Well, we had lots of rain this week and that meant big high water on many of our rivers. While it was high it didn’t set high water level records, which is a good thing because though high water can wash out prime spawning habitat. With the high water fishing was a challenge but all the rivers are shaping up nicely for this weekend and the weather looks great to get out before the busy Christmas season begins.
The trout egg fishing should be good on all our salmon rivers for the next couple of days. Matt was out last weekend on the Squamish and though they had a few humbling moments they did find some fish. Check his report for a detailed look at what he saw on the Squamish. There are still fresh salmon around and though we think the egg fishery will have its challenges this season with the low chum numbers, they landed some fairly large bulltrout and more coho than expected.
The Vedder is close to shifting from salmon to steelhead fishing but there are a few coho and chum still around. Egg fishing is also worth a shot. Other systems like the stave are also a great option for fishing salmon egg imitations. We have details on both in the river reports below. The Harrison is a fishery that can be good in the late season and if you want salmon is still a viable option if you’re looking to get out and enjoy the sunshine in the forecast this weekend.
On the saltwater front the winter chinook season is starting and those that have been putting the tie in have been reward with some decent size fish this week.
Lastly if you missed the Steelhead Fly Tying Jam Session in the shop earlier this week Zach has a look at what the feature tyres were working on. This is our annual event to have fun, hang out with friends at the shop and get your steelhead boxes ready for the upcoming season. We saw some very cool patterns. If you are looking for some inspiration for your steelhead fly box you will not want to miss the report and pictures.
On to the report!!
INDUSTRY EVENTS + UPDATES
This past Tuesday evening we held our annual Steelhead Fly Tying Jam here at the shop. We had a packed house and a full spectrum of steelhead flies being tied by our feature tyers: We had our very own Andre Stepanian, Jordan Simpson and Zach Copland, THE Dennis Gamboa from The Fly Boxx , the legendary Ben Gehrke from Lagartun, and guide Dimitri Roussanidis. We had some great food and beverages along with lots of stories and laughs shared. We had a huge range of skill levels at the tables and everyone learned some new tricks and techniques to help improve their tying. Some highlights were the classic styled flies tied up Andre, some deadly dry flies tied by Dimitri, simple but effective tube flies by Jordan, Ben and Dennis tying up some deadly intruder style flies using the Fair Flies 5D brushes and fly fur and Zach showing off some different shouldering techniques for intruder flies.
Andre demonstrated how to tent and marry wings for classic styled steelhead and salmon flies at the Steelhead Tying Jam this last Tuesday. Tying this style of fly takes a lot of patience but the results can be extremely rewarding. These flies are true works of art.
Dimitri came up with some flies for late summer and winter run steelhead at Tuesday nights Steelhead Fly Tying Jam. He showed off a couple of his favourite dry fly patterns for steelhead as well as some of his go to’s for winter run fish.
Ben and Dennis showed how simple and quickly steelhead flies can be put together now by demonstrating a few techniques with the Fair Flies 5D Brushes and Fly Fur. These materials really make last minute flies a breeze to tie and they can be used in all of your favourite fly patterns as well as jigs!
Jordan took the simpler approach with his Steelhead Tube Flies. Jordan showed us some easy down and dirty fly patterns that go together quickly and fish really well. These flies have that profile that steelhead love.
Zach had a few tricks up his sleeve at the Steelhead Tying Jam. He showed us 3 different techniques on how to make shoulders for intruder style flies using Prop Hackles, Composite Loops and Fair Flies 5D Brushes. Each of these shoulder types have their place and they all give your flies a different look.
We want to thank everyone that made this 5th iteration of the Pacific Angler Steelhead Fly Tying Jam a massive success. We love having everyone in the shop sharing stories, tips and tricks over a nice cold Postmark Brewing Beer. Thank you to our feature fly tiers Andre, Ben, Dimitri, Dennis Jordan and Zach! We had a blast watching you teach us all your tips and tricks. Thank you to everyone that came! We really appreciate your support here at Pacific Angler and you guys and gals are the reason we love hosting these events.
If you weren’t able to make it to the event then fret not! We have some plans to run something similar in the New Year so stay tuned to the future reports in early 2019.
FRESHWATER FISHING REPORTS
Vedder River Fishing Report
The Vedder River still has some fresh chum and coho coming into the system. It is rare to find chrome fish this time of the year however you just might be lucky to find one. The river has fluctuated quite a bit with heavy rain this week. As we are writing this report it is coming but still high and murky.
As the salmon season on the Vedder is wrapping up it is time to start thinking about trout that came in the system and getting ready for the steelhead season ahead of us.
Trout can be targeted by egging and swinging flesh type flies or even spoons and spinners. Although not as many numbers as the Squamish you can still find them.
Steelhead will start to trickle in, as we get closer to Christmas. In fact, we’ve had some reports of ones already being caught. With steelhead fishing key thing is to move around the river. Unlike salmon fishing where you find the hole and fish on top of them, you have to find the fish. It is important to move around, so layer up and make sure you won’t slip on ice by adding some studs on your boots. Make sure it is a pleasant experience. You also need to understand the river and understand which conditions fish prefer and why.
If you’d like to get outfitted and educated for steelhead season come by the shop or give us a call and we can share our experiences and knowledge.
Stay safe and warm.
Squamish River Fishing Report
We held our annual egg fishing course this weekend. I will admit straight up that it was a little humbling. Conditions were good. We had good water height; about 3-4 feet of vis and the water had a nice green tinge.
The first day we managed to hit some of the best water on the river and we were rewarded with some nice bulltrout and surprisingly a good number of coho. It is rare that we catch coho when egging but not unheard of. On Saturday we hooked almost as many coho as bulls.
On Sunday it was tough to get in to fish the ideal water. I hit a few of my “secret spots” that are more off the beaten track. These runs may not be as good as the best runs on the river but historically they always produce. On Sunday they bit me in the ass and there were no fish. More concerning I didn’t see any signs of salmon spawning. In years past I could always find pods of chum in these areas and as we all know this is critical for egg fishing. Overall we had a great weekend on the water and we all learned a lot but I expect the season to be more of a challenge this year with chum numbers and subsequent egg numbers being low.
All is not doom and gloom we did hook a number of good fish on Saturday and I feel if you can find spawning chum I think the fishing will be good if not excellent. Finding the areas where salmon have been spawning will be the challenge.
If you want to give this fishery a try check out the videos we have on our advanced leaders and our rig video of how we deal with all the moving parts in a bead rig. This is critical when hands are cold and we want to maximize our time on the water.
We just had one heck of a blow out on Tuesday but it is coming into shape nicely. It is crisp so we are not going to see any snow melt. It should been great conditions for the next couple days. If we see cold weather continue we could see low and clear conditions that can be challenging next week.
Hike, cover water and though some of the coho are coloured there are still fresh fish in the system so don’t forget the salmon rods.
If you have any question call or come down to the shop. Good luck!
Stave River Fishing Report
The Stave River still has lots of fish, however, most of them are dark and spawning. It is better to leave these fish alone so that they may spawn without any stress.
Egging should pick up as more eggs will get washed down and trout will gorge on the eggs. It is important to match the colour and characteristics of the eggs they are feeding on. So be prepared with a few different options.
You can also target trout with small spoons and spinners as well as flies. These methods won’t be as effective as egging but will be an amazing experience fighting them on ultra light or light gear.
Steelhead will start to trickle in mid-December and it is important to move around the river to find them.
If you needed help with egging and trout fishing set up or would like to get suited up for the steelhead season come in the shop and we will gladly help!
Harrison River Fishing Report
The Harrison River has been known to get a small bump of coho a little later in the season compared to other systems. Be prepared to walk on either side of the river depending on fluctuating heights and always leave enough time to hike back to the car, especially with short days.
Anglers have been finding a few coho, and have also encountered the odd cutthroat as well. Small flash-flies on clear intermediate or floating lines is the way to go, but gear anglers can also find success on spinners, spoons, and jigs.
Remember to wade safely, and to keep track of time as it can be around a 45min hike back to the car from some spots and doing so in the dark can be tough.
SALTWATER FISHING REPORTS
Vancouver Saltwater Salmon Fishing Report
Fishing has been decent this past week in Howe Sound. Not a lot of numbers, but there has been some decent size ones to hand if you put your time in. Of course there are the usual undersize to keep you busy in between, so all in all, pretty standard fishing for this time of year. No fresh info from the Gulf Islands this past week, no surprise there as the winds weren’t favorable for a crossing on most days, and with the shorter days most anglers will stick closer to home.
The conditions look decent this weekend, at least for the weather. As far as debris in the water, well there is a lot of that, making fishing in some spots not so much fun and at times impossible. This is from the big rains we had that blew out the Squamish River and washed a lot of debris into Howe Sound. That combined with some pretty big high tides has made it a bit of a minefield out there. Keep your head on a swivel when running!
As far as gear goes, a variety of Gibbs and Kingfisher spoons have been working well for us on 5-6 foot leaders. G-Force in 3.0 and 3.5, Kingfisher in 3.0 and 3.5 and Skinny G. Hoothchies and bait will work also, but we are usually fishing spoons on a faster troll this time of year, trying to cover as much water as possible. Here is a picture of some leader boards I tied with some of my most productive teaser heads, hootchies, and spoons.
Keep your gear where the bait is, and that means close to bottom with 18 or 20 pound glow cannonballs. Green glow and chartreuse glow flashers are working very well too. Try Lemon Lime, BC, STS, and Chartreuse Phantom.
Prawning has been solid, no doubt about that. We have been dropping prawn traps on most of our longer trips. Crabbing is still mediocre.
See you out there these next couple of days!