The river levels are dropping nicely, there is no major rain in the forecast, winds will be good in the harbor and with only a little drizzle hitting the valley, the weekend should be good for both river fisherman and ocean anglers!
In the report this week we have some great info on the winter chinook scene. The guys were out on the water in short sleeves on Wednesday and the fishing was solid. Our river guides have been watching river levels closely and are excited about the next week. If you were thinking about a guided trip on the Vedder take a look at the report and give us a call. It should be good for the next few weeks. Don’t miss our courses for next month listed below! Have fun, be safe on the water and thanks for reading!
February is almost upon us, make it a month of learning. We have a host of awesome courses coming up in February. Brief course descriptions are below with a full listing in the 2015 Course Guide found in the link below. Call the shop at 604.872.2204 to sign up!
Introduction to Fly Fishing
This course was specifically designed to give the new fly fisher the basic knowledge, casting skills and fly fishing strategies to effectively fish our local BC waters. This course is comprised of two sessions; 3hr evening seminar and a 3hr casting session
Seminar: Wednesday, February 11, 6:30PM to 9:30PM
Casting: Sunday, February 15 either 10:00AM to 1:00PM or 2:00PM to 5:00PM
Introduction to Spey Casting
This 2-part course is designed to introduce you to the art of Spey fishing and establish the fundamental techniques required for basic Spey casts used on our local rivers.
Cost: $150 per person
Seminar Date & Time: Tuesday, February 17th / 6:30pm to 9pm
Casting Date & Time: Sunday, February 22nd / 10am to 4pm (Location: Squamish)
Steelhead Float Fishing
Our 3hr evening seminar will educate you on the gear, water types, conditions and other key variables to help you master this fishery. Upgrade your seminar to include a fully guided day on the water, putting into practice your new knowledge with a Pacific Angler guide.
Cost: Seminar $45 per person – upgrade to a walk and wade for $400 for one angler or $500 for two.
Date: Seminar on February 18th – 6:30PM to 9:30PM.
Guided: February 21st , 22nd , or 28th (custom trip dates are available upon request).
Tying Intruder Fly Patterns
This course is designed for those that are interested in tying steelhead flies in the “Intruder style”. This style of fly is extremely productive for steelhead and salmon due to its profile and movement in the water.
Cost: $45 per person
Dates: February 23rd and 24th
Time: 7:00pm to 9:30pm
This week has been interesting. With the rain that we received on the weekend the river came way up. Like it did with the last high water, it has changed the river. Runs have disappeared, new ones formed and lots of sediment has been deposited in new places. When this happens scouting is the name of the game. Hike, cover ground and know that putting in the leg work to find new spots makes catching one that much more rewarding.
The Chilliwack is now slowly dropping and clearing. The fish are there and people are having success. With the rain last week, high water changed the places in which the fish are holding and traveling. The main channel is still flowing strong and the fish will be concentrated on the edges, forced there by the raging torrent down the middle of the river.
In our steelhead courses we speak about many topics, but matching your presentation to the conditions is an important one. This is something that will increase your hookups exponentially. If the fish can’t see what you’re using, then they can’t bite it. Think BIG, with the dark heavy flows. Baits in the size of a toonie to a golf ball, will outperform things like a single egg, or a tuft of yarn. Florescent colours matched with bait size will provide you with the best chance at success.
We have also had a number of great fly fishing reports. This is uncommon for the time of year but not surprising with warm weather. When water temperatures increase steelhead become much more aggressive. This can make fly fishing tailouts with sink tips and rabbit or intruder style patterns extremely productive. Use pinks, oranges and darker black and blue combinations with heavy sink tips.
The forecast calls for a few days of sun and then some light rain. This will keep the river on the slow drop and it should come into shape beautifully.
Our guides have been out on the water lots in the last week learning what has changed. It is a great time to book a trip and let them help you relearn the river.
As per usual, the fish came and they are gone. This river can be unpredictable, the slightest amount of rain will set river levels rising and a couple of cold nights does the opposite and it crashes back down to being low and clear. Fishing can be good, but it is either feast or famine.
Like any steelhead the Chehalis fish use the path of least resistance to navigate up the river. They will stop in the slower holding spots in order to rest. Moving fish like to bite, so move fast and cover water.
Traditionally the Chehalis runs clear and the size of your bait/presentation should be toned down in order to match the conditions. Smaller, pale items will out perform the bigger items.
The canyon section can provide good fishing, but please be careful. Winter conditions, such as ice, snow, and moisture makes for ‘interesting’ navigation up and down the steep terrain. If you plan on exploring, let someone know where you plan on going before you leave and an expected arrival time back.
The Cap saw an increase in water height with the big rain last week. We expect that a couple fish moved into the system with the bump of water. The river has dropped but there is still some colour to the water, so don’t be afraid to fish larger presentations. Jigs in brighter colours, pink worms, and larger 5 or 6 egg roe bags are great options. The river will be low but still coloured. Don’t limit yourself to float gear. Bring your spoon rod or double handed fly rod so you can swing some of those canyon tailouts which steelhead frequent.
As predicted the Squamish blew out over the weekend and many people chose to stay off the water. The river has been dropping nicely all week and looks good for the weekend. Matt is heading out Saturday and will be using a combination of two techniques – nymphing with eggs and the swung fly with olive style sculpin patterns. It will be interesting to see what the fish will respond to.
He is also packing a thermometer this week to track temperatures. The egging season has been a challenge because of constant rain and river changes but it has been also been extremely warm. It is still very early but salmon fry hatch when they have accumulated enough days above set temperatures. This could take a few weeks or a few months depending on how cold it is. We have seen fry hatching in February on warm years and this has been one of the warmest. We are going to keep our eyes peeled for fry over the next few weeks and Andre is ramping up his production line of custom fry patterns and they should be ready in a few weeks. If anyone sees any fry this weekend let us know and take pictures. Matt will be looking and will have a report next week.
For those anglers who are new to the Squamish system the majority of fishermen will be targeting bull trout and rainbows with fly rods or light spinning gear this time of year. Steelhead tend to show up later and you will see anglers using larger fly rods and float rods but do not let your guard down, it is not unheard of for steelhead to get hooked on light trout gear in the early season.
Good luck, be safe and always practice catch and release on the Squamish.
The harbor (Cap Mouth & Freighters) has been pretty slow this week. We had a few charters in this area and some of our regular customers at the store have been out and it has been tough. The fishing in the Gulf Islands continues to be good and there are also some nice fish being caught up in Howe Sound. Our customers who have opted for the long range charters have reaped the rewards with some sunny days and nice chinook!
We were out on Wednesday in the Gulf Islands and at one point it felt more like June than January! The jackets were off, the sunglasses were on, it was flat calm and the chinook were biting. It was an amazing day to be on the water.
We were fishing in 130 to 200 feet of water and if we had our gear close to the bottom and went over a bait ball, we hit a fish. It was exciting to see lots of bait and pretty much call the bite. You would see the bait on the Lowrance, look back at the rods and WHAM, fish on! We have been experimenting a lot with different flashers the past few weeks and I can say without a doubt, the best flasher for us has been the Oki Tackle Green Onion Glow and the Purple Onion Glow. We have been using a variety of spoons and some bait, but the most productive spoons have been the Pesca 3.5 size or 4.0 size in Leprechaun, Gut Bomb, Uncle Bob, and Bogart. All these spoons have some green on them and glow like crazy. The Kingfisher 3.5 in Homeland Security has also been working well.
If you would like to book a full day charter so we can take you over to the Gulf Islands, we currently have a winter chinook Gulf Island special for $800 plus GST. We can take up to 4 people in the boat. This is a great way to spend the day and catch some of the best eating fish of the year. Crabbing has also been excellent so you will be coming home with some fresh chinook and Dungeness crab! Call us at 778-788-8582 or email us at [email protected]
On behalf of the Pacific Angler staff we wish you the best in your fishing endeavors and we hope to see you either at the shop or on the water. To check out the latest Pacific Angler news view the Pacific Angler Facebook page.
Jason, Matt, Andre, Sam, Eddie, Dimitri, Kathryn