Jeff and Kathryn Hickman Grow Fish the Swing to Lower Dean River

Lower Dean River Chrome, fresh from the sea and feel in' grabby.

Lower Dean River Chrome, fresh from the sea and feelin’ grabby.

This post is a hybrid of writing by Jeff Hickman and me (Jay).  I wanted to share the news about Jeff and Kathryn Hickman’s recent transition to owners of Kimsquit Bay Lodge at the mouth of the Dean River, BC.  Jeff is among my dearest friends, in spite of the fact that we barely see each other every few years, and I hope that changes but hey we are both busy, he is a full time guide/outfitter and I’m a cranky hermit who bases out of Corvallis and Pacific City so there are really limited opportunities for us to get together but of late we managed to fish the ocean in a friend’s dory and all caught lingcod on flies ha ha.

I wrote a companion post for my own blog  fishingwithjay and invite you to visit to learn more about Jeff, Kathryn, and the mystery of life (and fishing size 6 Muddlers for giant king salmon) itself.  Ok, forget the tiny Muddlers teaser, I just made that part up.

Jeff kindly offered to help me prepare the text for the post, and he wrote it thinking I would publish it as my own writing.  Silly boy, I’m no plagiarizer but I’ll now proceed to insert the story just as Jeff wrote it for me.  You will see that it suffers from lack on mis-spelled words, poor punctuation, lack of capitalization, and finally the absence of absurdly long run on sentences. Nice try Jeff.

The lower Dean River is probably my number one dream destination, aside from the Nestucca, Tillamook bay, and the Town Lake which are all between 3 and 35 minutes away.  The Lower Dean lives in my head with spectacular scenery, water, and anadromous fish that will inhale a swung fly and head back out to the ocean in high gear setting fly reels a-screaming.

Here is what Jeff wrote for me; it’s nicely done and all true.

Jeff Hickman on Lower Dean at Kimsquit Bay Lodge.

Jeff Hickman on Lower Dean at Kimsquit Bay Lodge.

Being a married steelhead guide isn’t easy. To make ends meet as a guide you need to be on the water a ton and you need to be able to move around with the seasons. Jeff has bounced back and forth between guiding Winter and Spring on the Clackamas and coastal rivers and guiding the lower Deschutes in the Summer/Fall. Too far to commute every day with the long guiding hours, he had to keep two homes. Kathryn worked an office job at DaKine in Hood River for 10 years. Being tied to Hood River year-round made January-June a tough time of the year for them as they would only see each other on the weekends.

Kathryn Hickman fishing our of Kimsquit Bay Lodge on lower Dean River BC. Yep, she gets the grabs on the swing!

Kathryn Hickman fishing out of Kimsquit Bay Lodge on lower Dean River BC. Yep, she gets skated-fly  grabs on the swing!

They saw a summer season together in BC as a possible solution and a way for Kathryn to leave her job. If they could join forces, Kathryn could be free to move with the seasons as well. The opportunity presented itself, they took out a big loan and together they bought the Blackwell’s family lodge at the mouth of the Dean River in BC. Since June 2014 the Hickman’s are the proud owners of Kimsquit Bay Lodge on the legendary Dean River. Owning the lodge together they can now be partners the whole year. Jeff can stick to guiding which he enjoys the most and Kathryn can help to keep him organized, no easy task! They are both great hosts and do everything to make sure all of their guests have an amazing trip.

 

Here is some of the scenery you will view on the Lower Dean River, BC, out of Kimsquit Bay Lodge.

Here is some of the scenery you will view on the Lower Dean River, BC, out of Kimsquit Bay Lodge.

Now here are the details of how it is all coming together:

Fish The Swing has expanded north to the wilds of BC for the Summer season. Well known Oregon spey guide Jeff Hickman (www.fishtheswing.com) purchased the former Blackwell’s Dean River Lodge, now Kimsquit Bay Lodge (www.kimsquitbay.com). The season on the lower Dean is June through August which compliments the Winter, Spring and Fall Oregon Steelhead seasons perfectly. The lodge sits above the salt water of the Dean Channel with spectacular views of surrounding mountains, glaciers and waterfalls. Just a short trip in the lodges van down the trail to the river.

Here is how you arrive from Smithers, BC, to Kimsquit Bay Lodge.

Here is how you arrive from Smithers, BC, to Kimsquit Bay Lodge.

The strategic location of the lodge allows for easy access to the lower river’s great runs between tidewater and the legendary Dean canyon. This guarantees that fish encountered will be among the hottest and freshest fish on the planet. This is the ultimate destination for swinging flies. The most spectacular scenery and the hardest fighting anadromous fish. With great guides, great food and comfortable cabin accommodations the lodge should be at the top of any fly fisher’s bucket list. All meals are prepared by their talented Red Seal Chef. (note from Jay:  Aside from the fact that Jeff and Kathryn tell me she is an AWESOME chef, i googles this and the Red Seal requires 3 years of apprenticeship, 5,000 hours, tests and such forth of training.  This Interprovincial Program is broadly recognized and highly prestigious certification accomplishment in Canada.)

Two great, fun and experienced guides instruct and help the anglers have the best success possible each day on the water. They use a wooden dory with an out board jet drive to get the clients from spot to spot. Each guide looks after three clients. The small size of this lodge makes for a very comfortable feel, only six guests per week. The guests stay in one of three comfortable cabins each with their own private bathroom and flushing toilet.

Front porch on a balmy day at Kimsquit Bay Lodge on the lower Dean River, BC.  Please note, it has been known to rain here on occasion (ha ha)!

Front porch on a balmy day at Kimsquit Bay Lodge on the lower Dean River, BC. Please note, it has been known to rain here on occasion (ha ha)!

Limited availability of bookings in prime times as follows: Price – $6150 including transportation from Smithers, BC.

These bookings include one day unguided fishing, six days guided fishing, and seven nights lodging and exceptionally fine meals.

June 19th – 26th Chinook

June 26th – July 3rd Chinook

July 3rd – 10th Chinook and Steelhead

August 7th – 14th Steelhead

August 14th – 21st Steelhead

Let us know if you would like to be on a waiting list (will call) in case we get last minute cancellations – unlikely but possible.

Here's what we're talking about when we say Dean River Chinook salmon.

Here’s what we’re talking about when we say Dean River Chinook salmon.

Here is some of the water we will fish out of Kimsquit Bay Lodge on the Lower Dean River.

Here is some of the water we will fish out of Kimsquit Bay Lodge on the Lower Dean River.

Images like this will be as enduring as the magnificent fish that we swing our flies to on the lower Dean.

Images like this will be as enduring as the magnificent fish that we swing our flies to on the lower Dean.

Ok folks, end of the pitch.  I (Jay again) will be available to help people sort through gear options for fishing the lower Dean.  Kings are a different critter than steelhead and require tackle a little stouter than you would fish in August.  Chris and Bryson (Ty and Clay, and Peter and Lou also) at the Caddis Fly Shop can help assist with anything from gear to clothing waders boots and bookings.  Flies?  Yup.

Keep this dream destination in your mind, just as I do.  You’ll know when the time is right – how about now?

Jay Nicholas and Jeff Hickman – March 2015

 

 

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4 Responses to Jeff and Kathryn Hickman Grow Fish the Swing to Lower Dean River

  1. todd tanner says:

    I don’t know Jeff (or Jay), but I got a kick out of the fact that one of my photos is in this piece. (The two folks sitting on the porch worked for John Blackwell, and were kind enough to let me snap a couple images.)

    I have some incredible memories of the place – I’ve been fortunate enough to write a couple stories about the lodge and the Dean – and here’s hoping that Jeff has nothing but success in the future.

    http://www.castingwest.com/resources/DeanRiver2010-PDF.pdf

    One word of caution for Jeff. John put the electric fence up after a couple of us got chased – literally – by an angry griz. Make sure to keep it plugged in. There are a ton of bears in the area.

  2. david jensen says:

    Click Todd’s link in his comment. Really great fish photo!

  3. Oregon Fly Fishing Blog says:

    Hello Todd, nice to meet you (this is Jay here). Thank you very much for noting your part in capturing the image that I grabbed off the Kimsquit Bay Lodge website! This is a big small world and one never knows where the images and thoughts we create and share will end up and how they may influence people. I had a guy run after me (literally) recently as I was pulling away from a boat ramp near Pacific City. The man was from central Oregon and told me that he had been taking images from my blog posts for years and making up fishing club presentations all over Oregon. He remembered details about blog posts and photos that I had long let lapse into obscurity. Enough for now, I’ll be calling you to thank you in person perhaps later today. Best Regards, Jay Nicholas for the OFFB.

  4. Duane Marler says:

    Previously I have fish the Dean River (above the falls) camping out at the Victoria pool. I have also floated the river for a week. Now that I am getting a bit older, not sure I want to do this again. Thus, I am inquiring about your lodge, availability and cost. This would be for steelhead. Do you also have tent sites where a person could eat in the lodge and be unguided? Please let me know.

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