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How to Stop a Train

Posted on June 27 2011

Chinook Rig
Brakeman. Photo: Brian Niska

Brian Niska is just back from hosting a week of chinook salmon fishing at BC West.  While on site at the lodge, he sent over a summary of the rig he uses to (attempt to) subdue the chrome sea monsters otherwise known as Dean River Chinooks.

How to Stop a Train

While the comparison of a chinook salmon to a train is an obvious exaggeration, it is understandable to early season Dean anglers how someone could be moved to such a wild description. The natural selection process here breeds silver bullet freight trains as superior genetics turbo boost these fish to ascend the mega snarly Dean river canyon. The encounter of these fish below the canyon fresh from the salt has caused more than one desperate radio call this week of “big fish, Scotty! – need the boat!”.

Things get broken here: rods, reels, lines and hearts. To avoid disappointment one should rig heavy. Dean Chinook can reach 50# + and the heavy flow of the current makes some fish truly unlandable. I fish a 13’5” Pieroway Metal Detector spey rod that throws an Airflo Skagit Compact 720 rigged with 13’ of Rio’s T-17 sink tip material. My leader is made up of a butt section of 25# Maxima ultragreen and a ‘tippet’ of 20# Maxima ultragreen. The reel is a Loop opti BIG, designed for tarpon but not overkill here. The large arbor BIG picks up line fast and is light enough to balance with the Pieroway rod. It features a silky smooth and solid drag, which gives you a ‘chance ‘ when these fish swim back to the ocean with your line.

Speaking of the ocean, you can see it in the photo and that’s probably where you’ll end up if you hook up in this run.

More on Dean Chinooks

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