With the Labour Day weekend behind us it feels like we are officially into September. Saltwater fisherman have had another great week of chinook fishing and fishing off the Cap is staring to kick in. For those who are focusing on beach you can expect to see some coho now.
Fall lake fishing in the interior is starting to turn on with some solid reports from Tunkwa, Roche and Stoney Lake. While we haven’t had many reports from other lakes in the region we expect that any lakes in the area and same elevation are fishing well.
The second instalment of Sam’s overview of techniques for fall fishing on the Chilliwack is below, this week his focus in on fly fishing. We’ve got a full overview of river fishing below so read on!
As you look to fall fishing don’t hesitate to drop by the shop to get the latest report and gear for your next trip. Also, we’ve got a great line-up of courses this fall. Don’t miss out.
PACIFIC ANGLER IS HIRING AGAIN
With some of our awesome staff heading back to school this fall we’re looking for another great team member to join us here in the shop.
We’ve got a few spots left in some of our most popular September courses. Join Matt in his Introduction to Fly Fishing Course or grab the last spot in Dimitri’s Fall Salmon River Fishing Course. Due to the popularity of this class we have added a second date in October. Details are below.
Introduction To Fly Fishing
This course was specifically designed to give the new fly fisher the basic knowledge, casting skills and fly fishing strategies to effectively fish our local BC waters. This course is comprised of two sessions; 3hr evening seminar and a 3hr casting session. The dates below show the seminar date first and casting date second.
Seminar Date: September 16, 6:30PM to 9:30PM
Casting Date: September 19, 10:00AM – 1PM
Fall Salmon River Fishing: Floats, Spinners and Spoons – 1 spot left in Sept. Course!
This 3hr evening seminar covers float fishing, spinner fishing and spoon fishing; the three most productive techniques to catch BC salmon in a river. Upgrade your seminar to include a fully guided day on the water, putting into practice your new knowledge with a Pacific Angler guide.
Seminar Date: September 23, 6:30PM – 9:30PM
Due to popular demand new date added!
New Seminar Date: October 6, 6:30PM – 9:30PM
Upgrade this course to a guided trip!! Call us or come see us in shop for more details.
We have a full line-up of courses coming up this fall. Check out our full 2015 course listing here.
The Chilliwack has seen some nice conditions this past week with many reports of pinks in the Lower River in the Canal and by the Train Bridge. Best approaches for this fishery are float fishing pink jigs, wool, and pink dyed or Pro-Cured Prawns for the gear fisherman and stripping and swinging pink and chartreuse streamers, wooly buggers, and handle bars for the fly fisherman. There have also been a few reports of coho and chinook coming in as well, key word here being few. Saltwater fisherman have seen an increase in white springs off the mouth of the Fraser River so those fish are destined for a couple rivers in the Lower Mainland over the next few weeks and the Chilliwack is one of them.
Last week we talked about gear fishing for fall salmon this week we’ll touch on fly fishing the Chilliwack this fall for salmon. These techniques can be practiced on many of the Lower Mainland Rivers not just the Chilliwack.
When we are looking at rods for this fishery you are going to want to use a 7 or 8 weight rod anywhere from 9’to 10’ for Single Hand rods and 11’ 3” to 12’ 6” for the Switch/Spey side of the spectrum. You can fish larger Spey rods, +13’, but your limited to swinging flies in the classic runs (4-8 feet in depth with walking pace speed water). Those runs hold fish don’t get me wrong but you’ll miss out on the side channel with no current, or “Frog Water” as we call it that is stacked with coho. So either bring two rods or maybe consider one that will be more versatile.
For reels you want to look at one that is first appropriate for your choice rod, for example a 7/8-weight reel that balances a 7-weight rod. A large arbor reel is recommended for quick line pick up and a substantial drag to slow or stop fish. Reels with a smooth drag with little start up will land you more fish than one with a clunky drag that sticks and takes more inertia to start up, you won’t break off those fish close to the beach on light tippets that want to go for one more run. A couple reels that come to mind are the Sage 3280, 4280, 3 Tand TF-70, T-70, and the Nautilus FWX 7/8.
Rio carries quite a few options for lines. Rio VersiTip ll is a good jack of all trades line that can cast sink tips on a single hand, it comes with 4 different sink tips which will allow you to cover all types of fishing from swinging to stripping flies. OutBound Short, StreamerTip, and MainStream Sink Tip lines come with a 10 to 12 foot integrated sink tip in sink rates of 1 and 3 inches per second. Full floating lines such as the Rio Gold, Grand, or even the General Purpose Saltwater are great for a long leader and weighted fly as well as casting a light poly leader. Full Intermediate lines do get the job done as well as they excel in those deep stagnant pools with a sudden drop off.
Leader line can be made up of 10lb to 15lb Maxima with a 10lb to 12lb Fluorocarbon tippet (AirFlo Sightfree, Seaguar Blue Label, and Rio FluoroFlex) or sometimes straight Maxima when swinging flies. Conditions will be a factor when choosing how to setup your leader. Dependent on the conditions and style of fishing you are doing you may increase or decrease the length and strength of your leader.
When walking the river looking for decent holding water look to runs 3 to 8 feet in depth with walking pace speed water. Looking for structure in these runs such as cutbanks, fallen logs, boulders, and shady patches on sunny days will up your odds of hooking fish. Don’t walk past the stagnant water or back channels, as these can be honey holes for Coho and Chum. These spots can range from 4 to 12 feet in depth. Dialing in the right depth and the right strip is critical when target these fish, approach with caution, as these fish are very wary.
Chum, coho, chinook, and pink salmon will readily take a fly, there is no need to intentionally snag or floss fish. Presenting the fly appropriately and under the correct circumstances can lead to many great days on the water. You should have a good selection of salmon patterns for river fishing as the conditions can change in a matter of hours and fish can get quite tight lipped. Larger Popsicle patterns to sparse streamers and even to glo bugs at times.
We offer two courses that I highly recommend for Fly fisherman just getting into salmon fishing “Fly Fishing for Salmon in Rivers” and “Fly Fishing for Coho in Rivers”. Check our course listing for upcoming dates as they are filling up quick.
If you have any questions concerning Fly Fishing for salmon in rivers please feel free to stop by the shop.
The Squamish River is sitting at a good level on the graphs and should fish well this weekend. We won’t see rain until mid next week and we expect is to drop over through Saturday and Sunday.
We are still hearing reports of fresh pinks moving through the lower reaches of the river on and around the high tide. If you are heading up there be very aware that you should use all means possible to not snag fish. There are some many in the system it can be a real challenge to “catch” the fresh ones and not snag the old stale fish.
As outlined in previous reports to avoid snagging we recommend lighter sink tips, lighter flies and shorter leaders. When fly fishing the Squamish use light to medium sink tips with short 4ft 10lb leaders. I tend to use pink and chartreuse patterns in the 1.5 to 3 inch size and tie them bushier than the beach style patterns so they stand out in the water. Come by the shop and we can show you some options. If you are gear fishing focus on pink and chartreuse spoons. Another great option to avoid snagging is to float fish with pink and purple jigs or simply pink wool. If the water is coloured go with bigger lures and if it is clear go as small as you can. In short we recommend having a variety of options with you when you head out.
The Squamish is now catch and release for pink salmon per all other wild species. It is also strictly a single barbless fishery.
If you have had your fill of pinks it is almost coho Time! Though early, we expect the first reports of coho to trickle in over the next 2 weeks. The river will light up when we get our first cold spell and this is historically somewhere from the 20th of September to the 15th of October. If you want to get out for prime time next month with one of our famous guided coho salmon drifts on the upper Squamish river it is a great time to book to make sure you get prime time dates from mid October to mid November. Give us a call at the shop and we can put you on the short list!
As we reported last week salmon fishing is now open and retention for chinook, pink and chum salmon is now available. For more information please see this fishery notice.
Reports from the river have been noting that fishing has been first-rate with good numbers of chinook being landed by bar fisherman. Pinks are also in the system so now is the time to get out. If you’d like to fish for sturgeon that is a great option as well this time of year. Talk to Sam here in the shop for some tips on fishing from store or ask us about a guided trip.
The tidal portion of the Fraser has reopened to salmon fishing. Be sure to familiarize yourself with the regulations and limits for this fishery. Details are outlined in this fishery notice but for reference retention of chinook, pink and chum salmon is now permitted. No fishing for coho and sockeye are allowed.
The Capilano is closed to fishing above the Highway No. 1 Bridge, be sure to familiarize yourself with the river and the closure location.
The Chehalis is closed to fishing.
The Skagit is closed to fishing.
The Mamquam is closed to fishing.
Local lake fishing will continue to be slow until lakes are stocked again later this fall. If you are planning on heading out, remember that morning and evening is the best time to get out there.
Tunkwa lake is fishing well with the top producer being green chironomids in size 12-16 fished in depths of12-17 ft. Roche Lake is also fishing well on olive scuds in size 16, dragon nymphs and black balanced leeches with red bead under a strike indicator. Although there was a winter kill there are some hogs swimming around otherwise the average fish that are being caught are around 20 inches. The surface temperature at Roche Lake is 55 degrees. While I have only had solid reports from these two lakes I am sure any lakes near by or in the same elevation should be on.
Customer Report – Stoney Lake
Had the pleasure of spending some time on Stoney Lake this past week and the fishing has been hot. There wasn’t much of the summer doldrums as the lake fishes well all year but it’s really heating up now.
With the cooler weather the fish have started to move into the shallows and feed heavily in preparation for winter. It seems to be a bit of a smorgasbord right now with fish being taken on leeches, chironomids, dragonfly nymphs and various other flies without keying in on one thing in particular. However maroon micro-leeches suspended a couple feet under an indicator seemed to produce the best results. A few were taken on bomber chironomids and some large bugs were hatching periodically through the day.
Most of the fish caught were in the 1.5-3lb range with a few much larger ones hooked and lost. If you’re heading up don’t skimp on your tippet. These fish were easily snapping off 8lb leaders. Fall fishing is into full swing and now is the time to get up here. Keep a variety of flies in your box right now and keep your eye on the night temperatures. If we get a few nights of frost we should start to see a waterboatmen flight.
Well it is fall finally and the long weekend has past. I went to Ambleside beach last week for the low tides and found myself fishing amongst four other fisherman on the entire beach. There were no fish jumping which meant that all the stale fish had moved on or there was no fish. An hour before low tide I spotted two different pods of fining fish as they swam close to shore. I managed to hook my first coho salmon on an “AS POPPER” after trying for 6 years.
Now I am convinced that fresh fish, no fishing pressure, overcast sky and persistence will produce fish on the surface even in our local beaches. I will continue to fish my popper again under these conditions until the end of the beach season and many years to come. The pink salmon are still swimming around the mouth of the Furry creek, you may catch a few clean ones still but the majority of the fish are stale fish. It is safe to say that the pink salmon fishing off the beach is coming to an end for this season. The next good low tides are from the 22nd of this month.
See you on the beach,
The chinook fishing this week, like the last five, continued to be amazing. This is without a doubt one of the best years for local chinook fishing we have seen in a long, long time. Sunday was a little slow as the orcas came through on Saturday night, but for the most part there were good to excellent catches of chinook all week from the Bell Buoy, North Arm, T-10, and South Arm. As mentioned in previous reports, the white chinook are now starting to show up. We kept 5 nice chinook on Monday’s trip and 2 were pure white, 1 was a marble, and 2 were red. There have been some big chinook this week as well. I saw a 35 weighed and another that was pretty much the same size. Both fish were actually reds, but for the most part the bigger fish this week have been white, likely headed for the Harrison, Chilliwack, or perhaps the Capilano. The average fish are much more modest with the most of them in the mid teens and a few in the high teens or low 20’s.
The best depths haven’t changed much since last week, with most of the fish being in the 40-80 range on the downriggers. A few mornings we have hit fish at 20-30, and later in the day there were a few good bites in the 80-100 range, but 50-70 has really been the most productive area. Green glow, chartreuse glow and green onion glow flashers have all been excellent. A 6 foot leader to a herring on anchovy in a teaser head is the way to go. The best teaser head colours for us have been glow, green glow, or chartreuse glow or some combination of these colours. We have all sorts of teaser heads in stock with these colour combos. We just received a shipment of bait so we have 5.5 inch anchovies as well as the much coveted 6.0 inch anchovies as well as 5 to 6 inch herring and 6 to 7 inch herring.
Where are the pinks? A lot of anglers and customers have been asking me this question lately. The most recent email I have from DFO is the run is now forecast to be about 6.2 million. There haven’t been too many down at the South Arm when we have been there fishing or chinook, which is kind of nice as we are going through 2 to 4 packs of bait a day as is. I can only imagine how much bait we would go through if the pinks were thick. We are only hooking about 6 a day right now. That being said, most of the anglers that were spin fishing the Lower Fraser this past weekend with large pink spoons and spinners seemed to be doing pretty good.
The Cap is starting to kick out a few fish on each flood tide now. The first big push usually shows up around the middle of the month so we do expect things to pick up this coming week. With the good fishing off the Bell and North Arm, the Cap has been relatively quiet for pressure recently as most anglers are enjoying the strong return of red chinook and the relatively easy access to them off the Bell, North Arm and T-10. There are still some coho and pinks off the Cap as well. Andre was beach fishing there mid this week and some pinks and coho were hooked on the fly. A lot of the coho did go up the river with the rain last week, but there are still a few around.
See you at the shop or on the water.