We are almost in May. May is a time of flux for weather and fisheries but, there are lots of opportunities worth looking at. We have still not seen regulation changes for saltwater chinook fishing but on the 1st of May bottom fishing opens in some areas of the Vancouver local waters.
The weather has also not kicked freshet into full swing so we are seeing some good late local river fishing but we do not expect it to last long. Check out the Squamish, in the video, and Harrison Report below for the latest updates. Regulations change on the first of May for the Chilliwack/Vedder so be sure to familiarize yourself with those check in Alex’s report below.
With the shift in seasons, we are tuning in on the Capilano this week because it is time to start looking for early season coho.
For our clients in the interior, lake fishing is heating up. We have heard lots of ice off reports and Sterling has some more details in the lake section.
This week Matt tunes in with the Video version of the report where he goes over it all in detail here:
Last, but not least, a friendly reminder to all our readers – be sure you are up to date and aware of all Public Health Orders and travel restrictions before you plan your next day on the water.
CLASSES AND COURSES
Introduction to Fly Fishing
This course is specifically designed to give the new fly fisher the basic knowledge, casting skills and fly fishing strategies to effectively fish our local BC waters. The course is comprised of two sessions; a 3hr evening seminar and a 3hr casting session. The dates below show the seminar date first and casting date second.
Dates: May 11 & 16, Jun 16 & 20, July 14 & 17, Sept 21 & 26
Seminar Time: 6:30pm – 9:30pm
Casting Time(s): 10am – 1pm or 1:30pm -4:30pm
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: Tuesday, May 25
Seminar Time: 6:30-9:30 pm
Cost: $50 per person
INDUSTRY EVENTS AND UDPATES
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FRESHWATER FISHING REPORTS
Chilliwack/Vedder River Fishing Report
Well, the season is officially over for gear fishing for steelhead on the Vedder. As of tomorrow, May , the river becomes fly only from downstream of the Vedder Crossing bridge while everything else above is closed. The water is running on the high side right now but the conditions have been decent enough for some to still get into fish.
Fly fishing this river will run until the end of the month or until freshet takes over and conditions become too poor, whichever comes first.
More than likely, we will see the water levels be fairly consistent over the next couple of weeks as the forecast calls for mild weather with a little bit of rain. Bring your sink tips and your bright streamers as there are still some fresh fish entering the system now, and being limited to the lower section will increase your chances of coming across a new pod of fish.
Capilano River Fishing Report
It’s almost May now, so that means the first early-run coho should be rolling into the Capilano river very soon, if not already.
The Capilano is home to a unique run of very early, small jack coho salmon, with the first few fish showing up in late April/early May, and the bulk of the run arriving in June/July, depending on water conditions. These fish only average a few pounds, but are some of the tastiest salmon I’ve ever eaten.
This fishery can be surprisingly productive and lots of fun if timed correctly, but be aware that river levels are incredibly important. The Capilano is a dam-controlled river that spends most of its time running low, which makes fishing challenging… especially for small, spooky jack coho salmon.
Metro Vancouver hosts online river level charts; I like to fish it around 1.5/2 meters. Anything above 2 meters starts to get challenging, and anything below that makes the fish very spooky.
A vast majority of the early season coho I catch in the Cap are on cured roe, but I’ve also had some luck drifting blades, Jensen eggs, yarn, shrimp and beads. Casting spoons, spinners and twitching jigs can also be effective at times. The bait ban doesn’t come into effect until August 1st, so don’t hesitate to toss bait at ‘em… jack coho love bait, especially roe and shrimp. First light is usually the best time to target these fish, but just like any other salmon, they will bite all day if they aren’t being heavily pressured or targeted unethically.
We’ve heard one or two reports of coho being caught in the river already, but I usually don’t bother putting in too much effort until early-mid May, or whenever the river hits 1.5 meters for the first time in May. As previously mentioned, water levels play a huge role in this system, so pay attention to them. Real-time charts can be accessed here.
Also Note: Be sure to always have your head on a swivel, and do not wade to areas you cannot get back from if water rises quickly without warning.
Harrison River Fishing Report
The Harrison is still rising but the cooler nights have held off unfishable heights. It is still hike-able but it is getting to the point where using a boat is much more productive. Andre was out last week and caught a couple of beautiful fish so if you are stuck in Lower Mainland and were going to take the boat lake fishing, this one might be a good option.
Fry patterns, streamer attractors as well as small spinners and spoons are great options. Cover ground, look for slashing fish and have fun.
Fraser River Sturgeon Fishing Report
The Fraser has started freshet. Make sure to check your gear a little more often than you usually do to get the debris off your mainline and leader. Fishing has been good and the fish are definitely getting more active and putting in some good jumps.
We were out on Sunday and had good action on eulachons and roe. As the river gets higher focus on what slow water you can find and you will continue to have good fishing through the freshet.
STILLWATER FISHING REPORTS
Interior Lakes Fishing Report
If you are one of our readers who are up in the interior, we are jealous, as we have been hearing of some decent lake fishing. Our fishing friends up there have been reporting more lakes are icing off fast and chironomid hatches have started on lower elevation lakes. We are seeing the majority of chironomid reports coming from lakes that have been ice off for 3-4 weeks so if your lake just came off, look at the calendar and map out 3 weeks. You should see good chironomid hatches in that time frame.
We also had some daphnia reports on the lower lakes. If you run into this and you are out early in the morning, blobs are always a good option before the major hatches that usually start around 10AM-2PM.
Early season chironomid hatches tend to have a lot of size 16 gunmetal chromies, green/red butts, and darker zucchini patterns. We’ve got all those patterns so be sure to come through the store to get fully stocked up or call it in if you are up north and can’t get to a shop. If you are looking for patterns check out the What’s in Our Fly box video where Matt goes over the staples you will want have in a lake fly box.
The major lakes around Merritt are all now ice free and we’re even getting reports that some of the highway 24 lakes are starting to free up. I’ve gone into quite a bit of detail in my last two reports of how to approach these lakes. Get shallow and toss those leeches. If you think you’re fishing too shallow, you can probably go shallower. Fish tend to school up and congregate in small areas of the lake so keep pulling up anchor and moving if you’re not hitting any with those high confidence patterns.
Local Lakes Report
All our local lakes are warming up with each passing day. Woolly buggers and other buggy patterns have been producing. There have been some pictures of significant fish being pulled out of the local spots. Worms, spoons, and powerbait remain the timeless best options if you are not fly fishing.
Keep an eye on GofishBC for the latest stocking reports and check out this video for some great basic rigging and tricks on how to catch trout on our local lakes! GoFishBC is a great option to research lakes in your local community so you can get out on the water while staying local.