We got a reprieve from the heavy rain last week but this week we are back to the trend of rain leading up to the weekend. There is a big storm in the forecast for the north shore today and it could make fishing the Squamish area a challenge for the weekend. The weather forecast out the valley is not as bad and with any luck the Vedder will not blow out. The weatherman has been a little off this week so we will have to watch the river levels and see.
Even if the weatherman is way off and only a little rain comes we expect most systems to rise and color up. The silver lining is that last week we heard of a number of steelhead being caught. With this rain we should see good numbers of fish using the higher water to move into the rivers and it will shuffle the stale fish around and get them biting again. Check out the river reports for more information.
Cutthroat fishing is picking up and we have heard more reports of anglers seeing fry on the Harrison and Stave. Andre hit the water this week and we have a detailed report of his findings. It is still early and we need some more heat for things to really kick off but cutthroating should be a solid option for anglers looking to head out this weekend. Check out Andre’s Cutthrout report below for more information.
The winter chinook season is still going strong and it is only a month until we should start seeing the migratory fish off Bowen and across the straight. March is a great time to get boats ready and test the gear on winter chinook, so come into the shop to beat the rush in April. See Jason’s saltwater report on the winter Chinook scene below.
With cutthrout fishing heating up don’t miss your chance to learn how to tie Andre’s famous epoxy fry!
Tying Epoxy Fry 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. Students are required to supply their own vise, tools and materials. A 10% discount is available on materials and tools purchased for the course. Dates: Apr 4 Cost: $45.00 Time: 6:30pm – 9:30pm
We also still have one spot in our March 9th “Fly Fishing For Searun Cutthroat” courses. Call to sign up today! 604-872-2204
Fly Fishing For Searun Cutthroat Trout In Rivers
Seminar Mar 9th , Guided Mar 12th or 13th (One Spot left!) Date 2: Seminar Mar 29 Guided April 2nd or 3rd (3 Spots Left!)
This spring make sure you get out and take advantage of the world-class cutthroat fishing in the Lower Mainland. This cutthroat course is designed to educate you on the life cycle, location, seasonal feeding habits, and successful techniques and flies used to catch these elusive yet aggressive fish. This course consists of a 3hr evening seminar and a fully guided day on the water. Call to sign up today. 604-872-2204.
Feature Fly of the Week
We had a warm water theme for last month and though it is now March we wanted to give you guys one more tidbit of great warm water fly fishing advice. This week it comes in the form of a fly recipe. Earlier last month Lars Akerberg shared with us his “go to” shallow water, tailing bonefish fly for Hawaii. This week he has been generous enough to share his secret (well not so secret any more), Hawaii deep water bonefish fly. If you are heading to Hawaii for some bonefishing or anywhere else with deeper bonefish habitat, you will want to have this one in your box!
Deep Water Bonefish Fly – The Orange Special (El Percho)
Thread Danville’s 210 denier hot orange 100 yards flat vaxed nylon
Hareline dubbing inc – dyed pearl diamond braid orange
Hareline dubbing inc – Krystal flash hot orange
Craft fur tan
Hook 811s #2, preferred can use 800s #4 for shorter shank but stronger hook
brass dumbbell gold, medium
Originally this pattern was based on the famous “Christmas island special”. It is my go-to large bonefish fly for large Hawaiian bonefish. In later years, I have even had old clients from my guiding days fishing with this fly all over the world, and not only for saltwater but even freshwater. Try this for Coho up here in BC and you will be surprised.
I initially wanted a “fatter” version of the “Christmas island special” which was easy to accomplish, but what’s harder is to make a fly that swims balanced in the water, this is more crucial than most people think – it is crucial.
In my search for the “right” fly I spent countless hours of snorkeling around the flats, wile a buddy of mine cast and strip different flies in front of me. From this research of watching flies move in the water, and fish at different depth, I came up with the perfect hook/cone head mix. Tied on a size 2 TMC 811s, this fly will hold up nicely on 3XL bonefish, with 80% drag on a modern reel without giving in.
A close friend of mine, at the time the president at the Hawaii Pacific University in Honolulu, helped name this fly. While we fished one day together, I showed him one of my best “stay and wait” spots on one of the larger flats in Oahu, HI. The spot is 2-4 feet deep depending on the tide. It is hard to fish because of the depth, but if you wade out a bit, there is a rock you can stand on. Standing on this rock, or “perch” as he called it gives you the perfect angle for sight casting. On our first day with this fly we cleaned house, catching over 10 large bonefish from the rock in just a few hours. Since that day on that “perch” this fly has been referred to as “El Percho”
This fly is perfect for slightly deeper water sight fishing and when blind casting off the edge of flats. If you have any questions about the fly do not hesitate to call the shop and ask for Lars. 604-872-2204
ON TO THE REPORT !
Squamish River Fishing Report
We were out on the water last Saturday for our introduction to spey fishing course. Though we were mostly using wool to practice casting we wet a few flies at the end of the day and had the opportunity to talk to a number of anglers fishing. The water levels were quite low on the weekend and because of this fishing was challenging and we didn’t hear of any steelhead caught. That said early this week the river levels bumped up a bit and we heard of a number of steelhead as well as some good bulltrout reports. I looked for fry but did see any. That said, we were on the lower river and the first fry will probably be sighted up higher.
With the rain in the forecast this weekend it will be interesting. We had some anglers going out on our steelhead course and we are watching the water levels closely. We may get blown out but you will find with the Squamish system that just before a major blow out and just as the river comes into shape you will have the best fishing. If you are heading out watch the levels closely. If you can time it right you will be rewarded.
We are seeing a majority of our bulltrout taken on larger olive and black patterns using the swung fly technique. Steelhead have been caught low on the river with bright pink and orange patterns but we have heard of some steelhead in the upper rivers during the lower water coming to black and blue and purple patterns. The gear anglers are also hitting fish on 4 inch pink worms, medium gooey bobs and beads. With the weather and rising water you will want to step up to magnum bobs and 6 inch worms and fish tight to the bank this weekend.
Fraser Valley Cutthroat Fishing Report
After tying flies like a mad man for the last two months I decided to head out last Monday and Wednesday to see how things were shaping up for the the cutthroat season ahead. I started my hunt on the Harrison river. First I checked the levels on the graph before I headed out and it was just below 9.3 m. When I arrived both sides of the river could easily be fished on foot. 9.3m will be a good gauge for the season.
I started to walk along the shore and was surprise to see how many fry were around compared to last year. I waited and stared at the river for a good couple of hours hoping to see cutthroat slashing the fry but unfortunately they never showed up. I guess the bigger ones on the Harrison haven’t finished spawning yet or just didn’t decide to swim past were I was hunting. This was no surprise to me as I always say the last two weeks of February is the slowest time to find the bigger cutthroat.
I didn’t want to run out of time to check out other places so I left the river. After stopping at a few different spots, I ended up at the Stave river. The river levels were low and the sun was shining bright so my hopes of seeing cutthroat were minimal but after a long period of constant staring they showed up in the lower channels on the West side of the river. My heart was pounding from excitement and I could barely stop shaking. Fry were dancing on top of the water as they ran for their lives! I waited like a Heron until they were in casting distance and took my first shot and didn’t get a hit, I changed to a different pattern and tried again and again but no luck. I knew it was going to be a tough day with the conditions I was facing and I was right. I have been in these clear sunny situations many times and have been greatly humbled by these fish that make you want to break your rod and quit but I didn’t. I had to figure out the fry they were chasing. The size and how to strip is critical. After 5 hours of this battle I finally hooked one and landed it, I broke one off shortly after as I had to go down to 4 pound tippet. I have said this many times when they are picky and they can see you as you cast, you have one shot to put the fly in front of them. If you miss you have to wait for them to come around for another pass.I accepted the defeat and drove home. Of course I could hardly wait to go back on Wednesday and do the same route with much more favorable weather conditions for fishing and only to find out that they had disappeared.
All in all a good early start for the season.
Even with some rain in the forecast Harrison reacts slowly to bumps of water, unlike our steelhead rivers. I expect it will fish well over the weekend. As for the fry patterns the more variety you have in your box the better as I had to change several times to get a strike.The one that worked was the light green back with the silver body.
Chilliwack River Fishing Report
Overall the fishing on the Chilliwack has been decent this past week. Fish are spread throughout the whole system so covering water is key. We definitely noticed that some fish this week have been quite picky, which is to be expected. Some fish have been in the system for a few months already and have been hooked once or twice so they are quite wary at times. Best way to deal with this is with the addition of natural baits and downsizing your presentation. Fishing a Jensen Egg and wool with a dime sized piece of prawn, steelhead roe or a roe bag can be the ticket. When we get some warmer weather the emergence of salmon fry can be evident in side channels and in the shallows. Steelhead will strike at balls of fry so float fishing Colorado blades, Gypsy, and Hildebrandt spoons are great ways of triggering that strike. Keep and eye on the graph as there is some rain in the forecast, it shouldn’t blow the river out but it could add a little more colour.
Stave River Fishing Report
We are now into March, and with most rivers starting to hold steelhead, the Stave River is one to consider. Holding numerous species of fish to keep the angler occupied and interested, the Stave River has been producing a fun mixed bag for those venturing out it. There have also been reports of fry in the warmer shallows, so being open to various tactics and changing conditions may be the key to success. See Andre’s report for more on the cutthroat in the stave.
Small lures and flies on lighter weight fly rods and light spinning tackle have been the go-to for those seeking out feisty white fish and cutthroat with many anglers finding success on small bait fish patterns and nymphs. Small Dick-Nites, Hildebrandts are great spoons, with other small spinners being used by those tossing gear.
Anglers searching for steelhead have been finding them in the usual holding spots and runs, with both fly and gear anglers being successful. Drift fishing with the usual steelhead gear (worms, roe, Gooey Bobs, yarn) has been popular, as well as tossing spoons. The steelhead in the Stave are very ‘trouty’ and are often a by-catch of those anglers fishing for trout with trout gear. Stone fly nymphs and fry patterns have been known to take their fare share.
For those tossing flies, sparsely tied Popsicles, various sized intruders, as well as some traditional and classic patterns are all go-to patterns. Don’t be scared to drift a buggy black stone fly nymph through a run that has been worked over already.
This river does receive it’s fare share of pressure, so please be kind to your fellow angler, and to always pick up unwanted garbage left behind by others. Also, once one has retained their limit of hatchery steelhead, they must stop fishing that body of water for that calendar day- catch and release is not allowed.
Vancouver Saltwater fishing Report
We heard of some good reports this week from up Howe sound and near the bell in the harbor. One report was interesting with guys fishing large 4 inch Pesca spoons in the gut bomb and cluopia. This is interesting because most anglers focus on smaller spoons this time of year in the 2.5-3.0 inch size but the guys managed a good number of legal fish and the herring in their bellies were larger. Seals still posed an issue in the harbour but we also saw some good keepers caught off the bell this week.
It looks like there will be some wind in the forecast this weekend so check your weather reports before heading out. The tides look good in the morning for the entire weekend.
For those of you who haven’t got your boats ready for the season yet this is a great time to get ahead of the rush. The fishing off Bowen picks up mid April. We recommend getting your gear set up, and riggers working in tip top order now and then test them on some winter Chinook. This way you can oil out any kinks in the system before the season really gets going. Come down to the shop or give us a call if you need any help!
Good Luck out on the Water and call in any hot reports!
If you would like to get out on the water this week, give us a call at 778-788-8582.
Or for any questions on the report call Pacific Angler at 604-872-2204.