It is hard to believe, but it is the 1st of March. While the rest of Canada is still dealing with winter weather, spring has pretty much started for Vancouver. And with the first signs of spring comes the prime time for our local steelhead fishery. With big rains come the peak of the winter steelhead run.
While the Vedder/Chilliwack River was dirty earlier this week we have heard reports that water clarity is now good but that has likely changed overnight. However, with a significant amount of precipitation in the forecast for Friday and Saturday you can expect the river to rise and water clarity to decrease. This could produce some great fishing as a few fresh fish are bound to make their way into the river during the high water. These fish are aggressive and uneducated (meaning they haven’t seen any flies or float rigs). The Vedder River is definitely the most productive system for winter steelhead due to the large hatchery program. If you are faced with low water visibility this weekend make sure to use big presentations such as 6 inch pink worms and large and bright intruders such as the ones below.
Bulltrout fishing has been steady in the Lower Mainland and Sea-to-Sky Corridor. The majority of the egg fishing is over and we are finding that bulltrout are now focussing on other available food sources such as sculpins and even midges. Dave was out the other day with cutthroat maniac Greg, and was able to land a nice bulltrout using a size 16 chironomid with a black bead and body, and red rib.
When fishing at this time of year make sure to have a good selection of flies as you never know what the fish will be feeding on. Everything from midges to mayflies and sculpins to chum fry!
For the lake fishermen it is still a bit early to expect productive lake fishing in the Lower Mainland and Sea-to-Sky Corridor. The lake fishing usually picks up at the beginning of May when the lakes have been freshly stocked and the water conditions are more favourable. So stay tuned in April and May for the latest lake fishing reports both locally and in the interior.
It has been a tough week for the local saltwater anglers. The unstable weather has kept the majority of the fleet tied to the dock. However, moving forward we are looking forward to some better weather over the next week.
With the milder temperatures of March more and more fry will start to emerge. Typically the best fishing for the fry emergence starts in the middle of March but the boys in the shop wouldn’t be surprised if it is earlier this year. The fry emergence is an amazing thing to witness on any river system. All of the predatory fish take advantage of this food source, especially since our local rivers are nutrient poor. You can even hook steelhead on fry patterns – landing them on a 5 weight and 5 pound test is totally different story.
The Vancouver weather forecast for the weekend and into next week is looking both mild and wet. You can expect clouds and rainy conditions on Friday and Saturday and then clouds with periods of rain and sun on Sunday. You will then continue to see a mixture of sun, rain and cloud into the following week. The daily high temperatures over the weekend are quite mild, ranging from 8 to 11 degrees Celsius. The daily low temperatures range from 5 to 9 degrees Celsius. Overall, a good amount of steady precipitation will be good for all of our rivers.
The Strait of Georgia marine forecast is called for some strong winds over the weekend, ranging from 15 to 25 knots southeast for today and saturday and then becoming northwest on Sunday. Make sure to check the latest marine forecast before you head out as conditions can change rapidly on the ocean.
To keep up-to-date with all things Pacific Angler and the local fishing scene check out Pacific Angler Facebook and on Twitter. You will find our detailed river and saltwater reports below. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to drop by our shop @ 78 East Broadway, Vancouver or give our friendly staff a call @ 604-872-2204.
Vancouver River Fishing Report:
Squamish/Cheakamus Rivers – With an increase in the daily temperature this weekend and some rain we can expect the water level to bump up, maybe! It seems the weather gods have been toying with us lately. Whenever the forecast has been calling for rain, that rain turns into snow. Hopefully, the Squamish Valley will receive a good dose of rain this weekend and next week. The river desperately needs it!
As of now the Squamish is extremely low. At this time of year it is most productive to target the rainbow trout, cutthroat trout, and bulltrout with small to medium sized sculpin patterns. If sculpins are not working try a single egg pattern. And you never know you might get surprised with a strong pull from a steelhead. It is still early for fry patterns but it is always worthwhile having a few chum fry patterns in your box just in case.
– Dave Fauquier
Capilano River – The winter run of steelhead have simply been non-existent. Even with the high water from last week we still have not heard of any reports of steelhead being caught. Hopefully March will bring better results for the winter steelhead fishery on the Capilano River.
Remember that all wild and hatchery steelhead must be released.
– Dave Fauquier
Seymour River – The winter steelhead run on the Seymour River is very small so it is no surprise that there have been very few reports of steelhead being caught. However, this is a fantastic river to get some exercise and make a few casts in a beautiful location just minutes from your doorstep. During high water try focusing on the lower stretch of the river while the upper river holds the odd steelhead during normal to low flows.
Similar to the Capilano River all steelhead must be released.
– Dave Fauquier
Fraser River – At this time of the year the Fraser is low and clear. The sturgeon fishing has been pretty good fishing the tidal portion of the river. The fish will push in with the high tide. You can also find cutthroat, dollies and the occasional steelhead that are moving to their native rivers through the Fraser system.
– Andre Stepanian
Chilliwack/Vedder River – The Chilliwack has been in and out of shape this past week with the rain we received last weekend. The rain has been pushing in clay from a couple clay banks, drastically affecting the water level. There is a very real possibility that the river will be high and dirty throughout the weekend if the Fraser Valley receives the predicted precipitation.
However, make sure to keep an eye on the river levels. If the river blows out on Friday and then drops back into shape on Saturday or Sunday it could be some of the best fishing of the month. Float fishermen have been doing well on single eggs, roe bags, Colorado blades, and spin-n-glos. Fly fishermen have also been doing quite well swinging for steelhead in the lower river. Intruder flies have been productive in the usual winter colours such as pink, purple and black, and black and blue. If the water clarity is low (1 to 2 feet) then make sure to use big and bright flies (pinks and oranges) and big float rigs such as 6 inch pink worms.
Steelheading just as the water is dropping can be some of the most exciting as you never know when to expect a yank from a chrome steelhead that has just entered the river.
– Dave Fauquier
Chehalis River – This river has been low and clear for the month of February, making fishing quite tough. The rule for this river is that while it blows out fast it also goes back to being low and clear very fast as well. With rain in the forecast it is worth while to check the water levels daily as the river can rise and drop in the same day. There are still a few old coho salmon around so handle them carefully if you catch one. You can expect to find the odd steelhead and cutthroat trout in this system.
The Chehalis River typically runs low and clear so make sure to bring some smaller presentations and lighter leaders such small roe bags or white wool on a single Jensen egg with a clear float. Sparse intruders or traditional flies such as general practitioners can also be effective.
– Andre Stepanian
Stave River – While we have not heard of any direct reports of the Stave River you can expect to catch bulltrout, cutthroat trout and whitefish at this time of year. This is definitely one of the slowest times of year for the Stave River so you can expect a nice quite day with not many other anglers on the river. As well, lack of parking in the area has made the river difficult to access. Click on the link for a map of the river and available parking – BC Hydro Stave River. You can really expect the fishing to pickup once the fry emerge from the gravel. It could be any day now!
– Dave Fauquier
Harrison River – March is just around the corner so get ready for the cutthroat trout fishery to start as they will head down from the little creeks to feed on the salmon fry. The Harrison River can offer some decent bulltrout/Dolly Varden fishing as well, on small midges but most of them are quite small. You can also enjoy walking the river with out seeing many anglers. The Harrison also produces some winter steelhead that hold before entering the Chehalis River so it is always a nice surprise when you hook into one.
For the fly fishermen make sure to pack a good selection of fry patterns, black stonefly nymphs, and a handful of dry flies such as tom thumbs or march browns.
– Andre Stepanian
Skagit River – Closed
Vancouver Saltwater Report:
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, Dimitri, Andre, Dave, Ron and Eddie