It has been a beautiful start to Autumn here in the Lower Mainland. The rain earlier in the week has made way for blue bird skies and cold crisp mornings. Freshwater salmon season is upon us, and some rivers are already fishing well. While some of the rivers in the Fraser Valley are already producing fish, the Sea-to-Sky corridor has not quite started yet. Be prepared for clear water conditions as the dry and colder weather persists.
Lake reports have been mixed. We have heard good reports from the Cariboo region and slow reports from Merrit over the past week.
Saltwater fishing has been on and off, but overall, it has been quite good. The mouth of the Capilano is still producing some nice fish, and with very little rain in the forecast, we should see some more good fishing into October. The South Arm is another good bet for both chinook and coho over the next couple weeks.
We highlighted a number of courses in last week’s report – here is a quick summary again of the great courses we have coming up this month. There’s still space left and they are an excellent opportunity to improve your knowledge and on the water skills.
FALL SALMON RIVER FISHING: FLOATS, SPINNERS, & SPOONS
Class Size: 20
We have opened another course date due to popular demand! 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 Only Cost: $45.00
Seminar & Guided Walk’n Wade Cost: $400 for one person or $500 for two people
Date: Seminar on Oct 7th. Guided trip dates are flexible.
Time: 6:30pm – 9:30pm
INTRODUCTION TO FLY FISHING
Class Size: 12
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.
Date: Seminar on Oct 14th. Casting on Oct 19th.
Time: 6:30pm – 9:30pm
Casting Time(s): 2:00pm -5:00pm
TYING INTRUDER FLY PATTERNS
Class Size: 7
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 4th & 5th
Time: 7:00pm – 9:30pm
FLY FISHING FOR COHO IN RIVERS – Andre Stepanian
Class Size: 6
Catching a coho salmon on the fly in BC’s many coastal rivers is a bucket list item for any fly fisherman. Our course is designed to educate you on the very specific techniques used to catch coho salmon on the fly in the Lower Mainland. After your 3hr evening seminar you will then put the skills into practice during a fully guided day on the water.
Dates: Seminar on Oct 15th. Guided Oct 19th. Seminar on Oct 21st. Guided on Oct 25th or 26th.
Time: 6:30pm – 9:30pm
FLY FISHING FOR SALMON IN RIVERS – Andre Stepanian
Class Size: 8
Fly fishing for salmon is one of the most exciting fisheries in the Lower Mainland. Let us teach you the techniques and the hot spots to catch salmon on the fly in our local rivers. In the 3hr evening seminar you will learn about rod, reel and line, sink tip, and fly selection. Then put the skills into practice during a fully guided day on the water where you will learn how to read water and swing the fly!
Dates: Seminar on Oct 28 Guided Nov 1 or 2
Time: 6:30pm – 9:30pm
The water clarity is still very poor with about 6″ of visibility throughout the Squamish. There are a few fish around, but the poor clarity is making things very tough. We are still waiting for the temperatures to drop which will improve the conditions.
This is an excellent river to fly fish for salmon in the middle of October. The coho can be more aggressive in the Squamish than other lower mainland rivers and will often take big marabou flies swung on a tight line. The chum like pink and purple flashy marabou flies which will also catch coho in the same run. Chartreuse patterns can also be a deadly choice.
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.
It has been a productive week on the Vedder. There are definitely more fish present in the river compared to last week. With that said, you will increase your chances of hooking up by covering more water. We have had more reports of coho and chum this week, but it is still early. Be prepared with a variety of presentations as the water is running very clear at the moment. A quarter or nickel sized chunk of roe is all you need in these conditions. If you are looking to target salmon over the next week, the Chilliwack is definitely your best bet!
Float fishing is the primary technique used to catch chinook and coho. The proper setup for float fishing is a 10-11′ medium power casting rod. Light action rods are excellent for coho, while those who are targeting chinook will benefit from a medium-heavy action rod. Roe, wool combinations, and colorado blades are all great float fishing presentations. Spinners and spoons are also deadly effective, especially for coho. 8-10’6″ spinning or casting rods are ideal for retrieving lures. Gibbs Koho and Croc spoons are good choices, as well as Blue Fox spinners.
You can also use a fly rod to target these fish. Coho can be readily caught on flies where as the chinook can be quite challenging with the fly rod. An 8wt single hand fly rod lined with a versi-tip system is ideal for this fishery. The versi-tip line allows you to quickly change out different sink tips to cover different speeds of water more efficiently. Small flash flies, muddler minnows, wooly buggers and even marabou popsicles will all work for coho.
Please familiarize yourselves with species identification as you may encounter Cultus Lake sockeye which must be carefully released.
There are definitely a few chum and coho present in the system. It is still quite early for this river as more fish will show up further into October. This river often flows very clear making the fish skittish through the mid day. Try toning down your presentations to match the clear conditions. Small chunks of roe and micro colorado blades fished on 12lb fluorocarbon leaders can make a big difference.
The flow is decent and there are some nice coho and chinook being caught. This is typically a very busy fishery because of its proximity to the city. Mornings and evenings are definitely your best chance at hooking fish. We have spoken to a number of anglers who have been successful using spinners and spoons for both coho and chinook this past week. We ask you to please handle fish with care. Do not pull a fish onto the rocks until you are 100% sure that it may be retained.
Because of the bait ban, we must use artificial baits to catch fish. Spoons, colorado blades, wool ties, rubber eggs, and jigs all catch fish. Salmon will readily take artificial baits when they are fresh from the ocean and we advise everyone to keep your float or lure on.
Please note: ALL steelhead (adipose clipped and unclipped) must be released with the utmost care.
Bait ban as of August 1st
We have heard some mixed reports from the interior this past week. It is now frosting consistently in the 4000ft range. Things should pick up very soon as the cold October weather sets in. Indicator fishing with both leeches and scuds is a popular fishing method in the fall months. Fish will often forage in shallow water as they fatten up for the winter, making for some excellent sight fishing opportunities.
Fall can be an excellent time to fish the Whistler lakes. As the weather cools off, the trout seem to really turn on the feed and move into shallower areas. For Alta cutthroat try olive Wooly Buggers, and Muddler Minnows in various colours and flash combinations. Don’t be afraid to crack out the big streamers for Green. Large flashy rabbit strip streamers work well for the bull trout on the drop offs.
Please remember that Alta and Green Lake are catch and release/bait ban fisheries.
As I forecast in the last report, the first good rains of the season pushed most of the stale fish up the river. Shortly after the rains last week we had more fish arrive and there are some chrome beauties out there! As usual, some days the fish are very active and some days not so much, but fish are still being caught, and there are definitely more fish to show up.
The standard practice at the mouth of the Capilano River is to run anchovies or herring off the bottom. Glow teaser heads on cloudy days have made a difference, where as UV teaser heads have been the go to on sunny days. Some anglers have had good success without flashers as well. With very little rain in the forecast for the coming week, fish should be sticking around in the salt a little longer.
I’ve heard of a couple of reports from down South. There are chinook and coho being caught at the Sand Heads, which is typical for this time of year. Winds can be something to consider when heading to the South Arm. Most of the local spots will produce fish this time of year. Point Atkinson, West Vancouver, North Arm, T-10 and the South Arm are all worth a look. The weather has been quite pleasant at times so be sure to get out and hook some of the biggest and last fish of the season until the winter chinooks arrive.
The P.A. Saltwater Guide Team: Jason, Eddie, Dimitri
Give us a call on our charter phone at 778-788-8582 to book a charter or come by the shop for all the right gear and some friendly advice. The shop number is 604-872-2204.
On behalf of the Pacific Angler staff we wish you the best in your fishing endeavors and we hope to see you either at the shop or on the water. To check out the latest Pacific Angler news view the Pacific Angler Facebook page.
Jason, Matt, Max, Andre, Sam, Eddie, Dimitri, Kathryn