The first big storm of the season is coming! Most Vancouverites dread this storm but the fishermen know it is a game changer. It is going to shuffle up a bunch of fisheries and kick off a number of other fisheries.
If the weatherman hits the target, we will see a sizeable trough anchor itself off the west coast. This will bring waves of rain lasting well into next week.
On the saltwater front it is not great news but it is not the end of the world either. The rain will jump up river levels and fish will head up river. But we also find that the rain can stir things up and make for great windows of ocean fishing when the fish are getting jazzed up to move. Trolling for coho along the Capilano/North Shore areas will suffer but that said, a push of water from the river will mean more Capilano chinook hitting the harbour. Jason has some details on that front and the upcoming Capilano Chinook fishery.
On the Fraser mouth side of things, stale fish will move up but we have had some very good reports this week and with more fish coming, we expect moments of brilliants. Jason has news on closures and chinook fishing in the saltwater report below.
The rivers are where things get exciting. Bouncing on the Fraser is over but the Vedder/Chilliwack and Harrison systems should see the first push of fall salmon. We have reports on it in the river section. The Capilano will also be a great bet because there are lots of coho staging at the mouth. When they move up the river expect great fishing. The Squamish will colour up considerably but with the colour will come the first push of coho. When it settles even if it stays dirty is should be worth the trip.
In keeping with river salmon fishing, Zach has another awesome pattern that is good for fresh fish and coloured water. Don’t miss it!
As the weather cools you should start thinking about lake fishing. We don’t focus on it much because of salmon fishing but September is debatably one of the best times to be a lake fisherman. We will have a feature in next week’s report on what you need to know for late season lake fishing.
Finally – mark you calendars! Our Fall Salmon Sale is coming up on September 15 + 16, just in time for all the upcoming fall fisheries.
On to the report!
CLASSES AND COURSES
September is here and so are our fall courses. Call the shop to grab your spot today!
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.
Seminar: September 18, 2018
Seminar Time: 6:30pm – 9:30pm
Casting: September 22, 2018
Casting Time(s): 10am – 1pm or 2pm -5pm
Introduction To Fly Tying
There is no greater satisfaction than catching a fish with a fly you tied yourself. This Introduction to Fly Tying course was specifically designed to give you the fundamental skills needed to tie proven fly patterns used here in BC for trout, salmon and steelhead.
Students are required to supply their own vise, tools and materials. A 10% discount is available on fly tying materials and tools purchased for the course.
This course consists of 3 sessions; each session is 3hrs.
Dates: Sep 19, 26 & Oct 3, 2018
Time: 6:30pm – 9:30pm
Fall Salmon River Fishing: Floats, Spinners + Spoons
This 3hr evening seminar covers float fishing, spinner fishing and spoon fishing; the three most productive techniques to catch BC salmon in a river.
Seminar: October 2, 2018 – NOTE NEW DATE!
Seminar Time: 6:30pm – 9:30pm
FALL SALMON SALE
It’s that time of year! Our annual Fall Salmon Sale is back. Don’t miss out on this amazing opportunity to get stocked up for your favourite fall fisheries at the best prices of the season.
2018 Fall Salmon Sale Dates
Saturday September 15 – 10AM – 6PM | Sunday September 16 – 10AM – 5PM
With the huge growth we have seen in Vancouver over the last decade there has definitely been an increase in fishing pressure in our local marine waters. There has also been exponential growth in the Squamish area and that rivers there are seeing a lot more pressure. Both of these trends will continue for the foreseeable future. So why DFO is closing its doors where it is needed most is unclear to others and me.
With the Squamish Department of Fisheries and Oceans office being closed, this means the nearest Fisheries Officers will be relocated to Steveston, BC. This is 2 hours from Squamish and 3.5 hours from Pemberton.
We will also no longer have an office for our DFO Community Advisor. They run the Salmon in the Schools Program and do a lot of work with community groups like the Streamkeepers.
We need to let our MP, Fisheries Minister and DFO know that this is huge threat to our local Salmon and Rockfish populations.
Here’s the contact information for the people you need to contact or call to voice your concerns and please do contact them as they do listen and your call and email can and will make a difference.
DFO Regional Director Conservation and Protection Sector
MP West Vancouver — Sunshine Coast — Sea to Sky Country
6367 Bruce Street (Main Office)
West Vancouver, British Columbia
JOIN OUR RETAIL TEAM
We’re looking to add to our retail team! If you are self-motivated team player with previous retail or related customer service experience and a passion for fishing to join our team! Check out the full job posting details here!
Fraser River Fishing Report
The Fraser is now closed for sockeye fishing and the bottom bouncing season is over. Please put the bouncing rods and betties away.
This does not mean there are not awesome options for you if you want to hit the river. Bar fishing is a great way to target chinook and sturgeon fishing is heating up as well! The PA staff did some sturgeon fishing last Monday and if you haven’t tried it, it is an easy and very accessible fishery that often gets overlooked. If you want to learn about both bar fishing or sturgeon fishing on the Fraser please come into the shop. We have what you need and will teach you how.
If you haven’t already please familiarize yourself with the current regulations on the Fraser River.
Salmon in the Tidal Waters of the Fraser
Tidal waters of the Fraser River (downstream edge of the CPR Bridge at Mission to the mouth).
Effective September 4 until September 27, 2018:
You may not fish for Sockeye salmon. You may not fish for coho salmon. You may not use bait when fishing for salmon. You may selectively fish (Bar Fish, Fly Fish but no bottom bouncing) for the following species: Chinook salmon, the daily limit is four (4) with only one (1) greater than 62 cm. Chum salmon, the daily limit is four (4) per day. Daily Limits: The daily limit for all species of Pacific salmon from tidal and fresh waters combined is four (4). Individual species limits also apply.
Salmon in the Non Tidal Waters of the Fraser
Fraser River waters in Region 2(non-tidal waters of the Fraser River); and that portion of the Harrison River downstream of the Highway 7 Bridge to the confluence with the Fraser River.
Effective September 5 until September 28, 2018:
You may not fish for Sockeye salmon. You may not fish for Coho salmon. You may not use bait when fishing for salmon. You may selectively fish for the following species: Chinook salmon, the daily limit is four (4) with only one (1) greater than 62 cm. Chum salmon, the daily limit is two (2) per day. Daily Limits: The daily limit for all species of Pacific salmon from tidal and fresh waters combined is four (4). Individual species limits also apply.
Skagit River/Fire Update
Skagit anglers should be optimistic about the big rain coming this week. “Deep soaking” rains should push far enough inland to get the fire. That said it is unclear if it will be enough rain to put out the fire. It is also unclear if the park will be reopened. We have been watching the fire map closely and it continues to grow – at least on the interactive fire map.
Chilliwack River Fishing Report
We are coming up on a very exciting time for this river as the next few months will see the big returns of coho, chinook, and chum salmon. In saying that it is still early. There are a few fish that have started to show up but numbers are still very low. If you take a gander down to the Canal you might spot some scuttling up or holding in the holes under the bridges. The water is super low but don’t be fooled; salmon will still make their way up under low-light or no-light conditions and the second we get this storm it should be go time.
As we write this report it’s not necessarily worth a trip just yet unless you are local, but if you are set on fishing the Vedder right now you want to hit it at first light or last light. Since the water is super low and clear focus on smaller presentations like single eggs, wool ties, size 2 colorado blades, twitching jigs, and smaller flash flies and egg sucking leeches. Of course, you could always do the exact opposite and fish huge presentations to elicit a reaction strike. If you have the choice wait until just after the rain.
Good luck and stay tuned. The coming weeks are going to be fish-tastic!
Squamish River Salmon Report and Overview
The Squamish is still a little high and dirty, so not too much is happening there on the main stem. Though there have been reports of fish moving through, angling opportunities are quite limited.
For those anglers who are willing to hike around it’s tributaries, a few trout and char have been encountered, with most taken on small spinners or spoons, as well as sculpin patterns and egg imitations by those using fly rods.
At this time of year, leading in to September and October, it is a great time to start thinking about recharging your fall river kit.
- Do you have Versi-leaders in both trout and salmon size? What condition are they in?
- 12 and 15lb Maxima: is it aging or running low?
- Maybe you only have a few sculpins left over from last season and you need to start tying or re-stock.
- Is your gear vest feeling lighter than you remember? How’s that roll of pencil lead looking?
When the rivers are just on the cusp of starting to get ready, now is the time for those anglers who maximize their time on the water to start getting ready.
Come on in to the shop and any one of our friendly and experienced team members can give you a hand- whether you float, spin, drift or fly.
Capilano River Report
The Capilano River is very low and the water level has been maintaining under 1m for awhile. This low and clear water makes fishing challenging as there is not enough flow and fish can see everything clearly.
We are expected to have quite a bit of rain over the weekend. The only problem for the river anglers is that the lake level is very low. It is not a guarantee they will open the dam. Keep your eye on the Cap Cam at vanwhitewater.com. If it opens it will be go time! Bring large presentations, spoons and colorado blades and wait for the waves of fish.
If they don’t open the dam we might see fishing improve a little while it is raining but we do not expect it to be amazing.
Remember there is bait ban in effect and please do release any wild coho or any steelhead you run into with care.
The Pacific Angler Fly Tying feature – Roe Fly
For you fishing report faithful, 2 weeks ago you saw one of my favourite coho pattern styles for fishing rivers from now until they have all pushed through in the late fall. Small, sparse and a fair amount of flash. Those of you that know me, know that I love swinging BIG streamers for fish and coho are no exception. This week we will tie a pattern that has a bit more size and adds a bit of a classic fly element to it with a mallard wing. This pattern is quite easy with the exception of the wing but mallard flank is a cheap and easy material to try this technique with. It doesn’t really matter if you screw it up as it represents more flesh than anything else so don’t worry if it’s not perfect. You can also weight this pattern if you choose with an under body of lead wire but it isn’t necessary. Let’s get going on the Roe Fly…
Start by placing a Mustad SL73UBLN-36890 size 6 hook in your vice and taking wraps of Red 70 Denier or 6/0 thread back to the hook barb
Now we will tie in a good clump of Red Saddle Hackle fibres that I have stripped from the stem just above the fluffy part at the base of the feather. I like to take a wrap of thread under the hackle fibres to help prop them up a bit. Secure them all the way up to where the return bend of the hook eye ends and take your thread back down to the initial tie in point
Next we will tie in a piece of Large Red Crystal Chenille. Note how I stripped some of the crystal chenille fibres off of the core. I do this to help reduce bulk in the body of the fly
Wrap the Crystal Chenille up the hook shank towards the eye pulling the fibres back as you go. Make sure to leave a bit of room at the hook eye as we still need to tie in a flash and feather wing
Now we will tie in 2-3 strands of Opal Mirage Accent or your favourite colour of krystal flash in the middle of the strands. I take my thread forward a few wraps towards the eye then I fold the extra crystal flash back to double up the amount in the wing. Don’t worry if the flash is standing up too straight as the next step will flatten it out
Now you will dig through your pack of Natural Mallard Flank and find to opposite feathers that are from opposite sides of the bird
Now you will strip off the fluffy bottom portion from both sides of the mallard and tear away a section off the stem about 1cm thick
Grab both sections of mallard that you tore away with the nicer part of the feather facing you and place them so that the bases are overlapped and the tips are touching
Now you will place the feather strips on top of the hook and have the tips extend to the end of the tail. You will pinch the feathers to the top of the hook shank with your left thumb and pointer finger and take a loose wrap around the feathers, which also goes, between your fingers. Once you have made the wrap all the way around the hook shank you will pull the thread with some good tension straight down, this is called a pinching loop. Give another good wrap or two before you remove your hand that is holding the mallard. When you remove your hand you should have a wing that looks like this
This is the top view of the fly and as you can see the strips of mallard are touching on the longer side of the strip parallel to the hook shank. They are slightly on the side of the hook and they have created a nice “Tent” wing on top of the fly. This technique takes a bit of practice and like I mentioned at the beginning, Mallard Flank is a cheap and easy material to practice this technique with before you step up to Goose Shoulder and Bronze Mallard Flank
Now all that is left is to clean up. Trim the butt ends of the mallard wing close. Use your tying thread to build up a small nicely shaped head and whip finish. To seal all of my wraps, my go to head cement if you will is, Solarez Bone Dry. This is probably my favourite UV curing material as it dries tack free and it comes with a built in brush for easy application in hard to reach areas.
I hope you all enjoyed this pattern, as it is an easy one to play around with. Orange and Chartreuse are also great colours for this pattern; even do some in Pink to help prepare your boxes for next years Pink Salmon run. Change up the wing by using marabou if you wish as well. This is an easy pattern to fish under an indicator like we do with trout beads and it’s a great swinging pattern as well. I will be back with another coho fly in 2 weeks and it will be even bigger yet. It is a great pattern that can be used for all species depending on the colours that you use. If you have any questions about patterns please come into the shop and ask, we are always more than willing to help out. We are also bringing in new materials each week so come on in and see what we have going on as we update out tying materials!
SALTWATER FISHING REPORTS
Vancouver Saltwater Salmon Fishing Report
The big question on everyone’s mind is when are they going to close sockeye? The river is closed, the commercial fisheries have been closed, but we are still open and the good news is it looks like we are going to be open for this weekend. There is a panel meeting today, and from there DFO will make their decision, but my sources have told me that it will be open this weekend and will likely close on Monday. I think they will make an announcement via email around 3:30 pm today (Friday, September 7th) that it will close on Sunday, September 9th at midnight. There will be some lobbying for it to stay open past Monday but I don’t think that will happen. Regardless, this low pressure system and rain this weekend s going to get most of the sockeye heading up the Fraser anyhow. I would expect fishing to slow down a lot next week even if it did remain open. There is also a new moon on Sunday and that means some big tides, so a lot of fish are going to head up the river on that big flood tide on Sunday. So if you haven’t had your fill yet, get out there as this is your last kick at the can!
Fishing this past week was good to red-hot for sockeye. We found them in tighter as the fish are now starting to stack up closer to shore in 200-400 feet of water off the North Arm down to T-10 and pretty much all the way down to the South Arm. Some boats went right to the South Arm to start off and there were some very good reports. The wind made it pretty tough out there a few days mid week and that made it tough to go slow and make your turns with all those flashers down. On the days when the wind backed off we could stay on the schools in the morning and it resulted in triples and quads and easy limits. Good depths earlier in the day have been 70-90 and later in the day 90-120. Blue flashers are working well, as are green flashers. Pink Michael Baits with a glow head have been good producers and leaders in the 24-28 inch range have been working well.
There was definitely a push of chinook this week as many of us hooked chinook on our sockeye gear midweek and those targeting chinook had some consistent action at the T-10 and South Arm. The white springs are rolling in and there have been some nice fish in the mid twenties caught. This week is usually a good week for the big whites as we get a concentrated push of white chinook heading up the Fraser. These are Harrison and Vedder/ Chilliwack fish for the most part and some will be heading to the Capilano. The forecast is below average this year for the Harrison and Chilliwack/Vedder runs, so I don’t expect it to be lights out like it was a few years back. These fish also don’t hold too long off the river, they show up ready to go and hit that fresh water and take off upstream. As a result the fishing is hot and cold and changes a lot each and every tide. If you are looking to target these fish, the same flashers and teaser heads we have been talking about these past 4 weeks are what to use and the depths are the same. These fish are generally about 25-65 feet down in the water so adjust your rigger depths accordingly. Bait is the name of the game so run anchovy or herring in Rhys Davis teaser heads. One of my hot chinook setups this year has been the Phantom flasher with the UV chartreuse blade and the green moon jelly tape. This with a glow green or glow chartreuse teaser head has been very productive. I have been doing well on my top rods with a Betsy flasher and UV green teaser head. Don’t be surprised if you hook some coho as well. There has been a good number of coho encountered off the South Arm while chinook fishing and lots of hatchery fish that are likely heading to the Vedder/Chilliwack. Looks like the float fisherman and fly fisherman are going to enjoy a good coho run on the river this year if water conditions cooperate.
Speaking of coho, there are still lots of coho around off the Cap Mouth as the river has been too low for them to go upstream. With the rain and big tides this weekend, I am sure some of them are going to make a go of it, so that could change the good coho fishing we have been enjoying. We haven’t hooked any chinook off the Cap Mouth yet, but that will change next week. We have been chasing sockeye pretty much non-stop, except a few days of good coho fishing thrown in on our shorter trips or when it was too windy to get out of Vancouver Harbour.
So enjoy your sockeye fishing this weekend and then we will see how the South Arm is for chinook in the coming week as well as the Cap Mouth and before we know it we will be chasing winter chinook.
See you in the shop or on the water,