Pacific Angler Outlook
Wow, August flew by fast! It was a great month for fishing across the Lower Mainland. With great runs of salmon in the saltwater and Fraser River, great trout fishing when the water finally dropped on the Skagit and Thompson, and stunning early numbers from the Skeena Watershed, we are eagerly awaiting September.
The Labour Day Chinook Classic Starts Tomorrow! We have seen a great response and strong turn out but there are still spots available. If you don’t want to go for the 2 day event the daily jackpot is only $250 per day per boat. The biggest fish each day is going to take home big cash prizes. If you are planning on fishing this weekend it would be a shame to catch a monster and not be entered. It is not too late so call us today if you still want to enter.
Things are going to cool off a little over the next week with daily temperatures hovering around the 20 degree Celsius mark. This is a good thing for “Lake Country”. With overnight temperatures dropping, lake temperatures will soon follow. The fish should start to feed again. We expect to hear the first good fall lake fishing reports in the next 2 weeks.
Trout river fishing is still good in the Hope / Thompson area and because sockeye numbers are low we are not seeing the normal lull that happens when the trout get too stirred up by salmon in the Thompson River. Fishing has been great and should continue well into September.
Beach fishing is still solid and we should start seeing waves of Coho heading to the other spawning habitats around the lower mainland soon. Check out Andre’s update below.
Although the sockeye are not going to open, the Fraser River is fishing well for Chinook and sturgeon. The Chinook fishing should be good until they close it around the middle of October and sturgeon will only get better as more “bait” (salmon) hit the river.
Though it is still early we expect Coho to start to show in the Chillliwack/vedder River. The river is low and tough to fish right now but as soon as it bumps up a little expect the first Coho of the season to role in.
The Vancouver weather forecast looks good with sun forecast all week. The trend to take note of is the cooler weather we are experiencing with daily temperature highs ranging from 19 to 22 degrees Celsius. It will be interesting to see how this affects fishing across the province.
River Fishing Report:
For a detailed look into the local river scene read Dimitri Roussandis’s river fishing report below:Chilliwack River: It’s the last couple days of August, summer has passed, and fall is here. The fall Chinook as well as coho salmon will be showing up in numbers in the next 10 days. As the months go on, the fishing will only get better. In the first half of September the chance to catch coho, jack and adult chinooks are present. The jacks and coho are the first ones to enter the river in decent numbers, with the Chinooks following close behind.
Chehalis River: The Chehalis is still at a low and clear level but there are steelhead in the system. Low and clear conditions make for spooky fish and tough conditions. First light and last light are the best times to target these fish. Toned down presentations are the key to success. There won’t be to much sign of coho in the system until the back half of September but check out this awesome shot of a steelhead holding in clear water.
Fraser River: The Fraser has been awesome for Chinooks in the month of August. As the transition from summer red Chinooks to fall white Chinooks proceeds, there is still a good chance to catch some nice fish. The saltwater has been decent with spurts of fish, good fishing in the Fraser will continue while those fish make there way up river. Sturgeon fishing has picked a bit the last few days here, with the waters of the Fraser being at a summer peak and the fish going into a transition from one food source to the other. This trend is going to be key because the next 8 weeks will be the peak feeding time for these prehistoric fish. They are required to stock up their fat levels for the coming winter.
Squamish River: The Squamish River has been high for quite some time now, but luckily with the cooling nights and chilly mornings it’s starting to drop, and there is pretty good clarity already. Both coho and chum salmon can be targeted in the Squamish River, as well as sea-run bulltrout and large resident rainbow trout. Coho will be entering the river soon, and fishing will pick up quickly. All wild fish are catch-and-release, and there is a strict bait ban on the river and its tributaries at all times.
Capilano River: The ‘Cap’ is bone low. The river has been at an all time summer low for the last 6 weeks. With tons of coho staging off West Vancouver, soon the first fall rains of the season will come. Lots of fish will be shooting up the river, and there will be lots of opportunity to catch some nice fish. There is a bait ban on the capilano in the fall, until November 1st.
Thompson River: The Thompson has been dropping fast the last couple weeks. With Chinook being in the river since July, there is good chance to hook some fish. Jacks and adult Chinook are in the river currently. With the jacks having much higher numbers, they seem to be the most targeted of the pair. Trout fishing has been great this month. They are eager to bite both dry and wet flies. You will find these fish along rip-rapped banks; back eddies, choppy riffles, and in the greasy flats on the inside of the big runs. Nymphing can be just as effective, or more effective than the dry at times, but dry flies such as, hoppers, stone flies, California blondes, and stimulators are what most anglers choose to fish.
Skagit River: The Skagit has produced some nice fish lately. With the water levels being at a lower level, fishing has picked up considerably. It is now fairly easy to hike the river and cover more water. Resident bulltrout and rainbow trout can be caught. Big streamers for the bullies has been effective as always. Look for these large and aggressive bulltrout in ambush hiding spots, under logs, under cut banks, deeper holes and troughs, as well as log jams. The rainbows keyed in on caddis’ this past week, but green drakes should start coming off soon and having mayflies in grey and green in size 12 through 8 is a must. If you are heading to this area check out the presentation overview and detailed fly selection posted 2 weeks ago in the Friday fishing report.
Skeena Region – Nicholas Dean Lodge
With low, overcast cloud cover and temperatures dropping down to less than 20C for the daily highs, it certainly feels like Fall has set in here in the lower Skeena region. It’s a dynamic time of year when the prevailing water conditions are for dropping, clearing rivers, punctuated by periods of higher flows after large rain events. Early in the week, the Skeena and its tributaries were dropping, and low and clean, but bumped up yesterday following 15-20 mm of rain. The mainstem Skeena is still in excellent fishable shape, but the tributaries may take an extra day or two to clear. It’s always wise to check the flow gauges prior to fishing so you can at least have a rough indication of what’s going on.
Highlights this past week were the mainstem Skeena, which produced many Steelhead in the 6 to 20 lb range, with a few larger fish hooked and saltwater Coho fishing. One of our clients, Yves Garioud, from New Caledonia hooked a giant Steelhead in the 25 lb range, only to have his hook completely straightened out after a brief encounter that nearly saw him spooled!
Saltwater Coho fly fishing, while having a very narrow window of opportunity, between mid August and mid September, was about as good as it gets last week. Head guide, Dustin Kovacvich, took two clients on an overnight trip and they landed well over 100 fish between the three of them. Average fish were 8 to 15 lbs, with the largest at 20 lbs. The best part – the majority were caught by casting to sighted fish, which travel in pods in about 5 to 12 ft of water. It’s not dissimilar to saltwater flats fishing, in that you have to lead the fish, and entice it by retrieving the fly back in an erratic manner. Combined with some fresh Dungeness crabs cooked right on the beach, and you can’t ask more of a wild, northern BC experience.
In summary: largest fish this week (landed) were: Steelhead – 20 lbs, Coho Salmon – 20 lbs, Chum Salmon – 38 lbs, Sockeye Salmon – 7 lbs and Pink Salmon – 6 lbs.
Vancouver Saltwater Fishing Report:
Jason Tonelli, has written an in-depth look into the local saltwater salmon scene. Read below for the full report:
Things have picked up the last few days as the full moon approaches and we have some bigger tides. It looks as though another wave of chinook has shown up. Yesterday morning Eddie hit some chinook off the Bell Buoy and managed to come back to the dock with 3 chinook on a 5 hour morning charter. They lost a few that morning as well. We also heard of some fish at T-10 in the evening and some excellent fishing down at the South Arm. It seems like the numbers of chinook are starting to build again after a slow stretch of about 5 to 6 days. These fish have been taken anywhere from 30 to 80 feet on the downriggers. Most anglers are using glow flashers, a 6 foot leader, and anchovy or herring in a glow, glow green, or glow blue/green teaser head. The chinook fishing will continue for at least a few more weeks and we should start to see some bigger white chinook start to show up now. These are Capilano fish, Harrison fish, and Vedder/Chilliwack fish. Some of these fish breach the 50 pound mark so make sure you check your mainline and leaders often.
The coho are still stacked up off West Van as well. There have been a few more wild fish the last few days, but still plenty of hatchery fish around. It seems some of the fish are biters and have herring or crab larvae in their stomach, and some nothing at all. A large portion of the fish are getting a little stale and the bite seems to turn on and off like a light switch. Be prepared to troll around and stare at jumping fish, not get any hits, only to get a double header for no apparent reason an hour later. The fish are in 20 to 60 feet of water and are hitting anchovies, white hootchies, and small Apexes. This fishery will continue until we get some good amount of rain and the Capilano River rises. When this happens the river fishing will be exceptional, so grab your float rod or fly rod and head upstream because thousands of fish are going to be pouring in.
As we enter September this weekend we will start to see a few more springs caught off the mouth of the Capilano River. We have heard of a few so far, but most of the anglers seem to be concentrating on the Bell Buoy, T-10 and Sandheads area for chinook. Over the coming weeks we should see the numbers of chinook build off the Cap Mouth.
For more reports check out the Guide Journal at www.vancouversalmonfishing.ca
The full moon phase has pulled more fish into the shores of West Van as they use the light to navigate to their home rivers. The fresh fish that come in close to the beach were caught by some of our customers fly fishing at the mouth of the Capilano River in the past few days. The fly that was most productive was the “HSB” in orange and white. This indicates that these fish were on crab larva for a few days. The next good tides will start on Friday Sep 7th and you will see cohos in the 10lb-12lb range as we get well into the fall.
Happy fishing and don’t forget your stripping basket.
BC Lake Fishing Report:
Finally things have started to cool down. Though we still have a ways to go we are starting to hear better reports from lake country. During September and into October the fish will start pushing hard to fatten up for winter. This time of year is awesome because fish forget about being picky and will travel into areas of the lake that they didn’t bother before. Look to the shallows and make sure to have water boatman and booby imitations in your fly box. Fish the boatman on an intermediate line and the boobies on a heavy full sink. Leeches and Dragons are another great bet in the shallows as soon as it cools.
The staff at Pacific Angler hope you enjoyed this report. If you have any questions about our fishing reports please do not hesitate to drop by our store at 78 East Broadway or give us a call at 604-872-2204.
Have a great weekend and tight lines,
Matt Sharp & the Pacific Angler Team