Pacific Angler Outlook: Things are winding down for this year’s salmon season but there are still lots of opportunities to get out for one last kick at the can. We have had a number of great late season reports. With the warm, wet weather we figure you have another week or two of good salmon fishing. We are also eagerly awaiting the first local steelhead reports. Dimitri will be out looking for his first winter steelhead of the year in the coming weeks.
The Thompson is open and since opening day there has been lots of anglers and decent numbers of fish hooked on gear and some on the fly. Dave is up there right now, Spey rod in hand, so if you want an updated report, give him a call on Monday when he gets back. He has checked in a few times and fishing has been pretty slow, people are working hard to get them on the fly, but he managed one nice one so far. The Steelhead Society of BC Bonaparte River Fundraiser is on Thursday November 29th. If you have had the opportunity to enjoy the Thompson fishery this season then come out and help us raise funds for this habitat project that will directly benefit Thompson Steelhead. All you have to do is drink beer, maybe bid on some items, and have fun! The Pacific Angler crew will be there to help raise money for this new project aimed at restoring the Bonaparte River steelhead habitat. There will be a live and silent auction, of which Pacific Angler has donated a full day charter on our 27 foot Grady White, the Salty Dawg.
If you are thinking about an escape down south we have a number of great warm water fly orders coming in soon. If it is roosters in Mexico, or bone fish in the Caribbean we will have what you need. If you haven’t planned your warm water escape yet we also just opened up more dates for our Cuba Adventure. We had such an awesome response from returning guests that our May trip booked up fast. We just booked another week in March. If you missed out or couldn’t go in May check out the March trip dates. Last year we went in March and hooked lots of big bone fish and permit! Cuba in March!
The forecast for this weekend looks mild. The Vancouver weather forecast is calling for light rain over the weekend and into next week, but mid week expect another bump of heavy rain. The daily temperatures are a little colder than last week, ranging from 5 to 9 degrees Celsius. Because of the cold the river levels are expected to drop at least until the mid week rain.
I have saved the best for last because when most fly fisherman are about to hang up their rods for the season, we are in the shop watching river levels, dusting off our 5wts, and tying up egg patterns. Right good numbers of Dolly Varden, cutthroat, and rainbows are moving into all the rivers to feed on the eggs and flesh left behind by the salmon. This is one of our favorite fisheries and we have already heard a number of good reports. Check out the full breakdown below on the rig, the gear, and how you can have some great days out on the water in December and January! If you haven’t heard of this fishery before or want to learn more check out our egg fishing course that is coming up in January.
For a detailed look at Vancouver’s river fishing and and update on the saltwater scene please read the reports below. If you have any questions do not hesitate to contact our friendly staff at 604-872-2204 or better yet, drop by Pacific Angler at 78 East Broadway.
River Fishing Report: Check out the coho that one our customers caught this week. Don’t worry Josh, starting slow and ending strong is a saying worth aspiring to in all walks of life 🙂
THE EGG FLY RIG!
This is one of the most effective techniques for fly fishing this time of year.
Use a 9-10 foot tapered leader in the 6-7lb class. Monofilament line is great but for this presentation fluorocarbon line sinks faster and is less visible to the fish. We also add a foot or two of tippet. If you want to save a little on the line, using a mono leader with a fluorocarbon tippet works to hide the line from the fish. You can attach the tippet with a double or tripple Surgeon’s know or you can use a small #12-14 swivel between the mono leader and 18-24 inches of 6-7lb fluorocarbon tippet. Above the swivel or Surgeon’s knot add a small amount of weight. There are 2 great kinds of weight for this, split shot and putty weight. The key to this rig is in the indicator. This is used to detect a strike but more importantly it helps us achieve a dead drift. We love the Thingamabobber indicators for faster water and ease of sight and the fish pimp or football indicators when maximum casting distance is needed. Cast this rig with a wide loop to keep things from tangling and we recommend a 45 degree up stream cast. Mend the line aggressively. I like to see the indicator move or pop just a little bit with each mend.
A couple tricks with this method are to mend aggressively and be constantly analyzing your drift. If you can mend just enough to pop the indicator off the water we can get an idea of what direction your leader is heading below the fly. This helps us analyze the drift and depth. Remember the water at the surface is moving faster than the water below so you might have you indicator dragging the fly down stream. Popping it up stream 4-8inches will correct this. Oh, and set the hook on anything that looks funny. If the indicator hesitates or dips under, I like to use what is called a set mend. Aggressively try to pop the indicator. If it does not react correctly to the mend (because of a fish or bottom) continue the aggressive lifting motion into a strike. If it pops cleanly off the water drop it back down to continue your drift.
Fish in areas that have walking pace current and if you had the chance to do some salmon fishing, try to remember where the chum were stacked up for spawning. The best water will be just below those areas. I like hitting head end riffles just below big runs that had chum in them or in the vicinity of smaller creeks where the salmon were spawning. If you are out in the next few weeks and the chum are still around fish right behind the schools of spawning fish.
Chilliwack River: Things are slowing down for salmon fishing. The Vedder is where we expect to hear the first steelhead reports and that could happen any day.
Chehalis River / Harrison River: The Harrison system gets some great late season coho. They are also usually large fish. Don’t be surprised if you get a late push of fresh chum as well. There will be lots of older fish as well but this system is worth looking at well into December. We had a good report from yesterday where some friends were hitting them on flies using Andre’s Arrow fly and small copper flash flies. If you are using spinners or spoons try copper or brass.
Fraser River: This time of year we start to see the temperatures of the Fraser drop as things get pretty cold in the interior headwaters. This makes the sturgeon a bit more lethargic. This pattern will continue as the water gets even colder as we near December. there will be another week or two of good sturgeon fishing and then the fish will start to move into the over wintering holes and prepare for the cold waters of late December and January.
Squamish River: We are still getting some good reports from the Squamish. A few anglers have been able to take advantage of the late chum opening but there are fewer fish moving through that are worth keeping. Coho fishing in the upper river has be good when the conditions are right and this system will still get fish well into December. It is also a system worth fishing with your 5wt and indicator, fishing egg patterns. The fishing should be good for the next 2 months
If you are fly fishing, smaller flies like you would use on the Harrison are the way to go. If you are fishing conventional gear, small brass and copper spinners and spoons are doing well. The water has lots of clarity now so time to scale things down. We will see a few fresh coho enter the system in the next two weeks and then it will come to a close around the beginning of December.
Capilano River: The Cap fish are all very dark by this time of year so most of the angling pressure has dropped off. The pools are full of very dark chinook and coho and the fishing is slow right now but expect some steelhead to show up early in the new year.
Stave River: The chum are pretty much done on the Stave but the same can’t be said for the coho. There has been some good coho fishing this week with a mix of old and bright fish. Your classic small coho flies that we have mentioned a few times today are what you want to use. The clear intermediate sink tip is the line of choice as you are casting into slow moving or even still water. Keep an eye out for rolling fish and move around until you get some hook ups or you make visual contact. The smallest of spinners and spoons will also take some fish but keep it to a copper color or maybe brass. The water is clear so you want to keep your presentation small and subtle. This is another river worth hitting with egg patterns and the fly rod for cutts, bulls, and rainbows for the next 2 months!
Local Saltwater: There have been a few die hard anglers fishing in the Howe Sound area with the odd fishing being caught. We have also heard of a few fish over around Nanaimo. This time of year you are better off concentrating on the river fishing, but soon, very soon, the winter chinook will be in our local waters. It usually picks up right around mid December, so we will be out on the water then to test things out and we will let you know how it goes.
On behalf of the Pacific Angler staff we wish you the best in your fishing endeavours 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, Dave, Dimitri, Andre, Ron