All week we have seen heavy smog across the lower mainland. It’s been a bit depressing but with some rain in the forecast last night and today we are hoping it clears out the smoke. Minus the smoke, we have seen a good week on a couple of our fisheries. The boys hit the Skagit this last week. There were lots of actively feeding trout and though they were a little picky, the guys caught quite a few fish. Check out the Skagit report for details on what they saw.
Saltwater Salmon fishing has been up and down. We had good reports early in the week but whales moved through yesterday and the fishing slow considerably off the mouth of the Fraser. We did hear of some fish at the bell and at the Capilano mouth. See Jason’s saltwater report for more details.
There are still lots of pinks in the Squamish system but less fresh fish are showing up every day and good reports are slowing down. This is a great time to try some egg fishing behind spawning fish to target bull trout and rainbows. Check out the Squamish report for more info. This week we have a great overview of what to expect and the gear you will need for the next 2 months.
The Vedder pinks are just starting to show up and it is worth looking at if you want to head out this weekend. We have an overview of the Vedder fishery as well and what to expect coming down the pipes for coho and chinook.
Big Announcement this week! Our fall Salmon Super Sale is just around the corner! Everything in the store will be on sale with some amazing deals on summer clothing, salmon gear for both salt and freshwater as well as fly fishing deals. You will not want to miss out. Make sure you are subscribed to the report and you are following on Facebook and Instagram. We will be announcing deals soon!
CLASSES AND COURSES
If you’ve been thinking about taking in some classes this month – there is still some time to sign up for our September classes.
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.
This course consists of 3 sessions; each session is 3hrs.
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.
Dates: September 19, 26 and October 3, 6:30PM – 9:30PM – SOLD OUT – PUT YOUR NAME ON THE WAITLIST FOR POTENTIAL NEW FALL DATES
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.
Dates – Seminar: September 20, 6:30PM-9:30PM
Dates – Casting: September 23, 10AM – 1PM or 2PM – 5PM
Fall Salmon River Fishing: Floats, Spinners and 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.
Dates: Sep 25, 6:30PM – 9:30PM
FRESHWATER FISHING REPORTS
Chilliwack River Fishing Report – Salmon Season Overview
With the summer fisheries winding down it is time to start thinking about the fall salmon fisheries. One of the most popular (and productive) rivers for catching salmon in September and October is the Chilliwack/Vedder River located in, you guessed it, Chilliwack. This river receives all five of the Pacific salmon species at one point or another, and in the coming months, there will be ample opportunity to angle for four of these five. Starting now until October we will see a gradual increase in the numbers of pink, coho, and chinook salmon in the Vedder and by the beginning of October, there will be chum salmon in the mix as well. This the time to get prepared for this exciting fishery if you aren’t already.
There are a bunch of different ways to fish for salmon in the Vedder River. Casting lures, drifting bait, or swinging flies are all feasible as the Vedder offers a multitude of different water types that require different techniques to fish effectively. It is possible to specifically target one species over another and it is just a matter of reading water and tailoring your gear.
Pink salmon will become plentiful in the next couple of weeks, especially in the lower river. The Vedder is not currently open to the retention of pinks but catch and release is permitted and there will be a lot of pink salmon by-catch coming in the near future if only due to the sheer number this species typically show up in. They can be highly responsive to artificial lures so this is a great fish to throw spinners, spoons, twitching jigs, and streamers at. Fish “pink for pinks” but as I mentioned in the Squamish report in the last few weeks don’t forget about other colours like chartreuse and orange. They like to travel along the edges but will hold in the tail-outs of pools. Keep your setup light as this will make it more fun when targeting these smaller fish; think medium-light to medium powered gear rods and 6-8wt fly rods. This run of pinks will start to taper off in early October.
Coho salmon are trickling in now as well but won’t peak until early October. Similar to pinks they tend to travel along edges and sit in tailouts or slow deep spots, meaning the two will mingle and you will often see a couple of coho hiding underneath or behind a group of pinkies. One way for gear guys to pick them out from the pile is to drift roe or egg patterns; pinks tend to ignore eggs more often than not which gives you a fighting chance at successfully being selective. This is a great time to bust out the drift fishing rods and/or your heavier casting rods. These fish will also stack in frog water so casting blue or chartreuse Vibrax spinners or spoons like the Gibbs Koho are good bets as well. There are a few pieces of frog water on the Vedder where this can be super effective. Flies to use for them are little flash flies, egg sucking leeches, muddlers, and bigger intruders for swinging. An 8wt is ideal although there is a little wiggle room both ways depending on water type and personal preference.
Chinook salmon are the third salmon species you will find at this moment in time. These are “king” as they are big, mean, and very strong. They are typically found stacked in deeper runs or at the head of deep pools. These fish have incredible strength and typically have a ton of weight to throw around too, so make sure you bring heavy gear when targeting these fish and expect sore arms at the end of the day. Heavy drift setups are the most popular for dedicated chinook rigs for gear fishing. Pro-cured roe is a go-to (just like for coho) as well as Colorado blades, Jensen eggs, and wool ties. To an extent they can be caught on lures as well; focus on big spoons like Gibbs K-Wobblers and Kitimats and swing them through the deep runs that they like sitting in. Single hand 9 or 10wt rods or 8wt double hand rods are ideal for Chinooks and focus on big intruders in reds, blacks, blues, and/or oranges. They are sometimes taken on smaller flies like egg sucking leeches as well. Heavy sink tips are recommended to get down to these fish in the faster and deeper water.
This is the time to get geared up for the Vedder; come down to the shop and we can help you get set up for success on this river. I was out scouting this long weekend and while there aren’t a ton of fish in the river (yet), I did see a few pinks and chinooks milling about and I’m sure there are a few coho kicking around too. In the next week or so we should see some good pushes of fish and once we get that first big autumn rain it will be game on.
Squamish River Fishing Report
With the pink salmon fishery on the Squamish slowing down and the Fraser River fishery still undecided, the next fishery most anglers look forward to is the chum and coho fishing on the Squamish systems and with it, the trout that often follow behind them eating eggs. The start of the coho and chum fishing usually starts around the middle of September and will run right to the end of November. Prime time historically is October when we get the first cold of the season.
If you’ve already got pink spoons and spinners, don’t put them away yet. Coho salmon are also quite prone to hitting pink and there will still be good numbers of fresh pinks pushing into the system over the next couple weeks. In addition to pink lures, we are close to the time when trying more traditional coho colors might catch fish and we have already heard of the odd coho in the system.
Most successful anglers will carry a selection of spoons and spinners in various sizes with gold, silver, copper, and bronze being good base colours. From there, highlights and hints of blue, orange, red, and chartreuse are all great colours. Generally, when the water is dirty we lean toward chartreuse or orange colors, then green, copper or blue in clearer water but remember, these aren’t hard rules and you will want a selection to cycle through.
Float fishing is also very productive. Colorado blades, wool, jigs and rubber egg imitations are also great options for the drift fisher and many anglers will fish with a spoon rod and a level wind or center pin to float fish with.
Twitching jigs have become popular over last couple seasons. This is a great way to catch both chum, pinks and coho. It is ideal for slow or slack deep water and on a colored system like the Squamish dark, black or purple larger jigs with chartreuses highlights are both top producers. Come down to the shop we have a good selection in the store as well as the materials to tie them.
Heading into this season, now is the time to re-check knots and leaders, sharpen up hooks and tie jigs. You don’t want to be scrambling or hearing reports of an angler getting them on this or that. You want to be that angler that others hear about. To be that angler, you’ll want to have a variety of gear so you can change tactics and presentations when nothing seems to be working and no one is getting bites.
For those looking at getting into this fishery for the first time, all the tackle mentioned above is a great place to start, and all of us here at the shop can help you with it.
In regards to rods for those just starting out, medium action spinning rods in longer 7’6- 9 ft lengths are ideal but a 6’6” rod is still great for cast spoon to coho. If you want to target chum and coho you will have to step up in the quality of your reel and the weight of your rod. Medium-heavy rods in the same lengths are more ideal for chum salmon while longer 10-11ft rods are ideal for float fishing.
For those anglers who like to use fly rods, 7-8wt rods are great for the coho (and incidental chum), while those who like to specifically target chum may want to step it up to a 9 wt outfit. The reason we like to use heavier outfits for chum is that their fight is quite different, and you’ll want a rod with some lifting power to help turn the fish (who often hunker down in heavy current), as well as to get the fish to hand in a reasonable time to help encourage and ensure post-release survival.
I often use an 8wt if I know I might incidentally hook a chum while coho fishing, where if I am specifically targeting coho in backwaters where chum are infrequent, I’ll use a 6 or 7wt. This idea lets me still have fun with the coho while still being able to land the odd chum if needed.
A good fly reel is also very important if you plan to tackle the larger salmon species. The force that they can put on a reel is impressive and you do not want to be going into the fight with a cheap reel. Something that is made of bar stock aluminum is best but there are a couple great cast aluminum reels like the Behemoth from Redington that can take the pressure and abuse. Cheap reels and old poorly serviced reels will blow up on chum so make sure you are prepared.
Full floating lines with various Versi/Poly leaders will help get you into the salmons “zone”, as well as true integrated sink-tip lines. All these variables are what make this fishery so much fun as it’s very rewarding to have figured it out and then find success.
With the arrival of the coho and chum salmon and the abundant spawning pinks, many anglers also like to fish lighter float and fly set ups for the trout and char that stage behind them eating eggs. Full floating lines, tapered leaders with an indicator, and pegged beads are the preferred choice of gear for this fishery. If this is something that interests you, take a peek at our Fly Fishing Egg Patterns course, look at our nymphing 101 video here: Nymphing 101 – for some cool footage from the fishery and check out our new nymphing leader video here: Advanced Nymphing Leader to see how we make a custom leader for this style of fishing.
Float fishermen are not left out of this fishery and a bunch of anglers are getting into egging for trout with light center-pin rods or spinning rods with small Clear Drift floats coupled with small split-shot and then the same pegged bead. Come down to the shop and we will show you the setup.
If you have any other questions, feel free to give us a ring, or better yet, come on into the shop so any one of our dedicated staff can help get you set up right for the upcoming salmon and trout season.
Tight lines and loops,
Capilano River Fishing Report
Although we are expecting some rain this weekend, it probably will not be enough for the salmon to push up the river. Keep an eye on the water level we don’t expect them to release the dam with the rain but if they do fishing should be very good.
As for the fish that entered the system already, they will be harder to catch since they will be pickier. For the best action, the key it to be there first-light as fish will refresh their mind about seeing lures thrown to them. For the gear guys, try smaller spinners or spoons such as size 2 – 3 blue fox spinners or 3/16 oz crocs, also try twitching smaller jigs to annoy them. The water condition seems to be the best for fly-fishing, smaller streamer in white, blue or olive will do the trick. Try the olive wooly bugger or Cap buggers as well.
Skagit River Fishing Report
Dustin, Jordan, and Matt hit the Skagit on Monday. The smoke had already rolled in and the fishing was challenging in the morning. It may have been because of the smog or hot weather but there was very little bug action from 10 pm until 3 am. The guys fished nymphs and streamers and managed to hook some good bull-trout throughout the middle part of the day. They even got a couple bulls to come up for dries but the rainbows were a challenge throughout the day. There were lots of bull-trout in the runs and though they were stacked in large schools they were not easy to catch. This happens about now in the season. They become more focused on spawning than eating and they have already seen lots of anglers. They will be picky for the rest of the season but large stoneflies produced a half dozen good fish and were more productive than streamers.
Things turned around in the late afternoon. A sizeable mayfly hatch started. The majority of fish were hitting sub surface nymphs as they came up to hatch. This made things a little more challenging than normal but there were so many feeding trout the guys managed to fool quite a few fish.
They used mostly medium sized gray-blue mayfly dries but also hooked fish on golden stones, emerging gray green mayfly nymphs, olive parachute patterns, and prince nymphs.
We expect the fishing to be solid for quite some time. Usually, when it is still hot, the evenings are the best time to focus your fishing but when we start to get some cooler nights further into fall, the fishing will pick up during the day.
Come down to the shop and the guys can show you what was working.
If you missed the Skagit Video a couple weeks ago check it out if you want to see some good nymphing and swung fly footage. Pacific Angler Presents The Upper Skagit. We also just released a video of how Matt ties his custom nymphing leaders, used for the Skagit and for the Squamish when nymphing or egging. Check it out here: Advanced Nymphing Leader
SALTWATER FISHING REPORTS
Beach Fishing Report
I went out last Tuesday and talking to the everyday fisherman, it seemed like the fishing had slowed down a bit but it definitely picked up when I was there. The fish were not showing at all but numerous times we had seals laughing at us with fish in their mouths 20-30 feet away. On Thursday, I saw more fish around and as I said the big boys arrive in September and there is always the chance of the odd pink staging at the mouth. The tides won’t be in our favor until Thursday with excellent low tides in the morning so if you can go it should be good.
Vancouver Saltwater Salmon Fishing Report
It’s hard to believe it is Sep 8th already. That means the big white springs should be on the way. There have been a few tyees caught this past week, but for the most part the big wave of whites hasn’t shown up off the South Arm or Cap. We have had some pretty big tides this week, so we should see things pick up in both locations in the coming days. The whales were also in these past few days so any reds or whites that were hanging around probably took off up the Fraser with the big tides on the full moon and the orcas swimming around off the South Arm and North Arm.
Back tracking a bit to last weekend, it was pretty awesome. We had some flat calm seas, hot weather and some nice fish!
Unfortunately it slowed down mid week, pretty much to a stand still. But as usual, most of the fish that were caught, were caught on bait. Bait really is the way to go this time of year and the hot depths have been 30-80 on the downriggers. Not much has changed on what teaser heads are working. Chrome versions, and UV Green or UV purple on the shallow rods and glow green or glow chartreuse versions on the bottom rods have been working well.
There have been a few larger coho caught these past few days too. Remember, hatchery only on the coho. We may see more of these fish, particularly down off the South Arm in the coming weeks.
So for now we are patiently waiting for the next wave of chinook to show up. There will be a few late reds, but this next push should be mostly whites and some of the biggest chinook of they year, so can’t wait for that!