000
Cutthroat 5,000 (experimental) 250
For your information, Karl Bruhn is the editor of "BC Outdoors" magazine which is the largest in British Columbia and published 8 times per year.
FISHING COUNTRY —Skeena Country Chinook
© 1992 by Karl Bruhn
Chinook salmon as heavy as 107-lbs. have been taken in the Skeena River. Just because no angler has ever managed to land one of that size, it hasn’t been for lack of trying. Hundreds flock to the Skeena each summer hoping to test the outer limits of what can be achieved by rod, reel and monofilament. Understand, we’re talking dolphin-sized fish here. The river record, held by Heinz Wickman of Terrace, stands at 92.5-lbs. The chances of hooking fish in the 70 to 80-lb. class are good to excellent, depending on water conditions. Hanging on long enough to bring one to the beach is something else again.
Seasoned Skeena-country river fishers regularly pack heavy-duty leather work gloves as part of their fishing kit. Even so, jamming a gloved thumb into the swirling spool of an Ambassadeur 7000 reel has its perils. Attach an 80-lb. panic-driven Chinook salmon to 40-lb. test line, add an average current speed of 10 km/hr and even work-glove leather will smoke. With the reel’s drag snugged down as tight as line test will permit, merely hanging on to the rod can be challenge enough. Add the fact that 90 per cent of Chinook coming to the Skeena system are wild fish, and we enter the realm of angling legend.
As often as not, the uneven contest is over long before the bemused angler even realizes a possible world-record fish was within grasp. Here’s seasoned Skeena River guide Noel Gyger recounting his first real chance to beach a record fish: "I started fishing at 5:00 a.m. had a few hits, then at 6:00 a.m. set the hook on a possible world-record Chinook.
The 40-lb.-test line streamed off my level-wind reel as I tried to slow the fish down. It was a big fish and I was in trouble. I yelled across the river where two other fishermen had a river boat, hoping they would bring the boat over and we could chase the fish down stream. They said they couldn’t help me as they did not have enough gas.
"A minute later, with only a few turns of line left on the spool, I tightened the drag, thumbed the spool until it stopped losing line and hung on. Snap, the line broke, rupturing the 40-lb test and leaving it frayed and stretched. From that moment on I knew you needed a plan to land those big fish. The big one always gets away."
The following year, Noel returned to the Kitsumkalum River, a major Skeena tributary, with three friends and a river boat. Following a hair-raising chase up and down the river, often at near-full throttle speeds, they managed to land a new record for the river - 83.5-lbs. - too big for the full-sized salmon net they had brought along. That record was later broken by an 85-lb. Kalum River fish. Like the main Skeena itself, fish weighing more than 100-lbs. have been recorded in the Kalum, so it is only a matter of time before the new record is broken as well.
Until last summer I had never fished for Chinook salmon in fresh water. Years back I had seen large Chinook caught in the Nass River system just to the north of the Skeena. The fish were taken on the spawning grounds in August and were either spawned out or actively spawning. That fishery, now mercifully closed, was the antitheses of everything I believed in as an angler. So I had more than a few qualms about heading north to the Terrace area to test the now world-renowned Skeena River Chinook fishery.
Noel prepared us for the fishing trip by dropping off about six hours worth of video-taped Chinook-fishing mayhem, most of it featuring the Skeena and its tributaries. What we saw was mind-boggling. Most of the fish pictured were silver-bright, fresh-run fish and all of them were huge. I don’t think I saw one fish as "small" as my personal best, at 46.6-lb. Kingcome Inlet Chinook. Despite the non-stop fishing action, it was the release scenes which had the biggest impact. Picture an angler walking into the river beside a Chinook salmon so large that its back is level with the angler’s knees. They seem too big to fish, I don’t think there’s a landing net made that will contain them.
Timing, as every fisherman knows, is everything when it comes to fishing rivers and we were either too late or too early to fish the Skeena Chinook run. June is the worst month on the Skeena as the river is high and dirty with spring snow melt. The fish enter the river as early as April, but the fishing season normally starts in May with most of the action centered on the Kalum River run. June is virtually unfishable, but the Skeena begins to clear in July. The best two weeks of the year, both in terms of water clarity and fish size, are the last two weeks of July and the first week of August (remember, we’re talking only about Chinook salmon; Coho and Steelhead times are different). Fortunately for us, the nearby Kitimat River was in good shape and reports were that a fresh run of fish had just entered the river.
Unlike the Skeena system, the Kitimat River runs consists almost entirely of hatchery fish. The $10 million Salmonid Enhancement Program hatchery on the river pumps in so many fish that locals boast the Kitimat holds more fish than any other river of its size in the world. Chinook first enter the river in June with numbers increasing steadily through July. Mid to late July is probably the best bet in terms of numbers of fish. Early August is still considered good, but the fish will be darker in color and a few fresh fish will be entering the river.
We caught the early stages of the run and all the fish we saw were uniformly bright and obviously just in from tidewater. The Kitimat is an easy river to drift with no rapids and many long pools in the stretch most used by anglers. Boat angler were vastly out-numbered by bank fishers, with most of the effort concentrated in the immediate vicinity of Kitimat.
Bank fishing is many times more difficult than fishing the river from a boat, something which also holds true for the Skeena on most rivers in general. All river bank areas with ready access will be crowded with anglers. Rods are normally set side by side in holders along the bank. It is nothing to see 35 or 40 rods in a row covering a good pool. When a fish hits, everyone jumps into position and begin reeling like mad to clear their lines and give the lucky angler a chance to do battle unimpeded. As might be expected in such shoulder-to-shoulder angling conditions, tempers tend to flare and co-operation is often stretched to the breaking point. Since the majority of anglers are local folks who know each other, there’s a genuine feeling of camaraderie and landing fish is most often a co-operative effort.
Drifting is definitely the way to go though, if at all possible. During our two day-long drifts down the Kitimat River we saw everything from top-of-the-line river drift boats to battered tin boats, inflatables and canoes. And people everywhere were catching fish, mostly in the 40 to 50-lb. range. Kitimat Chinook are smaller than Skeena River fish, with the average sizes slightly better than 30-lbs. Good numbers in the 50-lb. - plus range are taken each year and that’s what I was hoping for as we began working the first good pool.
Noel’s favourite method for taking river Chinook is a technique know as pulling plugs. This method has not been well received in B.C. since we tend to fish our rivers by wading from the bank. Pulling plugs consists of sweeping through a run trolling Hot Shot plugs downstream ahead of the boat. By rowing against the river’s current, enough tension is maintained on the lines to keep the plugs bouncing along the bottom. By sweeping the boat back and forth across the current, every inch of the run is covered. It’s an obviously effective method, but the only person in the boat who is actively fishing is the person on the oars. Everyone else sits back and waits for the fish to take hold. It’s great for guides since they control the entire process, deciding which pools to fish, where to fish them and how long to linger. For those used to doing their own fishing, it can be disconcerting. For bank fishers who have spent the entire morning hiking into a favourite pool only to find a boat load of "sports" diligently trolling every nook and cranny, it can be downright infuriating.
All the best guides, Noel among them, realize they have a huge advantage over shore-bound anglers and go out of their way to avoid confrontation. To Noel’s credit, any pool being worked by shore anglers was given a wide berth or avoided altogether. As it happened, we were on a lonely stretch of river accessible only by boat when my rod doubled over and the old single-action reel screamed its protest. The next few minutes remain a blur. I know I was standing, rod in hand, palming the reel and the boat careening down-river, the shoreline trees a vague blur. Then the fish jumped, three times in succession. The big silver fish seemed out of all proportion to the size of the river.
Noel beached the boat at the top of a long, calm pool and I leaped out to continue the give-and-take tussle from firmer footing. Noel had warned that big Chinook will hug bottom and just sit there, defying any effort to budge them more than an inch or two. True to form, following several line-peeling runs, the fish dogged it on the bottom. The combination of heavy fish and river current is alone enough to out-power standard fishing gear. I could do little but maintain as much pressure as possible and hope the fish tired before the line parted. Had the fish been truly heavy, a 75 or 80-lb. Skeena River Chinook, I doubt the stand-off would have lasted very long. At 45-lbs., my standard saltwater tackle was just equal to the task of besting the fresh-run fish and we soon had it on the river’s edge. After a few quick photos, it was carefully released. We beached three fish that day and hit a total of six, most of which came unbuttoned immediately, almost as if they had merely taken a passing swipe at the annoying plug rattling against the river gravel.
For all its effectiveness, pulling plugs is not popular. Most other boat anglers we saw set anchor over likely looking water and cast heavy spoons such as the ever-popular Crocodiles. In fact, that 92.5 lb. Skeena record Chinook was taken on a Croc. fished in the approved bottom-bouncing manner. Heavy-duty saltwater spinning reels were favoured by both bank and boat anglers, although for plug-pulling a typical B.C. style mooching reel works well, even if the level winds are considered standard. Don’t contemplate anything smaller than an Ambassadeur 7000 for level winds or full-size moochers for sing-action reels. My reel was spooled with 20-pound test line which, in retrospect, seemed far to light. Pack your reel with all the 40-lb. line it will hold. Chances are you’ll wish you had more line capacity, especially if fishing from shore where following a fish for any distance is virtually impossible.
Unless you know your way around the Skeena, including its many tributaries and neighbouring rivers such as the Kitimat, a guide makes sense, even for one outing. The guides fish every day of the season, know the river and it holding spots intimately and give good value for the money. Guides are not needed for bank fishing, but make a point of visiting one or more several excellent tackle shops in Terrace. I did not know they made spin and glows that big - about the size of a large man’s fist - until I visited a Terrace tackle shop. Bank fishing for Chinook salmon is a world unto itself and the place to start learning is a good tackle shop.
Area River Records...
For Chinook Salmon: Skeena River, 92.5-pounds;
Kalum River, 85-pounds;
Kitimat River , 74-pounds;
Steelhead: Skeena River, 45-pounds;
Coho Salmon: Skeena River, 27-pounds
Catch & Release formula...Chinook: girth squared x length x 1.54 divided by 1000.
Steelhead: Girth squared x length x 1.33 divided by 1000 (inches)