Christmas season is upon us and so is the cold!
All the rivers are dropping like a rock and even the Harrison may be fishable after a long season of high waters! Cold, clear days are fun if you are prepared for the weather and the fishing conditions. Fish are getting picky but if you use fluorocarbon, less obtrusive presentations and fish a little slower than normal you can have some excellent river fishing this time of year.
If you’re headed out to the Squamish we have some cold weather tactics for the bull trout fisherman in this week’s. If you’d prefer to hit the water in the valley, the Stave and even the Harrison might have some egging opportunities as well.
The Vedder is also an option and it’s a good time to get out scouting so you are prepared for winter steelhead season. We have heard rumours of fish but nothing solid yet. The beading guys have been doing well for bull trout and rainbows. It’s a good way to scout and get some fishing in at the same time so check out the Vedder report for more info.
For those of you dreaming about steelhead fishing Sam provided us a quick refresher on tying roe bags. Don’t miss it.
For our saltwater friends it’s been a mighty cold week to be on the water. That coupled with some high winds have made for limited fishing opportunities and reports.
With Christmas just around the corner you may be have loved ones asking what you would like under the tree! Be sure to send them our direction and we can help. We’ve even got a few ideas for your list in place of this week’s Friday Feature Product.
Finally for those of you dreaming of someplace warm here is a great picture from our friend Darren in New Zealand!
We know it’s a busy time of year so we have extended holiday shopping hours. Should you need to come into the shop and pick something up for the fisherman on your Christmas shopping list or treat yourself we’re here. Be sure to check out our holiday hours below!
PACIFIC ANGLER’S CHRISTMAS SHOP – STOCKING STUFFER IDEAS
If it is a stocking stuffer or that big gift you have been dreaming about, we’re here to point your loved ones in the right direction! If you’ve yet to send your wish list to Santa let us help with a few recommendations from the PA team.
Winter Chinook Stocking Stuffer Package $30-$100
With the river salmon fishing starting to taper off, many anglers are starting to prepare their boats and tackle for the well-known winter chinook fishery that keeps us busy over the winter. Winter chinook fishing out along the coast of Southern BC is one of my favourite past times as it often sees a lot less traffic on the water accompanied by misty mornings and at times can be quite steady with action.
To help those with the Christmas wish lists, we’ve put together a small selection of some of our favourite lures and flashers, including scents, to help those shopping for the anglers in their lives. With the salmon feeding primarily along the bottom, scent and glow/colours are key factors when searching for success. Each year we see quite a few shoppers looking for that special gift for the angler in their life and we are here to help make that decision easier.
Depending on how big or small a package you’re looking for, all of us here are able to help put together a great gift for that lucky angler.
- Smelly Jelly Scent – While running bait is always a great option whenever you’re allowed to, it’s not always the most efficient way to fish while having to drop your gear down to the bottom where chinook primarily feed during the winter. To help with this, we like to use Smelly Jelly paste on our spoons to help attract fish. This gives the spoons that glow a little extra kick in fish-attracting power and I find makes fish hold on longer.
- Koho Killer Spoons – These spoons, though quite skinny, are a great representation of the abundant needle and candlefish that the salmon are feeding on during the winter months. Run alongside other spoons, it also gives the fish something a little different and offers more variety with proven success.
- Glow Hoochies – With a lot of anglers (myself included) running spoons and hardware, it doesn’t hurt to throw in something a little different. With a soft textured body that fish like to hold on to, along with it’s short erratic action caused by running it closer to the flasher with a heavier leader, hoochies are sometimes that special item that gets the job done. Again, the main colour base should be glow.
- Green-Glow Flashers – Notice a pattern here? GLOW! Having to target these fish in deep waters off the bottom, running gear that glows is essential to finding success during the winter months. Though there is no one ‘magical’ flasher, you’ll notice that many anglers and guides run flashers in a combination of green or chartreuse-glow. With their fish attracting movement and visual draw, glow flashers are a key component to any anglers tackle.
- Fish Bonkers – Though I’ve seen my fair share of small baseball bats and broom handles onboard boats, it always helps to have the right tools. Once you’ve caught a fish of keep able size, a good ol’ trusty fish bonker is the next tool to be used. Designed for the job, they’re compact and easy to stow, as well as efficient for retiring ones catch.
River Fisherman’s Stocking Stuffer Package – $30-$75
Tell your loved ones you want a river fishing package and we will make sure you have all the essentials for the upcoming steelhead season.
- Clear drift Floats – If you’re like me I sometimes cheap out on floats but for a few extra pennies clear drift floats are stealthy and fish great for winter steelhead. I know some anglers who won’t leave home without them.
- Custom Pacific Angler Jigs – We just got a big shipment of custom jigs. The materials and styles on these jigs are awesome. They are the same price as the competition but you can’t deny the quality. We have some very cool fish catching style you won’t find anywhere else.
- Mad River Worms – These are considered on of the best worms for steelheading and their size is unique. Not to big not too small.
- Leader boards and the Essentials – We will put together a kit of the essential swivels, clasps, leader and hooks so you can be sitting at the family dinner and tie leaders while everyone is still unwrapping their gifts!
The Fly Tyer’s Material Stocking Stuffer Package – $30-$100
- Tell your loved ones what kind of fly fishing you love and we will be sure your stocking is full of materials for your favorite fishery. We can even add in some great tools to make your fly tying for the 2017 season a breeze.
Young Fisherman’s Package $50-$150
- There is nothing more rewarding than getting a youth into fishing. We have fly fishing and spin fishing packages where we build a small tackle box or fly box, then combo it with a rod and reel. $75-$100 gets a great spinning rod and tackle box package and we have youth fly fishing kits starting at $150.
Fly Fisherman’s Stocking Stuffer Package $30-$100
- Explaining to non-fisherman about how many flies you need for a trip is always entertaining. “What you don’t just use one hook?” If you are like me you have lots of fly boxes and even more flies. There is no such thing as too many flies. Going on a trip? Love steelhead fishing? Need to restock your lake fishing box? Give your loved ones a hint about where you love to fly fish and we will take it from there. We will make sure you get a new fly box with the hottest flies for your favorite fishery. Want to pick out your own flies? A new fly box and a gift card is a great way to get the exact flies you need.
FRESHWATER FISHING REPORTS
Vedder River Fishing Report – Jig Feature
We experienced a bit of a freeze this week! The Vedder has maintained very good water conditions throughout and looking ahead we are not forecasted to get much precipitation next week so things are definitely in shape for the first few steelhead that are trickling in. In addition we have heard of some nice bull trout being taken from the upper river. The odd coho will still be around and, to put an intriguing twist on things, there seems to be a small number of clean chum that show up at around this time so there is the possibility of hooking into one of those as well.
For those steelheaders that are braving the cold this month be sure to have an assortment of baits, lures, or flies with you as these fish will quickly get accustomed to seeing certain presentations. This will become increasingly apparent as we move through the season as this river is one of, if not the most, pressured rivers in the Lower Mainland for steelhead. Thus, sometimes throwing something that is slightly out of the ordinary will get the fish when the traditional baits or lures won’t. One such lure that has been a fantastic follow-up to the classic presentations and a solid first choice as well is a float-fished jig.
We just received some outstanding looking jigs from a local tier and this batch was made with steelhead in mind. There are a great selection of colours in stock with proven combos for both clear water and dirty water. Better yet, we have some special ties that move away from the traditional jig look, including a “roe jig” as well as a cool spin on the deadly Squamish Poacher, which imitates a prawn. All of these are locally tied with premium materials and a stout hook that will hold tight when you hook that fish of a thousand casts. I personally have put these jigs to the test by beating them on chums and they are extremely tough with fantastic hook penetration power. They certainly made me more confident in hooking and landing big fish, and I have no doubt in my mind that they will impress many anglers with their build quality. Thus, they get two thumbs up from me and deserve a well-earned spot in your Steelhead arsenal.
But why does a jig work? Their tantalizing pulsing movement and attention-grabbing colours can draw in strikes from even the wariest of fish. They are also weighted which means you will have more time fishing in the striking zone as they will drop into this zone more quickly. They are extremely easy to fish as well; it is the same setup that one would use to drift pro-cured roe, shrimp, pink worms, Colorado blades, so on and so forth. A 25-35 gram float (depending on water depth and flow) is adequate with either split shot or a small piece of pencil lead to give you enough weight to cast. Follow that up with a swivel and a short leader between 12”-18” to your jig and that’s it! I like 12lb Seaguar STS fluorocarbon for leader material (with some wiggle room for one size up or one size down depending on water conditions) as it is soft enough to tie nice knots with while retaining superior abrasion resistance. Fishing these jigs is most deadly in walking speed water and fished 1-2’ off of the bottom. In general, use the darker coloured jigs in clearer water and brighter jigs in murky water. When that float goes down, hold on tight!
Squamish River Fishing Report
We had a solid day on the river last Saturday. The river levels were good and we had nice clarity. It was green with about 3 feet of visibility. Fishing was not red hot but we caught a good number of fish.
It was a perfect day for a nymphing course. The fish were a little picky. You had to mend correctly and make good drifts. If you didn’t get it right you didn’t hook fish. We covered lots of ground, worked on getting a perfect drift and when my guys were on their toes for the hook sets we put up some good numbers.
We fished paler eggs to match the chum eggs in the river and fluorocarbon leaders were a must. Again the thing-a-ma-bobbers were key because a number of our fish came out of very swirly technical water. Smaller indicators would have been pulled down in the current and hard to read in the swirls. The leader board setups were also key because it was getting cold and changing gear with cold fingers is always a struggle. If you missed last week’s report on how to set up a nymphing leader board check it out here.
Because it has been a little crowded and the fishing was technical mending was key. I heard of a number of anglers who struggled. Here is a short video we did a few years back on egg nymphing. Note how aggressively we mend. Covering ground being very focused on your mends is the best cure for not catching fish.
It is going to get cold this week. This will clear up the river and make things even more technical. Make sure to have fluorocarbon tippet and use an advanced leader when conditions get clear. I use 2.5ft of 25lb butt section. I then use 8 inches of Rio indicator tippet or high vis mono as a transition. This shows me the angles of the line under my indicator and is useful for high sticking. I then use 6ft of 7lb fluorocarbon. On days with 2 – 4ft of visibility I use 6-7lb fluorocarbon tippet on my leader boards. In the conditions I expect that this week, low and clear, 5lb fluorocarbon will be useful. People always ask how long a tippet to use. I measure off 18 inches of tippet but then I tie my knots. We probably lose 2-4 inches when tying the knots.
I have not heard about how much snow the road got with last nights storm or how much it will get today but I expect access to be limited. We have also heard of road closers on the upper Squamish so head back to the Cheakamus if the snow or road closures keep you out of the upper river. Be safe and have fun.
Chehalis River Fishing Report
You may still encounter the odd clean coho this time of year on the Chehalis as it does see a later return compared to other rivers but the fishing can be spotty with the cold weather making for tough low and clear fishing conditions. You may cross paths with an early winter run steelhead, as they will start to enter the river now in small numbers. Fishing trout beads, roe bags, and jigs are good options for clear water fisheries.
Tying Single Egg Roe Bags for Steelhead
Single Egg Roe Bags are debatably one of the most versatile baits for steelhead. These single eggs are water hardened to give the angler a more durable bait compared to loose roe, which you will need to change out every time you get down to just the skein and hook, but still having the fish catching effectiveness of roe with each cast. Single egg roe bags can be fished in a few ways either by being dangled on a bare hook or added to presentations such as a Trout Bead, Jensen egg, Spin-N-Glo, or a Gooey Bob. Sometimes the addition of this bait can be the factor in triggering a steelhead to take. The size of the actual bag can vary based on the fishing conditions smaller 3 egg roe bags to larger magnum sized bags that are approximately the size of a loonie packed with smaller eggs. Keeping your bags in a bait box, Tupperware box, or Ziploc while out on the river will help you keep them all together by doing this you can also add a few drops of your favorite Pro-Cure or Mike’s Scents to give your bait the added edge. We have taken some time at the shop to tie up a couple tubs full of roe bags in different sizes to suit different fishing conditions.
If you tie up your own bags or want to start to tie your own we also have tubs of single eggs for you to do up your own specialized bags. We also stock all the needed tools to tie your own.
SALTWATER FISHING REPORTS
Vancouver Salmon Fishing Report
Not too much to report this week as the snow, ice, and winds kept most of us of the water. There were some outflow winds this week in 50-knot range, that’s quite the wind chill factor. Even with the heater, that’s just a bit too cold to keep the hands working and the bottom of the boat often turns into a skating rink as well.
There will be warmer days and better fishing, so stay warm and safe during the snowfall today.
See you on the water or in the shop.