After the big rains from last week the weather has settled down and the blue sky and sun has come out. With sunny skies and some awesome fishing to take advantage of it is definitely feeling like spring in the Lower Mainland.
Top fisheries at the end of March is steelheading on the Vedder River, cutthroat fishing in Aggasiz area (ie. Harrison, Stave, etc.) and bulltrout fishing in the Squamish Valley. So there are definitely some great options for the Vancouver angler.
Cooler weather and less precipitation have put the rivers on the drop. You can expect clearer conditions this weekend. This will generally mean that you will need to adjust your setup to the conditions using smaller presentations. This will pretty much hold true for all species.
The Vancouver weather forecast is calling for sunny conditions with periods of cloud from Friday to Sunday. The daily high temperatures will range from 8 to 11 degrees Celsius, while the daily low temperatures will range from 0 to 1 degrees Celsius. With no rain in the forecast and slightly cooler overnight temperatures you can expect river levels to drop across the Lower Mainland.
For the saltwater angler sun is usually not a good thing as clear sunny skies at this time of year usually mean a hard northwest wind. The marine forecast for the Strait of Georgia is calling for northwestern winds ranging from 5 to 20 knots from Friday to Sunday. Wind coming from the northwest can be the most treacherous as it blows straight through the strait turning the ocean into big white caps. Better for surfing and not fishing. However, make sure to check the latest marine forecast as conditions can change rapidly. Sometimes they call for a big wind and if it doesn’t show up you could have the ocean to yourself.
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 – The rivers in the Squamish Valley are on the drop from last weekend. It looks as though the rivers did not bump up with the rain from this week. The shop had a number of good reports from the week for bull trout with anglers fishing fry and sculpin patterns. The Pacific Angler staff have found that a sink tip is best for fishing the Squamish River with fry patterns.
On other systems, like the Harrison, Stave and Fraser Rivers where there are larger cutthroat populations, fishing a floating line is best because cutthroat are more surface oriented. Bull trout will usually stay deeper. I have found the best is to have a rod setup with a floating line and a rod setup with a type 3 sink tip. With the floating line, fish a long 10ft, 6lb tapered leader. With sink tips run 3 to 4 feet of 8 lb rio powerflex tippet. If the river drops and gets low, then switch to the smaller diameter and clearer 8lb fluorocarbon. This will make a difference.
The staff have heard of some steelhead reports. While we are waiting for more fish to show up we are coming up on some of the better times to target steelhead on the Squamish River. We are in a full moon cycle for the next week with big tides. In areas were fish are staging, a full moon can put them off the bite. However, in areas where fish should be moving in, you can expect good numbers. The fish will be taking advantage of the high tides and moving in to the system, so get out and fish hard.
The Pacific Angler Guides will start focusing on the Squamish Valley. If you would like to get out with us please do not hesitate to call the shop @ 604-872-2204.
– Matt Sharp
Capilano River – I went out for a look a couple of days ago and saw one steelhead in the hatchery. The fishing is very slow and I did not see anybody else fishing. Hopefully, we will get some steelhead in the system before the end of March. Otherwise, there are no other species to talk about until the coho start trickling in by the end of May.
– Andre Stepanian
Seymour River – We are hitting prime migration times for all the steelhead rivers in the Lower Mainland. The Pacific Angler staff have not heard many Seymour River reports but with the big tides this next week there is a good chance that fish will move into the river. Fish the lower river just after the high tide. Gooey bobs with chartreuse/white wool and 4 inch pink worms are our favorite float fishing rigs. Pink and black & blue are our favorite flies to swing with a Spey rod or single hand fly rod and sink tips. If you like hiking the upper river, stick with the same float fishing set ups but having smaller single egg imitations can be productive on both the float rod and the standard indicator fly fishing rig.
– Matt Sharp
Fraser River – This extremely large and overwhelming river will continue to fish well for cutthrout trout and bull trout until the river rises from warmer weather. The Fraser River typically runs quite dirty throughout the year with the exception being the winter months and early spring.
I just talked to Steve Kaye, one of Vancouver’s most experienced sturgeon guides, and he said fishing has been good. This past week he got a fat 8 footer with some clients. He said the water temperature has been about 6 degrees higher than normal making the fish more active. He has been using oolichans and doing quite well around the Chilliwack area. This is despite the fact that it is still early for the oolichan migration into the Fraser River. Sturgeon fishing will start to become more consistent as the water temperatures continue to warm through the spring. If you would like to get out for some early sturgeon trips with Steve give the shop a call at 604-872-2204.
– Dave Fauquier
Chilliwack/Vedder River – The Chilliwack came into shape on Sunday and fished well Monday to Wednesday. There was a small bump of water on Wednesday that colored up the river in the afternoon. However, it is back on the drop. I expect clearer conditions this weekend with good river levels. Our guides and friends hit the river hard over the last week with good success. They found fish on steelhead roe, spin-n-glows, prawn and pink worms. The fly fisherman found fish as well and we heard of three fish taken on black and blue flies and a couple others on pink flies. Check out this chrome steelhead that Pacific Angler customer, Josh Wolfe, caught this last week.
At this time of year steelhead are evenly spread throughout the river. Locating your piece of water is simply a matter of personal preference and your method of angling. Remember that the majority of steelhead are caught in 2 to 6 feet of water at a walking speed space and with the full moon cycle there should be lots of fresh fish moving into the river.
– Matt Sharp
Chehalis River – With the big rainfall the Lower Mainland received this past weekend the Pacific Angler staff heard of some reports of steelhead being caught throughout the Chehalis River, mainly using float setups. With the cooler temperatures and lack of rain in the forecast the Chehalis River is most likely back to low and clear conditions. While the fish will still be distributed throughout the entire system the low and clear conditions will make fishing much tougher.
If you are adventurous then the canyon pools can be a great option. Smaller presentations such as single eggs can be great. Spoons can also be very productive. For the fly fishermen, weighted and sparse intruders are most productive which enable the fly to get down to the fish quickly.
– Dave Fauquier
Stave River – This is a great time to concentrate on fishing for cutthroat. The Chum fry should be in full swing by now. If you have a raft you can put yourself on the Island below the dam and fish from both sides. At the same time you might still catch a Steelhead while fishing for cutthroat. Don’t overlook what we call ” The toilet bowl” which is right in front of the yellow gates as it is a great spot to cast into for cutthroat as they come in and out of there to slash the fry.
– Andre Stepanian
Harrison River – The river is at 9.2 and rising. With no rain in the forecast I expect the river level to start dropping. This is good news as these higher water levels can limit walking along the banks of the river. As well, with the high water levels the fry don’t stay in the mainstem. They get washed down to the Fraser River sooner than they should. This a good time to fish the Fraser River system and check out the sloughs that feed into the system as the fry are more comfortable in slower moving water. Make sure you have some fry patterns on hand and a few March Browns. Fish floating line with a 12ft leader as the Cutthroat can be very spooky.
I will be on the water a lot starting guiding next week so I will have fresh reports each week. If you are interested in our specialize cutthroat guided trips please feel free to call Pacific Angler @ 604-872-2204.
On a side note I will be instructing another Epoxy Fly Tying course on Monday March 25th. If you would like to learn how to tie these very effective flies please do not hesitate to call the store at 604-872-2204. There are only 3 spots left. The cost is $30.00/person and includes 10% off all materials for the course.
– 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, and Eddie