Epic weather incoming for the weekend! We are going to see temperatures in the 20’s across the lower half of the province! This means we should see most of our local fisheries picking up.
We have seen relatively low water on our local rivers and the cool night temps. have kept the water clear. This warm high-pressure system might change things and we should see some snow melt this weekend across the Lower Mainland. We will also see some ice melt in the interior.
From the water we have details on the Squamish, Harrison and Chilliwack in the freshwater section and we have some details on interior lakes in the still water section of the report. This week, Alex also has a detailed piece on early season bass lures that you will want in your kit. We expect this warm weather to kick off bass fishing locally.
The big news this week on the fishing regulation and politics front is that it is time to take action with regard to the closed saltwater chinook fisheries. We are halfway through April and are still operating under interim regulations. Sustainable proposals from the Sports Fishing Advisory Board and recommendations from the DFO have been on the Fisheries minister Bernadette Jordan’s desk for weeks but she has still not made any announcement on changes. In a response letter to the SFAB she assured that science would dictate the office’s decision but the letter then pointed out a number of political issues that needed to be considered as directly contradictory to the statement that science would dictate her decision.
It is now time to call, write and email her office in support of sustainable access to salmon. Check out the video version of the fishing report this week where Matt goes over it in detail and has information on how you can take 5 mins. and let the minster know that we need data driven, science-based decisions and we need them now. Follow these links for information on how to write and call her and of course Matt will also go over a bunch of fishing news in the video version!
CLASSES AND COURSES
Introduction to Fly Fishing Lakes
This course will give you an in-depth look at the fundamentals of fly fishing lakes. We explore equipment, techniques, major insect hatches and ideal lakes to begin with. You will learn all you need to plan your next successful lake trip to one of BC’s 5,000 lakes! This course is comprised of one 3hr evening seminar.
Date: Wednesday, April 21
Seminar Time: 6:30-9:30 pm
Cost: $50 per person + GST
Introduction to Chironomid Techniques
Chironomids are the number one food source for trout in BC’s lakes; however, few anglers have taken the time to become true masters of this discipline. Those that do are often rewarded with the largest fish. Trevor is a former member of the Canadian Fly Fishing Team and an excellent chironomid angler. Dedication to his sport has helped Trevor become one of the top fly fishermen in the province as well as a fisheries biologist working for Hemmera. This course is comprised of one 3hr Zoom seminar. Content is for beginner to advanced.
Date: Monday, April 19
Seminar Time: 6:30pm – 9:30pm via zoom
Cost: $50 per person + GST
Introduction to Fly Fishing
This course was specifically designed to give the new fly fisher the basic knowledge, casting skills and fly fishing strategies to effectively fish our local BC waters. This course is comprised of two sessions; 3hr evening seminar and a 3hr casting session.
Date: Seminar May 11 & Casting May 16
Seminar Time: Tuesday May 11, 6:30-9:30 PM
Casting Date: Sunday, May 16 10:00 AM-1:00 PM or 1:30-4:30 PM
Cost: $150 + GST
FRESHWATER FISHING REPORTS
Chilliwack/Vedder Fishing Report
Still not much to report on the Vedder/Chilliwack… a lack of any significant rain over the past month has had the river running low for an extended period of time, which can make fishing in the mid-river difficult. There are still fish getting caught; it’s just tougher than it would be if water levels were “normal”. The graphs are showing a small bump in water levels over the past two days, so that means the last week of warm weather has started melting snow in the mountains. We’ll see if the warm weather continues; if it does, we might see some good river conditions leading up to freshet.
The lower continues to be a good option, if only because fish will hesitate to move freely when the river is as low as it currently is. This means that most of the deep lower river pools will be holding fish, but whether or not they’ll bite is the real issue. Most of those fish have been in the river for a while, so they’ve seen a lot of gear. Don’t be surprised if they’ve got lockjaw.
The mid river has been producing a few fish, but it seems that there aren’t a lot of fish that are willing to push up past some of the shallower spots in the lower river. Again, as a result, most of the deep pools are holding fish, but the lockjaw issue remains in the clear water. All of the standard low-water tricks will apply, so have a look at some previous reports if you need some inspiration.
It’s mid-April, so we’re starting to get closer to the tail end of the Steelhead run. There will still be some fresh fish pushing in until the river closes for gear fishing on the 30th, but there will also be some darker fish around, with the possibility of encountering a spawned-out “kelt”. Please handle these dark fish with care, as they have a chance of heading back to the ocean and returning again in a few years… and who doesn’t want a shot at catching a bigger fish in a few seasons? Also, watch where you wade. I know I’ve said it before, but shallow, near-shore waters, slow back-channels and even isolated, cut-off puddles are prime hiding spots for juvenile salmon, and stepping on them isn’t exactly great for their health.
Don’t be a fry squisher, enjoy your time out there and good luck!
Squamish River Fishing Report
The river has been low this week and very clear. This will make fish picky and more challenging to target but with warm temps. over the weekend, we expect to see noticeable snow melt in the afternoons. This time of year, you will see good first light fishing and then if the snow melt happens, there is usually a noticeable afternoon bite as the water colours and fish get more active. We will see this trend of clear morning river conditions with colored water in the afternoon increase over the next 2-3 weeks. Historically, in the last week of April toward the first week of May, we will see the side hills really let loose and blow out the river for the spring season freshet.
Salmon fry are out in numbers and we have had reports of bull trout, cutthroat and rainbows hitting epoxy fry patterns, small spoons and Colorado blades.
Swinging flies or float fishing for steelhead is also a good bet this time of year but remember that all fish in this system, especially wild steelhead need to be handled and released with care. Medium pink and or orange steelhead patterns are a good bet when fly fishing and pink worms and gooey bobs are classics that should not be overlooked when float fishing.
Harrison River Fishing Report
We continue to hear mixed reports of the Harrison and similar cutthroat systems around the lower mainland. The Harrison is low and still at a great hiking level. We expect snow melt over the next few weeks if the temperature stays warm but there should be at least another 2-3 weeks of good fishing conditions.
Epoxy fry, classic attractor minnow patterns as well and small spoons are when you need to focus on for this fishery.
STILLWATER FISHING REPORTS
Early Season Bass Lures
A couple of weeks ago I did a primer on Bass Fishing so those that are interested can start thinking about this fishery. With it being basically t-shirt weather and subsequently the water temperatures rising, I have been tasked with writing about some of my favourite early season Bass lures and baits. This is definitely not an exhaustive list nor is it a “this lure is better than this lure” rhetoric but, instead, should serve as a starting point for anyone that is new to this fishery and wants to wet a line.
Keep in mind that, at this point in time, the water is still on the colder side. It has been hovering between 48-52 degrees during the day on shallow urban systems like Deer Lake which means we are flirting with prespawn temperatures during the day, though there is a sharp drop at night still which makes for sometimes lethargic fish.
Thus, we can start looking at moving/reaction style baits but should still be focusing on fishing slow and methodically as they aren’t necessarily ready to chase down something that is moving a million miles per hour.
The first, and quite frankly, most versatile and effective presentations for almost any season besides winter is the senko worm. Now there are a million types of senkos out there from the original Gary Yamamoto worm to Yum Dingers to Lunkerhunt Logs. They come in a variety of sizing too but the most common are 4″ and 5″ worms. They can be rigged wacky style with an octopus hook right through the middle or can be rigged weedless on a worm hook or EWG hook to pull through structure. They can also be cut down and fished on a jighead. However, a wacky-rigged worm in particular, can be extremely effective through prespawn straight through to Fall. Just fire it out near some structure or a drop off and let it sink to the bottom, twitch it a few times, then hop it back up and start the process over again. It’s painfully slow at times but when you see your line jump and start moving off instead of falling straight down, be ready to swing for the fences.
The second presentation that I will touch on is a classic, and that is the texas rigged craw. There are even more craws on the market today than there are Bass worms so I won’t go into specifics about brands though you will want to keep a couple things in mind. Wider bodied craws with large appendages are designed for great movement and realism, while the slimmer craws with tighter arms are designed for punching through structure more easily without getting hung up. When texas rigged on an EWG hook these little guys can be fished pretty much anywhere, even the really gnarly stuff. Bass all over the country are engrained to eat crawfish, so these can be fantastic to crawl through laydowns, punched through holes in the lilypads, or worked along rip rap and drop offs.
Let’s talk about a more reaction-style lure for our third entry. Enter the spinnerbait, the Bass fishing world’s equivalent to a size 5 Blue Fox Vibrax. Spinnerbaits are designed to kick up a lot of commotion and have a lot of drawing power. They are fantastic for covering water so if you have an expanse of fishy water you want to go through quickly, toss a spinnerbait out there and start cranking. I typically fish mine with a soft plastic trailer be it a craw or a swimbait to fill out the body and give it more profile. While fish will see this one coming from a mile away, it can also have the opposite effect and potentially spook fish in clear conditions so this is one that definitely has a time and place. You will want to look for weed edges, shade lines, and laydowns for this lure and grind it past anything that a bass could use as an ambush point. Hold on tight because the hits are explosive.
The fourth presentation to think about, at this point, is more open-water minded. Crankbaits and jerkbaits can be great for this time of year because they can be fished at a multitude of speeds, from lightning quick to draw out reaction strikes to slow and methodical to coax cold water Bass into striking. You will want to have a few different ones with you as each model has a specific swim depth, action, and profile. Some suspend on the pause while others start floating back up. With the right crankbait or jerkbait in hand, these can be extremely versatile tools.
We have a growing selection of Bass gear at Pacific Angler and all of the aforementioned lures are available in shop. If you have any questions or want to round out your gear collection, come pay us a visit and we will be happy to help.
Ice Off Lake Report
The itch is getting real now and with this weekend’s forecast, things are going to start moving quickly as more and more lakes are icing off.
I have started to see anglers getting out in the Okanagan and Kamloops areas and there have been some stellar early season fish already being caught. The lakes that I have gotten reports from are all in the 1000 meter elevation and below. Make sure that you do a bit of research before you head out and maybe have a couple different lakes in mind in the same area that you are going to consider going to, and hopefully, at different elevations as well. If one is iced over you can head to plan B or C.
I am patiently waiting for the Merrit area lakes to ice off and word from my sources is that they are still a couple weeks out. The anglers that I have spoken to are mostly getting fish on leeches, which is expected at this time of year, and the odd Chironomid hatch. I really expect the Chironomid hatches to pick up this weekend with the expected temperatures. Don’t just focus on the Chironomid hatches either. Keep an eye out for fish cruising in the shallows and don’t be afraid to throw leeches in 3-4 feet of water on a clear intermediate line.
Make sure that you are layering properly while on the water, your guides could be freezing in the morning and it can all switch to 20 degrees in the afternoon and then start snowing… the weather is crazy this time of year so be prepared. We have all the layering pieces you could possibly need as well as a massive selection of flies in store. Come on in and let us get you all set up for the upcoming still water season.
Last, but certainly not least, please take note and respect any health-related travel recommendations or camping restrictions that may be announced.