Let’s start right off with an update on the “No Salmon Fishing Regulations” that you might have seen in the BC Freshwater Fishing Regulations Region 2 updates on April 1. Matt talked about this in the video version of the report. Also, clarification has come forward and as expected these regulations will be revisited in season and we can expect in season openings. See the statement below on the reasoning behind these regulations:
“Perhaps we were not clear enough when we talked about this a the local SFAC meetings. The intention is for DFO to work on a table for review by the SFAC’s or a sub group as was suggested by myself at the meeting and once we have finished the DFO and SFAB review we can announce any revised fishery management measures that may come out of the review in an updated notice in season.
Our goal was to have all of this done before the last set of SFAC’s but unfortunately, we did not achieve this before we had to roll over the regulations for this year. We are limited in the amount we can put on website which is why you can see “April 1 until further notice” given salmon don’t start arriving into the tribs until August at the earliest we still have plenty of time for this review to occur.”
Dean Allan – Chief Resource Management – Fraser and Interior Area -Fisheries and Oceans
The other regulation news that we have to talk about is the chinook fishing in tidal areas. We knew this was coming but it is official as of April 1, there is no chinook retention, it is catch and release only in our local waters. On a more positive note check out Jason’s saltwater report as he has info on a cool update for your map cards on your boats! They now have sponge reef closures mapped so you can see them on your plotter!
So, with that out of the way remember it is a new licence season and if you are going out you will need to obtain a new licence both for freshwater and saltwater fishing. We do not sell licences in the store but the online system is easy to use and you then have a saved copy of the licence on your computer or phone. Here are the links:
Get a BC Freshwater Fishing Licence here and Get Your Saltwater Fishing Licence here.
On the shop front we wanted to thank everyone for their support. We continue to be Open – ISH. We are here taking phone orders and shopping for you! We have been firing up the facetime if you need to see something before your purchase and curbside pickups and mail orders have been going out the door constantly. If you need anything don’t hesitate to call at 604-872-2204 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We are in the shop Monday – Saturday 10AM to 5PM.
The last bit of regulation stuff we wanted to bring to your attention has to do with ongoing COVID – 19 pandemic. A number of parks and recreation areas have been closed to minimize risk (click here for more information) but fishing remains an acceptable form self-isolation /social distancing provided you are adhering to all Provincial Regulations.
As part of the ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic, this link provides specific guidance for angling and hunting and any updates any changes implemented by the Province related to hunting and fishing activities.
WOW that was a bunch of less than entertaining info – Let’s get into the fun stuff – The Fishing!
If you are heading out do it responsibly. There are recommendations in the links above so there is no excuse to not get out in a safe manner. With good weather in the forecast for both river and ocean fishing it looks like a great time to get out on the water.
Ironically, the saltwater fishing off Bowen has been excellent in the last 3 days, just in time for chinook being closed for retention. Jason has the latest from on the water in his saltwater report this week. We are also still hearing good steelhead reports on the Vedder. Alex has a little update there. Lastly the Harrison and the Squamish areas are a great option for bulltrout and cutthroat fishing. They are good open areas for social distancing too. We have details on all of them in this week’s fresh and saltwater sections below.
On the fly-tying front, Zach has a video on how to blend thread for Chironomid patterns. You may have seen pictures of flies on Instagram of Facebook of amazing molted looking chironomid patterns. It’s really easy! Check out how here:
As always Matt has the video version of the report here:
On to the report
CLASSES + COURSES
We’re working to retool our courses offering and have some great courses coming up next month that you can take in from home! To sign up for a course call the shop at 604.872.2204 between 10AM + 5PM (Monday – Saturday).
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 April 15, 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
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: April 20
Cost: $50.00 GST
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!
Date: April 28
FRESHWATER FISHING REPORTS
Chilliwack/Vedder River Fishing Report
Fishing has remained good on the Chilliwack, with a nice bump in the water levels this past week and adequate colouration throughout the river. We are now in April and there is one more month of steelheading to be done for the gear anglers before the river becomes fly only from the Vedder Crossing Bridge down. There are fish throughout the system and lots of viable water to cover so put some kilometres on your boots and hit as many runs as possible. The conditions are conducive for pretty much everything at this point so whether you are drifting, chucking hardware, or swinging flies, get out there and start pounding some water. We are seeing some warmer temperatures next week so we may continue to have great fishable clarity and levels.
Squamish River Fishing Report
The river bumped up nicely last week and as expected fishing was good. We heard more reports of fry moving around. With these report most anglers we talked to found bulltrout and cutthrout in their travels and we heard of a couple steelhead as well. The river is dropping again and with cooler night temps this weekend expect clear conditions. This should mean peak fishing times will be in the middle of the day when things have a chance to warm up. You will want to make sure your presentations are stealthy so think fluorcarbon leaders and smaller gear and fly offerings.
Good Luck out there and keep sending in the pictures!
Harrison River Fishing Report
The Harrison rose a little with the water last week, but it is still at a great hiking level. Like the Squamish, expect the good fishing to be focused around mid-day when things warm up a little. There is no need to be out there at first light. Fry patterns are the go too but small spinners and spoons can be very effective when you find feeding cutthroat. Hike hard and watch for rising fish. When you find them they are usually very aggressive?
SALTWATER FISHING REPORTS
Vancouver Saltwater Salmon Fishing Report
Well right on que the fish showed up. The past 48 hours off South Bowen and on the Hump have been pretty outstanding. I haven’t been out, too busy fighting for our fisheries and trying to keep the store running on a 2-man crew. All my fishing buddies have been out though, so thanks for all the texts and pics I get all day long. The fishing has been dam good, as I get hourly updates from these guys for better or worse. It was tough last week but it really lit up recently! Can you say torture when stuck at work?
In terms of gear, the exact flashers and spoons I featured on the Pacific Angler Sportfishing Facebook and Instagram pages recently have been very good. In particular the Silver Knight series of spoons have been on fire. The best depths have been 90-150, just depends on the light levels and time of day. 117 has been good as has 127. Gotta like the 7’s…
What I don’t like is the fact we are closed for chinook retention! This is absolutely ridiculous. The vast, vast majority of fish being caught right now are hatchery fish. On top of that, in April off South Bowen you have about a 0% chance of hooking an interior Fraser chinook from a stock of concern. We should absolutely be open for 2 chinook, clipped or not, in the month of April. At the very least a few hatchery chinook.
You have to read this post from the Public Fishery Alliance. They did a good job of summing up this garbage closure and the science behind why you should be open right now.
This is a new group that is advocating for access to public waters and fisheries, among other things, like science-based management decisions and marked selective fisheries. Make sure to read the post, share it to your friends, and follow them. It sounds like they are going to be fairly active in the fight to get our fishery back. The other group you want to follow is SFI. They have been to Ottawa and are also lobbying hard for marked selective fisheries and openings where stocks of concern are not present.
The best way you can help is by following these groups, becoming a member, and emailing a letter to these people and tell them you want to fish for hatchery fish in April, May, and June! If you don’t get involved and write a letter this springtime closure will be the new norm.
Rebecca Reid, DFO Regional Director General email@example.com
Andrew Thomson, DFO Regional Director firstname.lastname@example.org Terri Bonnet, DFO Area Director, Fraser & Interior email@example.com
Dean Allan, Resource Management Program Co-ordinator firstname.lastname@example.org
Jeff Grout, DFO Regional Resource Manager email@example.com
Just like last year and the year before that, I expect the fishing in the coming weeks to be excellent around Bowen and the Hump and over in the Gulf Islands. I really do hope DFO can find some areas where we can retain a hatchery chinook. To make this happen, they need to feel the pressure from the angling community and the marine industry, so please take the time to send an email or letter.
Prawning has slowed down a touch, as is normal this time of year with sustained increased pressure. A reminder that the new limit is 125 per set (it applies to the name of the person on float). This means you can’t take 250 prawns in one set and apply half to your license and half to your buddies. It doesn’t work that way. The limit is for the person whose name is on the float. The same goes for crabbing gear. If you get 8 keepers in one trap that doesn’t mean you and your buddy get 4 each, the most you could keep is 4, for the person whose name is on the float. I would hope you are fishing with yourself anyways and doing your part when it comes to social distancing, but just thought I would mention this, as not many people know that is how the limits work. Speaking of crabbing, it has been pretty good this spring, so I am glad to see that.
When you are crabbing and prawning you are likely using way points, and here is some news related to that. I received an email from DFO today to let me know that the “new” sponge reef closures that were implemented last year are now available on the Navionics map card. So, if you have the app on your phone, you are going to see this now, in addition to the ones that were already there and the RCAs. To update your chart plotter, pop out that micro-SD card, put it in your laptop, go to the Navionics website and update it. Then you will have the latest version that shows all the sponge reef closures and rock fish conservation areas.
See you in the shop (sort of) or on the water (hopefully),