We managed to get in a few great days out on the water in between the weather systems that have been passing through the lower mainland the past week. Coho fishing on the Squamish, Chilliwack and Harrison were productive all week and sturgeon fishing on the Fraser continued to be hot. Stillwater fishermen continue to enjoy an extended season as interior lake fishing is still going strong.
While we hate to sound like a broken record, there yet is another round of rain predicted this weekend which will likely blow out a majority of the rivers. Looks like you will have the weekend free to organize your gear tie up some flies and put the finishing touches on your Halloween costume. Keep an eye on the water level graphs as the rain lets up, as we should see some good fishing once these rivers come into shape post rain.
Due to popular demand we’ve added a third day on the water for our Fly Fishing Egg Patterns course. Don’t miss out on learning this highly effective method for targeting trout, char and salmon!
Tying Intruder Patterns
This course is designed for those that are interested in tying steelhead flies in the “Intruder style”. This style of fly is extremely productive for steelhead and salmon due to its profile and movement in the water. During this two night (5hr total instruction) tying series, you will learn the very specific techniques and unique materials used to tie this fly. This course is suitable for intermediate to 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: Nov 16 and 17
Time: 7:00pm to 9:30pm
Fly Fishing Egg Patterns – New On The Water Date Added
This course is designed to teach you the secrets to one of the most productive presentations in the BC fly fishermen’s arsenal; nymphing egg patterns. This deadly method can be used for different species of trout, char, and salmon. During a 3-hour evening seminar we will teach you key concepts, strategies, and gear that will give you a well-rounded foundation during the seminar portion of the class. Then you will put those skills into practice during a fully guided day on the water.
Dates: Seminar: Nov 18 Guided: Nov 27 – New DATE!
Seminar Time: 6:30pm to 9:30pm
The coho fishing picked up this past week on the Chilliwack but it looks like we may need to take a break for a few days given the weather we are expecting this weekend. With 50 plus millimeters of rain in the forecast for the Fraser Valley for this weekend, there is a good chance the river may blow out. The blow out will hopefully help the fishing as it will rest the river and keep pressure off the fish for approximately 48 to 72 hours depending on how cold it gets at night.
There are a good number of chum salmon in the river, targeting those fish with jigs tipped with prawn or swinging popsicle patterns in different shades of purples or pinks will have you a good number bites. Watch the water level so you can see when the river begins to drop into shape. Here is the link for the water levels graph.
The North Shore will see some rain this weekend so I wouldn’t be surprised if they decided to release some water from behind the dam, which will definitely effect fishing. Come November 1st the rivers bait ban is lifted so the use of natural bait and scents is permitted. Typically fishing on the Cap begins to taper off now but you may still have a few good weeks. If you’re heading out I would recommend looking for fresh fish that are pushing in with the incoming tide. Float fishing roe, jigs, colorado blades, and wool ties for the conventional angler are the best options. Stripping sparse coho flies in the deep pools with a full sink line is the way to go for the fly fisherman.
The Squamish was close to being in shape earlier this week and we enjoyed some great fishing. Fly anglers had the most success with white and chartreuse patterns while those fishing gear found chartreuse and copper spinners were productive. Remember to fish for visibility and match your presentation to the conditions.
The river coloured up on Wednesday night with the rain and fishing was harder on the main river yesterday but the tributaries fished well. With the rain last night that falling as we type, the main river will definitely be dirty and will likely not fish well all weekend but the tributaries might hold and fish well. Again it all depends on how much rain actually materializes. As we mentioned in last week’s report, egging has been excellent where you can find clear water and the coho are coming in in good numbers. Fishing should be first-rate when the river drops and clears, so as with other rivers, be sure to watch the graphs closely.
As always remember the Squamish System is 100% catch and release for all wild species. Retention of one hatchery coho (adipose fin clipped) is permitted. Be careful when identifying your catch, hatchery coho are rare on this system.
The Harrison has seen some more coho and chum moving into it this week, pretty much right on schedule as it usually picks up late October. Fishing was decent, and probably would have been hot, if it weren’t for a good number of nets in the Fraser this week. There was a commercial and First Nations chum opening this past week which saw the Lower Fraser blanketed with gill nets and the Fraser up around the Harrison also had its fair share of drift gill nets and beach seining. This cleaned out a lot of chum and likely some coho and Thompson steelhead as well.
We were fishing the Harrison quite a bit this week on personal trips and guided trips and although we did have some pretty good coho fishing, you could definitely see the effect the nets were having on migrating fish. A drive over the Port Mann this week would have shown the virtual wall of gill nets any chum, coho, or Thompson steelhead would have to navigate past. If you want to make a difference you can donate or join the Steelhead Society of BC as they are lobbying against such openings and are also writing letters.
Okay, enough with the politics, I will get off my soapbox and get back to the fishing. We were doing well on smaller flies on the retrieve in the slower pools and back channels. See the picture below for some of the more productive patterns and we have these for sale at the shop. We also had some success on smaller spinners and spoons in the copper and brass. The rain on Friday and this weekend should move some fish around, bring some fresh fish in, and perhaps send a few fish up the Chehalis, but all in all fishing should be good for coho on the Harrison for about the next 2-3 weeks.
Things are close to wrapping up on this fishery as the Skagit is closing on November 1 until next year. It was an interesting season with the river closers but for the time is was open we had some excellent fishing. If you missed fishing the Skagit this season it is worth looking forward to next year. Practice your nymphing this fall and winter on bull trout and you will be prepared to make that perfect dry fly drift next year on the Skagit.
The Stave River has been doing fairly well for chums and anglers have been reporting catches of coho as well. Jigs have been the top producer for chums as of late with spoons and spinners being the choice of those targeting coho. Adding scent to your jigs or spoons can give you an edge when fishing heavily pressured waters or areas with high angler numbers. Being able to make your presentation even slightly different than others can sometimes be the ticket to getting these fish to choose your offering over theirs.
Various oils and pastes added to your jigs or spoons are great ways to add scent without impeding the action of your offering. Flies have consistently been the same over the past few weeks with a variety of sizes and colours being the key to success. For fresh fish, flashier and pink have been great choices, with smaller copper flies being bit by fish that have been in the system for a few days to a while.
The tidal portion of the river is still producing some decent coho for those fishing from either a boat or the shore. Spinners and spoons have been the choice of anglers fishing along the various points and shoreline with anchovies and white hoochies being used by those running boats. If fishing from a boat, most anglers have been finding success on incoming (flood) tides and running their gear shallower than when fishing for springs.
For those anglers looking to change things up from the usual fall salmon show, sturgeon fishing has been on fire. With multiple customers, including ourselves, reporting of multi-fish days often exceeding the teens, now would be a great time to get out on the water with some friends and pull on some dinosaurs.
Being a strictly catch and release fishery, anglers can hope to tie into the fish of a lifetime. Besides the possibility of ‘The Big One’, there are plenty of smaller fish to go around, and for those who’ve never caught one before, they are great fish to learn on for when the big one bites. A big thing I noticed was the importance of matching your weights to the speed of the river. When moving between spots, we would switch out our wedge weights to suit the current conditions. I was impressed at the variety of sizes we carried as well as how well organized everything was.
From the shop, a handful of us have been going out over multiple days here and there, with us all finding great success. These are hard-fighting and incredibly smart fish that at one time were grossly over-harvested and still face the dangers of illegal poaching. With never-ending conservation efforts, it’s great to see these fish become a viable fishery that gives us all a chance to fish for something besides salmon. If you see something suspicious, please call the RAPP hotline.
If you’re interested in giving this unique fishery a go, come on into the shop to talk to any of us- we’ll help get you set up. We carry a variety of gear including weights, lines, reels, and bait to help get you out and on the water.
For those willing to brave the rain for a few hours you can hit the local urban lakes in the lower mainland to take advantage of the fall stocking that was done earlier this month. Check out last week’s report for links to some tips and techniques from our friends over at Fishing with Rod.
Thanks to unseasonably warm temperatures positive reports from interior lakes continue to roll in. The most productive technique reported this week is again micro leeches fished under and indicator on the shoals or by stripping in the fly on a clear intermediate line.
As we move into November and the overnight temperatures start to drop to below freezing we’ll start to see fishing slow down a bit. That said it is still forecasting warm temperatures in the day so lower elevation lakes are a good option of you’re looking to squeeze in one or two more stillwater trips.
There are still a few die-hard anglers searching for coho and chum off the South Arm of the Fraser, but for the vast majority of anglers, this year’s salt season is finished. Those who have been catching fish down south have been doing well with anchovies and flasher in the 30-65 zone on the riggers. Spoons and white hootchies have also been producing some fish. The rain this weekend will likely draw all but the latest of coho and chum up the Fraser, so fishing will likely come to a grinding halt down south pretty quick. The next fishery on the horizon is winter chinook, aka feeders or winter springs. This fishery usually gets going around mid December in our local waters and will be covered in more detail in future reports. In the meantime it is November next week and that means maintenance. This is a good month to get the boat out of the water and fix all those little things that drove you crazy all summer.
See you in the boatyard or at the shop!