It’s tournament weekend! Over Saturday and Sunday, the Vancouver Chinook Classic is running. As we write this report the chinook fishing has been nothing but spectacular and we are super excited to see what happens in the tournament. If you are heading out, you will see all the competitors on the water, so we ask that everyone plays nice and gives space.
There will be a little shift in weather coming Saturday with overcast skies, a touch of rain and calm seas. On Sunday it goes back to sun and cloud with the standard unpredictable winds you see after a front pulls through. This could make the fishing better or send the fish up the river it’s hard to tell.
This catch and release tournament is designed to showcase the best anglers in the local trolling fleet so they shouldn’t have a problem dealing with the changing weather but keep your eyes on the marine forecast and we wish everyone a safe, fun time out on the water this weekend.
Check out Jason’s saltwater report for details on the tournament and details on the chinook fishing.
This weather change should be good for most of our other fisheries as well. Temps will remain warm and overcast skies will help our river fisheries and beach fisheries. A little rain will also help keep river temperatures cool in the Fraser.
The pinks have definitely arrived in numbers this week. We have been hearing sold reports from Squamish and we have some, “ok” reports from the beaches.
They have shut down pink salmon retention on the Squamish. This is due to lower than hoped early numbers, but the river is still open to catch and release so don’t hesitate to get out there. The closure raises some conservation discussions and management concerns but catch and release fishing for pinks has a very low mortality if done correctly so overall it makes for a great catch and release fishery. With this in mind, make sure to release all fish with care. Even if there are a ton of fish, don’t use that as an excuse to be rough with them. The pink run is complicated. There are different populations of pinks that travel from different waters even if they are all going to the same home river. The early component for the Squamish was not strong this year and we need to be careful to protect these fish.
Zach has featured one of his favorited pink patterns in this week’s report. It can be adapted for the beach or the river so if you are looking for some inspiration at the vice you will not want to miss it.
We have also heard pink reports from the Capilano mouth. This is a fun spot to go pink fishing but these reports also que us for other fisheries. It is usually a safe bet to wait until reports come from the Capilano mouth to start looking at the areas off the mouth of the Seymour and up Indian Arm.
Aiden has a piece on lake fishing in August. Normally this is not a focus in the warmer months of the year but we have had a fairly temperate summer and there are still good options to be had. He lays these out in the report and touches on the need for care when releasing trout in warmer conditions.
Finally, the Skagit is still fishing well. Sean has a report and Brendan has an article on bull trout flies and strategies that you might find interesting.
On to the report!!
CLASSES + COURSES
Have you signed up for this month’s Introduction to Fly Fishing Course yet?
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.
Dates: Seminar Aug 20th & Casting Aug 25th
Seminar Time: 6:30pm – 9:30pm
Casting Time(s): 10am – 1pm or 1:30pm -4:30pm
Borden Special Variant
Pinks are here and with it you are probably looking for a new fly to tie to set yours apart from everyone else. I came across this pattern 2 years ago when I was looking to add to my Pink box and it was an instant winner for me. Originally this fly is meant for sea run cutthroat but with a few tweaks it makes a killer Pink Salmon Fly. It has everything you want in a Pink Fly, a bit of flash, a bit of movement and it’s sparse in materials. It is an easy fly to mess around with colour wise and it flat out works. Let’s get to it:
Step 1: I tie this fly on a size 8 single salmon hook with 70 Denier Black thread. Start by dressing your hook with thread and closing the return bend of the hook by the eye. Stop your thread at the hook point.
Step 2: Take some webby fibers from the bottom portion of a White Schlappen feather and tie in a sparse clump at the back with 2 or 3 securing wraps.
Step 3: Take some webby fibers from the bottom of a Fuschia Schlappen feather and tie it on top of the white clump from the previous step.
Step 4: I like to keep the extra fibers tied in along the whole hook shank to keep the body uniform and to add a touch of bulk. cut off the butt ends at the start of the return bend of the hook eye.
Step 5: Tie in a piece of Medium Chartreuse Wire on your way back down the hook shank. Stop your thread at the base of the tail.
Step 6: Tie in a length of Medium Silver Holographic Tinsel again the length of the hook shank and end with your thread a little bit behind the hook eye. Keep in mind we need to add a wing, collar and a small thread head so leave yourself enough room.
Step 7: Wrap the holographic tinsel up the length of the body with overlapping wraps. Follow that by counter wrapping the wire rib to add a level of security to the body.
Step 8: Tie in a very sparse clump of Fuschia Fox Tail.
Step 9: Tie in a White Schlappen Feather by the tip and wrap the feather 3-4 times and secure. The number of wraps depends on how dense the feather is. Some feathers have more bulk than others.
Step 10: Do the same as step 9 but with a Fuschia Schlappen Feather. Once the feather is secure, I like to take a few wraps of thread to help push all the fibers back. Finish the fly with a small thread head and add your favorite head cement.
FRESHWATER FISHING REPORTS
Squamish River Fishing Report
As of Wednesday, August 13th, The Squamish River and its tributaries have closed for retention of Pink Salmon. It is still currently open for catch and release and for those that enjoy the pure sport fishing aspect of this fishery, this is actually a great time to get out there as there is far less pressure on the river. Water levels have held at very fishable levels and though we are expecting a bit of rain this weekend it shouldn’t bump it up too much. The fishing itself is still a bit patchy so it depends on who you talk to, where they were, and when they were there, but the general consensus is that fishing has been fair on the slow days and excellent if you are at the right spot at the right time. I got out there myself with two back to back trips and observed a decent number of Pinks, and yes we did hook a good number of them. In saying that, this is peak season so the highest concentration of fish will be now. There are still lots of fresh chromers filtering through and I would expect that to last maybe another week or so before we see the majority of the fish get stale and gnarly.
What has been working? Fly, lure, and drifting setups have all been producing in your standard pink, chartreuse, and key lime coloured presentations. Once in a while, the fish will prefer one over the other, so it is not a bad idea to bring two rods and experiment a bit to see what works best in that particular time and place.
Chilliwack/Vedder River Fishing Report
The Vedder has continued to see consistent fishing with fresh fish moving in this past week. With the amount of Fraser chinooks being seen by saltwater anglers, the Vedder should continue being good for the next little while.
Locations are standard issue with the fresher fish being found lower down.
In regards to tackle, not much has changed since last week. One thing I would suggest though is to keep some blades or spoons handy as their vibrations and flash can sometimes be the difference when fishing over layed up fish. Twitching jigs can even get them, especially ones that have been juiced up with scent.
Adding gel scents can also help, with tuna-based ones being some of my favourites for lazy or older fish. Chinooks will start to crave salt again once they’ve been in freshwater long enough and I find the Pro-Cure gels and oils help with triggering responses, especially with their added amino acids and bite stimulants.
Also, with coho and steelhead season coming up, keeping roe may become a priority for some anglers. If you want to learn how to cure roe, come see me in the shop and I can walk you through it. It’s very easy, and if I can do it, anyone can.
Keep on your drifts free and your spoons thumping,
Skagit River Fishing Report
If you want to escape the crowds of the pink salmon fishery and get some trout fishing in, the Skagit has been fishing well. The water is lower so access is not an issue.
Now that the river is crossable in most spots the key is to hike/wade to less pressured water. The fish near the day use spots have seen many flies by now and have most likely been caught a few times already.
As usual nymphing in the morning has been most productive. Once you start to notice rising fish or any noticeable hatch, switching to a dry fly makes for some exciting fishing. I still haven’t heard of any reports of major hatches throughout the day but dry fly fishing has still been productive.
There are also good numbers of bull trout throughout the system so keep an eye out for them. An easy way to spot them is if you notice random flashes in the gut of a run. Brendan has an in depth write up this week about how to target them effectively so make sure to give that a read.
Good Luck out there,
STILLWATER FISHING REPORT
BC Lake Fishing Report
Although lake fishing is slowing down in the interior, we heard some good reports this week both locally, and near 100 Mile House.
This time of year you really need to cherry-pick your locations for stillwater angling. Many anglers consider August a waste of time to go lake fishing. In a general sense that can be true but if you’re willing to put in a little work, find lakes with low boating and angling pressure with a deep bottom and good structure, you’ve still got a great shot at good fishing. Typically, I will fish leeches this time of year, as they remain as one of the mainstays of the rainbow trout diet. An added bonus is that the pattern tends to cover a lot of water, either with trolling or stripping over weed beds or shoals.
I picked up some nice bows less than an hour away from Vancouver, nearly all were caught on Andre’s olive micro leech. The best part? Complete solitude for 8 hours. So now is the time to try out that secret spot or unnamed lake and work on technique in peace and quiet. Remember, with the warmer water temperatures, the fish will take longer to revive, so please be patient and keep them in the water at all times. I’ll also mention that while the fish are mainly eating leeches, the meat will taste like mud, so I suggest leaning toward catch and release.
SALTWATER FISHING REPORT
Vancouver Saltwater Salmon Fishing Report
Well, it has been another great week of fishing here in Vancouver. By fishing, I mean catching, and specifically chinook salmon. Even on our shorter 5 or 6-hour trips, we have had some amazing chinook fishing. Usually, on a shorter trip, we would focus on coho and pinks off West Van, but the chinook fishing has been so consistent these past few weeks we have been focusing primarily on chinook.
In terms of location, take your pick. It really comes down to boat size, weather conditions, and how much time you have. There has been great fishing at the Bell Buoy, North Arm, Iona Jetty, T-10, and of course the South Arm, aka Sand Heads. Looking at the Albion Chinook Test Fishery, it is clear the fish are starting to move up the river, especially the last 72 hours. There are definitely more fish to come as this fishery usually peaks this coming week. With the fish being on the move, things can be highly variable and can go from hot to cold to hot, as fish show up on different tides, sit off the river mouth and then shoot up. In general, though, I would expect the fishing to be quite good this coming week as fresh waves of fish show up.
In terms of depth, 30 to 75 has been good on the riggers as these chinook travel shallow. A variety of flashers have been working well, like the Betsy, Super Betsy, Derby Winner, Twisted Sista, Green Onion Glow, Salty Dawg, BC, STS, and Madi. Some reflective and UV flashers on the top and some more glow on the bottom rods, and you are good to go. Same for teaser heads, we have been doing well on chrome and UV teaser heads on top and glow ones on our bottom rods. With the fishing being as good as it has, some anglers are running dummy flashers and then a piece of bait just above in a teaser head. This is a lot of fun; so if you are really into them, give it a try. For bait, we have been doing well using the 5.5 and 6.0 inch anchovies and green size herring. Put any of these baits in a Rhys Davis teaser head and you are off to the races.
As per my last report, I am sure there are some pinks and coho off West Van if you want to target them or you want to do some fly fishing or light spin fishing. I was talking to Andre the other day and he did report some decent catches of pinks on his fly rod and a few coho here and there. With the chinook fishing the way it is, we don’t plan on heading that way anytime soon. Brett did scope out the Cap Mouth yesterday on his way back, see if there were any early ones around, but no bites from the big whites.
Speaking of the white chinook, we are starting to see some in our catches these past few days. The whites are headed to the Cap, the Harrison, or the Chilliwack/Vedder and are some of the biggest chinook we catch each year. The last week of August is prime time for some good chinook days with a nice mix of reds and whites, so give us a call if you want to head out that week. 778-788-8582.
I will be zipping around this weekend as Derby Master for the 7th annual Vancouver Chinook Classic. This event is once again a sell-out with 50 teams registered and proceeds going to SFI and PSF. I am sure I am going to be busy with all these fish around. It should be interesting to see what the big fish will be and I am looking forward to doing some DNA sampling and tagging on our weigh boat with Owen from SFI.
See you out there this weekend,