It looks like March is going to come to a wet close. We battled the wet, chilly weather hit the water throughout the past week. It was a struggle on many fronts but there were some hard won successes and a few fish landed.
Saltwater anglers are seeing the consistent winter chinook fishing continue and we’ve even had a few reports of some early fish arriving off the “Hump”. We’ve got the full report for you below in the saltwater section.
If you’re looking to escape the rain predicted, read on for our course listing below or come visit the Pacific Angler F3T Pop Up Shop at this Saturday’s Fly Fishing Film Tour. This is a MUST SEE event. Drop by the shop to pick up your tickets or get them at the door on Saturday. More details below.
Finally, don’t forget to renew your fishing licenses! All licenses expire on Tuesday March 31.
March is almost wrapped up but we have one more awesome course to close out the month. Don’t miss out on Andre’s Epoxy Fly Pattern course coming up next Monday March 30. We also have a great line up of courses for April. Check out all the details below.
Tying Epoxy Fly Patterns
Epoxy fly patterns were developed here on the west coast to capitalize on the large fry emergence every spring. Pacific Angler will help you unlock the secrets to applying epoxy, which can be a very tricky material to work with. During the course your instructor will teach you how to imitate the different salmon fry species, the different methods to shaping bodies, adding eyes, and other important techniques. Course is suitable for intermediate/advanced tiers.
Date: Monday March 30 – 6:30PM – 9:30PM
Cost: $40 + GST.
We have a great lineup of courses in next month and they are selling out fast!
- Introduction to Fly Fishing – Seminar April 8, casting Sunday April 12
- Introduction to Fly Tying – Tuesday April 14, 21 and 28 (3 nights)
- Introduction to Chironomid Techniques – April 15, April 20 OR May 5
- Mastering Local Saltwater Salmon – April 7 SOLD OUT – Seminar April 27, on the water May 2 or May 3
- Introduction to Lakes – April 29
EVENTS AND REMINDERS
Fly Fishing Film Tour
The F3T Fly Fishing Film Tour is this Saturday night! Don’t miss out on a great night of fly fishing films, prizes and awesome deals at the Pacific Angler F3T Pop Up Shop!
Drop by the shop and pick up your tickets and we’ll throw in a free Costa hat and enter you to win a pair of Costa Cortez polarized sunglasses from film tour sponsor Costa Sunglasses.
Tickets for the March 28, 2015 film tour are available in store for $15 (cash only please).
Below are the links for renewing online for both fresh and saltwater licenses.
Check out our March 13 report licenses section for links to both fresh and saltwater regulations.
Pacific Angler is Hiring
We’re looking for some avid fishermen with a passion for excellent customer service to join our team! Check out the full job posting here.
We have seen a good amount of rain this week so the Cap will have some water in it. Fishing should begin to pick up in about a month as we start to see the arrival of some early coho. The prime time for the coho fishery is typically May and June, depending on the water levels. Float fishing roe, Colorado blades, and jigs are great options for gear fisherman heading out this next week. Swinging pink, purple, and black intruders or popsicle patterns are recommended if you are going to fly fish the river. There looks to be more rain in the forecast so make sure you check the “Cap Cam” before you head out to get a sense of the water levels.
April fools is almost here which means spring steelheading is upon us. Warmer weather and longer days will play a big role in helping you catch fish this coming month. The major rain predicted this weekend will have the river at a higher level. Fishing the edges, side channels and softer current seams will be the key places to target until the river drops back to a nice fishable height. As we approach the latter part of the season it’s time to think about fishing more neutral baits and flies. Smaller, more neutral and subdued presentations are better this time of the than most of the eye popping bright baits that we were fishing in the early season.
Think BIG! With lots of rain in our coming forecast we anticipate the river will be flowing big. This is great for migrating fresh steelhead. Swinging bigger flies in the raised flows with coloured water will be the best way to target the fish this weekend. Once the river begins to level off and drop, toning down your flies and leader will be the way to go in the clearer and lower water. Some anglers feel that fishing darker flies in the darker water is the best option as they feel the dark fly stands out and has the best silhouette in the dirty water. When in doubt, get out and give your favourite fly a chance, you never know what might happen.
As we head into April we are hoping to see good numbers of fry throughout the system. The appearance of salmon fry on the Squamish makes for one of the most exciting and productive fisheries in the lower mainland. We start seeing salmon fry in the shallows in the end of February and early March but it seems as though the majority of the fry will come out and be active when we start seeing warm days in April. With such a warm season we have already had successful days on the river and expect this to only get better over the next few weeks.
Unlike the always effective swung fly sculpin technique where we use a heavy sink tip short leader and olive or brown sculpin imitation, there are few things to consider and change in your presentation when imitating a salmon fry. The first thing to look at is your leader. Because of the size of fry we tend to lighten and lengthen out leaders. With the standard sculpin/streamer techniques we use heavy 4ft (8-12lb) maxima leaders. We do not have to worry too much about spooking fish but with fry, we like to lighten things up.
When using a sink tip we generally add 2-3ft of 6-8lb Rio power flex or Rio fluoro flex leader to the 4ft chunk of maxima to make the leader less visible and more importantly lighter. The lighter line will help the small fry pattern move more naturally with currents and buck it back and forth as it swings across the current. A couple of tips here, always use a loop knot to help with this and use fluoro carbon when the water relatively clear and mono when it is dirty.
This technique is great for when the water has a little bit of colour or the water temperatures are low and there are not many active salmon fry cruising the shallows. When things start to warm up over the day keep your eyes peeled for rising fish. This will literally look like a trout rising on a dry fly but on the Squamish it is usually bull trout or cutthroat slashing fry just under the surface.
When the water is cold fry stay close to the bottom and sometime just sit under and around rocks (hence fishing for them with sink tips) but when they move they commonly travel in the first few inches of water whether the water is 6 inches deep or 10 feet deep. When you see this rising happen, deep presentations are rarely as effective as a fry pattern fish just under the surface on a floating line. For this style of fishing break out your full floating line and run a 9-12ft, 6-7lb leader.
With the floating line, use the standard swung fly presentation but play around with the angle that the fly swings by mending. We have found that a more aggressive bow in the line as it swings can sometime increase your hit ratio. For flies when the fish become picky having a selection of Andre’s famous epoxy fry can be the difference between successes and failure but until they get picky I like fat epoxy style patterns. Get a few sizes of Andre’s standard pattern in gold silver and green combinations and make sure to get a few of his bigger “fat” fry or use more standard minnow imitations.
Good luck out on the water.
Matt + Dimitri
I had the students out last weekend for the cutthroat course. This Saturday was wet, windy and cold but one of our students still managed to get one and turn a skunked day around with a beauty cutthroat. Sunday was a much more pleasant day with fish chasing fry and showing themselves. But unfortunately the fish were elusive and it was more of a learning day than a catching day. Kudos to everyone for trying hard nevertheless.
There are a few things to consider when sight fishing: presentation, the fly and your cast. All play a role, especially when chasing cutthroat and this is what makes cutthroat fishing exciting and frustrating all at the same time.
Looking ahead, river levels are dropping. This gives us more places to fish on the river. At 9.0 meters and below you can fish both sides of the river. If the river rises above 9.3 then it best to have a boat to run around to different spots so always check the levels before you leave the house. The station to check is “Harrison River below Morris creek”. If the weather stays stable with high pressure, this could be a great season as there are already lots of fry out and fish have been caught.
Make sure to have fry patterns, March Brown and Golden Olive Stone flies as they are already coming off. Don’t leave your house without them.
This section of the report made an early comeback last week. With the early arrival of spring folks are heading out to fish the local lakes. If you are looking to spend a few hours fishing one morning or afternoon there are a number of great options throughout the lower mainland. While sometimes overlooked these local, more urban fisheries offer some easily accessible and fun fishing opportunities a short drive from home. They are perfect for the beginner angler or the more experienced angler who is looking to spend just a few hours out fishing. The website we introduced you to last week, GoFishBC, has a great list of local urban fisheries, including maps and overview of facilities at each location.
If you haven’t noticed already, spring is early this year and we are seeing the results of that in the interior lakes region. Some lakes have been ice free for as long as 5 weeks now due to the warmer than normal March temperatures and strong winds that broke up the ice.
Some of the lakes that are off already include Jacko, Edith, Stump, White, Six Mile, and Morgan. These are the ones we have heard of and there are likely many more as well. It is worth noting that Stoney and Minnie are already off up at Douglas Lake Ranch as well.
One of the best early season tactics is fishing a mini leech under a strike indicator. After a long cold winter the trout are eagerly searching the shallow, warmer waters in search of food. Leeches are a predominant food source in that region of the lake this time of year. Often anchoring out in the deeper water and casting in close the shoreline with a mini leech under an indicator is a deadly early season technique. Perhaps later in the day, between 11 and 2 you might see the first chironomids of the year coming off, so make sure you have mini leeches, chironomids, indicators, fluorocarbon, and micro split shot in your early season grab bag.
We just received our spring fly orders and we have some great chironomids in stock as well as Andre’s custom mini leeches that are always a top producer this time of year. Come down to the shop and stock up early, as these patterns can be difficult to obtain later in the year.
Fishing has been good this past week with a few chinook being caught in Vancouver Harbour, some fish up Howe Sound and some fish off S. Bowen as well. The better reports have been up in the Howe Sound area but you need some luck to be at the right spot at the right time as the schools of chinook are moving around a lot in search of herring.
One thing to note is there are some big fish around and we have hooked fish as large as 20 pounds! Most of the fish this past week have been “white springs” or “marbles” and have been in the 9 to 15 pound range. All this bodes well for the upcoming fishery off S. Bowen in the area know as the “Hump.” As mentioned earlier there are already a few fish being taken in this area but it usually really turns around mid April, so it is still a bit early to expect consistent results.
Not much of a change on flashers and lure choices. The Green Onion Glow, Purple Onion Glow, or other flashers with some glow tape on them are working well. We have primarily been fishing these 2 flashers with spoons and have had good results. The most productive spoons have been the Pesca 3.5 size in Leprechaun or Gut Bomb and the Kingfisher 3.5 in Yellow Tail, Irish Cream, Kitchen Sink, and Homeland Security.
Crabbing has really picked up the last few weeks and we have been coming back with limits on most trips.