New Aiyansh

Nass River pink salmonTraveled south to Cranberry Junction and followed the Nass Forest Road to New Aiyansh. This is the Nass River Watershed, noted for its First Nation population and wilderness. A new road, the Nisgaa Highway was constructed during the past few years, creating bridges and opening up the area. We stayed at Nass Camp, an old logging camp from the 50s. It has the infrastructure to serve hundreds, but we were the only guests.

The river contained fish, pink salmon. Locals were fishing at the boat launch and at the confluence of the Ksi Sii Aks River (aka Tseax) and the Nass. We took a ride, stopping at the villages to look at totem poles. We drove to the end of the road to Gingoix at the estuary where the Nass runs into salt water, the Portland Canal. After watching the villagers and eagles, we headed back. On the way, we noticed lots of seals and eagles at a particular spot. We crossed a bridge over the Iknoule River aka Xnutsk River, stopped and looked down to see hundreds of pink salmon. After double-checking the (complicated) fishing regulations, we scrambled down through the dense undergrowth and were soon into them. Colored maribou streamers stripped slowly in the seam between fast and slow water did the trick. The following day, we timed our visit to low tide and fished the incoming tide. Around the bend below the bridge are a couple of pools at a bend. Dozens of fish would swim upstream in a pod, working their way to the spawning grounds. They were active and aggressive, visibly chasing down my fly. They were far easier to hook and fight than to land. My 7-weight bent double and the fish just pulled line out the drag. A couple of times bigger fish (or maybe a steelehead) took the fly way downstream. Many fish wouldn’t fit into my net.red fox

In the area, we saw lots of wildlife. Lots of eagles, maybe hundreds. I took a short walk after dinner and startled a large, black bear. One morning, we saw a bear cub with its mom. Mom marked its territory on a tree and the cub did the same. Also saw coyotes and red fox.

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