Pacific Angler Outlook
Fall is in the air! The days are shorter, darker and yes, rain is (will be) a constant. For most normal people in Vancouver this brings on the first dose of fall/winter depression, but not for the keen Vancouver angler. The fall rains bring a smile across the many anglers throughout the Lower Mainland. Salmon river fishing is in full swing.
The Vancouver forecast is calling for rain all this weekend and into next week. You can expect daily high temperatures to range from 12 to 15 degrees Celsius. These are perfect fishing conditions. It is important to wear layered clothing and good rain gear to keep you dry all day.
The story for this week is definitely the rain. Vancouver is expected to receive between 50 to 100 mm from Friday until Monday. This is exciting since we’ve received 8 mm of rain since the beginning of August. It will be critical to check the river levels before you go to the river. Depending on how much rain we receive the rivers will either be in perfect shape or could get blown out. But we’ll talk more about that in the river section.
While the river fishing for salmon will be taking off this weekend the local saltwater salmon fishing has still been very productive. The mouth of the Capilano River has been the most productive area for mature chinook salmon and coho salmon. Jason will touch on this in more detail in the saltwater report. Beach fishing has also been productive. Anglers using spinning gear have struggled while fly fishermen have had some good success. So don’t put away your saltwater gear quite yet! Some of the very best days of the season are at the end when the rain is coming down sideways.
Are you a lake trout nut? The most regarded lake fishermen in BC, Brian Chan, has written a detailed report of the lake fishing scene in the interior. From his report it sounds like the best is still yet to come.
For a detailed look at river, saltwater, and lake fishing please read the reports below. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact our friendly staff at 604-872-2204 or better yet, drop by our store at 78 East Broadway.
River Fishing Report:
For a detailed look into the local river scene read the river fishing report below:
Chilliwack River: The time is now! With all this rain coming it’s going to be the best fishing of the season. There are lots of coho and chinooks in the river already, with many more to come right up until November. The rain coming is going to start the best fishing that we are going to experience all season. Rain always brings a big push of fish into the river so keep your eyes on the water levels and weather forecast throughout the month. Now is the time to get out and catch some nice fish. As a side note, watch for late running Cultas Lake sockeye, they can be mistaken as coho from time to time.
Chehalis/Harrison River: Harrison has lots of coho staging off Morris Slough, in Harrison Bay, and at the mouth of the Chehalis. These fish will be very active as we get rain this weekend. There are lots of chum to have fun with as well. They are always eager to bite a fly or a jig. The Chehalis will generally get a constant run of fish from here on until the middle of November.
Fraser River: Sturgeon fishing was good the last 2 days, with over ten fish to the boat each day by some local guides and friends. There have been 3 massive fish caught this year already, and prime time is just starting. Lots of coho and chum salmon are in the Fraser River heading to their home tributaries. Casting spinners and spoons as well as plunking/barfishing with roe are great ways to target them. There is a note of caution, there are fall steelhead and upper Fraser River wild coho salmon migrating through the river this time or year, so make sure to identify your catch prior to landing.
Squamish River: The Squamish has been running low but coloured. The temps during the day are causing the glaciers to continue to melt, sending lots of silt downstream. There are large numbers of coho and chum salmon pushing into the river daily. Fresh fish are coming in on the tides. The upper river is looking good so far, with many spots to fish. A cautionary warning that if you are attempting to drift be careful of the many sweepers and the 2 major log jams. A good eye and a fast hand on the oars is a must. Always wear a life jacket!
Capilano River: The rains are coming and the fish are going to be following! There are thousands of fish stationed at the mouth waiting for rain in order to move through. So get ready for a huge wave of coho and chinook salmon to come piling through. The river still has a bait ban until the 1st of November.
Stave River: The Stave has had great numbers of chum and many coho. Marabou and rabbit jigs are a key with the chums, and float fishing roe or casting spinners for the coho has been really effective. Fly fisherman have been doing well with clear intermediate lines and small rolled muddlers and olive coho buggers. With the construction happening on the dam, both roads on the stave from the East and West side are littered with ‘NO PARKING’ signs. This has made foot access a little difficult. But boating into the river is still an option and there will be some great fishing to be had.
Skagit River: The Pacific Angler staff have heard reports that the Skagit River is quite low at the moment. Despite this fishing for rainbows was fair. Dry flies were working well for these beautiful fish. Emerger mayfly patterns can also be very productive, especially when you get those picky trout. The last two weeks of October can be some of the best fishing on this system so, if you are a trout nut haunted by big rainbows gulping your dry fly, then make sure to get out before the Skagit closes at the end of the month.
Skeena Region – Nicholas Dean Lodge Report
The fishing this past week has been so good that Chad and the boys at the Nicholas Dean Lodge are too busy to post a report from this week. As you might recall last Friday the Skeena region received a huge amount of rain which blew all of the systems. As predicted once the rivers settled back into shape the fishing improved with fresh fish moving into the Skeena and it’s many tributaries.
The weather forecast for Terrace this coming week is calling for some more rain. We’ll have to wait and see how this affects the fishing up north.
Below is a picture of a chrome steelhead Dave caught this time a couple of years back on one of the Skeena Tributaries. It’s such a great time to be up north!
For a detailed report on the local saltwater salmon fishing scene written by Jason Tonelli read below:
The fishing this week for chinook salmon off the mouth of the Capilano River has been good to great. We have been getting 3 to 10 fish on a tide change, so about 5-7 hours out on the water depending on the time of day and tide. There is a mix of dark fish and fresh fish and we have hit fish from 5lb jacks up to fish in the mid teens, even some pushing the mid to high twenties. Two of our customers, Craig and Kelly, were out this last week and landed a hog of 29.6lbs!
Although some fish are still getting caught using flashers, there are good numbers of fish getting caught on bait with no flashers. Herring in a teaser head has been our top producer this week. UV Purple, Clear Chartreuse, Clear Green, Glow and Glow Green have all worked extremely well. We have also been catching fish on an anchovy in a teaser head, no flasher, using the same teaser head colors mentioned with the herring setup.
It seems most of the jacks are hitting the flasher setups and most of the larger fish are taking the bait with no flasher. A good way to start the day is a glow flasher and glow teaser head setup on one side and a whole herring in a teaser head on the other side. Certain days you will be hitting around 50/50 on the two setups, some days the flasher seems to work better, some days no flasher seems to work better. You can adjust based on what the fish are telling you, such as Eddie (Pacific Angler head saltwater guide) did to catch this chrome chinook salmon.
There are still fresh fish pushing in and if you are there on a day when a fresh school shows up, you definitely want to have some flashers out because these are aggressive fish and you will hook more with flashers than without.
What about the rain? Yes we have rain in the forecast for the weekend. Many of you who frequent the shop will have heard about our guided trip last year where we hit 16 fish in 6 hours last fall in the pouring rain. Sometimes it rains and the fish go up the river and the ocean fishing is dead slow. Sometimes it rains and they concentrate at the mouth of the river in a tight school before they head up the river. This was the case on a few occasions last year and it was a fish a pass for 6 hours straight until the ebb tide came in and flushed them all out. So the rain should not discourage you, if anything it just might bring the best fishing of the week!
Lookout for the seals! We were sealed on two fish the other day, so was Bon Chovy, and Predator lost one to a seal as well. If this weren’t enough there was a big bull Steller Sea Lion in the harbour this week taking fish…. Don’t bother trying to get your fish back if this beast latches on, break it off and save your knuckles.
Don’t forget about the coho, they are stacked up on the beach in a big way! Andre was beach fly fishing one afternoon this week and he hooked a few coho and a few jacks as well. Just cruise the W Van shoreline and you will see them jumping all over the place. The fly fisherman have been doing better than the gear guys on many occasions. These fish are tight lipped and they aren’t going to respond to aggressive presentations like buzz bombs or flashy spinners. A more subtle presentation like a small attractor fly pattern seems to be working best. If you are trolling try an Apex in 1.0 or an anchovy in a UV purple teaser, no flasher. Make sure to have your gear well behind the downrigger so you distance the lure from the boat, this well help your success rate up in the shallows where the fish are (10 to 40 feet). If you want to try the fly fishing out, come down and see Andre at the shop, he is in this Saturday. He has the beach fishing dialed in, including custom fly patterns available exclusively at Pacific Angler.
So there is still lots of saltwater fishing to be had so get out there this weekend and hook into some big chinook or some of the coho that are stacked up!
Read below for Andre’s beach report:
I went out Tuesday from 3:00 to 6:30 PM in the evening. I hooked a bunch of coho salmon and 3 chinook salmon. The fish are in between the two rock jetties. It is so easy with an inflatable, you park the car and throw tour boat in from the beach and you fishin in no time. It does not matter what tide, they are just there. You can not catch them with blades or spinners , lot of people tried but did not catch anything.
Life is beautiful,
BC Lake Fishing Report:
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.
Matt & the Pacific Angler Staff