Well summer is officially here and it looks as though Mother Nature has been watching the calendar. We have some great weather coming down the pipes. Sun and temps in the 20s should last all next week. This is going to be great for all the fishing fronts.
People are already asking about pink salmon. We are going to start looking soon but don’t expect good reports until the middle/end of next month. Saltwater fishing has slowed a little over the last 10 days. We are still consistently finding fish and as always its worth getting out but it has been a grind some days. All of the details on this week and what we’ve been fishing are in Jason’s report.
On the lake front things are warming up but we are still hearing great reports. Andre has an overview of the Interior Lake fishing
We had the first positive Cap reports this week and a few people hooked fish. On the beach fishing front we have still not heard much but after this heat they should close the dam and the fish will start to stack up. For now, fish the river but we should be beach fishing soon.
With beach fishing in mind Andre has brought in his famous beach flies and this week they are our Friday Feature Product and offered at 10% off.
Next month is a big month for fishing in Vancouver. The first pink reports will role in, beach fishing will start and the Skagit River will open. Though we are a week early, tons of people have been asking about the Skagit and Matt has been spending way too much time looking at graphs and historical data trying to make a prediction for opening day. He hasn’t come up with a definitive verdict but he had some good observations from his research on river levels. Check out his outlook for the Skagit River if you are interested in this fishery or are planning to head out when it opens on the 1st of next month.
Finally, our June courses have wrapped up for the month but we have an awesome lineup for July. Check out the classes and course section and sign up today!
As the sun sets over Vancouver this summer, the undersurface of the Cambie Bridge will transform into a wild river filled with migrating salmon. UNINTERRUPTED takes viewers on a beautiful and immersive journey that has been repeated in BC waters for millennia.
Spectators will travel upstream with silver Sockeye turning to crimson as they return to their freshwater birthplace to spawn – a natural cycle that nourishes land, water, animals and _people, but faces growing threats from human intervention.
Tuesday – Saturday
June 28 to August 14 – 10:00PM
August 15 to September 24 – 9:00PM
Free viewing takes place in Coopers’ Park, on the north side of the bridge, with nightly capacity for up to 800 people. Organizers ask that you arrive at least 15 minutes in advance; there are also pre-event projections to enjoy.
Vancouver Chinook Classic Catch and Release Derby
The Vancouver Chinook Classic is a 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 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!
Don’t have your own boat? Experience the Vancouver Chinook Classic on one of our Grady White boats outfitted with the best tackle and fully guided for $1,000 per day (non-inclusive of angler fee). To inquire contact us on our charter line at 778.788.8582.
More details on this not to be missed tournament weekend here!
CLASSES AND COURSES
Our June courses have all finished for the month – but there are so many great courses coming up in July!
Fly Fishing On Beaches
Book this course early as we sold out all 3 courses in 2016!!
This single evening 3hr seminar will cover the basic principles needed to be an effective beach fly fishermen in BC from Howe Sound to the east coast of Vancouver Island. Topics covered will include rods, reels, fly lines, flies, tides, and techniques. Andre Stepanian, the instructor for this course, has been chasing salmon on our local beaches for over two decades.
Dates: July 5, July 10 or July 18
Time: 6:30pm – 9:30pm
Mastering Local Saltwater Salmon Fishing
Over 50 million salmon migrate past Vancouver annually. Learn how to catch these fish with a Pacific Angler. This course offers an in-depth look at the local saltwater scene. We cover the local saltwater salmon fishing for the entire year, showing you the how, when, and where. This course includes a 3hr evening seminar and a fully guided day on the water in one of our Grady Whites.
Dates: Seminar: Jul 17 Guided: Jul 21, 22 or 23
Seminar Time: 6:30pm – 9:30pm
Introduction To Fly Fishing – ONE SPOT LEFT!
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.
Dates: July 19 (seminar) and July 22 (casting)
Seminar Time: 6:30pm – 9:30pm
Casting Time(s): 10am – 1pm
FRIDAY FEATURE PRODUCT
Andre’s Custom Tied Beach Flies
Although I have been fly fishing our local beach since 1986 it was 10 years after that I took my first tying lesson at Turners fly shop. Apart from wanting to learn how to tie flies because of the art form it was also out of necessity to develop and tie flies for our local beaches, which were not found in our local tackle stores. I have spent the last 20 years of the 32 fishing our local beaches studying the most finicky coho and what they chase as a food source. I can easily say that trying to catch a coho on the fly at the mouth of the Capilano (Ambleside park) is the hardest fishery we have. I have developed over 50 patterns and still continue to do so to imitate the food sources which are available to our salmon, although I am a firm believer that these fish are not interested in eating when they reach the end of their journey from way up north to Vancouver they are still prone to snap at a fly instinctively.
In the early years before Google I read and found pictures of these luminous and colorful bugs in ocean entomology of Pacific Ocean books. The flies mostly imitate krill, amphipods, copopods, and crab larva in various colours, which the juvenile salmon feed on. The flies are very simple to tie, what is important is the colors and materials used and the innovation behind some of them. As more and more materials are developed by different fly tying companies a new fly is also born and tested. It is also the understanding of what materials, not all materials work well in saltwater. All of them are tested, some of the flies work right away, some take a while and some end up in the garbage after I have given it a good chance.
There is no “best fly” but there is the fly that worked that day in that minute and might not work for the rest of the season or ever but in order to have any chance to entice a coho to bite you have to keep the patterns in perspective. After catching thousands of coho in my life the biggest thrill for me is to catch one on a new pattern. If you like to tie any of these patterns please drop by the shop and I will gladly help you with the materials and how it’s tied.
If you’d like to have a better understanding of this fishery we have our Fly Fishing on Beaches Course next month. Details are in the classes and course section of the report.
FRESHWATER FISHING REPORTS
Capilano River Fishing Report
This week there have been relatively steady reports of fish being caught on the Capilano for those that have been dedicating their time on the river. That’s not to say that it has been easy pickings, but getting into a fish or two is definitely a possibility. The water has been maintaining at 2 meters on the Cap Cam but with a sunny and hot week ahead of us there is the potential for low water conditions in the near future. Drift fishing is currently productive especially with pro-cured roe, single egg patterns or small colorado blades. However, if we do see a drop in water levels next week then bust out the spoons, spinners, and flies as these will excel over drifted bait and can often elicit strikes from the “stale” fish that have been in the river for a longer time.
Skagit River Outlook
As most of you know one of my favorite summer fisheries is the Skagit River trout fishery. The Skagit is debatably one of the most picturesque rivers you can reach within a day trip from Vancouver and it offers classic fly fishing opportunities. What we mean by “classic fly fishing” is that there is a healthy population of aquatic insects. This is unique because most of the rivers around the lower mainland are affected by cold glacial water, heavy runoff or a poor chemistry that stunts aquatic insect growth. This means good salmon and steelhead habitat but poor resident trout fishing.
The Skagit is the exception and supports a healthy bug population. That bug population in turn supports a healthy population of resident rainbow trout, cutthroat trout and Bull trout. This bug population also challenges the fly fisherman to match fly selection and techniques to the conditions and available hatching insects. This is what I consider “classic fly fishing”. It is not always easy, but when you solve the puzzle the fishing can be excellent.
The Skagit can be accessed from both the Crows Nest highway at Sumallo Grove and then on the Silver Skagit Road, a 40 min dirt road that turns off highway 1 just before Hope.
The Skagit opens on the first of July and stays open until Oct 31st. The Skagit is a catch and release, bait banned, single barbless hook fishery. This keeps the population healthy so make sure your barbs are pinched and the fish are released gently.
The big question for most anglers leading up to opening day is weather the river will be at a fishable level? Many rush out on opening day only to find that the water levels are too high to hike the banks affectively and then some years it is too low. The published water level graph on the Skagit is directly affected by the water levels of the dam on Ross Lake so it is hard to use as a river height gauge.
This year’s snow pack was sizable and the amount of runoff has been much larger than last year but the interesting thing is that if you look at the numbers, it looks as though it melted early. If you spend a few hours going over graphs and reports on the water sheds around the Skagit area, (at least on the numbers) we are not much “higher” than we were this time last year. We are also well below the 30 year average flow for the Skagit below the dam in Washington. The numbers are telling me that it will be a little higher than last year (2016). In 2015 we had a super low water year and opening day was at record lows. In 2014 (if my numbers are correct) we had a very high water year. This year will be much lower than 2014 and a little higher than 2015. So if we run off the below dam levels and then look back we should be “OK” for opening day, “high but fishable” is what the numbers tell me. Unfortunately these levels are all up to the guys at the dam or from a water sheds in the surrounding valleys and may not be reflective of the true Skagit river levels.
Even with this data my prediction is that the river will be high. Last year we had low snow packs and on opening day thing were still a little high. This year I expect to be noticeably higher and though “fishable”, they will be a real challenge to hike and wade. I have been wrong before and am eager to hear if anyone has been in the area to gauge the water levels but because it is still closed, it is a long drive to go look at a river, no matter how pretty is it. If anyone knows anyone who has been up, I would love to hear what they saw about the water heights.
If you want to give it a go in the first couple weeks of July the river will consistently drop. I expect it to be perfect around the 10th -25th of the month and then it will fish well until it gets cold in October. The weather next week will play a big role. If there is still a ton of snow left in the mountain the heat will spike river levels but if it only jumps a little we can assume that the snow is beaten down and we should see good fishing early next month.
If you are interested in this fishery come down to the shop and talk to me or any of the other guys. We can walk you through the set ups and access points. If you are heading out next weekend let us know how it goes. We will have more details in next week’s report as well.
STILLWATER FISHING REPORTS
Interior Lakes Fishing Report
The weather has stabled and the heat has started the damsel, dragons and the odd caddis hatch. The lakes are not done like they were last year at this time. I have had some reports from Merritt and Kamloops Lakes with damsels hatching, the water temps are still at 65 degrees so we still have time to hit the lakes. I had a very good report from a friend who fished Lac le Jeune and caught a bunch of fish on damsel nymphs and dries. They also fished Tunkwa and hit the “bomber” hatch. For those who are still wanting to fish chironomids I would recommend to fish higher elevation lakes 4500 and over in the Merrit/Kamloops area like Hatheume lake or start fishing the Cariboo lakes. Don’t forget to have a few dragon nymphs in your tackle box especially if you are heading to Cariboo.
SALTWATER FISHING REPORTS
Beach Fishing Outlook
It is getting close to the arrival of salmon at our local beaches. Yes it is time to get ready for another season of beach fishing for coho and pinks. I have checked the beach a couple of times for the past two weeks to see if by any chance there are fish, but haven’t seen much to shout about. We need for the Capilano river level to stay low for the salmon to start accumulating in the estuary. First there will be just coho and by mid July the pink salmon should arrive in full force, Get your 7-8 weight rods with a floating or intermediate line and be sure your gear rods and terminal tackle are ready for the closest and convenient fishery in our city. The flies are already in the store. I have spent the last 30 years on our local beach gathering information about ocean entomology, behaviour of the fish and experimented with different tackle setups so if you really want to have a better understanding of this fishery there are 3 dates available for my beach fly fishing course. If you’d like to know what to tie or which spoons and spinners to use please come to the shop and we’ll fill you in.
Vancouver Saltwater Salmon Fishing Report
Well you knew it was coming, the warm summer weather and NW winds have officially arrived. This has made it difficult to impossible to get over to Thrasher so the vast majority of our trips this past week were confined to local waters or up in Howe Sound to avoid the heavy seas.
When the winds allowed we did fish off S. Bowen from Cowan to Roger Curtis and there were some fish around. There were a couple of days mid week where some decent sized schools of chinook showed up and we had some great fishing. Other days the numbers were low or the fish were dispersed and we had to grind for the fish we did get. Nothing has changed from previous reports on what is working. Spoons and anchovies in the 60-120 range on the downriggers.
On the days where it was too rough to fish off S. Bowen we went up to Hole in the Wall and did find the odd fish. There are still a few feeder chinook in this area, but in general the fishing was fairly slow but at least the water was calm. There should be a few larger Squamish and Cheakamus chinook showing up in this area over the next few weeks, usually beginning of July it will pick up. The fishing is better off S. Bowen, but if it is too windy, at least you can hide up in Howe Sound and get the lines wet.
There are also a few Capilano coho being caught around Point Atkinson and off W. Van flats. There are already fish in the river, so we know some are out off W. Van, but it is still a little early to expect consistent fishing. For this fishery keep your gear up shallow, from just under the surface down to about 45 feet and use white UV hootchies. We will feature some more in depth information on this fishery once it picks up in early July.
See you in the shop or on the water.