Good morning everyone and welcome to another edition of the Friday Fishing Report. Today we are watching a sizable storm that is hitting the Lower Mainland. This is going to throw off a number of possible fishing plans but as always with coastal storms watching the weather and timing river levels for a drop or just before a blowout will offer next level fishing.
The storm is going to affect our rivers a little differently. The Squamish Valley will probably get hit the hardest. On Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday the river coloured up more than we expected from the recorded river level numbers. Jordan was planning to get out Wednesday but he held off. With more rain in the forecast we expect the river to be dirty if the weather predicted shows up. We will be watching it closely and expect very good fishing when it comes back into shape but it could take a couple days. Take a look at Matt’s Squamish report for more fish geek water level analysis.
The Vedder came up quite a bit and is coloured but at least as we write the report it is still fishable. Again we are watching closely and have more details in the Vedder report section.
Other systems are also going to be rising and we have small updates on the Stave and Capilano.
On the saltwater front it’s boat show weekend! We always love checking out the show and drooling over the boats and new products for 2018. Matt’s sister works down at Granville Island Boatyard so be sure to check out the floating boat show at Granville Island and say hi to her there!
Jason has an updated saltwater report and again winter chinook fishing has been solid. The storm looks like it will be a little nasty so watch the marine forecast and be safe. The straight will be very windy but if you are careful there might be some windows of fishable water at Howe Sound or in the harbour.
With some dirty water in the forecast swinging larger patterns for bulltrout can be one of the only ways to catch fish. Jordan has been geeking out on some more advanced articulated streamers. This week we have a spotlight on how to tie these flies and some interesting notes on how to balance them differently to change the way they swim. This balance is something that many tiers overlook and with a little bit of time and attention it will put more fish on the end of the line. Check it out below!
CLASSES + COURSES
Tying Essential Steelhead Patterns – 2 SPOTS LEFT!
This course is designed for the fly tyer looking to get the best start on tying steelhead patterns. In the 3-hour evening seminar your instructor will cover everything from tying techniques, material and colour choices, size and weight. They will walk you through 3 essential patterns that will build a well-rounded steelhead fly box. If you’re looking to get yourself into tying your own flies for steelhead, this is the course for you. This course is suitable for fly tiers with a basic knowledge. Students are required to supply their own vise, tools and materials. A 10% discount is available on materials and tools purchased for the course.
Dates: Jan 23
Time: 6:30pm – 9:30pm
Articulated Streamer Concepts – simplified
With bulltrout fishing being fairly consistent, many anglers will be either egging or swinging streamers. For the most part, whenever I get the chance to swing and strip streamers, I will. Fish that are eating streamers are usually confident fish, in both size and tenacity.
Streamer fishing for me is one of my favourite ways to fish: it’s active, can produce aggressive takes, and can raise confidence knowing that fish are active and willing.
I have thrown streamers in fresh and saltwater the world over. Spending some time to understand how weight affects how the fly swims, then matching that swimming motion to the environment and target species has paid big dividends.
For this feature, I will be talking about articulated streamers as quite a few people have been asking about the C3 fly that I developed a couple years ago, and has proven to be one of my most consistent producers. Articulated Streamers are basically two flies connected together. This allows the fly to hinge and move in the middle. How we weight these two parts of the fly will change the way it moves dramatically. If you do this and just add weight to the front or head of the fly you get and very up and down swimming motion. This can be awesome in some environments but not what I am looking for in others.
The C3 is articulated, but more noticeably, it is balanced. Balancing articulated streamers can sometimes be the difference between a fly that looks good versus one that swims good.
Though I do fish my fair share of front-weighted flies, I really like balanced flies when the water is moving at a steady pace. Front weighted flies are great for slack water but I find that a balanced fly will swim side-to-side versus jigging or dropping, especially when being stripped and in moving water this seams to make a difference.
To balance the fly, I like using glass and brass beads instead of plastic beads added to the connecting material between then the sections of the fly. The added weight of glass or brass can help inhibit the back section from going crazy as the water moves over and through the front of the fly. The more material or bulk in the head of the fly the more weight you need in the junction. When it is done correctly the fly seams to glide over rocks and through currents with a side-to-side motion.
Another thing to remember is to not tie in the back connection too tight. There should be enough room for it to move and swim, and for the beads to slide. The moving beads also act as a mini rattle and can help fish key in and find the fly in dirtier water.
Another aspect to the C3 is how it is shaped. Looking at it from the top, as well as the side, you will notice it’s tapered shape. This helps give it a natural shape as well as helps direct water flow. You’re going to hear Matt rant about this “teardrop” in his videos and in his reports. If you missed his steelhead fly video, though a different style of pattern, there are some good ideas that you can adopt so be sure to check it out.
Come on in to the shop and see me. I can show you which materials I use for it, as well as show you some in various colours and explain the reasoning behind it’s construction. This balanced and articulated pattern has fooled bulltrout, rainbows, cutthroat, and Coho. Tied in various colours, it will also fool other predatory fish. Bass, brown trout, and other char will also find this hard to resist.
As you’ve come to discover, I sometimes sign off with a super tacky fish-related pun. That being said, I’m running out of ideas. If any of you think of any I should use, let minnow.
FRESHWATER FISHING REPORTS
Chilliwack River Fishing Report
The Vedder/Chilliwack has been fishing moderately well this week. Conditions were favourable up until a couple days ago when the snowmelt and rain caused the river to rise. The next 7 days may be difficult to predict as, depending on the amount of rainfall we get, it is very possible we will have blown out water levels. If you are planning a trip then take it on a day-to-day basis. Also, keep in mind that the clay banks have been a bit of an issue this season causing the water to get cloudy after each bump of precipitation. Fish big and bold presentations if the water is cloudy. Think big globs of roe, prawn tails, pink worms, and flashy intruders. While this season got off to a slow start there are definitely a few more fish being caught now so get out there and try your luck!
Squamish River Fishing Report
Well we are back to geeking out on river levels and precipitation measurements. It does not look good for the weekend. If the weatherman gets things right, we will see moderate temps with a big dump of rain.
We had reports from earlier in the week that the water was low and clear but it changed quickly on Tuesday. When we look at the graph it actually didn’t look like it was going to blow out on Wednesday. It rose to the mid two-meter level. This is a level that historically is good fish fishing but from a few trusted on water reports, the mainstem river’s clarity dropped to less than a foot Tuesday afternoon. With this report in mind the river and waters continuing to rise Jordan decided to not gamble on the water levels and didn’t head out yesterday and as of report writing we have not heard any reports from the water yesterday.
I am watching things closely as I’ve got some trips planned for Saturday and Sunday but it is not looking optimistic. If it goes through a 4 on the graph there is very low chance you will find clear fishable water.
All is not doom and gloom – when the river drops back into shape after this storm it should be go time! Next week we are going to see colder temps and less rain. This should turn on the bulltrout and this window after the storm could be some of the best fishing of our winter season.
So in summary, watch the river levels. The weatherman is often wrong so good luck if you hit the water. If you do head out or if you were out Thursday or today we would love to hear about river conditions.
Capilano Fishing Report
With the rain and the water released from the dam, we are waiting for the Capilano River to settle. It is getting to the time when we expect the first good bump of fish and with any luck it will be after this storm. It’s hard to predict but watch the water levels and get out right after they shut down the dam. Remember that steelhead like to sit in walking speed water so you are likely to find them in pockets and side lanes.
Once the water drops and the conditions become clear, as always you will have to downsize your presentation but at least right after the water drops fish big, cover water and cross your fingers for a fresh aggressive fish. Remember to release ALL steelhead with care, as this system is not open for retention. If you have any questions about setting up for steelhead stop by the shop and we will gladly help.
Stay safe out there,
Stave River Report
The Stave River will fluctuate over the next week with the forecasted rain. Of course it is a dam-controlled river so there are chances that they will release the water with the rain. Trout and whitefish fishing can be done with eggs or swinging flesh type flies. Look for riffles that divide fast and slow water as trout and whitefish like to sit there. There are only a half dozen to a dozen of these riffles on the Stave and many experienced anglers will cycle through them all in a few hours looking for feeding fish.
We have not heard any steelhead reports in the last week but we haven’t had many customers hitting the Stave so it is very likely there are fish being caught. Again it is fun hit all the riffles switching between a light egg set up for trout and a heavier setup with a bigger presentation to see if fresh steelhead have moved in. Swing flies and drift with bait, plastic worms, gooey bob, corkies and spin-N-glos. Make sure to release wild Steelhead with care so that they can safely go spawn.
SALTWATER FISHING REPORTS
This past week was a mixed bag of weather with wind, fog, rain, even a little bit of sun from time to time. If you are heading out this weekend be aware of the Gale Force Warning for the Strait of Georgia South of Nanaimo with SE winds up to 40 knots and of course some rain. The forecast for Howe Sound doesn’t look too bad though, so if you are heading out that will be the place to be.
We are in our usual Jan/Feb pattern of consistent winter fishing where if you put in the time you are usually rewarded with a few nice chinook. As always, keeping your gear close to the bottom is the way to go and we have covered a variety of productive flashers and spoons in the past. If you are looking for “a go to” combo this time of year I would recommend a chartreuse glow flasher with a 6 foot leader to a 3.0 or 3.5 Kingfisher Irish Cream spoon. This is one of my most productive setups this time of year and Eddie almost always has this combo down as well.
Crabbing has been decent and so has prawning. A reminder of some of the seasonal prawn closures now in effect for certain areas, so the check regs to make sure you aren’t setting in closed waters.
Stay warm, safe, and dry out there and I will see you in the shop or on the water.