Pacific Angler’s Holiday Shopping Hours
Monday, Dec 16th – Friday, Dec 20th: 10am – 8pm
Saturday, Dec 21st & Sunday, Dec 22nd: 10am – 7pm
Monday, Dec 23rd: 10am – 8pm
Tuesday, Dec 24th (Xmas Eve): 10am – 4pm
Friday the 13th. I tried to file a day off under my Friday the 13th superstitious beliefs with Jason and it didn’t really fly (egg fishing has been good) and therefore, here I am at my desk wondering how many bulls and rainbows I may have hooked should my “situational” superstitions gotten past Jay’s suspicions. Tight lines to anyone that has a more gullible boss than me!
Allow me to “paint” a picture for you regarding the current weather forecast in Vancouver that is on repeat for the next week or so:
While the Squamish River near Brackendale has seen a rise in water levels that may cause some hesitation in hitting the river the next few days, the water levels showing further up near the Elaho show more fishable water levels and should still be producing great egging for bull’s and rainbows!
In The News:
On some sad news in the fishing industry we saw the news report about the Mossom Creek Community Fish Hatchery being burned to the ground Dec 11th, 2013. This is truly a sad day, especially for those that had put their sweat and tears into volunteering and working to keep this fish hatchery going since it opened in 1976.
You can view the report from The Vancouver Sun: Port Moody Fish Hatchery burns to the ground.
Collectively, we wish them a speedy recovery so they can continue to have a positive influence on the size and mgmt of local runs of salmon in the area.
Legal Salmon Retention & Etiquette Reminder:
As this salmon season in the rivers has come to a close with only the hearty, dedicated fishers still hitting the rivers in pursuit of the odd fresh salmon that will come in, I found this article posted on our friend’s, Fishing With Rod’s website timely and appropriately aligned with all fishers common interest in fishing legally and with etiquette. This article address’s the concerns and legality surrounding killing salmon for their eggs. Please read this article at your convenience and help pass this knowledge along to assist in protecting our precious resources and amazing fishing!
Pacific Angler’s 2014 Course Schedule!
Christmas is fast approaching and those who have fishers on their xmas gift list are beginning to feel escalating panic about what/how/where to get the perfect gift for the fisher on their list! Allow Pacific Angler to make a few suggestions here and feel free to forward on to the person shopping for you to assist in alleviating their stress!!
1. DVD’s – These DVD’s are a must have for any angler. To be able to sit, watch and learn before your next trip on the water is time well spent! Any stocking with one of these DVD’s in it will bring Xmas joy to the fisher it belongs to! Price Range: $19.95 – $49.99
2. Maps & Magazine’s: Bathroom reading and navigation, two very important aspects of every fishers life. At Pacific Angler we have a wide selection of Backroad Mapbooks and topographical folding maps that have saved me many times when going to a variety of lakes for the first time. At the same time, Fly Fusion, BC Outdoors, Fly Fisherman, Fly Tyer or The Drake and many other magazines in our section are always a simple yet thoughtful gift for the stocking! Price Range: $6 – $27.95
3. Shark Tooth: No, we are not selling shark tooth jewelry. The Shark Tooth is an amazing little tool (2 per pack) that every fisher would use from fly guys to gear. This tool allows you to quickly pull line off any spool, wrap around the “Shark Tooth” and viola, easily snipping your leader at your desired length while not having to worry about the spool unraveling or searching for a clipper. These packages are small enough that you can easily slip two in a stocking as most fishers have multiple spools!! Price: $7.95
STAFF PICK – Matt Sharp
THE NEW SIMMS SLICK JACKET ($550CA MSRP)
We all know that a good waterproof fishing jacket is essential for fishing in the lower mainland. Simms has been the leader in this department for years but their high cut wading jackets leave little to be desired if you want it to double as an “around the town” rain jacket. The new slick jacket, as the name implies, is slick enough to wear around town but hidden under the stylish design is one of the most functional fishing jackets we have ever seen!
This jacket is slightly longer than a standard wading jacket so it doesn’t look like you are about to step into the river. However, within the two hidden front panel pockets is a large well divided and easily accessible storage pocket with areas for zingers and even a soft pouch designed specifically for sunglasses with its own cleaning cloth! Another feature that we love is a second zipper inside the hip pockets the opens to give you access to the inside of the jacket.
Whether it is to get something out of a second layer or reach into your waders to keep your hands warm, we have been waiting for this feature in a SIMMS jacket for years. I can see this jacket working for fly fisherman, river gear fisherman and even saltwater anglers. Additionally, after a day on the water you won’t be embarrassed to wear it around town or out to dinner!
On to the Fishing!
With very few reports of early winter steelhead coming from our lower mainland rivers, and weeks of good trout fishing already behind us, now is the time when many anglers venture over to Vancouver Island. The Stamp River in Port Alberni is one of the few systems that offer a good run of early winter steelhead.
I recently had the pleasure of spending two freezing cold days float fishing for steelhead on the Stamp system. The water was very low, and very clear, making the conditions less than favorable. Faced with clear conditions, we toned down our presentations accordingly. 12lb fluorocarbon, a #2 octopus hook, and a three egg roe bag was the presentation of choice. This more subdued bait proved to be effective when other baits such as prawns and pink worms were not producing. There is a BAIT BAN above the Girl Guide Falls on the Stamp, so presentations like single eggs, jigs, wool ties, spin n glos, and rubber worms are the go to where natural bait is not permitted.
With how early it is in the season and the conditions at hand, it was no surprise that both the number of fish and anglers were quite low. It was a pleasant time of year to get to know the river better and build on my quiver of spots. We did get into a few fresh fish which was a nice reward for the lack of feeling in my extremities. I am looking forward to returning in January/February
Winter Char on the Tidal Fraser:
Pinks-check! Coho-check! Sturgeon-check! Coarse fish-check! Winter char – check?
Being so fortunate to have so many opportunities for a year-round local fishery, we often get our minds so wrapped around the ‘big ticket’ fisheries that only run a few short weeks or months that we often over look the smaller fisheries that are year-round.
One fish that is often heavily over-looked is the char (bull trout and dolly varden). These fish are found year round through-out the Fraser River system, including the mouth all the way out into the salt. Being amphidromous (moving between salt and freshwater with no known pattern), these fish are heavily migratory and will move up and down the river in accordance to their needs, either for food, water temps/flows or their own spawning season.
Some gear for char fishers
Common and effective methods for catching these fish is to fish your presentation on or near the bottom, and in and around structure. Along with tossing small spinners and spoons, float fishing with deli shrimp and other attractive baits with light tackle is a great way to fish for these strong and beautiful fish. For those wanting a more laid-back approach, bar rigs tipped with roe and various plastics, such as Berkley power baits, is a great way to fish, just toss it out, let it sink, and sit back.
Take along a thermos of hot chocolate and a small radio and you’ll be good to go!
The Sunday forecast looks awesome! With the cold conditions over the last week we have not had many people going out on the river but we are suppose to get a high of 8 degrees on Sunday and it is wet! This is exactly what the river needs and if the weather man is not lying then it could be a great weekend to get out for bull trout fishing.
Andre’s new killer sculpin pattern!
Egg and flesh flies are what you want to focus on but having a few sculpin patterns to round out your presentation is recommended. The river levels as of today are low 1.5-1.8m but look for them to start rising and any increase in flow should turn on the fish.
Vedder / Chilliwack:
Steelhead are showing up on the Vedder and though it is still early the reports we have heard are optimistic. I spent an evening getting my early season gear ready (See pic below) If you will notice I am focusing on small single egg/gooey bob presentations to imitate coho eggs that are still in the system and then I have a good selection of pink worms.
The early fish seem to focus on either small eggs or large obnoxious presentations because they are fresh, relatively unpressured and aggressive. Roe is always a good bet so have pre-tied leaders ready to go. Between these three presentations you should be set and remember to cover lots of water. Especially with low numbers of fresh fish, the more ground you cover the better you will far. It is also a good excuse to re-learn the river and find spots for when more fish are around.
Local Saltwater Report:
There hasn’t been much fishing pressure in the harbour this week due to the cold and wet weather. The boats that have been out have found a few fish, but we haven’t heard of any consistent catches as of yet. Things normally get going pretty soon and there is the potential for some good fishing as the full moon is coming up on the 17th of December.
Looking in our journals, we can see things perk up a bit in the harbour around the 20th or so of December. Add in the full moon close to this date, and some big tides, the right time of year, could be a recipe for some fish to show up and the bite to turn on.
This time of year the water is nice and clear. As a result, some non glow flashers can work very well. Two of our top producers are the UV Kinetic Purple and Purple Onion. The UV Purple really lights up in the clear water.
The bait is also fairly small so match the size of the bait with appropriately sized spoons. Try the 2-3/4 Gibbs Gypsy spoon in the Flamin’ Hans colour and the Coyote 3.0 or Kingfisher 3.0 spoon in Glow/Green, Kitchen Sink, and Night Rider These are all good choices.
Remember to look for the bait and keep your gear in the same zone as the bait balls. In the harbour (W. Van shoreline & the freighters) this usually means right on the bottom. Bounce the cannonball on the bottom and then come up a few feet and you will be in the zone. Pour a nice hot cup of Bailey’s and coffee, cover some water and hang on.
See you on the water or in the shop
There’s been a few reports trickling in of our winter chinook fishery starting to pick up. Most have been hooked near the Capilano River near the slack tide and some of the ones that got away seemed like very nice fish. The area around the freighters is also producing a few undersized fish as well. I was out last Friday enjoying sunny skies and calm seas but just a tad on the cool side. Right at high slack we managed to land a slightly undersized chinook. We put it back to grow a couple of inches more but my guest enjoyed a decent fight and scratched his first Pacific Salmon off his bucket list.
It hit a 3.5″ yellow tail spoon down at the bottom along a hump that went from 70″ to 90′. I haven’t heard any more reports from west of Bowen Island but that could all change at anytime. With fish in the area this early in the season we are definitely getting closer to prime time for these winter chinook.
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, Andre, Max, Eddie, Jordan and Bryce