This week’s big focus is lake fishing. Things are still a little cool in lake country but we are starting to hear solid reports and we expect more on the way. Weather in Merritt is a little cool but warming up this weekend and into next week. With 18 degree weather coming at the end of next week it is time to start planning a trip.
With this in mind we have a number of cool features on essential gear to stay warm in the early season. Lake fishing this time of year can be some of the best of the season but many people forget how cold it is in the interior at night or early in the morning on the lakes. We may have packed away our gloves and layering peaces for down in Vancouver but you will need them if you are heading up to lake country. Don’t miss out on great deals on lightweight jackets and layering piece for spring lake season.
On the fishing techniques and fly side of things, we just received another shipment of Bryce’s Magic DT balanced micro leaches. These are a must have in your fly box for your next trip. Read the special feature on these below!
Though there are still a few niche river fishing opportunities in the Fraser Valley, for the most part freshet has arrived and most rivers will be a challenge to fish with the high water levels.
Saltwater fishing continues to be nothing short of excellent. Locally we are getting fish from the Hump, Bell Buoy and QA marker. If you have the time to run farther afield we have had exceptional fishing across the straight. Fish are getting a little bigger but fishing is also getting a little more technical. Check out Jason’s report for all the details.
CLASSES AND COURSES
Join us in the classroom this month. There are still a couple of spots at the tying table for Andre’s Tying Beach Fly Patterns course and a few seats in Matt’s Introduction to Lake Fishing Course. Call the shop to sign up today and get dialled in for the upcoming season!
Tying Beach Fly Patterns
Join Pacific Angler for a 3hr evening seminar of tying flies specific to catching salmon on our coastal beaches. Without a doubt, fly selection is critical while beach fishing. These flies are often not commercially available, so successful beach anglers learn to tie their own patterns. Your instructor will walk you through each fly pattern step-by-step. This course is suitable for fly tiers with a basic knowledge. 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: May 24
Time: 6:30pm – 9:30pm
Introduction to Fly Fishing Lakes
This course will give you an in-depth look at the fundamentals of fly fishing lakes. We explore equipment, techniques, major insect hatches and ideal lakes to begin with. You will learn all you need to plan your next successful lake trip to one of BC’s 5,000 lakes! This course is comprised of one 3hr evening seminar.
Dates: May 30
Time: 6:30pm – 9:30pm
FRIDAY FEATURE PRODUCT
Lake Season Layering Pieces!
With many local and lower-elevation lakes already iced off and starting to turn or fish well, it won’t be long until those a little higher up start to follow suit. With many anglers looking at getting new gear, the one most often over-looked is that used for proper comfort and warmth. Just because there isn’t ice doesn’t mean that the air or water isn’t cold. Along with air temps and sunny skies, a lot of valleys are prone to quick passing storms and showers. Proper layering plays a key role in not only comfort, but also success as it allows you to focus on the fishing and all that goes with it (hatches, indicators, etc.).
At Pacific Angler, we have a wide range of layering pieces that start with those worn next to skin, all the way to the outer shell.
Next to skin layers are important for wicking moisture away from the skin to the next outer layer. This next layer is what absorbs the moisture to eventually allow it to evaporate and ‘breathe’ away through your waders and shell.
We have both upper and lower body next to skin pieces from Simms, including the famous Montana Wool series, along with both Guide series and Wader-Wick. To help keep you warm out on the water, all layering pieces are 10% off this week!
As for that dampening rain that is often associated with spring, the Simms Hyalite shell is one of our favorites. It’s light, packable, and perfect for stowing away when not in use. Rolled, folded, or crumpled, this packable and breathable shell is ideal for sudden sprinkles all the way to passing showers. Available in Olive, this jacket doesn’t stand out on the water and can help you also blend in to shore for those fishing without a watercraft. For this week only, the Simms Hyalite jacket is 15% off!* (*olive and in-stock only)
In regards to comfort, one area that often gets over-looked is the hands. With cool temperatures mixed with clear skies, anglers often forget to protect their hands. Not just for the flats, but to protect your hands in general from the suns harmful UV rays, the Simms Solarflex glove is a great light-weight glove that doesn’t compromise sensitivity for functionality. With an open palm design to help feel the rod, these gloves are lightweight, dry quick, and are easy to pack into just about any nook or cranny- leaving no excuse to not have them. For this week only, all Solarflex gloves are 10% off!
If you have any questions or want help with dressing for success, come on in and any of us here will be more than happy to help get you kitted out.
DT (Duo Threat) Balanced Leech
Bryce Franks, former Pacific Angler team member and Lake fishing expert/fanatic is once again tying his famous DT leech. This is an extremely productive pattern for all of our lakes and one you should not leave home without. We have a bunch in stock right now. Take a look at this article below and come down to the shop to pick a few up or look at the materials you need to tie this extremely productive lake pattern.
Trout are inherently curious fish and the DT leech tries to look very natural but also have a number of trigger points that entice picky fish to become “curious”. I have found the DT balanced leech pattern excellent in attracting fish during hatches that you cannot match properly or simply searching for fish when you are unsure of what fish are keying in on or the fish on not feeding heavily.
These pictures were from last week (2017) on a day were the fishing wasn’t hot and the DT leech saved the day on 3 very healthy fish.
When using beads on the heads of your balanced leech patterns make sure that the wider part of the bead faces the front of the fly. This opening at the head of the fly creates bubbles and sounds under the water that will turn your fly into the duo threat (DT) pattern. Visual and audible. The photo shows the opening and the bubble forming in the bead.
Knot: (note placement of knot)
After playing around with the weight at the head of the fly to get it balanced properly, I figured out that the KNOT is just as important as the weight. I typically fish all my flies on a loop knot to enhance the movement of my fly. The opposite is required for the balanced leech to perform as intended.
By using the improved clinch knot on a balanced leech you can cinch the tippet tightly to the hook. Ideally, you move the knot back along the eye of the hook towards the underbelly of the fly. This keeps your fly in the balanced position.
I tied up 8 balanced leeches with varied weights. None balanced properly with the loop knot as the loop knot allows the line to slide up and down on the eye of the fly and keeps it from being balanced. I switched over to the clinch knot and 7/8 flies instantly became perfectly balanced.
Pacific Angler will be carrying the DT Olive/Black leech as well as the DT Black/Herl version this season. Both patterns have been tested and I’ve had great success with both. I’ve fished both under indicators from depths of 3ft to 20ft.
Tight lines and tan lines!
FRESHWATER FISHING REPORTS
Capilano River Fishing Report
Well it is finally May and we are starting to see more Spring-like weather, and this coincides with the beginning of the highly anticipated coho season on the Capilano. This is a unique fishery in the Lower Mainland that is tough but can be extremely rewarding. This early run of coho typically starts at this time of the year and numbers continue to climb until July, with both freshwater and saltwater fishing opportunities available. Gear fishing and fly fishing are both effective for these fish but which technique to use will be dependent on water levels. In general pro-cured roe, colorado blades, spoons, and spinners will be the weapons of choice for gear anglers when water levels are higher, while fly anglers do well with lower water on small olive patterns such as olive leeches and olive wooly buggers with heavy sinking lines. These coho only average 1-3lbs with the odd 5lb kicker at this time of year so scale your gear accordingly.
It is still very early and we don’t expect fishing to be consistent for another few weeks but we have heard of one or two seen sneaking up river so the time is near. If you want to go for a hike up the river you might get rewarded. We will check back in when we start hearing more consistent reports.
STILLWATER FISHING REPORTS
Local Lakes Fishing Report
The fishing on the Lower Mainland lakes has been good; not particularly hot as of late but it is still very possible to do well on a good day. These fish can be taken on an extremely wide array of baits, lures, and flies, and one of the keys to success in this fishery is figuring out which of these they want on that particular day. Since there are many different ways to target these fish, it is always a good idea to have a few tricks up your sleeve when the bite gets tough. Come talk to us at the Shop to learn a new technique or two to add to your trout fishing arsenal this week!
Interior Lakes Fishing Report
Lakes are starting to heat up a little bit, more and more positive reports are coming in from the interior lakes. It is still a little bit cold on some of the lakes but for those who can choose the nicest day to be out there are rewarded with good fishing. Most of the food source is still leeches and scuds and for those who love to fish chironomids it is just beginning to produce. I have seen pics posted from Brian Chan with a majority of the hatches being on the small side but with a couple of bigger ones in the glass vile, this indicates that the water temps are rising day by day. The fish are still in the shallows so start your day by fishing a balanced leech (check out our special feature section on the DT balanced leach.) under a strike indicator and change up to fishing scuds as the day gets warmer always have a chironomid out on your second rod while you are fishing the other one that is in your hand. The weather patterns are not stable yet so dress warm as the winds could be brutal out there.
The best reports are coming from Tunkwa with 50 fish days, Courtney, Edith, Corbett, Jacko and Roche are also worth trying. The Kane Valley Lakes are still a bit too cold and the road in from the 256 exit is a little bit washed out due to high water this year especially as you pass Englishman Lake. We have heard of others washing out with some of the extreme weather that is hitting the interior so be sure to do your homework before you head out on your trip. The forums and drive BC are good resources.
SALTWATER FISHING REPORTS
Vancouver Saltwater Fishing Report
The great fishing continued once again this past week. I can’t recall a season with such consistent spring time chinook fishing. If you look back at past reports from April and May you can see the fishing has been good for about 6 weeks now and I don’t anticipate this changing anytime soon. It is only mid May and just know we are getting into peak season for Thrasher and there are still lots of fish around at the QA and Bell.
Here is a basic recap of the week. Last Friday fishing was really good over at Thrasher and I was the only boat there, so definitely not crowded. Saturday it was too windy to get across so we fished the QA to the Bell Buoy and we boated 4 nice fish and even had a double header and Eddie had similar results. Sunday morning the ebb tide was slow in local waters and eventually the winds died down and we went to Thrasher and found some nice fish on the flood in the afternoon. The action also really picked up around the QA to the Bell in the afternoon on the flood tide that day. Monday was one of those special days. Limits in the boat by noon and a killer whale show on the way home as a pod of transients ate a seal just off the Hump. Boat maintenance on Tuesday and Wednesday for me, and back out to Thrasher on Thursday and the fishing was awesome. So except for one slow ebb tide on Sunday morning, the fishing has been extremely good.
Locally the Hump has only been so so, a few fish here and there, and the QA to Belly Buoy area seems to be as good or better. The hot zone is definitely 90-110 on the riggers and glow flashers with bait or spoons have been the top producers. Over at Thrasher the hot depths for me have been 135-175 on the riggers. I am happy to report that on Thursday night when we were fishing there that the algae and jellyfish finally seemed to be thinning out. I think the bigger tides are clearing it out a bit, at least for now.
As you know, “Thrasher” is a big spot. We have been fishing offshore and on the structure, with mixed results up on the structure. It is still a bit early to be fishing structure and grinding bottom in my opinion. I was reviewing our fishing journals and some of our record days at Thrasher have been on May 15 and May 17 and they were offshore in 600 feet of water anywhere from Entrance down to Thrasher. So don’t give up on the offshore fishery just yet, it is a big piece of water to cover and you have to put in the time to find them. A classic example is on Tuesday. I was working on one of the boats but Eddie was guiding some clients from N. Carolina on a Thrasher trip. It was slow all morning on the ebb and up on the structure, but offshore in the afternoon, on the flood tide, Eddie got on a school of fish and was into double digits and easy limits. Such is the nature of this area, it is huge and the fish move around a lot. As usual, hootchies have been excellent producers, as have spoons. The herring in the area right are in the 5 to 8 inch range so bigger spoons are working. We have been getting savage takes on 4 inch and 5 inch spoons. As mentioned in last weeks report, a Tomic plug is also a good choice if you don’t want to fish with flashers.
Commercial prawning has opened up so we won’t be dropping prawn traps anymore, but the crabbing has been decent.
If you would like to book a trip give us a call at 778-788-8582 and make sure to follow us on Instagram for mid -week updates. As usual, drop by the shop for expert advice on all the top producing flashers, spoons, and hootchies.