There is more sun and heat in the forecast, well as long as the sun can poke through the smoke. Our thoughts are with everyone affected by the fires up north.
On the fishing front things have been interesting. A number of fisheries that historically have been “on” by now seem to be dragging their heels. Capilano coho, though guys are catching them, have not been hot. There are a number of theories – fireworks have putting them off, they came a little early and scooted up the river before the low water, or they are late and we should still see them coming. We won’t speculate the cause but know that we could see a good wave of fish on any tide and it is worth looking at if you are out on the water.
The pinks have also been a little soft. Fish are in the Squamish, guys are catching them at Furry Creek but there have not been many “hot” reports. Funnily enough we have had some good reports of pinks stacking up in front of the Capilano mouth. Every year is a little different and don’t be scared to think outside the box. Cate’s park used to be the hot spot a few years ago and we have not heard any reports from that direction. It might be worth looking at if you are heading out. Check out Andre’s beach report for more details on the beach scene and Alex and Jordan have reports on how to gear fish and fly fish the Squamish. There have also been some regulation changes on the Squamish system so be sure to familiarize yourself with them before you head out to the river.
The Skagit is one of the solid points of the report. The river is in shape and fishing well. We had some guys out this week. They caught a bunch of fish and there was one well above average sized rainbow taken out of the bunch. Check out the Skagit report for more details and pictures.
Finally we’ve got some exciting news on the gear front with some new rods in stock and a great deal on the Rapala Classic Mooching Reel.
CLASSES AND COURSES
Well we are just a few days into August and our August courses are already sold out!! We’ve got waitlists going for both our Mastering Local Saltwater Salmon Course and our Introduction to Fly Fishing Course. Summer schedules often change for people so be sure to give us a call if you’d like to be added to the waitlist for either of these courses
Mastering Local Saltwater Salmon – August 9 Seminar/Guided August 12 or 13
Introduction To Fly Fishing – Tuesday August 15 Seminar/Casting August 20
Vancouver Chinook Classic Catch and Release Derby
We’re just over two weeks away from the Vancouver Chinook Classic. This is THE premier 2-day Catch and Release Salmon Fishing Event hosted annually at the new Pier 73 Marina at the Pacific Gateway Hotel. This is one of our FAVOURITE events of the summer angling season and something we look forward to each year.
REGISTRATION IS NOW OPEN – It’s not too late to register for the tournament and at $300 per angler (supply your own boat) you can’t beat that for an amazing weekend and a chance at the largest cash prize of any fishing derby in Vancouver!
More details on this not to be missed tournament weekend here!
FRIDAY FEATURE PRODUCT
Rapala Classic Mooching Reel – Regular $399 now only $229!
We secured a great deal on the Rapala Classic Mooching Reel and we are passing on the savings! The Rapala Moocher was a great reel at $399 and at $229 there is nothing on the market that can compete. It is a little smaller than standard mooching reels so it fits in your hand perfectly. With a double anodized red and silver finish the reel looks awesome. It has one of the coolest sounding clicks when the drag is pulling and a free-spool option that is great for dropping mooching weights or simply working with the reel on the boat. We have been selling this reel for a number of years and it has an impressive service record. We have only ever seen one of these come back to the shop and fixing the reel was painless.
If you are looking to step up to a fully machined reel or replace some older reels, there is no better time. Also if you are looking for a reel to backup Abels or Islanders this reel is where you want to look. There are a number of $300-500 reels on the market right now that can’t touch the Rapala in looks and performance.
Stock is limited so come down to the shop, tell the guys you saw the report and we will show you the reel!
Big Announcement – New Sage Rods Have Arrived!
Well it is another year, ICAST is over and Sage is rolling out their new lines of rods. Some years it is not all that exciting but this year things are interesting. They are replacing the Sage Salt, their go to high performance saltwater rod and their Sage Approach, their easy casting entry-level rod and we have the new replacements in stock now!
We are one of the first shops to receive these new rods and we are pretty impressed. The New Salt HD, from first impressions, is going to be a bloody cannon. They took the newest HD resin technology that is in the Sage X and have built a rod that feels like the Sage one married an Xi3 and gave birth to a rod that has all the lightning performance of the sage one and all the guts of the Xi3. The critics loved the One and Xi3 but some thought that the One was too “fast” and the Xi3 was too over built and had no soul. My first impression is that they might have cured both problems, and created one hell of a saltwater rod. I am not going to jump on the bandwagon without getting out in the field to do some comparisons but if you want to take a look and form an opinion for yourself, we have the 8wt and the 10wt in stock.
Now on to the Sage Foundation – First off the look of this rod is awesome. Gloss black on matte black with silver lettering. It is supper clean looking. Where I always thought the Approach was a little boring looking the Sage Foundation has a clean style that I think everyone is going to love. But who cares about how a rod looks if it can’t cast. That’s really where we were impressed. Again this is all based on a first impression and needs a little more time on the water testing it, but this rod has a lot more speed than I expected. It should still be forgiving enough for a beginner but where more advanced caster used to lean away from the Approach I think we will see a bunch of intermediate and advanced caster falling in-love with the performance that this rod should deliver.
We will be testing these rods over the next month and Matt will be providing a review when he’s had more time to fish these rods, but for now we can say we are impressed and you can come down to the shop and check them out.
FRESHWATER FISHING REPORTS
Chilliwack River Fishing Report
With the water being low and slow, there are some positive reports about the summer red spring fishery and we expect it to continue for another few weeks. Although it is a very small run, you are more than likely to find small schools of these fish slowly moving through or staging throughout the system. When targeting these fish at first light, drifting freshly cured roe with strong scent is key as they will develop their territorial instinct and become more sensitive to scent.
During the afternoon hours, it is very hard to entice these fish to commit. However if you can rattle them with a colorado blade under a float, you might be able to trigger a reactionary bite from this fish.
It is very important as an angler to abide with the regulations. Any rainbow trout that is over 50 cm is classified as a steelhead and must be released if you don’t have a steelhead stamp. Also, please keep in mind that fishing for sockeye is closed and should not be targeted. If you by-catch one please release them with care so that they can reach their final destination with an ease.
Capilano River Fishing Report
The water is very low in the Capilano River and there won’t be many fish moving into the river. Although there are some fish that made it into the river before it was low, getting them to bite will be extremely hard, as they’ve seen lots thrown to their face over the last few weeks. You might tempt the odd ones to chase the spoons or spinners. Or even better, change it up and target them with a small olive fly such as a wooly bugger or a leech might do the trick.
Skagit River Fishing Report
Thank you for all the likes and views of the Upper Skagit video we posted last week. If you missed it you can watch it here!
This week things are shaping up nicely for the river. Brendan, one of our guys at the shop, was out Wednesday and caught this beautiful rainbow as well as a number of smaller fish. He reports that the water levels are now down to ideal fishable levels. You can cross most tail outs and the bugs were hatching (both the mosquitoes and the aquatics) mosquitoes were noticeably worse than 2 weeks ago.
Brendan caught a number of fish on classic prince nymph style patterns and he found a perfect example of a golden stone (see picture below) on a rock.
The hatch was fairly consistent throughout the day with small grey mayflies coming off. He found a good number of fish on dries using the parachute Adams style patterns but had to work for the fish on the dries.
When the small mayflies are coming off the fish can be a little harder to fool but watch for risers, set up on them and make your casts count. If you find a rising fish don’t death-pound the area with casts. Sit back wait for a rise and make a few casts. Try to solve the puzzle of the perfect drift and if he doesn’t come up take a break. If you can’t get the right drift change angles. Sometimes I will wait 3-10 mins just standing, waiting and watching. Constant casting will put the fish down. If is very common that I will move up and down the run moving from one prime lie or area where have seen a fish rise, cast 2-5 times, rest the spot, cast again 2-5 times then move to the next area. I will cycle through the key areas learning the drifts. Usually this cycle will produce fish were death pounding one spot that you have seen a fish in produces nothing.
Another trick is to cycle flies each pass through. A super small Black Nat or on the opposite spectrum, a large Stimulator or size 8 mayfly are always in my box. These flies may not look anything like what is hatching but will sometimes fool a picky fish that is feeding on the standard size 12-14 mayflies.
Good Luck out on the water and remember to practice catch and release with single barbless hooks.
Squamish River – Gear Fishing For Pinks Overview
August is upon us and we are on the brink of one of the most enjoyable fisheries for both novices and professionals alike. The Squamish River has been seeing small pushes of pink salmon for a few weeks now although the best is yet to come as the run will peak in mid to late August. Catching Pink Salmon can be extremely simple, yet we can make it as technical as one desires and there are times when getting technical will make the difference.
There are multiple ways to catch pink salmon in the Squamish. The adage “pink for pinks” certainly has taken root and you will see a plethora of pink lures adorning tackle shops across town. Truthfully most, if not all, of these will work and its not just pink that will produce fish so don’t shy away from trying different colour combinations. When the fish have not stacked up yet during early season I enjoy casting spoons or twitching jigs. Gibbs has a number of great spoon options as well as a pink “humpy kit” that get the job done. Ideally for spoons you will want one between 1/4oz-1/2oz, depending on the depth of water you will be fishing. Simply cast these out and slowly retrieve them or let them swing if there is enough current and wait for that sharp tug of a pink on the other end. This is super effective when searching for fish in long, wide runs such as the bars below the Mamquam confluence and Fisherman’s Park.
Alternatively, twitching pink/purple/chartreuse jigs (in any combination) can be a great way to entice Pinks. As their name suggests, these jigs are meant to be twitched along as it goes down the river and their pulsating action is what triggers strikes. I personally like these for deeper pockets but they can be used to great success in similar water as the spoons. Both of these techniques excel on spinning rods in the 7′-9’6″ range and we have a number of options from Fenwick, Trophy, and Shimano that would fit the bill perfectly. I like running 15-20lb braid as a mainline with a 8-12lb Maxima leader for spoons and twitching jigs. In murkier conditions, a leader may not be needed at all for spoons, which gives you ultimate connectivity with the lure. Of course, having monofilament main line is perfectly fine as well.
In a couple of weeks the Pinks will get start to run thick and that’s when I will pull out the float fishing setups more often. Rods in the 9′-11’3″ range are ideal for reach and though a spinning reel is fine, a bait caster or centerpin is more efficient for this technique. Smaller 20-25 gram floats work well for the shallower runs and either small pieces of pencil lead or split shot will be adequate for weighing them down. Drifting jigs can be absolutely deadly during peak season, but don’t limit yourself to just one presentation when drifting. I have had good success with colorado blades, curly tail grubs (non-scented), spin n’ glows, and wool ties and there are many other combinations that will be just as productive. With float fishing I like to use 12-17lb monofilament as my mainline as I have found the extra stretch actually helps a bit with hook sets. Similarly to the lure rigs, 8-12lb Maxima leaders work well for me. Fluorocarbon is also an option but I haven’t found that it gives me any particular advantage in the murky Squamish during the summer. We have a number of rods and reels that would make not just awesome pink setups but awesome Salmon setups in general and all of the terminal tackle to go along with it. The bulk of the run is around the corner so come on down to the shop to get set up before they arrive in full force.
Squamish River– Fly Fishing For Pinks
With the calendars switching to August, many anglers are starting to get their fly rods strung up in anticipation of the Pink salmon arriving. For those of you who have already ventured out and seen a few fish caught here and there, it will be mid-August where we will really see where the fish with show up. Most anglers target these fish from the beaches or from the rivers, but going in to August and then September, this week we will talk about the basics to fly fishing for these smaller anadramous fish.
Most anglers will target these fish with their standard coho set ups, usually with an 8wt or so, but those who are dedicated to pinks will throw a 6 or 7wt, with the lines to match.
Full floating lines with interchangeable tips are a great option, either the true Versi-Tip system from Rio, or by using various Versi-Leaders to attach to the end of their full floating lines.
Standard 9’ tapered leaders around the 12lb range finished with a few feet of 10lb fluorocarbon is a great option for the full floating line, with a length equaling your outstretched arms of 10 or 12lb maxima being perfect to run off of your sinking tips or leaders.
Flies are quite simple, with the colour pink being a key ingredient, but don’t forget about chartreuse. When fishing the rivers, if the water is coloured, I like to run flies with a larger profile. This doesn’t mean I’m running a bigger fly, it simply means that the profile is larger. Off the beaches where Neil’s and handlebars or Pam’s work, I find in the river, if coloured, pink flies with the profile of a wooly bugger or so is more effective as it allows the fish more time to see it, as well as lets them see it easier. On the rare times where the rivers run clear in July/August, I will scale down in size to the previously mentioned Neils and handlebars.
Pink salmon fishing on the fly is a great way to introduce anglers to fly fishing as it provides fairly steady action when they are in, as well as lets anglers take home their catch, giving them a true ‘river to table’ experience.
If you have any questions, or need any help with getting started out, feel free to come on in or give us a call at 604-872-2204; our expert staff will be more than happy to give you a hand!
SALTWATER FISHING REPORTS
Beach Fishing Report
As usual more fish always show up going into a full moon which is this Monday, I have noticed way more fish on the West Van shores this last week and a lot of positive reports from customers. I have not caught a coho yet this year as the pinks have been keeping me busy, yes it is even more tougher to catch a coho on a pink year as they won’t give the coho a chance to bite your fly first, I am not even fishing a pink fly but it’s better to have a bent rod than just staring at the ocean hopelessly.
The tides are going to be in our favour this week so get out there if you haven’t yet this summer. Over at Furry Creek is a different scenario. I am still hearing mixed reports from customers, some have good days and some seem to miss the push of fish that go trough Squamish but it is still a beautiful beach to spent the day on specially with this heat wave. More fish are starting to jump so it is easier to spot the pod of fish. When one jumps pay attention to which way the head was pointing so you know which direction the pod is moving towards then cast a few feet from the pod, it’s not always cast and strip the fly towards you, sometimes all it takes is a little twitch.
See you on the beach,
Vancouver Saltwater Fishing Report
Saltwater reports have been a little soft this week. Guys are catching the odd chinook off Cowen point on the tide change and it is worth a look if you are heading out. Boats around point Atkinson and up Howe Sound have been finding pinks but not consistently. If you are out, look for jumping fish and run pink hootchies in the 30-60ft depth range.
We are expecting better things off the Capilano mouth and North Shore but this week we were disappointed with the number of Coho. They should be staking up in good number by now but it hasn’t really happened yet. We are hoping this will change over the next 2 weeks. There have been some better beach fishing reports from that area so we are still optimistic.
The bell is worth a look as well. Fish bait around the 40-60 ft. mark. Troll a little slower than normal and run from the 2nd mile marker out to the bell. Reports from the bell should pick up over the next 10 days with chinook heading to the Fraser.
It can only take one tide change for things to change so keep positive and cover water. If you want a more up to date report give us a call at the shop.