BOOM – The first big storm of the season smashed the coast yesterday and though it was not long lasting and probably sucked for you anglers who got stuck out in the rain, it could mean good things for fishing to come. There is a little concern when looking at the 14 day forecast. For Squamish and the Chilliwack areas the rain looks like it is here to stay and though the rivers need water, when looking at the next 10 days it might be too much rain. October and early November might see high water issues but only time will tell.
One thing is certain the rain will mean more water and more water will mean moving fresh fish hitting our salmon rivers. Though it will need to be managed with specific gear for both high and colored water it is time to get out salmon fishing if you have not hit the water yet. Chum and coho reports were coming in from the Squamish all week and the rain should only increase these numbers if you can find clear water. See the Squamish report for more details and also don’t miss our new video on how Matt sets up his beading rigs. Egging the Squamish is extremely effective for the next couple months and this video shows you some of Matt’s tricks for making the complicated beading set up more time efficient out on the river. Watch the video here!
Also, if you missed it, this is how Matt builds his custom leaders for this fishery.
The Chilliwack/Vedder has not risen at the point of writing this report but we expect this to change over the next 48 hours depending on how far the storm pushes inland. Check out the report in the river section below because even though it could be wet, the fishing should be excellent this weekend if it doesn’t blow out.
On the Harrison front we may have jinxed things a little. We have been happy about how low it has been on a hiking standpoint. With the Harrison being predominantly a lake fed system it will not jump up fast but depending on how cold it stays over the next two weeks we will get a good gauge for the accessibility for the season. In the short term the fishing should be excellent. All of the details are in Andre’s report.
On the saltwater front the rain will probably push the remaining chinook up the Capilano but there could still be good coho and chum opportunities at the mouth of the Fraser. See Jason’s report for his predictions.
Lastly, this week we have a big feature product that is perfectly timed. In coloured water, one of the best gear fishing methods for coho is to use twitching jigs. This is a technique that has gained a bunch of popularity in the last couple seasons and shines in slow, slack water for staging coho and chum. Gibbs and Zack Tackle have come out with one of the best commercially available twitching jigs that we have seen. We are well stocked and have them on sale this week but to make things even more interesting Gibbs has a great promotion going on right now. Check out the feature product section below for more information.
CLASSES AND COURSES
Fly Fishing For Salmon In Rivers
Fly fishing for salmon is one of the most exciting fisheries in the Lower Mainland. Let us teach you the techniques and the hot spots to catch salmon on the fly in our local rivers. In the 3hr evening seminar you will learn about rod, reel and line, sink tip, and fly selection. Then put the skills into practice during a fully guided day on the water where you will learn how to read water and swing the fly!
Dates: Seminar: Oct 25, 2017 Guided: Oct 28 or 29, 2017 – GUIDED Dates sold out. Custom trip dates available.
Dates: Seminar: Nov 6, 2017 Guided: Nov 11 or 12, 2017 – GUIDED Dates sold out. Custom trip dates available.
Seminar Only Cost: $45.00
Seminar & Guided Walk’n Wade Cost: $250.00 per angler, minimum of 2 anglers per guided day on the water.
Seminar Time: 6:30pm – 9:30pm
FRIDAY FEATURE PRODUCT
Zak Tackle Twitching Jigs
If you’ve been fishing for coho within the past few years, I’m sure you’ve seen a technique start to become popular on our BC waters called ‘Twitching’. Though not new (the Americans have been doing this forever…), more and more anglers are starting to become aware of how easy and effective this method is to catch laid-up coho that are in back channels, pools, and log jams.
But what is a ‘Twitching’ jig? Twitching jigs are exactly that: a jig that is fished by ‘using a twitching’ motion with the rod tip and we do not use a float or added weight. We could also call this a jigging up and down motion. Ironically the smaller float fishing jigs do not employ this jigging motion. They are lighter, are fished with a float and use the currents of the water to undulate, which entices a bite.
Twitching jigs are usually identified by having slightly heavier heads so they can be cast without added weight (usually 3/8oz to 1/2oz). These jigs are designed to get down and really move with every “twitch”. The Zak Tackle jigs are full dressed with lots of rabbit and rubber legs. These two materials are amazing for movement. Most strikes are “felt” on the lift. Why the quotation marks around ‘felt’? Well, most coho will actually pick up the jig on the drop, and on the next twitch or hop, anglers feel the ‘bite’ and naturally set the hook.
This week we are featuring twitching jigs from Zak Tackle. These jigs are built strong and tough with lots of movement and profile, as well as feature a super strong hook that won’t bend out. Nice and heavy, these jigs are available in both sizes mentioned above, and also come in a variety of colours that feature flash, rabbit fur, and rubber legs.
FRESHWATER FISHING REPORTS
Capilano River Fishing Report
Even with the rain, the water of Capilano is still low but that will change with the projected rain or once they release the dam.
With the low water level right now, and low amount of fish that are pushing in the fish in the system are very spooky, however, that does not mean they are impossible to catch. Try to look for holding fish to maximize your chances. Casting smaller lures such as 3/16 oz crocs and size 2 – 3 blue fox might entice some bites. Also, try twitching 1/4oz to 3/8 oz jigs to see if they get aggravated.
As for the fly selections, check out Andre’s coho fly selection! The water level right now is perfect for swinging some streamers and other smaller flies. Mickey fin, Wooly Buggers, and small streamers in blue, olive, copper or black will maximize your chances.
When the water rises, take your drift gear out. Use heavier set-up as we will see Springs and the odd chum in the system. Try drifting jigs, Colorado blades, gooey bobs, and small spoons under a float. If the fish are not apt to bite, downsize your terminal tackle. Also, try to use clear floats as they will eliminate the shadow that spooks the fish. Use fluorocarbon to make your leader less visible.
Try to be at the river first light as the most action happens for about an hour after first light.
Please keep in mind that there is bait ban until the 1st of November.
Keep checking the water level, if the kayak cam or the Wateroffice website is inaccessible you can check the water level data of Cable pool on Metro Vancouver’s site.
Be safe out there,
Chilliwack River Fishing Report
The long weekend has passed and what a weekend it was! Lots of rods out on the river but also lots of fish carnage in the lower river with a strong showing of coho, chinook, and chum with the odd old pink still milling about. The water has come up a bit with the recent rain and it looks like we are expecting more in the coming week so this should finally shake things up. Fish are throughout the system now but still predominantly in the lower. Many anglers are experiencing good luck drifting with pro-cured roe, egg ties, wool ties, jigs, and beads. Fly anglers also hitting fish with small flash flies in frog water or with bigger flashy pattern on the swing.
We are coming up on peak season so look for this next big bump of rain to push everything into full throttle. Before that happens make sure to drop by the shop to stock up on your river fishing supplies!
Squamish River Fishing Report
As I wrote this report the Squamish graph was not working. If you are fishing this system getting to know the water levels is critical. This is the link to the BC government water levels site.
It is always interesting to see how much the river jumps up. Right now it is low but colored due to snow melt. We expect it to colour up more and rise but the question will be how much. When looking at the weekend it should still be worth watching closely. If it doesn’t blow out it could be some of the better fishing of the season.
We heard of some fresh chum hitting the river this week and some solid coho reports across the system. Anglers fly fishing have been swinging pink and purple flies in the lower river for chum with medium sink tips and 12lb maxima leader. For the anglers hitting the coho water on the upper river and Cheakamus, fish larger pink or chartreuse patterns and then change it up with black and purple presentations with medium to heavy sink tips.
If you are gear fishing the lower river, spoons in chartreuse, black and chartreuse or fire orange have been hitting coho and the go to chum method is float fishing pink and purple jigs. On the upper river, big spoons and spinners in chartreuse and fire orange or blue are great but also twitching jigs are deadly for dirty frog water. Make sure to check out the feature product on the twitching jigs.
If the water goes clear, the colours change for both the gear anglers and fly fisherman. Greens, coppers and purples are all worth trying but when looking at the forecast we don’t expect clear water in the near future.
Egging is also still producing well and should be awesome for the next couple months. We just released a fun video on how I “cheat” and set up beading rigs with a leader board and clasps. Check out the video here if you want to up your bulltrout rainbow egging game. If you missed it, this is how I build a custom leader for this fishery.
Good Luck if you are hitting the water,
Stave River Fishing Report
The Stave has been getting great numbers of chum and coho this past week. With the rain that is projected to come, we are very excited to say things will only get better next week.
Of course, the chum in the Stave are not all fresh and lots of them are already coloured. These coloured fish are not great table fare; however, they will put up a heck of a fight for those who are getting into salmon fishing. These fish will be easily enticed with flies, twitching jigs, and float fishing jigs.
For flies, go with big marabou flies, also try swinging muddler minnows, streamers, or big wooly buggers. Use an adequate weight rod and solid reel, so you won’t have to experience rod breakage.
When twitching jigs for chum salmon, use fast and sensitive 7’6″ – 9′ rod rated with a maximum power of 15 – 20 lb. You don’t want your rod to be too long when twitching because your arm will get tired fast from constant awkward jigging motion. If you plan to use spinning reels try to invest some more money for the reel. Rather than buying multiple reels that will cause problems over time, it is better to use reels with strong gears and components. Daiwa BG or Penn Battle II is expensive, however, it will endure the pressure. Try to use a braided line to feel maximum sensitivity as it has no stretch.
Chum salmon will pretty much bite any colour jigs, but their favourite colours are purple, pink, black and green. Check out our twitching jigs by Zak Tackle, and local tiers, they have nice movement and very strong hooks so you won’t have to worry about bending one out.
When float fishing remember to set your float a little shallower and use a shorter (8″-10″) leader, and the jig itself has some weight and pull down itself near the bottom. When snagged, try not to jerk your rod as it will foul hook the fish.
When looking for coho in this system, try to look for frog water as they will be pushed away from a large amount of chum in the system. Of course, you will have fun with lighter gear but it is better to take a bit heavier rod in case you hook into a big chum. Try casting lures such as blue fox, crocs, and koho. Also try to twitch jigs with red, black and white colour.
It is a fishery that sees high pressure , so respect others and give them enough space. If you see anyone throwing the salmon back after killing it and taking its’ roe please contact the 24-hour R.A.P.P hotline(1-877-952-7277) and report them.
Harrison/Chehalis Fishing Report
This is exactly what we want for the Harrison, a little bit of rain to get the fish excited and bump up the levels. In the short term we expect good fishing. It will be interesting to see if there is too much rain and it becomes a challenge to hike but for now it should mean good things for the fishing. I heard some positive reports already from some friends and customers that caught fish on the Thanksgiving weekend, which usually is the start of the migration of the salmon in to this system. The big tides last week also helped to push the fish up through the Fraser. If you are going to walk up the channels try looking for little dips or pockets where the coho should be resting and feel safer in these low water level conditions. If you see chum salmon in a pool then the coho should be sitting behind them as they don’t share the same space. I would use really sparse flies to target the coho with 7 ft of 10 lb floroucarbon tippet tied to a foot of 20 lb butt section from your clear tip line. For those who are fishing terminal tackle my first choice for the Harrison would be the K-Wobblers in silver, for some reason I had the best results with this spoon when guiding clients who were not fly fishermen. Blue fox spinners in orange and gold in #4 are another great choice but the more variety you have the better the chances are of enticing a coho to bite. If you are twitching jigs then find deep slow water. We have lots of jigs in various colors and sizes to choose from.
SALTWATER FISHING REPORTS
Vancouver Saltwater Salmon Fishing Report
The fall season is winding down but there are still some fish being caught off the Cap mouth for those of us diehards still out there. Eddie and guests were out yesterday and hooked 2 nice chinook, which unfortunately were taken by seals. The good news is they did manage to release a nice wild coho and keep this good sized hatchery coho. Not bad for a quick mid day charter only minutes from downtown Vancouver!
There are decent numbers of chum and coho coming into the Fraser right now so another option is heading down to the South Arm to target these runs. Not many anglers do, so don’t expect big crowds like you would see in August. We are usually focusing our efforts off the Cap as it is so close, but we have had some great days in October for chum and coho up until the end of the third week of this month, so still some time left. The fish are usually in the 30-80 range on the riggers and will take bait, white hootchies and pink hootchies.
Off the Cap the usual tactics are working well, glow flashers and teaser heads just off bottom with anchovies or herring.
It won’t be long now until we start scouting for winter chinook. We have some boat maintenance planned over the next few weeks, but we will always have a boat or two available for the last of the Cap fish or the first of the winter fish.
As one season ends, another begins, and so it goes from the transition of our summer and fall salmon into our winter chinook fishing. I am already looking forward to trolling for some “winters” with a nice cup of hot coffee with calm seas and crisp, cool air.
See you on the water or in the shop,