The first big storm of spring is incoming! If the weather man is on his game, we are in for a wet one this weekend and it will affect all our major fisheries.
Over the next 3 days we are going to get dumped on. We have had reports that the Squamish system is already on its way to being dirty and high. It will be interesting to see how high it goes, and flooding could be an issue if we get all the rain predicted. Needless to say fishing will be a challenge. If you are heading out be very cognizant of safety and river levels.
This weather will have similar effects on the Vedder and other medium to high gradient systems. The lower gradient systems like the Harrison should still fish well as it takes longer for them to blow out. We had good reports of cutthroat this week on these systems. Check out reports on the Vedder, Harrison, Squamish and Stave in the freshwater reports sections below.
With the challenging weather you may want to look outside of the box for fishing opportunities this weekend. With that in mind Alex has another instalment on bass fishing. Two weeks ago, he looked at crank baits so if you missed that be sure to check out that report. With more early season tactics in mind this week he has a write up on how and when to fish spinner baits. We have an ever-expanding bass section at the store so if you are interested check out Alex’s report and come down to the shop if you have any questions or need to reequip the tackle box.
It is time to start thinking lake fishing. We had some good local lake reports this week, Squamish lakes are ice free and we are closely watching Pemberton and Interior lakes. WE ARE GETTING CLOSE! As we turn our thoughts to lake fishing Zach has an overview of some of the new lake materials and hooks that we are stocking this year. Our lake materials section has never looked better and we have some super cool stuff this year. Check it out in the feature below.
On the saltwater front we had some productive days mixed with some tough ones this week. Some of the more productive spots this week were QA to the Bell, Roger Curtis to Cowan, and Hole in the Wall. We’re in for some wind and rain this weekend so be sure to keep an eye on that marine forecast before you head out.
Last but certainly not least don’t miss out on some great courses coming up this month! We have Introduction to Fly Fishing, Introduction to Chironomid Techniques and Introduction to Lake Fishing. Class dates and times are in this week’s classes and courses section.
CLASSES + COURSES
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 evening seminar. Content is for beginner to advanced.
Dates: Apr 16, 2019
Time: 6:30pm – 9:30pm
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. The dates below show the seminar date first and casting date second.
Cost: $125.00 + GST
Dates: Seminar Apr 24 Casting Apr 28, 2019
Seminar Time: 6:30pm – 9:30pm
Casting Time(s): 10am – 1pm or 2pm -5pm
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.
Cost: $45.00 + GST
Dates: Apr 30, 2019
Time: 6:30pm – 9:30pm
Lake Fishing Fly Tying Materials
Ice off is getting closer and closer for most of your favourite lakes. We have been seeing and helping a lot of anglers that are coming in to grab tying materials as they work at filling their boxes with old favorites as well as new patterns. We have been working tirelessly to update our tying materials in the shop and if you haven’t visited us in a while you should pop on in to see what we’ve done; you won’t be disappointed. If you are from out of town and get our report, like we know a lot of you guys do, feel free to give us a call here at the shop and we can build you an order and ship product to wherever you may be! This week I am going to highlight two of our new favourite materials for you stillwater anglers.
Boobies, Blobs and FAB’s: you may have seen my write up on them a few weeks ago if not go through the archives and check it out. Fritz is the material that makes these patterns what they are. It is a super full and soft chenille that has great movement in the water. These attractor patterns wouldn’t be made possible without it. We have a variety of colours in store for you to play with. Traditionally they are a pure attractor and we have the obnoxious neon colours for those and we also have the more subdued natural tones if you can’t fully commit to the dark side. If you don’t tie I have also tied up a few Boobies in a few of the favorite colour combos as well as some original variations.
Balanced Leeches have taken the stillwater game by storm and the balanced technique can be used for any number of applications. I have seen fry, nymph, leech and quite a few other patterns turned into a balanced presentation and they all fish extremely well under an indicator in lakes or rivers. The key to these patterns is having a pin that holds a bead out from the eye of the jig hook to balance the pattern. We have both the pins and Phil Rowley’s favourite jig hooks as well as some other jig hooks for you to experiment with. I love tying these patterns and they fish really well too. Again, if you don’t tie, we had Andre tie us up a bunch of balanced leeches and also his new double duty leaches that has two hook eyes so it can be fished both under an indicator and inline on a sinking line. Come on in and let our expert staff get you set up for tying these awesome patterns!
Don’t be afraid to ask for a demo on any patterns as well. There’s a number of us that love to tie and if we can sneak in a few minutes of tying in at the shop we won’t complain ?
Have an awesome weekend everyone!
Spinnerbaits for Early Season Bass
A couple of weeks ago I did a the first “report” for the 2019 Bass season and I had a small write-up to go with it regarding crankbaits and jerkbaits as a good cold water option for bass fishing. We will continue looking at Bass lures that excel at this time of year and this week our focus will be shifting to spinnerbaits.
I am sure most of you have seen a spinnerbait once or twice before. They in essence are like an in-line spinner but have a much larger profile that is more suited to the appetite of an adult bass. They consist of one or two blades on an angled wire which is weighted and connected to a large skirted hook. The blades put off a ton of vibration and flash while the silicone skirt around the hook pulses tantalizingly to anything drawn in to have a look. They are not just a coldwater bait either; they will catch bass pretty much all year round so these are staples that every bass angler should have in their arsenal. Even though the standard size of spinnerbaits looks relatively large, these lures can be amazingly effective at catching the most aggressive fish in the area. I have caught fish as small as 6 inches on standard sized spinnerbaits so don’t shy away from them as they are NOT too big.
There are two main types of blades you will see on a spinnerbait. The first is a colorado blade, just like you would see used for salmon and steelhead fishing. The Colorado blade has a much wider surface area and catches a lot of water on the descent, slowing down your rate of fall. They also can be fished very slowly while still maintaining a constant thumping action and thus work well in cold water when you want to slow your cadence way down. The second type of blade you will find is a willow leaf style blade, similar to those used on a gang troll. These blades are thin and spin very quickly, making them great for burning back when the fish are more active in warmer water and willing to chase something out from their ambush points.
Besides blade type, the other consideration you will want to have is the colour of the skirt and the addition of a trailer. In stained or muddy water, choose either solid or vibrant colours. This actually means opposite ends of the spectrum with both bright colours (white, chartreuse) or very dark colours (black, blue) being your main choices. While this may seem counter-intuitive, these polar opposites stand out the most in darker conditions. In clear water you will want to lean towards more natural colours like pumpkin, green, or a palette that mimics known baitfish in that body of water. I always add a trailer to my spinnerbaits as well. Common ones are curly tail grubs or paddle tail swimbaits. The colour of your trailer can either match your skirt or it can contrast it. I personally like to use a contrasting colour to give the whole profile more definition.
So now you might be saying, “Okay we get the specs. How do we use the darn things?!”. If you’ve ever fished a spoon or spinner before, it’s pretty much the same. Cast it out, let it sink to the bottom or to desired depth, then start cranking it in! Retrieval speed will depend on how the Bass feel, so let them tell you. Generally speaking, the colder the water, the slower the retrieve. When the water is really cold you can also fish it like you would a soft plastic or a jig by hopping it up off the bottom. This gives it a dying baitfish look and forces you to slow down and keep the spinnerbait in the strike zone for longer. The main thing is to experiment and see what the fish want. There are a lot of different scenarios to fish these lures and that’s the beauty behind them. They are extremely versatile and can be used to cover water fast to find active fish. I fish them on 6-7′ medium to medium-heavy powered spinning/baitcasting combos and braid. I don’t usually bother with a leader as these are reaction style baits and the fish that are willing to crush a big presentation like this won’t pay much attention to a more visible line. I tend to use 30lb braid as it is thin enough to be less visible but still strong enough to stop big bass from digging into heavy structure.
The last thing I want to touch on is the quality of spinnerbait you decide to purchase. There are a ton of options out there for these lures and some are extremely cheap. I have experimented with a plethora of different price points and it really boils down to a few key aspects that make a quality spinnerbait a quality spinnerbait. A high caliber spinnerbait like the Terminator Titanium spinnerbait is built with strong wire that has a little bit of give but won’t weaken when bent, allowing you to tune them if needed (bending the wire back into shape or altering it slightly to change trajectory in the water). I have broken the wire on cheap spinnerbaits and let me tell you that is a terrible feeling if you are chasing after a potential personal best bass. The second factor that contributes to a higher price point is the blade quality and, more importantly, the quality of the swivel that is attached to that blade. Cheap swivels suck, there’s no denying it. Cheap swivels don’t allow the blade to spin to its full potential and can change the action of the lure entirely. A lower quality blade may rust or lose its luster quickly and decrease its fish drawing power. The third factor that makes a quality spinnerbait is the skirt. A cheap skirt tends to be stiff and clumpy which equates to hindered movement in the water. They also tend to be brittle and fall apart faster. With a high quality skirt you get fluid movement, realistic or vibrant colours, and longer lasting material. These three things are crucial to a spinnerbait’s success and reliability. Will you catch fish on a cheap spinnerbait? Of course. However, for peace of mind it is worth investing just a couple more bucks on a reliable lure that you can trust to haul in that next bass you hook.
Pacific Angler has a good selection of spinnerbaits to get you started. As mentioned, these are a must have for serious and amateur Bass fishers combined, so come get set up today!
FRESHWATER FISHING REPORTS
Vedder River Fishing Report
With all the systems this week we are on a weather watch with the Vedder. As we write the report she is on the rise. Reports this week were good and it is worth watching closely. If the amount of rain forecasted gets downgraded we could see windows of excellent fishing.
Large presentations will be key. Large pink worms and large colorado blades should be in the kit or using a bright plastic like a goey bob then adding a large gob of roe or prawn is one of the best options. We have some great prawn dies at the shop so come down if you want to make some “nuclear” bait for dirty water.
Fly guys should bring large presentations as well. I love a black and blue. One last tip for both fly guys and gear guys is to fish shallow on the edges when water is coloured or high. Fish will move out of the middle of the river not to mention the current out there is a challenge to fish in.
Good luck and be safe,
Harrison River Fishing Report
With the big dump of water this weekend many eyes will turn to systems that are not as affected by heavy rain. The Harrison is a prime example because it is not as steep in gradient and is lake fed it rises and colours up at a slower rate. Though we are still concerned that the amount of rain this weekend will make things more challenging and harder to hike, this system is worth a look if you are heading out. Overcast skies usually makes fish less spooky and the push of water will move salmon fry down the system. This past week the river was very low and clear and we had good reports. Andre is out again on his cutthroat course this weekend so we should have more info in next week’s report.
If you’re headed out this weekend, be very careful as you cross channels. Though the Harrison rises slower than most, you will still want to make sure if the water does rise that you can cross back to safely.
Stave River Fishing Report
The Stave is another one that is worth a look when we have rain in the forecast. It is dam fed and depending on what they do with the dam you might find that all other systems are blown out while the stave is in shape. Cutthroat, whitefish and some steelhead will be in the system.
If you are driving past it is worth a look. Be very careful of crossing channels when we have weather like this because they could open the dam at any time so make sure you can get back and be safe.
Squamish River Fishing Report
These warmer days have seen the fry in good numbers with quite a few anglers finding bull trout but with bad weather on the horizon we expect the river to blow out this weekend. As we write this report it is rising hard and we heard it was quite coloured already as of Thursday afternoon.
Keep your eye on river levels if you plan to head out. It might be a write off this weekend but the second it comes back into shape we should see fishing pick up.
Be aware that spring is here and the wildlife, such as bears, will start waking up.
With this warm weather as well, some anglers may want to get their hair cut to keep cool. If that’s you, pop on in to the bobber shop.
SALTWATER FISHING REPORTS
Vancouver Saltwater Salmon Fishing Report
Looks like we are in for some SE winds this afternoon and Saturday and along with that comes some rain. Luckily the winds are forecasted to back off mid-day on Sunday and we should be in for a mix of sun and clouds.
Fishing has been sporadic this past week. There were definitely some really good days and also some really tough days. There are a few schools of chinook out there, but as usual, they are moving around a lot, hence the sporadic fishing. You usually have time to make one meaningful position change in the day and if you have had the luck of either starting out where the fish are, or finding them when you move, you can have a good day. If you aren’t on them first thing and don’t find them after you move, the writing is usually on the wall. Some of the productive spots this past week are pretty standard for early April and are as follows. QA to the Bell, Roger Curtis to Cowan, and Hole in the Wall. Best depths have been in the 90-120 range. Productive flashers have been in green or chartreuse with glow and the same can be said for spoons, teaser heads, and hootchies. If there is some green or chartreuse on them and some glow, you are in good shape.
Here is a picture of one of the better days. Guide Derek had 5 guests onboard and they kept 1 fish each. They practiced catch and release on other legal sized fish as they each opted to keep 1 each (the limit is currently 2 per day) to feed their family and friends. So you can see that when you find them the fishing can be good, but it’s a big ocean!
Note that DNA analysis will show that these fish are not early or mid-timing Fraser River chinook that are the root of a lot management decisions. The data will show they are mixed local Strait of Georgia stocks (perhaps from the Cowichan or Puntledge which had record or near record returns of chinook last year), or US hatchery fish (note 3 of the 5 were hatchery and are very likely from the USA). These strong stocks aren’t the stocks of concern, nor are they the chinook that SRKW (Southern Resident Killer Whales) focus on. I think it is important that all our regular readers and those from other areas understand this.
In terms of management decisions regarding chinook, we haven’t heard anything as of Friday morning but the decision could come at any time, perhaps this afternoon. Once it comes out we will post it on our Facebook and Instagram pages.
See you in the shop or on the water,