It is almost half way through November and its really starting to feel like winter out there. It looks like a wet week coming up and with cool temps, some of the precipitation may come as snow. If you are heading into the hills, make sure you’ve got a shovel and some tow straps in the trunk! Also, if you’re heading out, be sure to take into account the new COVID guidelines.
On the fishing side of things, at the time of writing this report most rivers are low. With a fair amount of rain coming this could change fast but with the low temperatures it is hard to predict.
We are still seeing fresh coho and fresh chum salmon moving through the valley systems. We are also hearing egging reports and coho reports from up sea to sky way. Check out the freshwater report section below for all of the details.
Jason has an update from the saltwater this week and we are off to a good start on the winter chinook season!
Matt took this week off from the report video but he will be back next week!
On to the report!
INDUSTRY EVENTS AND UPDATES
Sport Fishing Institute Webinar Series
As part of their virtual policy conference this year, the SFI has put on two great webinars so far. If you missed the first two installments, not to worry. We will post links to the webinars when they are available. You can still watch the two upcoming seminars that will be held on the last two Fridays of November.
Friday November 20 – Recovery Of Fish And Fisheries In An Era Of Rebuilding
Friday November 27 – Charting A Predictable Path For Salmon and Access For BC’s Public Fishery
To register, visit the SFI website!
FRESHWATER FISHING REPORTS
Chilliwack/Vedder River Fishing Report
Out in the valley river levels are dropping, albeit very slowly, and are currently at a comfortable level with good visibility. The coho and chum runs are nearing the end, but we should be seeing some sporadic pushes of fresh fish right until the end of November.
While these small pushes make finding the fish more difficult and, like trying to find a needle in a haystack, it’s still a great way to spend a day out on the water.
The chum run, on the other hand, still has a bit of life left in it. While a majority of the fish will be pretty gnarly at this point, there will still be a few very clean last season chum pushing into the system until late November and you can always luck into a dime-bright chrome The lower river will probably be your best bet to target chum at this point. While nowhere near as productive as peak-of-the-run chum fishing, the late season is typically much quieter, and thus, in my mind at least, more enjoyable. Think of it as a “quality, not quantity” fishery. As far as gear is concerned, just stick to the usual stuff… short floated jigs always work.
All things considered, it’s been a good season on the Vedder/Chilliwack system. With things starting to wrap up, now’s the time to take stock of what gear you have and what you no longer have, so you can stock up for the impending steelhead season… just around the corner. A quick word about respect-please let spawning salmon do their thing in peace. Refrain from wading through their spawning areas if at all possible, as doing so interrupts the fish and, more importantly, crushes their nests and eggs. Please, DO NOT try to catch the obviously spawning fish.
Squamish River Fishing Report
Well, the Squamish seems to be pretty predictable so far this year. It seems that it is in shape Monday through Thursday then it blows out on the weekend. Looking at the forecast this week, it might be more of the same but it looks like the rain expected has been downgraded and that combined with the colder temperatures might keep things in shape. Fish by now will be all throughout the entire system and anglers that have made it up and have hit the right levels have been finding fish. As mentioned in the outlook – if you’re out fishing please take into account the new COVID guidelines; keep your distance from other anglers and be respectful. Personally, I’ve got some tying that I need to catch up on so if I do get out, I’ll be fishing closer to home.
If the rain does come as forecasted, I expect the water conditions this weekend to be more of the same from what we have seen already this season, some dirty/high water so make sure you have your bigger spoons and spinners and twitching jigs at the ready but also have some smaller presentations if things clear up. For the fly anglers, I would have an arsenal of beads for nymphing as well as some bigger sculpin style patterns for the coho. If the weather cooperates and gets cool again, have a variety of white flies as well. We find white is a pretty deadly colour in this system and fishes extremely well when things clear up. If you aren’t heading out on the water this weekend, we will see you in the shop! Be safe out there.
Stave River Fishing Report
We are starting to come into the tail end of the salmon season on the Stave. We still have a fair number of chum and coho salmon in the system but there are fewer and fewer fresh pushes coming in. The majority of the chum salmon are either heavily coloured or zombified, with the odd silver fish still in the mix. It is pretty much over for this run but if you are looking to get your Stave chum fix you have maybe a week before it really isn’t worth the time and effort. As always, purple and pink jigs or streamers are the go-to presentations for chum.
Coho fishing on the other hand should still be viable for a couple of weeks though there are a lot of fire trucks already around. In my experience the best techniques for these Coho are either float fishing roe or to cast and strip small Christmas trees, muddler minnows, or wooly buggers on a fly rod. In saying that twitching jigs and spoons/spinners can also stir up a bite or two. They can be fairly tight lipped so work them over with a couple different presentations.
TIDAL FRASER FISHING REPORT
Although salmon season is winding down across most local watersheds, there are still some opportunities to get out there for some late season angling. On the bar fishing front, many anglers have been soaking roe for the last week with some good results. Plenty of coho still pushing through with each tide and the occasional late chum. The tides are also looking good for the morning bite as we are seeing low tides early in the day. Keep in mind that it is legal to fish two hooks on a standard bar fishing rig and it is highly suggested.
With all of these fish heading upstream, it’s only a matter of time until they start to come back downstream. This is the influx of food which leads to some of the best sturgeon fishing of the year. Many sturgeons are now hanging around the mouths of any tributary of the Fraser, waiting for salmon and their roe to meander towards them. This time of year, you have two main options for bait, roe bags or salmon flesh. When it comes to roe, you have to make sure it’s as fresh as possible, sturgeon have an incredible sense of smell and will easily turn a blind eye to roe that’s past its prime or if it has been cured. When it comes to flesh, I like to use the fattiest parts of the salmon, whether it be collars or bellies. If you’re having trouble keeping the flesh away from coarse fish, swap over to large roe bags or tightly wrap your salmon chunks in bait thread as a protective measure.
If you don’t have a bell on the tip of your rod, are you really bar fishing?
SALTWATER FISHING REPORTS
Vancouver Saltwater Salmon Fishing Report
Not much has changed since last week’s report. There are some fish starting to show in Vancouver Harbour and in Howe Sound as well. I checked out all the major spots on Wednesday and I think the most bait was actually in the harbour and there has been some decent fish caught there these past 2 weeks. If you are short on time or it is too windy and rough in other areas, don’t pass up the harbour.
A note on bait. The bait this time of year is typically fairly small, and your spoons should reflect this. In the winter we generally use G-Force in 3.0, Kingfisher in 3.0 and the Skinny G. Here is a picture of some of the bait that was in a fish we harvested this week and look at how well the Skinny G mimics the size and profile of these small herring.
Although the legal sized fish (62 cm or greater) escaped my best efforts this week, one of our guides, Derek, did find some nice fish on a mid-week trip. Here is a picture of his fish that made it back to the cleaning table. His productive setups were Gibbs Lemon Lime flasher paired with the Skinny G Trap Shack and an Oki Black Double Glow flasher paired with the Skinny G Outfitter.
There is a lot of rain coming up, and it sure poured last night as well, so make sure to keep an eye on your boat and make sure those bilge pumps are working and your batteries are holding a charge with the colder nighttime temperatures.
See you in the shop or on the water,