Pacific Angler Outlook:
When things are slow it can be tough to write this report but this week we are having no problem finding great reports. Fisheries have been producing well across the province. Primarily the local saltwater fisheries for Chinook and coho salmon and river fisheries for Chinook and trout have been producing best.
Ocean fishing was, for a better word “on fire” with Chinook coming through in big waves. This is peak migration time for this fishery and we have heard lots of big fish staging off the mouth of the Fraser River. Things were a bit slower over the past couple of days but we expect the fishing will turn on again when another wave of Chinooks shows up off the mouth of the “Mighty” Fraser River.
Pacific Angler also has the Labour Day Chinook Classic coming up on September 1st and 2nd. You could be one bent rod away from the $25,000 grand prize. We still have spots available so give us a call at the shop for details. It’s going to be an amazing event with big prizes and a Sunday night Gala Dinner prepared by legendary Chef David Hawksworth.
The Fraser River is fishing well for chinook salmon now that the river levels have reached a good level and we are into the peak of the migration. For the river fishermen this is time of year to be on the water, whether you are into salmon or trout. It is hard to believe that there is just one more week left in August. It is that time of year to start thinking about the fall coho and steelhead fisheries!
Lake fishing is still a little slow but as the weather cools things will pick up. It is a good time to start preparing for a fall lake fishing trip.
The Vancouver weather forecast for the weekend looks good with a mix of sun and cloud. The trend to take note of is the cooler weather we are experiencing with daily temperature highs ranging from 20 to 22 degrees Celsius. It will be interesting to see how this affects our local river fishing. The extended forecast is also calling for rain into next week.
River Fishing Report:
For a detailed look into the local river scene read Dimitri Roussandis’s river fishing report below:
Chilliwack River: With September 1st within our grasp the Vedder/Chilliwack River will be the place to be in the coming weeks. Both fall Chinook as well as coho salmon will be entering the river by the thousands. As the months go on, the fishing will only get better. In the back half of August the chance to catch an early coho or immature jack Chinook are present. While not plentiful, they are the first fish to enter the river in the fall.
Chehalis River: The Chehalis continues to remain low and clear. With some summer steelhead in the river, they have spread themselves out. Low and clear conditions make for early mornings. First light is the best time to get one of these wary fish to bite. Small pieces of prawn, roe sacs, dark jigs, and small tarnished or dull flash spinners work well such as a #3 copper blue fox. 6lb leaders matched with #4 octopus hooks, split shot and small sensitive floats will all play a role in being successful in catching a summer steelhead. The coho in the Chehalis are a later run, with the first bunches showing up in the last few weeks of September and peaking throughout October.
Fraser River: The “Fraze” has been on fire the past few weeks for Chinooks. Multiple hook ups in a day with fish over the ‘tyee’ (30lb) range being a common occurrence. With the saltwater fishing being good this last week, fishing the Fraser will continue while those fish make there way up river. Sturgeon fishing has slowed down a bit the last few days here, with the waters of the Fraser being at a summer peak and the fish going into a transition from one food source to the other. But this trend is to be short lived because the next 8 weeks will be the peak feeding time for these prehistoric fish. They are required to stock up their fat levels for the coming winter.
Squamish River: The Squamish River has been at a summer high for quite some time now, but with the cooling nights and over cast days, it won’t be long before we get the first frost of the year in the higher altitudes. This will tighten up the glacial melt and the river will once again run green. Both coho and chum salmon can be targeted in the Squamish River, as well as sea-run bulltrout and large resident rainbow trout. All wild fish are catch-and-release, and there is a strict bait ban on the river at all times.
Capilano River: Our beloved Capilano seems to be running dry. The river has been at an all time summer low for the last 5 weeks. With stacks upon stacks of coho sitting off the West Vancouver shoreline, it’s only a matter of time until the first fall rain of the season causes the ultimate mad dash to the finish. With piles of fish moving through, there will be ample opportunity for anglers to try there best at capturing one of these silver beauties. There is a bait ban on the capilano in the fall, until November 1st.
Thompson River: The “T” continues to drop in level. With Chinook entering the river from the middle of July until the end of September, there is always an opportunity to target these fish. Both adults and jack Chinook are in the river at the same time. With the jacks being the more plentiful of the two, they seem to be the target species. Trout fishing has been quite good the last few weeks. With the year falling on an even number, and low sockeye returns, the trout aren’t in such a bad mood from all the salmon. They are eager to bite both dry and wet flies. You will find these fish along rip-rapped banks; back eddies, choppy riffles, and in the greasy flats on the inside of most runs.
Skagit River: The Skagit has fished better and better as the summer has gone on. With the high water event in the year, it prolonged anglers from making the journey up there. This allowed the fish a rest for most of the early season. With the water levels being at a lower flow now, fishing has really spiked. Both resident bulltrout and rainbow trout can be caught. Morning and late afternoon hatches have been outstanding, and streamer fishing for the bullies has been effective as always. Look for these large and aggressive bulltrout in ambush hiding spots, under logs, under cut banks, deeper holes and troughs, as well as log jams.
Skeena Region – Nicholas Dean Lodge
In the Lower Skeena region, fishing conditions have not changed drastically and the trend for slowly dropping and clearing water conditions on the mainstem have persisted. Overall, numbers of fish landed were slightly less than last week, largely owing to fewer Sockeye and Pink Salmon numbers. Coho numbers, while still modest compared to previous years, are increasing and will continue to build through the end of August and into the Fall months. The general season for Coho Salmon on the Skeena’s tributaries open on September 1st, and the fishing available in these rivers is often outstanding – both in terms of the fish themselves, and the scenery. Fall Coho are usually larger than their Summer cousins, averaging 8 to 15 lbs, with fish in the 16 to 20 lb range a somewhat regular occurrence. The rivers they ascend – complete with sharp, jagged peaks reaching straight up from the river bank to well over two thousand feet – are about as scenic as you could possibly ask for.
Steelhead fishing on the mainstem Skeena the past week has been absolutely fantastic on some days and slower on others. The best day this week was eight Summer Steelhead hooked, but as with most days, if anglers come expecting one to three Steelhead hooked in a day, that is a realistic and fair expectation. Largest fish this week (landed) were: Steelhead – 19 lbs, Coho Salmon – 15 lbs, Chum Salmon – 25 lbs, Sockeye Salmon – 9 lb and Pink Salmon – 6 lbs.
When fishing for Summer Steelhead and other Salmon species on the mainstem Skeena, it is wise to keep your flies simple. The reality is that Intruders, and their many variations, along with a handful of many other excellent – though expensive – Steelhead patterns can work quite well on the Skeena. But, when you’re trying to get your fly down in a hurry, and are often losing upwards of 6 or 8 flies in a day, large profile patterns can be tough to sink in fast, heavy water and when they’re inevitably lost on the bottom, can make for an expensive outing. Using simple flies with minimal materials that are easy to tie often get the nod here. My favourite pattern? A modified version of our go-to Hawaiian Punch fly, with a fluorescent yellow marabou tail, silver polar chenille body and a collar of shrimp pink marabou or schlappen. Simple, but effective and won’t break the bank.
With water conditions dropping and clearing, dry fly Steelhead season is fast approaching. If you haven’t had a chance to see a Steelhead pounce on a waking dry fly, put it near the top of your priority list – you won’t regret it. More on this in the coming weeks!
Operations Manager, Nicholas Dean Outdoors
Vancouver Saltwater Fishing Report:
Jason Tonelli, aka “Mr. Pacific Angler”, has written an in-depth look into the local saltwater salmon scene. Read below for the full report:
The last few days there have been 3 main fisheries. In the morning anglers have been hitting the West Vancouver flats in 20-40 feet in search of the staging coho. They aren’t too hard to find, you will see them rolling and jumping. Getting them to bite is a different story. One of the keys is getting up early. The bite is generally from first light until around 10:00 or 11:00 in the morning. Anglers have had success on flashers with white hootchies and a leader length of 28-32 inches. Also a flasher with an anchovy in a glow or glow green teaser head is producing well. Chrome teaser heads are also working, like chrome green/chartreuse. Leader length for this rig is 5-6 feet. Some people are also removing the flasher and just using anchovies in a teaser head, or just a small spoon like the Gibbs Gypsy 2 ¾ inch in the color Flamin Hans. (basically green/glow with a pink stripe).
Once the coho bite dies off many anglers and guides are heading over to the Bell Buoy and Mile Markers in search of chinook. Try 80-120 feet of water and the riggers set at 30 to 80. The standard rig is a glow flasher with a 6 ft. leader to an anchovy in some sort of glow teaser head, with glow green being one of the better ones. Some fish are also taken on hootchies, especially if they have some glow, like a glow Army Truck, and spoons will work as well. Your standard green/glow spoon in 4.0 is a solid choice.
If the weather is nice and the winds aren’t too bad some boats have been heading down to T-10 and even the S Arm. The same setup will work in these areas, glow flasher with anchovy in glow teaser head. Again anywhere from 30-80 on the riggers is the place to be, with most of the action often around 50-60.
Expect the coho to stick around until we get some serious rain and the Capilano River comes up. Also expect more chinook to show up around the Bell, N Arm and S Arm as more red springs and white springs show up over the next couple weeks. So those are the 3 fisheries you should be concentrating on right now.
Visit the Pacific Angler Guide Journal for daily updates by myself, Captain Eddie and booking manager Dave!
For an in-depth look into the local beach fishing scene read the report below written by beach expert, Andre Stepanian.
This Saturday the tides are going to be low at 6:45 AM so you want to be at the beach at 6:00 AM at the latest. The best place to fish for Cohos is at the mouth of Capilano River where the fish are milling around. If you see a jumper cast to it if you can, there is a school of fish under it and hopefully a willing fish will bite your fly.
The smaller and sparser the fly the better chance you have of catching these fish because they get really finicky as we approach the fall season. Have a variety of patterns, colours and change every so often. The worst thing you can do is fish the same fly the whole time. Coho are very picky and moody so vary your speed. If you are casting spinners we have a good selection of spinners made by Peter Macphearson for our local waters as well as Krokodile spoons and buzz bombs which also work on the beach. Don’t forget that there are also Chinooks out there that can be caught off the beach especially with gear.
See you on the beach and don’t forget your stripping basket.
BC Lake Fishing Report:
The lake fishing has been slow, although we have heard of the first good reports leading into the fall in the Chilcotin Area. Starting next Friday we will refocus on the lake fisheries. In the fall the lake fisheries in the interior start producing more fish as water temperatures start dropping with the cooler air temperatures.
The staff at Pacific Angler hope you enjoyed this report. If you have any questions about our fishing reports please do not hesitate to drop by our store at 78 East Broadway or give us a call at 604-872-2204.
Have a great weekend and tight lines,
Matt Sharp & the Pacific Angler Team