Sockeye fever has set in! We are hearing good to great reports from the saltwater guide fleet and the river anglers on the Fraser are putting up pretty epic numbers as well.
On the saltwater front we have blue flashers back in stock, though lots of things work, our guides have found noticeably better results with blue glow/flash style flashers, especially when the sockeye are off the bite and you have to work for them. The fishing has been great at times but there have been some tides where the fish have been off the bite and we have had to grind. Check out Jason’s saltwater report for more details this week.
The other big news this weekend is the Vancouver Chinook Classic Catch + Release derby starts Saturday. Between hooking sockeye we have had some great chinook reports and some larger fish are rolling through. The derby is sold out and we can’t wait to see the results. It gives you a really good gauge of how chinook fishing is doing especially on a year when everyone if focused on sockeye. Good luck to all the competitors!
On the river front we have a sockeye bouncing report and if you missed it last week we had a great overview and “how to” on the sockeye harvest fishery so be sure to check that out and see updates in the Fraser River report section below.
If you were hoping to fish the Skagit, the fire is still burning and unfortunately the park is closed. Matt has an update on the fire in the Skagit report.
We don’t have a Thompson report this week but we do have a regulation update. On Aug 22 they are opening the chinook and sockeye fishing. See the fisheries notice here. All reports we have had come in this week is that trout fishing has been excellent. Sean is heading up for the weekend so be sure to check out next week’s report as we will have more info on the salmon numbers (they will make the trout fishing slow a little) and any other trout related intel.
If you’re heading out to the valley the Vedder has slowed but should pick up again when the fall runs of salmon arrive. This usually happens around the 10th of September.
Alex and Dustin came back from their lake trip last weekend. As expected with the heat, fishing was spotty, but they worked hard and had some pretty good fishing for the time of year. Alex has details in the lake fishing report.
Last but not least the beach fishing is still quite excellent with the lack of rain and is worth a shot for the Vancouver urban angler.
On to the report!!
FRESHWATER FISHING REPORTS
Fraser River Sockeye Fishing Report
Fishing in the Fraser has been picking up and lots of positive reports have been coming in as the sockeye fishing heats up. Bottom bouncing, albeit not considered a true sports fishery, as it’s more of a harvest method, is the most effective way for people to harvest sockeye in the Fraser.
The big return this year has brought people to famous bars like Peg Leg, Herrling Island, Grassy, Laidlaw, Seabird, Spaghetti, Gill Rd., Snaggy and Scale Bar. The abundance of fish provided anglers out there with some tasty sockeye.
However, commercial opening for gill netting was in place mid week and First Nations ceremonial fishing will take place over the weekend. The gill net fishery will take out the majority of the fish that are coming into the Fraser and make fishing slow for the recreational guys in sections that have been productive. You will find dead spots in the river with these openings and unfortunately the only cure is to move up or down river and/or wait a day or two for the dead spot to pass.
We recommend using rods that are medium heavy and 10’6”- 11’6” in length. That is because we are using 10’ or longer leader and tossing 2-4oz bouncing betties. Because we are tossing big heavy weight over and over again it is always a good idea to invest in your reel. I recommend getting into a Daiwa Luna or a Shimano Calcutta to have less trouble. Also make sure to wash oil/grease your reels after use and back off the drags. The silt of the Fraser along with hard fishing sockeye are notorious for destroying gear.
There are a lot of people on most of the bars. Always keep an eye on your hook to prevent any injuries and go into your day of fishing with a positive attitude. With crowds there will always be guys who bring attitude – don’t be one of those guys. If there is a confrontation and you don’t add to the problem you will walk away feeling good about life.
Chilliwack River Fishing Report
The Vedder is quiet at this time of year as we enter the lull between the Summer fishery and the Fall fishery on this river. There will still be a few red chinook kicking around and you may even come across a clean fish but most of the run has already pushed through the river. It will definitely be a quieter experience than the Sockeye bash on the Fraser so if you are looking for a more peaceful river trip this is a good option. This is also a great time to get out and scout for some spots. In about a month there will be coho and white chinook showing up so find your spots now and be ready when those fish come in.
Skagit River Fishing Report
Well we could be in for a wait if you want to fish the Skagit. The fire that started just north of Silver Tip campground has run southeast. It looks like it ran right over the campsite, jumped the river and is now running down the east side of the river.
Due to the rough terrain and the fact that there are no structures or people in the area they are not actively fighting this fire. Part of me would like them do something but that is the selfish fisherman in me. Fire is a natural occurrence that can revitalize an ecosystem. I have guided rivers up North that were hit by wild fires. Fishing usually suffers in the short term but from what I saw on the upper Atnarko and other Chilcotin rivers was that the fishing will improve when we look at 2-4 year cycle.
As it stands now the park is closed. From what we can tell this means the entire park both the Sumallo and the Silver/Skagit access is closed. If you guys out there have any more intel we would love to hear about it. We will keep you posted on any changes.
STILLWATER FISHING REPORTS
Tunkwa Lake Weekend Fishing Report
Last weekend Dustin, myself and a bunch of our good friends went up to Tunkwa Lake for a get-together and a few days of fishing. Historically there is a crazy bomber hatch that occurs at this time of year and that’s what we were gearing up for. When we got there however we immediately received a tip from the resort staff and it wasn’t good news. With the weather being cooler than average, the bomber hatch never really took off (sorry, terrible pun). They mentioned that fishing overall was slow but fish were still being caught on blood worms off the bottom.
Once we got settled in to our cabin the first thing we did was take our rods out for a spin on the jon boats that you can rent from the resort. It didn’t take long for our group to get its first hookup, followed by a couple of others before things shut down for the afternoon. After dinner we went back out and had an epic hour and a half of fishing. Pretty much everyone in the group consistently hooked up and there were even a couple of double headers thrown in for good measure. While there was nothing bigger than 19 inches it was a blast to have action like that and if you’ve never hooked a Pennask strain rainbow, man are they ever scrappy and do they ever jump! Even little guys were corking my 4/5 weight rods when other fish of the same size would have come easily to the boat.
The second day started out much like the previous evening with consistent action, especially once the sun came over the mountain. However, it switched off around mid-day and a thunderstorm loomed threateningly on the horizon. We fished another couple of hours with not much to show for it when a bolt of lightning lit up the darkening sky and chased everyone off the water. The wind kicked up and the water turned into a swollen mess. Then as suddenly as it had appeared, the storm passed and we were left with an eerily quiet lake. We rushed to get back out there, but not before bailing water out of the boats for a good twenty minutes. It was worth the effort though as not long after we anchored in one of our new “hot spots” the biggest fish came to the boat, topping out at 23 inches. We almost lost it too as there was not one, but two netting flubs by yours truly. I got an earful about it before I smartened up and got the fish into the net.
Day three we had only a half day to fish and it was the slowest day of the weekend for us. We picked off a few fish in the morning but while there were tons of fish everywhere, they didn’t want to cooperate. This was the same for most other anglers we observed and talked to as well; if you put in the time you were rewarded but it wasn’t the fast and furious action that it normally is.
We tried a variety of things over the weekend, but the fish were mostly caught on blood worms in both red and green fished near the bottom in 10′-12′ of water. A couple of fish were also caught on dry flies in the evening and early morning. Stomach content was predominantly bloodworms, scuds, and the very odd olive bomber.
All in all, a good fishing trip and an amazing weekend. If you have never tried Interior trout fishing this lake is definitely a great way to get your feet wet without the need to be super experienced in this type of fishery. I also highly recommend staying at the Tunkwa Lake Resort. The staff are extremely friendly and are always willing to help out. They also know the lake very well so they have a helpful tip or three when the fishing gets tough. In addition, the cabins and amenities like the communal showers and washrooms are kept very clean. I was very impressed. The lake is also managed as a put and take fishery; there are plenty of fish to go around and they encourage you to take your catch home if you are so inclined. There’s even a communal freezer to store your fish! They taste great, by the way. So if you are looking for a quiet getaway where you can relax and wet a line but still have amenities close by, definitely give the team at Tunkwa Lake Resort a call. Two thumbs up from me, only because three is not an option!
SALTWATER FISHING REPORTS
Vancouver Saltwater Salmon Fishing Report
Lets start with sockeye fishing as this seems to be the hot topic. There were some pretty hot days earlier in the week from the Bell all the way past the North Arm and Iona Jetty and all the way down to Sandheads. So yes, everywhere, but it definitely slowed down these past few days. There were some schools around the last 48 hours but you had to land right on them early in the day and get that first few hours of action or you had a tough day. Don’t despair, this is just the tip of the iceberg as they say, and millions more are on the way (literally). Sockeye fishing is going to continue to get better on a daily basis going forward.
If you missed last weeks report we have some pictures of productive flashers and hootchies as well as a diagram on how to setup your gear. Sockeye Information
Also in last weeks report I commented on when I thought chinook fishing would pick and sure enough it was good yesterday. I said 2-3 days after the full moon on Saturday, so I was off by a day. It was good on Wednesday and a friend of mine had 7 to the boat yesterday and I heard of some decent reports from others these past few days. I am not going to get into the specifics of where they were fishing as the Vancouver Chinook Classic is this weekend and these guys are all in the event so no locations will be revealed. So as per usual, things are picking up just in time for the tournament and it should be a productive weekend. Chrome and UV flashers have been productive on the higher up rods. The Gibbs and Oki flashers in Betsy and Green Onion finishes have been hot when paired with UV Green and Chrome Green/Chartreuse Rhys Davis teaser heads with 5.5 to 6.0 anchovies and a 6 foot leader. On the lower rods the glow flashers have been good. The Gibbs Phantom in chartreuse has been very productive, as has the Madi, BC, and STS and of course the Oki Salty Dawg. These flashers paired up with Rhys Davis teaser heads in Glow Green/Chartreuse, Bloody Nose, and Glow Blue/Green with 5.5 to 6.0 anchovies and a 6 foot leader, have been very productive. Productive depths have been 30-75 on the riggers. It does seem there have been a few larger fish around as well, so be ready for that.
I am going to switch topics now and talk about gill nets. They can do a lot of damage and in my opinion there are other alternatives to harvesting fish. We have the technology ladies and gentleman, but we need to let the government know we want to see it implemented. This isn’t about stopping commercial fishing, as I do believe in commercial fishing when there are enough fish, such as this sockeye year. This is about using more selective methods. Please take the time to read this petitions and sign up. I have and I think you should too. This sounds corny, but you really can make a difference. So sign up and pass this along and let them government know we want to see harvest methods implemented that protect not target salmon, steelhead, and of course sturgeon. No More Gill Nets
In other news, McDonald Beach Park & Boat launch is closed because of the tug that sank and the efforts to recover it. Boat Launch Closed So if you were thinking of launching here this weekend you will need to go somewhere else. For some other options check out these links:
I will be running the fishing portion of the Vancouver Chinook Classic once again this year as Derby Master, so I am looking forward to zipping around on the RIBs this weekend and seeing some nice chinook. So if you see me ripping by in a blacked out 34 footer at high speeds you will know its me and my crew.
See you on the water or in the shop,