It’s time to start thinking about salmon river fishing gear! And we don’t mean leader savers, bouncing betties and braided line. We are talking floats, spoons and flies for coho, chum and chinook! We are starting to hear the first reports of fish in the Fraser tributaries, and though it is still early, the Squamish system will start as soon as we see some cool weather.
Jason and Matt are pumping out orders everyday to stock up for the fall and we are seeing some cool new arrivals. We have all the good colours of trout beads for our upcoming fall trout season in the local rivers. Our fly selection just got a much needed boost with a bunch of steelhead, bull trout, and salmon flies hitting the bins, and if all the orders arrive as expected, our floats, spinners and terminal gear section will be bursting at the seams this weekend!
The other new arrivals worth mentioning are the new Simms G4 jacket and the new Simms boat bags.
More great weather is coming and the salt chuck is still fishing really well. Reports of springs and sockeye are coming in every day. We are hearing whisperings of coho in the Chilliwack River and we expect things to start fishing well soon. The Skagit, Thompson and Birkenhead rivers are good options for the trout fly fishermen. Though we have not heard of any lake reports from the interior, we expect to see dropping lake temperatures and biting fishing over the next 10 days! It is still too early for some systems like the Squamish and Harrison but that will soon change and everyone should be gearing up for fall salmon in the next couple weeks.
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 1st. Guided Oct 4th or 5th.
Time: 6:30pm – 9:30pm
Simms G4 Pro Jacket
We just received out first shipment of the new Simms G4 Pro Jacket here at the shop. We are all very impressed by this updated version of an already incredible piece of outerwear! Not only does this jacket feel significantly lighter and more breathable than its predecessor, its updated pocket and vent layout is also highly intuitive.
Here is what Simms has to say about the new G4 Pro Jacket:
“The ultimate wading jacket”
Dress for absolute angling success in Simms’ versatile, stormproof G4 Pro™ Jacket. Featuring updated GORE-TEX® PRO SHELL fabric, new G4s are 15% lighter than previous incarnations, while boasting an increase in bomber abrasion resistance and tear strength from top to bottom. Slip your hands into the drink, caress the tail of a two-footer, and keep inner sleeves dry thanks to the highly water-resistant Dry Cuff™ system. And source savvy architectural accents via nine storage pockets, including fly-box friendly bellowed and zippered chest options, two tippet pockets, a convenient sleeve stash, internal woven stretch storage, and one heaping back compartment—big enough to swallow your lunch, and then some. Welcome to the unmatched G4 Pro™.
- Updated GORE-TEX® PRO shell fabric: 15% lighter weight than the previous G4 Pro™ Jacket, with improved abrasion resistance and tear strength
- 9 storage pockets: 2 bellowed chest pockets, 2 zippered chest pockets, 2 tippet pockets, 1 sleeve pocket, 1 internal stretch woven pocket, and 1 large back storage pocket
- Highly water-resistant Dry Cuff™ design keeps water out of the sleeve when tailing fish or casting in the rain
We have the full range of sizes in both black and wet stone. Come on by the shop and try one on!
We are nearing the time of year when we hear the first rumours of coho being caught in the lower Squamish. It is still quite high and will remain so until the first cold fall nights arrive. This is an excellent river to fly fish for salmon in. 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.
Squamish Cheakamus system is a bait-ban, and single barbless hook fishery so play by the rules and have fun!
The Fall salmon fishery on the Chilliwack is almost upon us. This fishery begins in mid September and will last into mid November. You can expect to encounter coho, chinook, and later chum salmon. Concentrate your efforts at first and last light, especially as fish begin to stack up. Float fishermen should focus on pools with walking pace water, where as lure and fly fishermen are better off in slow channels and back waters. Currently we are looking at fairly tough fishing conditions, the river is the lowest it’s been all year. Fish are still being caught despite the low and clear conditions. Down sizing your bait is a good idea to fit the current conditions. Fly fishing can be effective in these conditions, a subtle approach with a floating or intermediate line paired with a sparse muddler minnow can be the ticket. Like many rivers locally we are in need of some rain.
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 presenations. Casting spinners and spoons is 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.
The Skagit has been fishing reasonably well recently. The rainbows are definitely picky when it comes to fly presentation and choice. A completely dead drift is a must for both dry fly and nymphing. Anglers who are proficient at mending their line will drastically out-fish others who have drag on their fly due to lack of mending. Don’t leave for the Skagit without a decent selection of emergers! This is a great place to go in September if you are looking to do some trout fishing.
Despite the abundance of salmon, September can be a fantastic time to fly fish for trout with both nymphs and dry flies. If you are heading up in the next little while, make sure to have a few egg patterns!
This system is in serious need of rain. Once the rain arrives, so will the coho. This can be a challenging fishery for coho because of the notoriously clear water. Fluorocarbon and smaller presentations can make a big difference once the season is under way.
Chinook are now closed to retention in the Chehalis until September 16th.
The Capilano is a trickle and the fishing is extremely tough. Time to start stocking up on spinners and spoons! The next high water event will bring in some big coho and chinook.
The fall salmon fishery on the Capilano is right around the corner! This can be a very exciting time to fish. Because of the bait ban, we must use artificial baits to catch fish. Spoons, colorado blades, wool ties, 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
Non-tidal Fraser River
The Fraser sockeye fishery is still under way. We are still seeing fish swimming up river in numbers, many customers have been out reaping the benefits of the opening. With that being said, fishing can be slow at times due to commercial openings on the river. Check in with the Commercial Fisheries Notices online here.
The sturgeon fishery in the Upper and Lower Fraser has been fairly productive all summer. With the presence of salmon in the river, a good choice for bait would be sockeye salmon bellies and roe. Check this link to familiarize yourself with closures and regulations on the Fraser.
It is time to get ready for fall lake fishing. The lakes are going to cool down and the fish will start moving and feeding more readily. A full sink line is key for fishing fall patterns such as dragons, leeches and later water boatman. There are some lakes where you might encounter chironomid hatches, but mostly the fish will be after bigger food as they stock up before winter.
Late summer and early 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 quite well for the bull trout on the drop offs.
Please remember that Alta and Green Lake are catch and release/bait ban fisheries.
Beach: (West Van)
For those of you that fish off the beach, now is the time to sleep in, and clean up your gear, as the tides won’t be good until The 17th of September. Anglers who have a floatation device can still have good fishing when the tides are not ideal for fishing from shore. The average size of coho seems to be much bigger now. I saw one taken on gear that was easily 15lb and I broke off 1 of the 3 fish I hit last Sunday morning. There is plenty of opportunity to hook a fish if you have a boat. If you are targeting chinooks, larger streamers and bait fish patterns work quite well. You need to fish deeper than you would fish for coho. The chinook are mostly caught while blind casting as they don’t show themselves like coho. For you die hard beach fisherman, hopefully the rain will hold off until the next good tides for one more crack at catching a coho off the beach.
Please respect each others space as the ocean is for everyone to enjoy
The sockeye season continues in our local waters with tons of schools off the North and South Arm. The other day as I headed out from our dock in Coal Harbour, I spotted what looked like a school of sockeye on the sounder. Sure enough a couple of sockeye jumped out of the water to confirm my suspicion. Jumpers can be seen all along Spanish Banks, but they are much more concentrated around the North Arm. You could run another half hour to the South Arm and spot fish the whole run there.
Just put the gear down where you see them and use your sounder to dial in to the schools. Pink hoochies, aka michael baits are the ticket for sockeye. As for sockeye flashers, dark colours like blue, green and purple seem to be the killers. Take note of where you’re seeing them on the sounder and adjust your depth and you should get fish. Don’t forget to leave as much gear down as you can while you are playing a sockeye, this is how double and even triple headers happen!
So far the whales haven’t paid a visit this week. On Tuesday I did see a very large sea lion dining on a sockeye just off the North Arm, which is a pretty rare sight, so close to Vancouver. We’ve also enjoyed numerous Dahls porpoises sightings as well.
Porpoises are not the only grey beasts swimming around out there! Plenty of big chinook have been taken from the South Arm to the Mile Markers lately. Try running anchovies or herring in a glow teaser head for chinook. Bait will most often out fish spoons and hoochies when it comes to mature chinook.
Typically September gives us some very nice weather with calm seas and just enough of a cool breeze to make it seem like outdoor air conditioning. The fish are out there waiting to be caught so make sure you get out to enjoy the bounty! Otherwise, you may have to wait another four years for the bounty of sockeye.
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. Tight Lines, Jason, Matt, Max, Andre, Sam, Eddie, Dimitri, Kathryn