Pacific Angler Outlook:
Welcome to the Pacific Angler Friday Fishing Report. We are proud to be your source of fishing information. As we settle into the true fall season on the West Coast so do the rains. And as the rain continues to fall, the fall salmon continue to enter our local rivers.
But before we get to the fishing, Pacific Angler would like to recognize Ali Alami, of M1 Innovations, for his initiative in raising money for Operation Smile. With a little help from the Pac Ang Team and Fishing With Rod, we were able to raise just over $1,500.00 for this great cause. A big thanks goes out to Ali and all those gracious people who donated their hard earned money to Operation Smile.
Now lets get to the fishing! The one thing that we need to consider this fall is that all fisheries have been 1 to 2 weeks late. Pacific Angler guides and staff learned this from guiding in the saltwater everyday from May until October. I would hazard a guess that we will continue to see exceptional salmon fishing from now until mid November and even towards the end of November. The great thing about this time of year is that the crowds on the rivers start to dwindle with the cooler and rainier conditions. The combination of less pressure and fresh salmon entering our watersheds can make for some epic days on the water catching bright coho such as the one below. This chromer was caught by our good friend Charles while on a guided trip with Pacific Angler head guide, Matt.
If you are new to fishing the West Coast one of the major keys for being successful is being observant of the weather patterns and how it affects each watershed. For example while one river may be blown out and unfishable another river may be on fire!
The Vancouver weather forecast is calling for rainy conditions from now until Tuesday/Wednesday next week. Daily average temperatures will range from 9 to 13 degrees Celsius. It is important to check the River Levels before you head out for your day of fishing and remember that water levels can rise rapidly.
For a detailed look at Vancouver’s river fishing and saltwater scene please read the reports below. This is a special report as Mr. Pacific Angler, Jason Tonelli, is the sole contributor. If you have any questions do not hesitate to contact our friendly staff @ 604-872-2204 or better yet, drop by Pacific Angler @ 78 East Broadway.
River Fishing Report:
For a detailed look into the local river scene read the river fishing report below. Our guides have been doing exceptionally well this past week. Check out Dimitri and his guest with a chrome chum, while on a walk & wade guided trip!
Chilliwack River: The “Wack” has been pretty amazing this year. Very good coho fishing and as usual there were good numbers of white springs around earlier on. This river will often start to slow down a bit as we get into November but this year it is still going strong with plenty of chrome coho around and even the odd chrome spring jack. Most of the springs are pretty dark by now.
The problem this weekend is all this rain. The river is high right now and it is forecast to rain hard this weekend so I don’t think the river will be dropping anytime soon. These mild temperatures aren’t helping either. If you are heading out there try brightly colored flies or spinners in any slow water you can find. If you are float fishing, large pieces of roe with chartreuse wool can often produce in the dirty water. The key will be finding any slower holding water that coho love to sit in. You might be surprised at how well you can do when the river is high and dirty. The higher water can concentrate the fish into the smaller holding areas. By fishing big and bright, regardless of your style of fishing, you can do pretty well.
Chehalis River: The Chehalis blew out mid-week and is pretty high. If we get as much rain as they are forecasting it will likely blow out again. There is usually a solid push of fish entering the river this time of year so if the river can hold onto any sort of visibility and you can find some soft water, you should hit some fish. This system is a bit of a yo-yo. It can come up in a hurry and drop in a hurry, so it is tough for us to give an up to the minute report. Check on the rains and make your best guess and go fishing. You can’t catch them at home looking at the weather report and river height graphs.
Harrison River: The Harrison was pretty awesome until all this rain! Ron and Andre were doing well there as were some clients and we also had some guided trips in this area. Lots of chrome coho! Now the river has come way up and so has the Chehalis. We will have to wait and see what happens this weekend. A lot more rain is forecast and the temperatures are very mild. The river will be high and this makes finding the fish extremely difficult. Fish destined for the Chehalis will also be taking advantage of the higher water and migrating upstream and out of the Harrison. If you are using spinners and spoons try covering a lot of water in search of a pod of fish. The same can be said for the fly fisherman. There are still good numbers of chrome chum piling in as well.
Fraser River: We have heard of some great coho fishing in the Lower Fraser River on brightly colored spinners and spoons or bar fishing roe. There seem to be a lot of coho around in the 5-7 lb range, a good mix of hatchery and wild fish. Tough to say where these fish are going, but likely some are destined for the Chehalis and Harrison and of course the Vedder River. Regardless, there are more fish than the locals have seen in a few years, so that is exciting! The coho seem to be pretty small this year though, much smaller than last year, but most would agree the numbers are way up! The sturgeon fishing continues to be solid as well. This is typical of this time of year, the sturgeon put on the feedbag in preparation for a long cold winter. Sturgeon fishing from Chilliwack down to Fort Langley has been good to awesome. This time of year roe bags (chum roe is often best) are the ticket. If you would like to give sturgeon fishing a try, give us a call at the shop and we can set you up with one of our sturgeon guides. Our sturgeon guides do one thing for a living, fish for sturgeon, and this time of year we can pretty much guarantee you are going to have multiple hook ups, and maybe a double header or two for good measure!
Squamish River: The Squamish is blown out, very high and dirty. It hit 4.5 meters this week (Thursday). Same theme as the other rivers – too much rain in conjunction with mild temperatures. The forecast is for some serious rain this weekend so the river will stay out until the rain stops and the freezing level drops. This is too bad as there are a lot of chrome chum and coho entering the river right now. The visibility is extremely limited so the fishing is very tough at the moment. Keep an eye on the weather and if things cool down and the rain stops (or doesn’t show up) the fish will be there. Pink and purple flies or chartreuse and purple flies were producing well for chum in the lower before the blow out. The same colored marabou jigs were also producing well. If you want to focus on coho try a silver Koho spoon with fire orange back in size 35 or 45. Some of our custom spinners with the fl. red and fl. chartreuse blades have also been working. The upper river has changed drastically with two major floods this fall. If you can find a slow run or back channel there are usually a few willing coho around. The same spinners or spoons previously mentioned will work, as will brightly colored flies or flash flies. As mentioned though, it will be awhile before the river has enough clarity to warrant a trip to the upper… If the rain shows up, it could be out until mid next week.
Capilano River: The “Cap” is extremely high, so most of the traditionally good water is going to be much too fast. The big pushes of coho and chinook have long since entered the river with the multiple high water events we have experienced over the last 2 weeks. As a result most of the fish are stacked up fairly high in the system. If you plan on fishing the Cap this weekend be extremely careful as it is very high and dangerous and will likely stay that way with the forecast this weekend for “mucho lluvia”. That is Spanish for lots of rain. If you have the time and Air Miles, this would be a good weekend to go to Mexico!
Stave River: The Stave has definitely seen some good numbers of coho show up last week and this week. The river will be in decent shape despite the rains because it is dam controlled. There are a few chrome chum rolling in as well. To target the chrome chums try and fish lower down by the mouth. Short floating pink and purple marabou jigs has been producing some nice fish. If you are swinging flies, pink and purple or chartreuse and purple flies have been working for the chum. The coho anglers have been doing well on the typical smaller coho flies like flash flies in copper or copper/olive, rolled muddlers, and Mickey Fins. We have a good selection of custom coho flies for the Stave and Harrison or your favorite slough. You don’t want to go too loud if you are fishing spinner or spoons in this system for coho. Try brass and copper finishes. We have some awesome custom coho spinners in stock right now, from larger bright coloured ones to more subtle brass and copper ones in smaller sizes. They are lacquer coated as well, so no tarnishing after a day of fishing.
Skeena Region – Nicholas Dean Lodge Report
It has been a colder than average week here in the lower Skeena region, with night time temperatures between -1C and -8C and daytime temperatures between -3C and 4C. On Monday we were greeted with snow in town, which is strange to see when there are still leaves on the maple trees! Correspondingly, rivers have continued to drop and clear, and visibility on the mainstem Skeena is now currently around 3 to 4 ft.
As many readers are likely aware, there was some big news earlier this week – a 7.7 magnitude earthquake was recorded off the coast of Haida Gwaii, and was certainly felt here in Terrace, and inland to Prince George. Thankfully, there has not been any major damage reported from the earthquake itself, or the resulting tsunami wave (minimal in size, around 2 ft on Haida Gwaii).
The fishing has slowed down slightly from last week, likely due in part to falling water temperatures and increasing water clarity. Guests have had to work harder for their fish, but have still been finding some bright fish on the Skeena and its tributaries between 8 and 15 lbs. When conditions get tougher on the tribs, we’ll often use a long leader and a sparsely dressed, heavily weighted fly, which helps to get down quickly in pocket water and stay deep. Dubbed “swinphing” or “swymphing” – whatever you want to call it – it is a very productive method of fishing a fly deep, and combines high stick nymphing in the first half of the drift, and swinging in the last half. With a little practise, you can manipulate your fly to swing at depth in front of and behind mid-stream boulders and other structure that Steelhead like to hold in, and can be a useful tool to add to your repertoire on-river.
This week marks the end of our 2012 guiding season here at Nicholas Dean Outdoors, and what a season it’s been! Great people, camaraderie and fishing. Many thanks to all who have joined this year and we’ll look forward to seeing you again next year or in the near future. Look for more season highlights in upcoming reports!
Nicholas Dean Outdoors
Saltwater Fishing Report
Most anglers are on the rivers but there are a few die-hard saltwater captains plying the cold winter waters for feeder chinook. The Capilano (West Vancouver) area usually picks up around Christmas, so we have a ways to go yet if you want to keep it local. Usually we start to hear of our first winter springs over towards Howe Sound and Bowen. That being said, don’t sit by your computer waiting for a hot winter chinook report. Winter chinook fishing and fisherman reminds me of cutthroat fishing and fisherman. The fish are here one day and gone the next and the fisherman are notoriously tight lipped. These chinook move around a lot and you often have to work hard for them with a few glory days thrown in just to keep you going! Those in the know are often out on the water by themselves or maybe another boat or two so they want to keep it that way. The funny thing is by the time you a hear a report for winter chinook it is usually too late, the fish have moved, so the best time to go for winter chinook is whenever you have the time! Stay tuned for more tips on how to catch these fish as we get later into the month.
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 and Ron