Last year the Vancouver Chinook Classic faced some extremely harrowing weather. With any luck we paid our dues and this year the weather looks amazing! Sun, heat and relatively low wind is in the forecast and we think the fish will also cooperate. We had some of the first sold reports from the bell buoy and around the corner in our charters this week and we expect it to continue into the weekend.
If you are not signed up for the tournament it is not too late. We have set a record for participants this year but you can still call in a late entry. Tournament details are here.
If you are not in the tournament it should still be a good weekend to head out as chinook fishing is picking up and we expect fishing to just get better over the next two weeks. Check out Jason’s Saltwater report for all the details.
This week we are writing the report from out in the field. When I say “field” I mean sitting on a lake in Penticton wine country. Though trout fishing on a lake in August can be a challenge there are a number of other fun ways to wet a line and enjoy some fishing.
With many of our friends and customers traveling to lakes in august for family trips we thought to do a little report on how you can combine lazy lake life with some equally simple and relaxing fishing. Matt has written a report on how he enjoys siting beside the lake with a rod in hand. Actually that’s not true, he usually has a beer or glass of wine in his hand and a lawn chair holds the rod. Check it out below.
On the river front we had some more good reports from the Skagit and Thompson trout fisheries and we have details in Matt’s Skagit river report. We are also expecting to start hearing reports from past Whistler. This week Max has done a report on the Birkenhead River. This is a very interesting fishery. It is half costal salmon stream and half interior trout stream. It has dry fly and nymphing opportunities and though the salmon have travelled too far and should not be targeted, they bring with them food for the resident bulltrout and rainbows. That’s right break out the trout beads and flesh flies. This is a great option for this time of year and it only get better into September.
Capilano River is still ditch low and fishing as very challenging but once again the beach fishing will benefit from the low water in the river, trapping the fish in the estuary. Check out the Capilano River Report and Andre’s Beach report below.
Me and my collection: Art Lingren’s Passion for Fly Fishing
Do not miss out on this rare opportunity to see the private fly fishing collection of Art Lingren on display at The Museum of Vancouver’s as part of their All Together Collection.
Art’s fly fishing collection covers many aspects of the sport from flies, fly fishing books, Haig-Brown, Fly fishing art, antique Hardy fly reels, fine crafted rods are on display from until January 8, 2017. There is even the opportunity to hear from Art himself at a scheduled talk at the museum on Tuesday August 23, 2016.
Click here for more details on the Museum of Vancouver exhibit and the evening with Art.
CLASSES AND COURSES
August is always a busy month in the shop and on the water and we’ve wrapped many of our August courses. That said we have a couple of spots in our Introduction to Fly Fishing course. Our friends at Kumsheen Rafting are teaching their river navigation course in September. It’s a great course so don’t miss out.
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.
Dates: Seminar Aug 22, Casting August 28
Seminar Time: 6:30pm to 9:30pm
Casting Time: 2pm to 5pm
River Navigation Course Level 1
Tired of frantically rowing to get to a fishing spot but missing it? Being laughed at by your friends because you’re “stuck” in a back eddy? Feel uncomfortable going through rapids, or maneuvering through bridge pylons and wood, or not knowing what you should do if you flip your boat? Maybe you just bought a new boat and you’re excited to get out? Well this course is for you!
Pontoon river fishing is an amazing way to fish. Join KUMSHEEN to take your boating to the next level, Kumsheen’s River Navigation Courses have been designed to enhance the knowledge of river safety & dynamics in anglers of all skill levels. Some of the topics you will learn are: river features & terminology, hazards, and navigating. We have selected the Thompson River for Level 1, and the Nicola River for Level 2. Both are Kumsheen’s home rivers, and offer outstanding training grounds for beginners and experts alike.
Your instructors will be Braden Fandrich & Darren Wagner. Both have been rafting & kayaking for their entire lives, bringing well over 50 years of experience with them. They have taught a variety of white water skills to numerous groups over the past 15 years, making them the perfect fit for this course.
Link to course – https://kumsheen.com/contact/river-navigation-course/
Pricing: $380 (2-day)
Dates: September 10/11 Course Hours, 8am to 6pm, each day.
Meals: Riverside lunch, each day
Accommodation: Camping at Nicomen Falls is included.
Also Includes: In-class & on-river training, PFD/Helmet/Wetsuit
Contact: Kumsheen Rafting Resort 1-800-663-6667
FRESHWATER FISHING REPORTS
Capilano River Fishing Report
With a long stretch of hot and sunny weather in the foreseeable future we can expect fishing conditions for the freshwater portion of the Capilano to continue to be tough. Reports gathered from the few that have ventured onto the river itself indicate that there are not a whole lot of fish staging in the lower reaches, so your best bet will be to fish the upper section closer to the hatchery. While many of these fish have been in the river for a prolonged period of time they can still be caught given enough perseverance. Since the water is extremely low and clear finesse fishing is the way to go. For gear-chuckers a selection of Blue Fox, Mepps, and Panther Martin spinners and Gibbs Crocs or Kohos in smaller sizes are a good idea to have in your arsenal. Since there is very little river current, drift fishing won’t be as effective. For fly fishers, Andre has a number of winning Capilano flies pre-tied and ready for fishing in either the river or on the beach.
Give yourself the upper hand by fishing in the early morning or late evening. Please keep in mind that there is a bait ban currently and all Steelhead must be released.
Birkenhead River Fishing Report
The Birkenhead River is a cold, silt coloured stream that flows south from Birkenhead Lake to Lillooet Lake in Mount Currie. The Birkenhead is generally a tough river to find fish on, however, the rainbow trout, bull trout, and white fish will be concentrated in areas where salmon are spawning. Right now chinook are in the system and we expect sockeye to be showing up in numbers. We do not target the salmon but Egg patterns in various sizes, stonefly nymphs, sculpins, and minnow patterns are all effective wet flies for the trout in and around the salmon. While it is not a classic dry fly trout fishery, the trout will definitely come up to a fly at times. Stimulators, elk hair caddis, and adult stone flies are all good flies to have in your box. We have not heard anything from this stream in recent times, but between now and mid September is typically a good time to be up there and we recommend heading up their now for some scouting. Find spawning salmon and you should find hungry bulltrout and rainbows.
Skagit River Fishing Report
The River level is getting low, making access very easy. This brings a few of its own problems when getting away from other anglers but for those willing to hike hard the reports have still been very good. We had some reports of Caddis this week in the small yellow variety. The standard grey and green mayflies were also out. We have not heard of any large green drakes yet but they should start showing up soon. Call in or email me any pics you guys have and more importantly let us know if you see different hatches. I will be heading out at least a couple more times before the end of September and any intel is always appreciated.
STILLWATER FISHING REPORTS
Simple Lake Fishing Tactics
When you are on a family trip to lake country many people bring a fishing rod but the entire fishing endeavor is usually an after thought. Kids, wine tours and lounging on the beach usually takes priority. Now I am not saying there is not great opportunity for real dedicated fishing. In Penticton there are a number of great bass fishing opportunities. (You can look at Alex’s report last week how they tackled bass fishing on the exact lake that I am on this week with a ton of success.) But for the lazy angler or more likely the angler who has kids or friends that just want to hang around the beach there is a solution.
I have been coming up to Skaha Lake for well over a decade and many years fishing was a major focus. It involved early mornings out in the boat armed to the teeth with every fishing tool in my arsenal. Over the last decade this has changed. We now try to keep the fishing as simple and as productive as possible and we have found a fun easy fishery were you can consistently pull on big fish. Not only is it fun for even the most hard-core angler but it is an awesome way to get kids and non fishing friends exposed to fishing without too much effort.
Carp Fishing 101
The rig is extremely simple and yes I know that carp anglers can get technical to the point of obsession but if you are in an area of relatively low Carp fishing pressure (pretty much all of western Canada) than the KISS principle it in full effect.
Carp are bottom feeders so floating baits do not work. I have experimented with a number of different baits but still the easies to procure and rig is corn. Go to the grocery store and buy a can of niblit corn. One can will last an entire week.
I like to use a mainline of anything over 10lb. My ideal set up is my 9ft trophy Coho Special with a Penn battle 4000 spinning reel and 30lb braid but the Walmart special $10 rod that has been sitting the garage for 15 years without a line change catches as many carp. Like a handy cap in golf it can actually be more fun to tinker with the old “kids rods” in the garage to see if you can make them work. When the line tangles, the reel seizes up, or starts to free spool for no reason it makes things more interesting.
The rig is a little more important but still very simple. I like to use 2 set ups, one with a small float 6 feet above a 1-1.5 oz egg weight with a bead and small barrel swivel. The second rig is identical except without the float. The float is another nice visual cue to see bites and can be important when you are multi tasking a botchy game or reading a book but the rig without the float is probably just as effective.
I use 2-4ft of 10lb fluorocarbon leader off the swivel. Again, I have caught fish with leader cut off the Walmart special rod but if you have fluorocarbon from other fisheries it is beneficial. I have used 7lb and got my butt handed to me so I recommend 10lb.
Lastly I use a size 8-10 black octopus hook and a snell knot.
I then put 2-4 pieces of corn on the hook. One thing that does make a difference is how the corn is put on the hook. Spend some time orientating the corn to cover the hook so the fish cannot feel it when he picks up the bait.
Well that’s it! Now all you have to do is find a shallow 3-6feet deep flat spot 20-60feet offshore. Fire the set up out, reel back a few feet so the bait has some clearance from the weight, loosen the drag on your reel so if you get a big fish and you are more focused on your beer you do not loose the rod and then find a good way to prop it in a lawn chair and sit back and enjoy the view.
Bells, bite detectors and proper rod holders would make this much more convenient but for me the novelty of doing this in the simplest “lazy” fashion is part of the appeal. When the fish flips over two lawn chairs and a table it makes for some real excitement.
Best times are early in the morning into mid morning but I find when the wind picks up fishing is more challenging and the sweet spot is from about 4pm until dark.
Next time you are at the family cabin and don’t want to dedicate too much time but also want to do a little fishing, give this set up a try! If you have any questions about the set up come onto the shop. We will show you how to set everything up. Also a big apology to all the hard core carp guys, I absolutely appreciate how cool and technical this fishery can be, if you have simple advice to make my set up more effective remembering that simplicity is the goal then let me know!
SALTWATER FISHING REPORTS
North Vancouver Beach Fishing Report
From talking to customers that do their annual fishing trips in other areas than locally and they all said that the coho returns were poor. I also heard from lodge owners and guides that they were struggling to catch coho this year. The tides are good for a couple of days and it goes wacky a little bit until Thursday the 25th when the low tides are in the early morning. There is another month and a half left before we rap up the beach fishing. We should also see more Chinooks moving in close to the mouth of the Capilano river so be ready for these bigger fish. I did manage to get my first coho last week and hopefully it isn’t the last one of the season.
Vancouver Salmon Fishing Report
Well signs of life in the chinook department at last! Right on que things perked up this week with more Fraser bound chinook starting to enter our waters. We had some good fishing at the Bell Buoy on Saturday last weekend with Eddie boating 3 and Jason boating 3 as well. Sunday was a bit slower but the winds backed off early in the week and we were able to take our 10 hour charters to the South Arm of the Fraser and it paid off. All our boats had multiple hook ups on Fraser chinook. As I am writing this report at 5:30 pm on Thursday night, I just got a text from Griffen and he just boated 2 chinook off the Bell Buoy on the flood tide, so they are coming in!
Make sure you know where you can and can’t fish when you are fishing off the North Arm, T-10 and South Arm. You have to make sure you are fishing in a little deeper waters so you are outside the closed areas. To do so please go to last weeks report for details on the closure including descriptions of the closed area and GPS co-ordinates. We have talked to DFO and we fully expect them to be patrolling the area to make sure you are not in the closed area. The marine approach area is closed to protect sockeye. In a nutshell they don’t want anglers hooking sockeye. If you are fishing for chinook this is very unlikely as we fish bait and sockeye don’t hit bait often , they like small pink hootchies as most of you know. If you do happen to hook a sockeye, don’t net it and release at the side of the boat with the outmost care.
Anyways, back to the fishing. As mentioned before, all our guides, Griffen, Eddie and Jason have been into chinook this week. The Bell Buoy has been producing on our 5 hour charters and on the 8 hour and 10 hour trips we have gone to T-10 and South Arm but the winds were very strong this week so most days we were stuck to the Bell. Even there it was rough on some days and some people got a little sick! That’s what happens when we have big tides and big winds, pretty normal for August , but there were also some days where the winds didn’t show up and the fish were biting. Such is ocean fishing for chinook. It is a moving target to say the least.
As usual, the chinook have been 30-80 on the downriggers. Also as usual, bait is king. Anchovy or herring in a glow green or glow green, chartreuse teaser head 6 feet behind your favourite glow flasher will get fish in the boat. Some of our favourites are the Salty Dawg, and Green Onion Glow. On our top rods, like your 30 rod, we have been doing well on chrome finishes as well. The water has been fairly clear most days, for the Fraser area anyways, and a Betsy flasher with a chrome teaser head with some green, chartreuse, or blue on it has been slamming some nice fish.
If you don’t have bait, run out of bait, or don’t fish bait, you should. If you still don’t or can’t fish bait the second best things is a glow green spoon or a glow chartreuse sparkle back hootchy. More specifically on the spoon side of things, try an Irish Cream, Homeland Security, Flaming Hans, Gut Bomb, and Leprechaun. 5 foot or 6 foot leader and apply herring or anchovy gel scent if you haven’t. Scent is key for chinook, so if you aren’t putting scent on your spoons and hootchies you should be. For hootchy leader length try 32-40 inches.
So the chinook are in, get baited up and get out there!
I wil be out all weekend as the Derby Master for the Vancouver Chinook Classic, so if you see me ripping around at high speeds in a 30 foot zodiac, that is me! I will be a blur! The tournament had a record number of entries this year, so if you are interested next year make sure you sign up early as next year we are going to have to cap the number of boats!