We wanted to start by thanking everyone who wrote letters concerning the chinook closures and public fishery access. The support and volume of letters was amazing but if you didn’t have a chance to write a letter by the deadline they have announced that they will still be accepting letters on this topic so we ask again to make sure those letters are in. Click here for details on the issues and some points to consider when writing a letter.
On the fishing front the Squamish fire has been reclassified as “under control”. A checkpoint is set up to keep non-residents out of the area was also lifted. However, they are still asking that non-essential travel to the upper valley be avoided as crews are still working. Check out the report for lower river fishing reports and updates on water levels. We are getting some rain over the next week and the combination of snow melt and rain might cause some water level issues.
For other rivers we will look at the Vedder as well as the cutthroat fishing on the Harrison. The cutty fishing has been good and well worth a trip. We have updates from Andre including some tide and fly recommendations.
Local lake fishing has seen some access issues but the fishing has been excellent, Zach has some details in his report if you are heading out.
For the fly tiers Jordan has an interesting take on the Rattle Keeled Bulltrout pattern called the O.K. skulpin. This is a going to be a great bulltrout pattern but you can also adapt it to bass, pike or even warm water predator species. Check the video out here and there is a writeup and materials list in the Fly Feature section below.
Saltwater fishing continues to be good from South Bowen over to the Gulf Islands and Jason has the updates for the saltwater anglers in his report below.
Some of you may have seen that fishing and hunting were declared an essential service yesterday. As we have in the past reports we encourage you to educate yourself with regards to the Provincial Health Orders (which are still in place) and follow the information on hunting and fishing responsibly that can be found on the BC Government website.
Lastly if you want to sit back and listen to the report in video format, Click below for Matt’s weekly overview of what going on right now in fishing around BC.
CLASSES + COURSES
Introduction to Fly Fishing Lakes
Seminar will be taught online! Watch and learn from the comfort of your own home!
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!
Dates: April 28
Introduction To Fly Fishing
Seminar will be taught online! Casting will be confirmed at a later date
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; an evening seminar and a 3hr casting session. The dates below show the seminar date first and casting date second.
Dates: Seminar May 5, Casting Date To Be Determined
Seminar Time: 6:30pm
Casting Time(s): 10am – 1pm or 1:30pm – 4:30pm on to be determined date
Introduction to Chironomid Techniques – NEW DATE
Seminar will be taught online! Watch and learn from the comfort of your own home!
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. Content is for beginner to advanced.
Date: May 13
Cost: $50.00 + GST
FRESHWATER FISHING REPORTS
Chilliwack/Vedder River Fishing Report
The Chilliwack has seen a good bump in water levels with all this sunshine we’ve had. Indeed, we are in for some great conditions as long as this “warm” but not “hot” trend continues. If the forecast suddenly changes its tone and we are in for more sunshine and 15+ degree weather then we may see the river go out of shape. The clarity so far has been fluctuating from a little chalky to green, so your options for presentations are almost endless. In saying that I would slide into the larger side of the spectrum for right now. We could go into technical details but in all honesty this is a great time to experiment with stuff. We are coming up on the tail end of the season so we are looking at peak numbers of Steelhead plus good water height/clarity and warm water to get those fish fired up. Anything you want to try, go out and do it! Swing spoons, spinners, and flies, or drift any assortment of worms, beads, soft plastics, or bait. Better yet, do up something weird and give it a whirl.
Please note that the annual partial closure of this river will be occurring next week. When we reconvene for next week’s report, the Vedder will have shifted its regulations to fly fishing only and anything upstream of the Vedder Crossing Bridge will be closed. This comes into effect May 1st, so you gear chuckers will want to take advantage of the next few days as it is your last chance for the 2019/2020 season.
Squamish River Fishing Report
Well the fire is under control and with rain in the forecast we don’t think it will get out of hand again. That said they are still recommending folks avoid the upper river.
On the lower river there are still options to fish, but we are getting close to the beginning of the end of the spring season on the Squamish. When things get warm you all probably know that the mainstem Squamish gets high and dirty. Last year it started about the 20th and then really blew out on the 5th of May.
As it stands right now she is high so watch water levels and temps if you are going out. Fishing big patterns like Jordan’s sculpin pattern, large spoons and colorado blades should be effective this week. Fry patterns are always an option but even though the fish are feeding on salmon fry larger stuff will be more effective right now in the dirty water. In side-channels and tributaries the fry should still be a great option.
Harrison River Fishing Report
Well the Harrison is rising but still fishing well. The reports we got all week have been good. Overcast days are also good, as long as the pressure stays consistent. The sloughs and local estuaries are also well worth a look and we have had reports from the Stave and Nicomen that are worth taking note of.
The fly that was working this week was the “brown back” or root beer fry pattern that we feature in our “What’s In Your Cutthrout Box Video”. If you missed it we are giving away one of these boxes for free as well as selling them at the shop. Check out that video for the details and to see that pattern.
On another note, Andre reports that he is seeing the most action on an outgoing tide. This makes sense as it will being pulling salmon fry down the river. Check out your tides before going to plan your day.
STILLWATER FISHING REPORTS
We are in some interesting times when it comes to local lake fishing and we have been hearing a lot of different things from customers as well as the government. You are going to want to do some homework before going out on certain water bodies. Provincial Parks are closed so I would stay away from them altogether until they re-open. Day use areas are also closed so don’t be hanging out in them if a lake you are at has one. Pay attention to any signage leading up to a lake or at the lake. If it says closed, that means its closed. We have been hearing of people getting fined for fishing at Deer Lake in Burnaby of all places so pay attention to any signage that may be around.
If you haven’t already checked it out here are a few links to check out before you go:
Now if you can find a lake to fish at, it has actually been pretty good as of late. A lot of lakes have been stocked over the past month so pretty much any basic presentation should yield some results. Como has been fishing well as has Sanctuary Pond from what we have been hearing. You can fish local lakes with a bobber and worm, floating power bait off the bottom, casting spoons and spinner or even fly fishing. Just a note on worms, they are in short supply right now so if you aren’t into digging up your own in your back yard I would be fishing with power bait.
For setups you can go really inexpensive with a 6’6″ medium action spinning combo or if you want to take things to the next level we have a selection of light and ultra-light spinning rods that we can pair up with a matching light weight reel for the ultimate local lake trout setup. If you haven’t fished a light or ultra-light spinning rod you are missing out, the little stockers feel like a 30lb chinook on those rigs and make local lake fishing a lot more fun. Mini G spoons and panther martin spinners are all great lures to get you fish.
If you are a fly fisherman we have a lot of options for you as well gear wise. Personally, I use 3 and 4 weight rods that are a bit slower action so the fish can put a good bend in your rod. Some lakes have muddy bottoms which are great for fishing chironomids so if you want to watch your bobber go down and get your chironomid fix I would focus on lakes like that. Other man-made lakes will be rocky and you’ll be better off fishing damsel and dragon fly nymphs on a sink tip or full sinking line. When in doubt anything olive and small generally will get you into fish locally on lakes.
You might also want a float tube of sorts to get you away from people and into the water. I find shore fishing is great but when you can get into the water you can access spots that you can’t get to from shore and you will see your success rate go way up. The Fish Cat 4 Deluxe is our favourite model of V-boat and if you want to save a couple of bucks the regular Fish Cat 4 will be just fine. We have a good stock of these boats as well as fins at the shop so give us a call if this is something that you might be interested in.
Be safe out there and pay attention to signage and gates!
The O.K. Sculpin Fly
The O.K sculpin was born out of tinkering and laziness/efficiency, as well as experience.
When it comes to pounding the bank, getting down and dirty, and fishing big flies for big fish, I found most patterns to be pretty heavy or bulky. After creating the C3 Sculpin, which I fished with very good success on local systems for big rainbows and char, I wanted another pattern that would give a good, meaty profile without being difficult to cast. This fly is actually pretty light, which most anglers will find a lot more enjoyable to cast. It’s also pretty ‘hollow’, with a majority of the mass being just spun rabbit at the front. This rabbit collar, as well as wing, will lay down/flat when casting, making the fly quite aerodynamic. Lacking heavily weighted dumbbells, you can also be fairly confident that it will hurt less should you hit yourself.
But how do you get it down to the fish? The answer: with heavy leaders or sink-tips.
A lot of experienced streamer anglers would rather fish heavier tips than flies. A heavy fly will generally have less action, or require more work from the angler to give it life. A heavier tip will help get the fly down and into the fish sooner, allowing you to fish efficiently and quickly. This also helps you from wasting time on empty water. By using a keeled bead system, it will help the fly ride true, while also kicking out a lot of sound. The bead colour can also be used to create a trigger/hot spot for predatory fish to key in on.
The colour and size options are also endless, allowing you to imitate a number of different forage fish and sculpin. Tie it in some lighter greens and yellows with a hint of orange, and you could imitate perch while targeting bass or pike. Tie it in browns and blues, and you could imitate small bluegill. Going somewhere warm? Tie it in tan and black with a hint of pearl and you’ll have a pinfish for Texas reds or Floribama snook.
- Hook: Any wide-gap streamer hook, gauge to match target species.
- Suggestions, but not rule: Gamakatsu B10S, or Mustad C52S BLN
- Thread: 140D or 6/0 (UTC, Veevus, Uni); Colour of choice
Eyes: Mono Nymph eyes, colour/size of choice. Green and/or black pretty standard.
Beads: Glass and Brass, colour/size to match pattern.
- Red is pretty standard for the glass as it looks like gills/blood.
- Silver/copper is standard to give natural flash, but bright colours shouldn’t be ignored.
- Tail #1: Flashabou. Colour is optional, but silver, gold, or copper would be good for most patterns. Maybe chartreuse for perch patterns and similar. I have tried with other flash materials, and I found Flashabou to still give the most movement when cut short.
- Tail #2: Barred Marabou/Chickabou, but standard marabou works great as well. Colour of choice.
- Body #1: Yellow Chenille, size Medium is good for around a #2 hook. Colour optional.
- Body #2: Medium Palmer Chenille. Pearl is a good all-round, but colours are optional.
- Collar: Spun rabbit brush. Brown, tan, Golden Olive, etc. are good sculpin imitations. If imitating perch, you could go with green, olive, yellow, or orange. Just match to species imitated.
- Wing: Straight-cut rabbit. You will generally want this to be a darker colour than the body colours.
- Keel: 30lb Mono (Maxima, Mason Hard, ProSpec, Ande, etc.). Just good ol’ 30lb mono.
- Hook: Wide Gap Streamer
- Thread: 140D or 6/0 Tan or olive
- Eyes: Large mono nymph; black
- Beads: Red Glass, Gold Brass
- Keel: 30lb Maxima
- Tail #1: Gold, silver, or copper Flashabou. Doesn’t matter
- Tail #2: Tan/Sand barred marabou
- Body #1: Yellow Chenille
- Body #2: Medium pearl Palmer Chenille
- Collar: Tan/Brown rabbit; spun in dubbing loop, brushed out
Wing: Olive or brown straight-cut rabbit
The video is naturally longer than how long it actually takes to tie this fly as it is a tutorial and I walk you through it. I created this fly to be easy and simple. Once confident, this fly should maybe take about 5-7 minutes from start to finish if you pre-prep all materials ahead of time.
Feel free to call in or email me, and I can help put together packages of materials for you, as well as help suggest some other colours to try as well.
SALTWATER FISHING REPORTS
Vancouver Saltwater Salmon Fishing Report
A big thank you to all of you who wrote letters last week and over the weekend regarding the SFAB Chinook Proposals. This is exactly the kind of pressure we need to put on DFO to get chinook opportunities on the South Coast.
If you didn’t have time to write a letter last week, please, take the time to do it now. They are still accepting letters and it’s all about volume. If you missed the Special Chinook Report from last week give it a read. Everything you need to write a quick letter is in there, and so is the science on why we should be open right now, especially for hatchery fish. If it wasn’t for Covid-19 we would be doing some protests, so in this case the pen is mightier than the sword, so please write your letter, it is making an impact.
Well fishing this week continued to be good. There were fish off South Bowen, out on the Hump, and there are lots of fish over in the Gulf Islands as well. As usual there are quite a few hatchery fish. Best depths have varied, really depending on the colour of the water. Over in the Gulf Islands the water remains quite clear and productive depths were 150-200 on the downriggers when I was over there on the weekend. There were a lot of hatchery fish in the 6-10-pound range and I lost track on the number of hook ups. Around Bowen it seems the fish are a bit shallower, likely because the water isn’t quite as clear. From the input I received from friends who were fishing this past week and from the pictures and videos I saw online, the bigger fish are on our side of the Straight. There were some nice fish into mid-teens this past week and a few into the high teens.
In the clear water I was doing well on purple UV flashers and black flashers, in particular the CB55, Madi, Purple Onion Glow, Purple Hot Dot. Gibbs G-Force and Kingfisher spoons in Herring Aide were working well in traditional with glow as well as Silver Knight versions. Those who were fishing off Bowen were doing well on brighter chartreuse gear. For flashers try Lemon Lime in chartreuse or green blade, Salty Dawg, and chartreuse Herring Aid. Anchovies or smaller herring in chartreuse and green glow teasers are working well, as are spoons in similar colours like Irish Cream and Trailhead.
Crabbing has been good, which is pretty normal for this time of year and prawning is tapering off, which is also normal for this time of year. It will be interesting to see how the commercial prawn fleet reacts to Covid-19 and a severely reduced market (closed restaurants and few exports).
If you need any gear, the shop is open, and by that, I mean you can call in and we will pick your order for you and ship it to you or you can pick it up at the shop.