What a Week! We saw beautiful weather and no major rain. I haven’t had a chance to say that many times this year! Things have been a little cold at night and this has dropped the rivers substantially but most are still at good fishing levels. We have heard more good steelhead reports from the Vedder and Squamish. Matt was out last weekend and will be out this weekend. Check out his Squamish report below. Sam and Dimitri are out float fishing on the Vedder so check out Sam’s Vedder report below.
Andre was cutthrouting this last week and though they had challenging fishing things are looking up for this week. We have a small feature on his “A.S. Popper”. This is one of the coolest flies for catching cutthrout on the surface. Check out his Harrison and Stave River cutthroat report below for more details.
On the saltwater scene it is time to get your boats ready and head out on the water. We are seeing great local winter chinook fishing and we are going to start seeing migratory fish soon.
If you want to get out on one of our boats now is the time to book a trip. Call us to take advantage of the very solid winter chinook fishing happening right now or lock down prime time dates for the South Bowen “Hump” fishery. We are filling up prime spots fast so call today!
If you are heading out on your own boat check out Jason and Lars’ saltwater report below, they had a good day out last weekend and we have heard of a number of other solid reports.
With the nice weather we also decided to do something different this week. Crabbing around Vancouver is one of the most productive ways to enjoy a feast courtesy of mother nature and late winter is considered one of the best time to do it. With this in mind Lars has been out with his kayak a bunch of times over the last 2 months scouting some very easy local locations. It took him a couple trips to get dialed in but he is now consistently bringing home dinner. He has shared what he has learned in the following report. If you have had trouble getting crabs in the past read his report you might pick up some tricks that will change your luck.
Lars’ Crabbing Report
Crabbing has been good the last few weeks, and is picking up. Come visit the shop for all your gear. We have multiple types of traps. We have the classic grid-style metal traps which are great on the boats and we also have a steel enforced mesh trap that is great if you are crabbing from a SUP or Kayak. The mesh version also packs down really small for storage.
For line, we recommend 100 feet. I have been using leaded line and like it but you could use a line weight if you already have un-leaded rope to keep the line close to the bottom. Weighted line or lead line is critical to keep the line from floating and making sure no one runs over your line and drags your trap.
For bait, there are many options. I experimented with a few types and have settled on salmon heads as my favorite. If you have these they are great. Make sure to take them out of the fridge a few days in advance to get them a bit “soft”. We don’t want rotting bait but you do not want frozen bait and if it is a few days old it smells more. Crabs love this.
If you don’t have salmon heads, supermarkets, primarily the Asian style smaller markets have them, and you can usually get them for $2-4 dollars for a bag of 3-4 heads (depending on the size) I sometimes mix in a bit of chicken back with the salmon head and if you can’t get salmon heads, chicken back will work well. Use a large mesh bait bag so that the crabs can enter the pot, and actually sit down and play with the bait, this will keep them busy and inside the pot. I made mistakes at first with using bait that the crabs couldn’t really pick at. This is one of the biggest mistakes we see. The crabs will leave the trap when other crabs open the door to come in (revolving door problem). Putting the bait on the bottom of the trap not the top seemed to help with this as well. Also make sure the bait is well anchored to the bottom so it stays center. Centered bait will allow more room for more crabs to get into the trap and keeps them away from the doors. Anchor it well so the crabs can’t pull it towards one of the doors and make it easier for them to escape when their buddies open the door from the outside.
You can catch crabs at almost any depth but I have found that my best sets were between 50 and 60 feet. Though many guys will set their traps in rocky areas I found my best sets of the last couple months were on flat sandy bottoms.
Regardless if your are fishing from a boat, or smaller craft like a kayak or SUP, there are multiple great spots locally. To name a few, Spanish banks has fished well, and so have 2nd and 3rd beach, all three spots are great if you are launching a kayak.
It’s a great time to go now since the commercial crabbing season haven’t stared it, the crabs are plentiful and very tasty. My favorite recipe so far is the Cantonese “ginger and scallion crab with noodles” recipe. This is simply amazing. Link to recipe http://en.christinesrecipes.com/2013/06/ginger-scallion-crab-noodles.html.
ON TO THE FISHING REPORT!
The ‘A.S.’ Popper: It is not an Adult Toy – It’s a very Cool Cutthroat, Coho and Bulltrout Pattern!
I originally designed this popper 6 years ago for fly fishing coho off the beach. I have been fly fishing for coho in West Van for 30 years. I truly believe it is the hardest place to catch a coho in N. America and getting one on the surface is even harder. I came up with this popper hoping one day I could catch Coho on the surface like they do up north but didn’t have much luck in the first couple of years. After the first year of “trying” the popper for Coho, I was out cutthroat fishing and I ran into a bunch of cutthroat that refused to bite sunk flies. In an act of frustration I put on the popper. On the first cast 3 fish were fighting each other to get to the fly and for the next hour I couldn’t keep them off!
In the following years I tweaked the design to be lighter and push more water. We have caught bulltout on them when the fry are coming down the Squamish, we caught pink salmon off the beach and lots of cutthroat on the Harrison and the local beaches. I even got some elusive North Van coho to come to the surface this last beach season!
The Leland Miyawaki popper is what pushed me to design something lighter with more action. You will be hard pressed to find a lighter popper that casts easily but still pushes water and dances as it is swung or stripped. Come down to the shop and grab a couple for your box while quantities last. It doesn’t always work but there is nothing cooler than watching a cutthroat, bulltrout or coho come flying out of the water for a fly and there are times when it will fool fishing that refuse a sunk fly!
If you would like to know how to tie one please come into the store and I can discuss the tying instructions.
Fraser Valley Cutthroat Report – Harrison and Stave
Last weekend I had the students out for a course on the Harrison. The barometer dropped along with the snow level and there was no sightings of fish. It was windy, cold and rainy. This is not good news for trout anywhere as they hide and wait for high pressure to welcome the nice weather but that’s the way it goes, you can’t control nature. This week the weather was better and both today and Saturday look like great days to get out. I didn’t find any cutthroat at all on the Harrison last week but things could change over night. I did find them on the Stave river mid week. They were feeding on the West side but some other lucky anglers had beaten me to the spot. I didn’t want to crowd the other anglers so I sat back and watched. It was fun to see the fish rising.
The water was a little high so the fish were sitting in various slow parts of the flow waiting for fry to come to them instead of chasing.
Once in a while you will see “pops” on the surface which indicates that there is one or more sitting there, you want to cast a little upstream from the general area that you saw the pop and drift the fry to them.
Don’t always think that they are gorging on fry as the day heats up hatches of mayfly or stone flies could start so be ready to fish a nymph or a dry fly.
Squamish Fishing Report
I was out on the weekend and though we had some adverse weather we had some good trips. On Saturday the river was in shape in the morning but colored up late morning. Sunday was better and we had good fishing up to early afternoon. In the very upper reaches of the river a wall of brown water came down around 2pm. I don’t know how long it took to hit the rest of the river but it ended our day. I figure there is an unstable slide in the upper river that is dumping mud into the river. If anyone has any info on what is causing the blow outs I would love to hear about it. The main reason I would be interested is that the colored water did not correlate to a rise in the river levels and if we see more blow outs like this it will make predicting good fishing more challenging.
On a brighter note this week was quite cold and it should have frozen up any slides. I expect the river to be clear and at a good fishing levels into the weekend. We are going to see some rain Sunday and into next week but for the first time in more than a month it will be a small storm and should only rise the water levels a little.
On the weekend we did have some solid fishing. We caught a few bulltrout on egg patterns. I consider it a little late for using eggs but we didn’t see any sign of salmon fry so we focused on using sculpin style patterns and eggs and were rewarded. I am eagerly awaiting the fry but at least last weekend we didn’t see any.
I will be out this weekend and am going to focus on steelhead fishing with pink, orange and black and blue patterns but I will definitely have a box of fry patterns and some sculpin patterns just in case.
Good Luck on the water.
Chilliwack River Fishing Report
With the water level slowly dropping on the Chilliwack we can expect some good Spring Steelheading this weekend. There is some rain in the forecast but it shouldn’t hinder the water conditions. Downsizing your presentation will pay off especially if you’re fishing the upper river where fish can become “trouty”. The addition of bait to your presentation is critical. If your fishing a trout bead or a Jensen egg I would highly recommend adding a roe bag or a chunk of prawn. Fresh fish are still moving through the lower river so there are still some aggressive fish around but there are also may stale fish, so it pays to get technical. If you get Steelhead roe take a look at last weeks report were I gave simple instructions on how to prepare it. Steelhead roe is one of the best technical baits.
With the river dropping Fly Fisherman will be able to find more fish-able water and spots will slow down making swinging a fly much easier.
Another way great way to target Winter Steelhead to bite is with spoons and as the water temp rise you will want to have a couple in your kit. There are a couple ways to fish a spoon. You can swing, jig, or flutter spoons and trying a few methods in each spot can pay off with some of the the most violent strikes. The rigging is simple just attach the mainline directly to the swivel attached to the spoon and start casting. A line I recommend for this is 17lb Stren. It’s a high-vis monofilament line which turns clear below the surface. The fact that it is visible helps with mending and line control which is crucial for spoon fishing. Unlike Maxima this line is very cast able which makes it a favorite for fishing big rivers or casting light spoons. If you can get your hands on “Spoon Fishing for Steelhead” by Bill Herzog you won’t be disappointed, this book is the bible for spoon fishing.
Good Luck on the water!
Vancouver Salmon Fishing Report
This week was much better for weather once that big storm system pushed through on Sunday. There were some beauty days on the water mid week and we were happy to be out personal fishing as well as on charters.
The harbour has been pretty darn good for a few weeks now with fish off W. Van shoreline in 90-120 feet of water, the Mile Markers and Bell Buoy in 90-130 feet of water and the Freighters in 120-140 feet of water. The usual tactic of keeping your gear just off bottom and covering water has produced some chinook from just legal size all the way up to the high teens!
Howe Sound continues to produce similar sized fish from just legal size up to the high teens. There are lots of undersize in the mix as well, so that is encouraging for the future.
Crabbing has been decent in the harbour. It’s usually a little better this time of year, so we will see how things progress as we get closer to April. If yoou missed it check out the feature Lars put together on crabbing.
Hot flashers have been the Oki’ Chartreuse Glow, and Green Onion Glow. Hot spoons have been the 3.5 Irish Cream, Homeland Security and Kitchen Sink. Hot Pesca spoons have been the 3.5 Gut Bomb and Leprechaun. Bait has also been producing as good or better than spoons. Anchovies in a green glow teaser head has been hard to beat. We have been using 5 to 6 foot leaders with our spoons and bait.
The Hump fishery is just around the corner. Last year it picked up a little earlier than normal, around April 10th. By April 15th it was in in full swing. Spring sure seems to be making a push to be early this year. Perhaps this will give us an early start to the Hump again this year.
As always if you have any questions about the report or even better have a report for us, don’t hesitate to call the shop at: 604-872-2204