This week was a major week for weather. We saw big dumps of rain and in some cases snow. Yesterday saw the largest amount of precipitation and most of our rivers blew out. Mixed in with the classic Vancouver weather we had some windows of great fishing.
Before the river went out we had solid Vedder – Chilliwack river fishing reports. Float fisherman and fly fisherman were stacking up numbers and our inbox is loaded with great steelhead pictures. On Thursday the river was too coloured to fish effectively but the weather for the weekend looks good and she should come into shape. Check out the report Dimitri put together below and if you have been on the fence about booking a guided trip the pictures tell it all. Dmitri has been putting up great numbers with his guests and spots are filling up fast. If you would like to get out on the water and learn from one of the most dedicated float fisherman on the river, give us a call and book your trip today – 778-788-8582 or email [email protected]
Our egg course last weekend was an adventure. The guys hiked their butts off in the snow and managed to find some fish. The river did not come up as much as we would have liked but Monday and Tuesday looked great on the graphs and we had a number of solid reports from the Sea to Sky Corridor. Check out Matt’s Squamish River Fishing report below for more details.
If you are into the winter chinook saltwater scene there was some big news of BIG fish being hooked this week. Jason has all the details in his Vancouver Saltwater Report below.
Lastly, Jordan is back from his trip of sun and sailfish in Mexico. He has put together a detailed report from his trip and it covers some great travel advice as well as some awesome fishing. If anyone is heading down that way or thinking about a warm water fishing vacation check it out at the end of the report.
Upcoming Fishing Courses
With February just around the corner we wanted to remind everyone about upcoming courses. We have some great ones lined up for the end of February and they are filling up fast.
Winter Steelhead on the Fly – February 29th in-house and March 5th or March 6th on the water
Introduction to Spey Fishing – February 24th in-house and February 27th on the water
Introduction to Fly Fishing – February 16th – SOLD OUT – next dates are in March!
What’s New In The Shop?
Andre has been busy spending Jay’s money getting new fly tying stuff for the shop! We just received orders from OPST, Hareline, and Wapsi that included feathers and capes that have been back ordered for a long time, so come down and take a peek. Two new products also just came in. Barred Strung Neck Hackle and Arctic Goat. The Neck Hackle is perfect for a collar on larger steelhead flies and streamers and is also great for tarpon flies as a collar or a wing. The Arctic Goat is an amazing fiber that works wonders in beach flies, warm water baitfish patterns and BC style bucktail patterns.
Vedder–Chilliwack River Fishing Report
The Chilliwack has been up and down with the recent weather systems passing through. Fishing this season has been good and recently we are seeing more and more fish pushing in. This year there has been a major issue with the stability of the clay slides in the upper river. Unfortunately, even the slightest amount of rain can colour the river and any major rainfall will put it out.
To battle these conditions, carrying a diverse selection of baits and presentations is important. Having everything from small single eggs, up to large spin’n glos and pink worms is vital.
Fly fishing has been quite good this year. With the lower water, many of the runs setup beautifully for a swung presentation. Keep your sink tips light in the low water. A lot of the spots are only 2-4ft deep and there is no reason to be dragging the fly along the rocks. January and February are a great time to find new fish entering the river. Fish fast and with confidence. You will be rewarded!
We are having solid fishing on our guided trips and minus the conditions with the clay banks, it looks as though we are going to have a good year. Call the shop today to book your trip! 778-788-8582 or email [email protected]
Squamish River Fishing Report
Unfortunately my predictions were a little off for the Squamish last weekend. I could blame it on the weatherman but even in tough conditions we managed to have a great time and hook some fish. With the heavy rain and warmer temps in the forecast we were hoping the river would rise on Saturday and Sunday. At this time of year it is a gamble. The difference between rain and snow can change the fishing completely and as you can see in the pictures below, most of the precipitation came as snow.
On Saturday we managed to find one good pocket of feeding fish and put up some numbers on the board but the river was still quite low and finding deep spots was a challenge in the afternoon. On Sunday we hiked hard and found a few fish but the water stayed clear until the last hour of the day. As I have touched on before, cold clear water makes fish very picky. Even with my guys doing everything right there were more short strikes and missed fish than I can count.
In our last hour of fishing on Sunday, the river began to rise and color up. Looking at the graphs the next day confirmed it. I would assume the fishing was much better on Monday and Tuesday. The river has continued to rise over the week. It is getting back to “normal” levels. Because it has been so low for so long it may be a little too dirty after Thursday’s heavy rain but expect things to be good when it comes back down. Watch the river levels and get out fishing!
We were using very pale beads with relatively light leaders because of the conditions. With the water coming up, make sure you have some brighter eggs in your kit and it may be a good week to start swinging larger streamers. Olive’s, whites and blacks in the 2.5-3.5 inch range are recommended. In dirty water I have had great success combining the two presentations. Peg a bead an inch or two above a sculpin pattern if you are worried about fish not seeing your presentation in colored water.
Good Luck, respect your fellow angler and follow the rules. The Squamish is a 100% single barb-less catch and release fishery.
Stave River Fishing Report
It’s that time again! Time to brake out your steelhead flies and float gear. We have heard of the first few steelhead reports from the Stave River.
These fish are known to be quite trouty, so don’t be scared to try small streamers with light sink tips as well as nymphs when all else fails.
Anglers who are into the single-hand, switch, and two-handed/Spey game are all more than capable of catching these anadramous fish, as well as those who like to “Pin” or drift. Keeping presentations varied in size and colour will give those chasing these fish an upper hand, as well as being willing to cover water.
If you are not set on steelhead and enjoy chasing trout, this system is also a great option. There are good numbers of white fish, bulltout and cutthroat feeding on chum eggs in this system. One trick for the Stave is to use very small puff ball egg patterns because the whitefish have very small mouths and cannot get the standard bead and egg patterns in their mouth. We have a good number of size 16 egg patterns in stock specifically for this fishery.
Chehalis River Fishing Report
With the amount of rain on Thursday you can expect the Chehalis to have come up. This river rises and drops very quickly so you may only have a 24hr window of decent water conditions. The Chehalis gets a winter run of steelhead from January to April so there may be a few fish moving through the system but it is very dependent on river conditions. The river will probably be high and possibly brown the day after the rain but 48hrs after the rain should give you good fishing conditions. This river doesn’t have a graph so it’s always a gamble with hitting it right. If the visibility is poor you must fish bigger and brighter presentations much like you would on the Vedder.
Float fishing is the preferred method of fishing this river. Jigs, Pink worms, and Colorado blades are staples. Always be careful when fishing this river in the rain as it can come up quickly and catch the unexpected angler off guard and possible trap you out on a sand bar. One perk about heading out that way is that you can stop in at the Sasquatch Inn Pub for a burger and beer, I recommend the Big Daddy Sasquatch Burger after a long day of chasing anadromous fish.
Vancouver Salmon Fishing Saltwater Report
If you read our report last week you would have noticed I predicted that there would be some good size fish caught in the harbor this week. Well, that is exactly what happened. Our guide journal showed it usually picks up in the harbor mid January and she didn’t lie. There were some nice fish in the mid teens caught in the harbour for those who braved the wind and the rain, although for the most part conditions were pretty good. As I write this Eddie is out on a charter searching the West Van shoreline on the flood tide. As usual, the productive spots were the West Van shoreline from the Pink Apartment to Cap Mouth on the flood and over in the freighters on the ebb. There were also some fish caught around the QB Marker as well.
For those that ventured further up Howe Sound and over to the Gulf Islands, the fishing was equally productive with some fish in the low teens all the way up to the high twenties being taken. Yes, high twenties! These are fish weighed on a scale, so no fisherman stories this go around. Is this normal for this time of year? Heck no, but we personally know of 3 fish over 20 pounds in the last week and a half, so it looks like there are some nice size and nicely conditioned fish out there this winter. These fish weren’t long, but they were sure chunky, and that means they are finding lots of feed. That bodes well for the rest of the winter season.
In general these chinook are pretty close to the bottom because that is where the herring are. Keep an eye on your chart plotter and your sounder and make sure you are consistently close to bottom. Have lots of fresh cable or braid on your rigger as you might have as much as 180-250 feet out to keep your gear down in some of the deeper spots. Another good trick is to put the 15 LB cannonballs away and break out the 18 LB cannonballs. This really helps keep your gear down with all that drag. We have some at the shop for the hardcore guys that want some and this is what we are using on our guide boats this time of year.
When fishing that deep, think glow. Glow cannonballs, glow flashers and glow spoons. Two of our favorite flashers this time of year are a green or chartreuse blade flasher with glow tape and a green onion glow. Pesca glow spoons are also extremely effective at these deeper depths, like the Gut Bomb, It’s Not, Uncle Bob, Yort, and Clupea.
If you would like to book a charter please give Jason Tonelli a call at 778-788-8582 or call Pacific Angler at 604-872-2204.
See you in the shop or on the water,
After a delay at YVR which caused us to miss our connecting flight, we ended up staying a night in LA and catching a flight the next day. Due to our delay in Vancouver being mechanical, under Rule 240 8C.2, Alaska Airlines covered the cost of our transportation to/from a hotel, the hotel itself, and gave use food vouchers to be used at both the hotel restaurant as well as the airport. Had there been room on a sooner flight on any other air carrier, regardless of class, they would have had to put us on that as well. I’ve traveled a fair bit, and knowing this rule can help make things go a little smoother when things don’t go as planned. Every airline has their own interpretation of this rule, and not every person who works for an airline will bring it up, so make sure to know your own air carriers version.
After catching our flight the next day and landing in Zihuantenejo, Mexico, we were picked up and driven to Bahia La Tortuga Fishing Lodge where we were greeted with fresh-made margarita’s. Settling in, we had more beers than we probably should have and an amazing dinner.
5:30am came quickly each morning, followed by breakfast and transportation to the marina which was about a 4 minute drive away. Each morning we were met by our guides Daniel, Lalo, Roti, and Carlos. Each of their pangas were set up a little different, but each one caught fish. They all set up their baits fairly similarly, threading and sewing on an egg weight under the front jaw of freshly jigged or cast-netted baitfish. Cut a certain way to mimic flying fishing that cruise just under the surface, we managed to boat a total of 22 Sail Fish over the course of 5 days. This doesn’t include the numerous chances we had when line peeled off the reels as a fish smashed our baits, or the ones that popped off mid-fight. I could confidently say we had chances at another 10 or so between the 4 boats.
We also caught Dorado/Mahi-Mahi, numerous Yellow Fin tuna, Bonita that ate flies and jigs, as well as Jacks and a few Rooster Fish that we teased out to live baits using the Roberts Ranger lure.
After fishing each day, we were greeted by fresh-made tortilla chips paired with fresh-made salsa and guacamole, all washed down with a fresh-made margarita. After crushing that, we’d go for a swim at the beach across the street or drink beers and play domino’s down under the Palapa while they prepared our lunch. Everything was prepared fresh, including our catch for dinners.
Over all, this past week went by incredibly fast and I can’t wait to return to the waters off of Ixtapa again.