We have spent a ton of time looking at the long term forecast over the last few days. We have focused on the long term because the short term forecasts have been downright depressing. Rain and wind hammered the coast all week and the rivers are very unstable. The positive news is that the long range forecast is looking good because it is getting cold. The unsettled weather is tapering off this weekend. Once again it’s hard to call if the improving weather will be enough to make this weekend good for fishing but if everything goes to plan hope is in sight.
Cold weather my not be the best to fish in but cold weather is what we need to clear up the rivers. If the weatherman is on his game we should see the first real cold spell next week. Temps will be below zero and the rivers should drop like a rock.
This is good news for the Squamish and the Harrison systems. Matt braved the weather last Sunday on the Squamish and had some solid fishing but the water was quite dirty and it was a challenge to find clear water. We are still not expecting much from the Harrison System but there is a glimmer of hope for the late season with some colder temperatures expected.
Winter steelhead are coming. We have already heard whispering of a couple fish being caught on the Vedder. It’s time to start tying leader boards and getting ready. Check out reports on the Capilano, and Vedder of more info.
Last but not least we are still hearing of fresh chum on both the Squamish and Stave. It is very late for both of these fisheries but worth a trip if you are heading out this weekend. The other option is egging on the Stave. This should pick up over the next few weeks and can be fun for targeting whitefish cutthroat and bulltrout.
Read on for all of the reports and we’ll see you in the shop, on the water or at next week’s Steelhead Society of BC’s Pub Night!
Fly Tying Jam Session
Thank you to all that attended Wednesday’s Fly Tying Jam Session! The event was a great success, selling out quickly online, and we plan on doing more in the future. A big thank you to Scott Baker McGarva, Dennis Gamboa, Scott Norris, Ben Gehrke, Andre Stepanian and Jordan Simpson, for tying flies and demonstrating techniques. There were people tying advanced classics, steelhead intruders, and people who tied their first fly ever, so it was great to see some old hands at work and new interest in the sport as well.
We enjoyed hanging out with everyone, sharing fishing stories and photos, making new friends and catching up with old ones. A big thank you to Kathryn Sharp who works so hard behind the scenes at Pacific Angler to make these events happen and make all us guys on the sales floor look so organized! Here are some photos from that night.
Check out these 2 photos. The first one is a dolly varden caught on the Cheakamus by Lawrence, photo by Noah. Noah showed us the picture on Wednesday night and we got a kick out of it. Look at all the eggs in the fish’s mouth. Dennis Gamboa was tying egg patterns at the event so it was fun to compare the 2 photos.
As you can see from these photos, it was a packed house. We had lots of locals and people from Whistler, Squamish, even Vernon, all here to tie, watch, learn, chat, and of course enjoy a few Postmark PSF lagers.
Thanks again to all our great customers, we love putting on these events for you, we know this one sold out fast and lots of people wanted to attend but weren’t able to, we hear you loud and clear, we will do some more.
The Steelhead Society of BC Annual Pub Night Fundraiser
If this is not already in your calendar put it in there. The Steelhead Society of BC is hosting their Annual Pub Night Fundraiser on November 30th 2016 @ Micky’s Public House in Coquitlam.
There are always amazing live and silent auction prizes up for grabs so don’t miss out on this event. All of the proceeds raised at this event benefit steelhead rivers in need by funding projects such as habitat restoration projects, conservation efforts/research, and much more!
We’ll see you there!
CLASSES AND COURSES
Our 2016 classes have wrapped up for the year. Keep an eye out for our 2017 Course listing to be announced soon! Thanks to all of our students for a wonderful year of support for our classes and instructors.
FRIDAY’S FEATURE PRODUCT
Andre’s Custom Tied Poppers
We have top water flies for both saltwater and bass fishing. These poppers are hand tied and hand painted with an air brushing system. These flies require a lot of time and attention to detail but unlike some commercial patterns they are tested to ride true and throw a lot of water. We also have Andre’s AS Popper in stock. This is the go to cutthroat and fry imitation popper. Designed light to cast on lower weight rods they are something special you will not find from commercial suppliers. Warm water season is upon us so if you have a trip down south make sure you check them out and for the bass and cutthroat poppers they are hard to get in season so it might not be a bad time to put a few in your box.
These amazing poppers are on sale for 10% off today, Friday November 25 through Thursday December 1st! (regular prices range from $11.99 from $13.99) Don’t miss out on this great deal.
Come down and check them out!
FRESHWATER FISHING REPORTS
Vedder River Fishing Report
With the anticipated rain and mild temperatures expect the Vedder to be high going into the weekend but the clarity will be good. The river should shape up nice for the first few days of December. There will be less fresh salmon around but you still may encounter the odd late running coho or chum salmon. There can be a late push of chrome chum through the lower river which can be quite fun if you come across a pod of them. Targeting these fish with a well-presented jig scented with prawn or sand shrimp oil can lead to nonstop action. A swung marabou popsicle pattern will get you in the zone if you are a fly angler. December 1 marks the start of winter steelhead fishing for a lot of people on the Chilliwack/Vedder River. December is by no means a hot month to go fishing but it doesn’t hurt to go for a walk with the rod in hand to relearn sections of the river that have changed after high water events. If you plan to fish steelhead this winter please keep in mind you will need to acquire a steelhead stamp for your license which you can do online. If you are new to this fishery and would like to give it a go we will be doing a re-fresher or how-to in the next coming weeks so stay tuned.
Capilano River Fishing Report
The Capilano has been quiet over the last week; there are some fish still milling about but finding clean ones will get progressively more difficult as we go along. Water levels have been fluctuating but for the most part have stayed in decent shape for those thinking to give it a shot. To weed out any fresher fish try tossing spoons or spinners or drift pro-cured roe. Fly fishing with smaller flashy flies can also produce some late season chromers as well.
While the fall salmon run on the Capilano is wrapping up there is a limited catch and release steelhead fishery that will be available in the upcoming months. This run is on the smaller side so if you do plan on targeting them please keep this in mind and treat them with the utmost care.
Squamish River Fishing Report
Last week we had our nymphing course on the Squamish. We spent a ton of time looking at graphs and debating water levels. On paper things looked good but the water clarity was a real problem. There was less than a foot visibility on the main stem Squamish on Sunday.
We fished hard and found a good number of fish but conditions were not ideal. Our theory is that the warm wet weather is keeping the river from clearing even though it was at a fishable height.
River levels are hovering around 3 meters on the graph. Once again it is hard to call the clarity at these levels. It rained yesterday and there is more rain in the forecast but it is getting cold at night. This could mean snow in the hills instead of rain. If you are planning on heading out hopefully there will be fishable water. It is worth keeping an eye on river levels and making the call in the morning of your planned day.
Surprisingly enough we are still hearing reports of clean chum on the lower river. Guys swinging flies and float fishing jigs are still consistently hooking fish. It will be interesting to see how long it lasts. Historically the chum would be over by now but we are not complaining.
Egg fishing is what we are usually focused on this time of year. When you find clear water the fishing has been good. We fished pail and bright eggs and found a number of bulltrout, a couple great rainbows and even a few cutthroat – so lots of options.
This fishery will last for the next 2 months. If you are interested come down to the shop and I can show you how I set up a float rod or a fly rod to take advantage of this great fishery. I have a number of unconventional tricks for rigging when hands are cold. I will be featuring these tricks in next week’s report so come down to the shop and ask or stay tuned for next week.
Harrison River Fishing Report
The Harrison River started dropping from 10.45 and leveling off at 9.9 meters, which is still not favourable for fishing and it started rising again due to rain in the last few days. The levels for the Harrison River are mostly affected from Pemberton as a majority of the water is fed into the lake from the Lillooet system. As soon as we hit freezing levels in Pemberton we should see a steady drop in river levels. Hopefully this will happen sooner than later so we can actually run to the river and see if there were a few coho that decided to show up late. Although peak seasons of a certain species end on our systems and you are already targeting something else there is always what we call a bycatch so the only way to experience this is to be out there fishing to be surprised by a late coho that decided to play.
Stave River Fishing Report
It is getting late in the season for the fall salmon run on the Stave but there are still a few clean chum and the odd coho being caught. If you are thinking about trying this system one last time for salmon then this week is the week to do it. Float fishing purple or chartreuse jigs can get the fresher and more aggressive chum while roe and spoons can attract coho that haven’t begun adorning their spawning colours yet. Of course both of these fish can be caught on flies as well, with bigger flash flies and popsicle patterns for chum and smaller flash flies and muddler minnows with a bit of sparkle for Coho.
There is also the possibility of pursuing resident trout in this system. Rainbow trout, cutthroat trout, bulltrout, and mountain whitefish will be gorging themselves on the salmon eggs, which can make for some excellent fishing with beads or egg imitations.
SALTWATER FISHING REPORTS
Vancouver Salmon Fishing Report
Well that was quite the windstorm on Wednesday night, but it looks as though things will be back to a more normal SE wind of 10-20 knots by this weekend. SE usually means rain, so if you are heading out this weekend make sure to dress warm and bring the hot coffee as it is going to be cold, wet, and windy.
There haven’t been a lot of boats out lately, as one would expect with the wind and rain, so we don’t have any hot off the press reports. So today we are going to take a look at spoons that are productive for winter chinook. As you likely know, these fish are actively feeding on herring. For the most part the herring are on the bottom and that is where we concentrate most of our fishing pressure. The water is often 160-225 feet deep. At those depths it is pretty dark down there so spoons with some glow on them are generally the most productive. The colour green also seems to work well on the spoons. This makes sense, as green and blue are the last colour spectrums to fade out as you go deep. Colours like red and orange fade out quickly in the water column, as you go deep they become more of a black or gray colour. So that leaves us with spoons that are predominantly green and glow, a common colour combination in our local chinook waters. Size is also worth considering. The bait this time of year is often 3 to 4 inches, so your spoon should be of similar size.
Here is a picture of some productive spoons for local winter chinook waters when fishing deep, just off the bottom. Notice the predominant colour in all these spoons is glow and green and these are all in the 3 to 4 inch size.
Fish these spoons with a 5 to 6 foot leader to your favourite glow flasher. We like to use 25-pound Maxima Ultragreen on our spoon leaders. The 25 is nice as it is not too stiff, so it allows the spoon to wobble more. Don’t use a heavy leader, like 40 or 50 pound, because a heavy monofilament line will actually slow down the action of the spoon.
We are heading out Sunday and Monday if the weather co-operates, so until then I will see you in the shop or on the water.