The arctic outflow warning is still in effect but there is hope on the horizon. Things will warm up Sunday and continue into early next week. The warming trend will come with some snow and rain but not too much and with the rivers low and clear this will also be a good thing. It still won’t be warm by some people’s standards but it will be within season norms and this should help fishing on all fronts. If it gets into the 5-8 degree range and we don’t see too much precipitation fish should be very good!
If you have some time off over the holidays the Squamish, Stave and Harrison should be good to look at if you want to fish for the egg eating species. Look for the warmest days over the next 2 weeks and check out the freshwater reports below for more details.
It is also coming up on steelhead season and worth breaking out the float and centerpin rods. We have heard of fish in the Vedder and the Capilano is always worth a hike this time of year. Things will really ramp up in January but the guys that get out scouting now are the ones that get fish in the New Year.
There is no better cure for bad weather than sitting at a fly tying desk and pumping out flies for the upcoming season. With that in mind the feature product this week is a spread of awesome materials. We just got in capes and Amherst to get your boxes ready for steelhead season.
Quality capes and Amherst have been hard to find for the last few years but finally we have a great colour selection and they won’t last! We have them on sale for one week only at 10% off! Come down to the shop and load up.
Since we’re thinking about flies Andre has also put together another story for us. We joke and call these articles “Story Time with Dre” We all love to hear his take on how fisheries have developed and changed over his 30 plus years of fishing. This week he takes a look at some simple yet classic steelhead patterns – the flies that if you walked into a shop in the 80s and 90s would have been the go to patterns. Check out the “Story Time with Dre” feature below.
The snowy cold weather has obviously made it unpleasant to get out shopping. If your loved ones are still looking for gifts but do not want to brave the weather tell them to call us! We can set up gift cards over the phone and have a PDF email copy sent out the same day! Save your loved ones from the freezing weather and make sure you have something cool under the tree this Christmas. The gift cards will be great to use at our Famous Boxing Day Sale! With that in mind if you are looking at this on our website make sure you are signed up the Friday Fishing report email. All the deals for Boxing Day go out first to the emails list.
On to the report!
CLASSES + COURSES
2016 is coming to a close and you know what that means – time to start planning your 2017 fishing adventures and of course be sure you have all your charitable donations in before December 31st!
Pacific Angler is a proud supporter of the Pacific Salmon Foundation and we would like you to consider making a year-end tax-receiptable donation to support their salmon conservation efforts. When you donate by December 31st, your donation will be matched! And every $100 donation will receive an entry to win a fishing package or a beer fridge stocked with Postmark Brewing PSF Lager. Your donation will support efforts to research and restore depressed chinook and coho fisheries in the Strait of Georgia through the Salish Sea Marine Survival Project. Thanks to donors, the Project has already unveiled some new findings regarding salmon farms, climate change, seal predation, harmful algae blooms and more, which you can read about in their Salmon Steward newsletter.
FRIDAY FEATURE PRODUCT
We just received a big shipment of high-grade grizzly hackle half capes. These have been very hard to stock consistently for the past few years but we went heavy to make sure we have the feathers you need for intruders, saltwater patterns, woolly buggers and dry flies. They are regularly $49.99 but for this week only they are 10% OFF! Don’t miss out because the price will not last. We have pink, blue, green, chartreuse, orange, natural and purple.
With steelhead patterns on our brain we also received Lady Amherst swords this week and for one week only are offering them at 10 % off (regularly $24.99). Come down to the shop and pick up a couple colors for the up coming steelhead season.
Prices in effect Friday December 16 through close Thursday December 22, 2016
FRESHWATER FISHING REPORTS
Vedder River Fishing Report – Worm Feature
The Vedder is low, clear and cold going into the weekend but it looks like there is a change in weather pattern beginning next week. Some rain and warmer temps are expected next week which should cause the river to rise due to snow melt. Not much to report on the catching side of things; it’s mid December so the river isn’t full of fish but the odd fish gets caught. These early fish are very aggressive so make sure you’re casting lots and cover as much water as possible. Roe bags and trout beads should never be left at home, a few early season hatchery steelhead have been known to gorge on salmon eggs. We have 4 months of steelhead fishing ahead of us on the C/V so don’t burn yourself out yet as the fishing can only get better.
Pink Worm – A great early season steelhead presentation
The Pink worm is a classic when it comes to steelhead baits. It comes in 2 sizes, 4” and 6”, and a variety of different shades of pink to suit each unique fishing condition. You can rig your worms a couple different ways, having the hook come out around the tail of the worm or have the worm upside down and the hook coming out by the head of the worm. Rigging them on a ¼ ounce or 1/8 ounce jig head is another way to present your worm. If water clarity is poor, fish larger 6” worms. Clear water and spooky fish calls for 4” worms. In this case it’s good to have lots of worms. Experiment with the different styles of rigging and find out, which one best suits you. You will find that rigging has a ton to do with water speed and turbulence. If you have any more questions feel free to give us a call or come by the shop.
Squamish River Fishing Report
Well it is bloody cold this week and the only thing worse for fishing the Squamish than extreme cold is extreme rain. At least in the cold you can get out see the riverbed find good areas to cross the river and learn about where the deep spots are. That said catching fish in extreme cold is very challenging. If you are out keep this in mind, hike hard to stay warm and use the day to learn. A few anglers did find fish this week but to say it was challenging is an understatement.
The good news is that we have warmer days ahead. It looks like we will get some rain as well. This could change the game completely! When we get a warm wet spell from now until early February the fishing can be extremely good.
In the forecast it says we will see temps from 1-4 early next week. I would like to see it warmer. For me the magic number is 6-7 degrees but I have had good fishing when it has just rained and it hits 3-5 degrees.
When things get warm and the river colors we fish brighter eggs with 7lb fluorocarbon leads. If you hit is right you can have some of the best fishing of the year. If it is clear we focus on very pail eggs light leaders with 5lb fluorocarbon tippet.
Good luck out there.
Capilano River Fishing Report
Things have been quiet on the Capilano as of late. The water has been quite low and clear making fishing for the few fish that are in the system on the difficult side. You may find the odd steelhead now and we will see an increase in numbers throughout the next few months. Do note however that this run of winter steelhead is fairly small and it is a strictly catch and release fishery regardless if the fish has a clipped adipose fin or not. For those that still wish to target these fish, all the classic steelhead baits and lures will work; Pro-cured roe, shrimp, roe bags, colorado blades, pink worms, and jigs are all good bets. Downsizing in these low clear conditions that will most likely prevail throughout the week is a good idea. You may also come across rainbow trout and cutthroat trout.
Stave River Fishing Report
The Stave River currently is a viable option for cutthroat trout, rainbow trout, mountain whitefish, and the odd early steelhead. Many of these fish will be feasting on eggs so fishing beads or Jensen eggs can be dynamite. Small Mepps or Blue Fox spinners and Gibbs spoons can also be effective. For those that want to fly fish streamers, a white or olive sculpin pattern is always a good bet for larger trout.
Simple Old School Steelhead Flies – “Story Time with Dre”
My fascination with tying flies started in 1996 when I took my first tying lesson at Turner’s fly shop. The biggest reason I wanted to learn how to tie was because I needed to come up with patterns that worked for our local beaches, which are totally different than anywhere else. I had already been chasing coho for 10 years or so and gaining more knowledge on the food sources available in our local saltwater. In 1998 I took an additional interest in chasing winter steelhead, as I didn’t want to stop fishing during the winter season. It was then that I started tying steelhead patterns, which required a different skill level than my 2-3 step beach flies. My regular visits to Ruddick’s fly shop drove all the sales staff crazy with million questions. ‘All you need to tie are a popsicle, a polar shrimp and then of course a General Practitioner” said Malcolm Ruddick.
I bought every material to tie these flies and tried to learn from books and pictures (no YouTube back then). I discovered the beauty in the art of tying steelhead flies. Flies that you tie for yourself just as much as the fish. In the spring of 1999 I went to the Vedder River with limited knowledge of steelhead fly fishing and caught 3 steelhead in one day on my single hand Sage 896 xp and a type 6 sink tip. A Simple set up and simple flies.
By 2002 double handed rods where gaining popularity. Ed Ward, a guide on the Skagit River in Washington, introduced us to skagit lines and the “Intruder” fly. This was a game changer for steelheading. The lines were easy to cast and the Intruder fly was designed to sink fast and “swim” in ways other flies did not. It was a big and heavy pattern and there was a lot of thought behind the engineering of this fly. Another benefit was instead of tying on a single hook, a trailer hook was added. Since then a lot of the traditional patterns have been pushed aside with variations of the intruder or at least patterns borrowing some of the design ideas. Only a small group of fly fisherman still fished the old school patterns.
In recent years we have seen resurgence in the old school patterns. Complicated classics are making a comeback and a few of the classic simple patterns are seeing their way back into fly boxes. They all catch fish. In many ways steelhead don’t care. Give them something that is easy to fish, different from what they have seen before and swims well and you will catch fish.
Next time you sit at your tying bench try tying a popsicle in various colours. Tie some “Polar shrimp” then break out the orange garbage bag and tie some “Squamish poachers” by Joe Kambeitz. Last but not least don’t forget the most famous BC steelhead pattern, General Money’s “General Practitioner”. When you hook a steelhead on one of these flies you will contribute a little bit of history to the traditional flies which have been fished by General Money, Roddrick -Haig brown, Art Lingren, Bob Taylor and many others. Not to mention the added benefit of showing the fish something different. They have seen a bunch of intruders over the last few years and there is no doubt that over a season some fish will have gotten smart to the new school style of patterns.
SALTWATER FISHING REPORTS
Vancouver Saltwater Fishing Report
We managed to get out on the water this past week despite the wind, snow and cold temperatures. It was well worth it as Eddie’s guests put 3 nice chinook in the boat and got some prawns as well!
The winter chinook fishing is definitely off to a strong start. If you have been thinking about booking a trip, I would book now as the fish seem to be around in good numbers and our guides are dialed in. Don’t worry about the cold. It’s not that bad out there if you dress warmly and we have rain gear and heaters on board so you can stay warm and dry!
If you are planning on heading out on your own, bring out the glow flashers and spoons. The Salty Dawg, Green Onion Glow, and chartreuse glow flasher are all good choices. Good spoon choices are any spoon in a 2.5 to 3.5 size with some glow on it and preferably some shades of green or chartreuse. As usual, keep your gear close to the bottom. Most of the bait is right on the bottom, so that is where the fish are. If you aren’t bouncing bottom once in awhile, you aren’t fishing as effectively as you could be. We have all the hot flashers and spoons in stock, so come by the shop for some expert advice and we will get you dialed in.