Another perfect-looking weekend of fishing weather is incoming! When we say perfect weather, you might be looking out the window on Friday scratching your head. If the weather man is on his game, you will see clouds and even a little rain Friday. This is a good thing to keep water cool and fish happy. Rolling into Saturday and pushing right through next week we will see low to mid 20s with a mix of sun and cloud. It also looks as though the wind in the strait will be low so it should be good for crossing. Always check before you head out because this can change fast. There are lots of good sites to check – we use the government site for an overall picture and windy for a more detailed one.
The big question with this solid weather is where to go? August is a funny month and as access issues to fisheries seem to keep coming, it is sometimes hard to plan a trip. This week we have great tides for beach fishing, local coho and chinook fishing in the saltwater is doing well and our trout river reports have been solid but we also have two cool trips that can be done within a half days travel of Vancouver. Casey hit the Campbell River last week for some excellent pink salmon fishing and Gavin also travelled to the island and headed up to Alberni inlet for some chinook and bottom fishing. We have short reports on both of these trips if you were ever curious about tackling one of them for yourself.
We also have short saltwater report this week including a sockeye update. There is some encouraging news but it is still very complicated and openings are too hard to call. Check out more details in Jason Saltwater update at the end of the report.
CLASSES AND COURSES
Our classes have wrapped up for the summer season but we will be back in the fall with these exciting classes. Call the shop at 604.872.2204 to sign up before they sell 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: Sept 20 & 24
Zoom Seminar Time: 6:30pm – 9:30pm
Casting Time(s): 10am – 1pm or 1:30pm -4:30pm
INTRODUCTION TO FLY TYING
There is no greater satisfaction than catching a fish with a fly you tied yourself. This Introduction to Fly Tying course was specifically designed to give you the fundamental skills needed to tie proven fly patterns used here in BC for trout, salmon, and steelhead.
This course consists of 3 sessions; each session is 3hrs.
Students are required to supply their own vise, tools and materials. A 10% discount is available on fly tying materials and tools purchased for the course.
Dates: Sep 27, Oct 4, 11
Time: 6:30pm – 9:30pm
FALL SALMON RIVER FISHING: FLOATS, SPINNERS, & SPOONS
This 3hr evening seminar covers float fishing, spinner fishing and spoon fishing; the three most productive techniques to catch BC salmon in a river.
Zoom Seminar: Sep 26, 2022
Zoom Seminar Time: 6:30pm – 9:30pm
INDUSTRY EVENTS AND UPDATES
Friendly reminder if you are headed to the shop there is parking right out front of the store for quick loading/drop off. If you are planning on picking up something and will stay for 15-20 minutes this is a great option for you. There is also parking throughout the neighbourhood if you are planning on staying in the area for longer. Check out the map below!
FRESHWATER FISHING REPORTS
Capilano River Fishing Report
There’s not a whole lot to say about the Capilano River at the moment. It’s running very low; this has been the case for several weeks. As such, there are very few fresh fish that are willing to push into the river itself, with even fewer (if any) actually making it past the weirs in the lower river. As such, fishing has been pretty slow, with about 98% of the fish in the entire fishable section of the river concentrated in the Cable Pool and Dog Leg Pool.
Some experienced anglers have been finding limited success, usually by arriving before first light and fishing until the sun hits the water. As I’ve mentioned in many of my previous reports, fly anglers will usually out fish gear anglers during these low-water summer months, with small, drab patterns being the most productive. Full-sink lines are your best bet when fishing the deep, very slow-moving pools for stale fish; Capilano Buggers, olive muddlers and similar patterns are all good options.
Gear anglers have had their options limited after the bait-ban came into effect on August 1st; all natural baits and scents are now prohibited. As such, small beads, blades or yarn ties are usually the go-tos for float fishing, while small spinners, spoons and twitching jigs may occasionally provoke a strike or two for spin anglers. Consider using more toned-down colours for these stale, spooky fish- you’ll be surprised how well olives and blacks can work when the fish absolutely refuse to respond to bright colours.
There will be good numbers of fish stacked up in the two previously mentioned pools, and it’s usually very easy to see them when the sun hits the water, especially if you have decent polarized sunglasses. While it is quite frustrating to watch the fish refuse your presentation time and time again, some “anglers” may feel tempted to try snagging/flossing them. Don’t. Willfully foul-hooking salmon is illegal, so don’t hesitate to report those who break this rule.
Also remember that the Capilano is a dam-controlled river. While unlikely at this time of year, water levels have the potential to fluctuate rapidly and dramatically, so always have some form of escape route in mind… and if you hear the newly-installed flood alarms activate, it’s probably best to head to higher ground immediately.
Trout River Fishing Report
The reports we have heard from the Thompson are still solid. As of the latest reports sockeye and chinook pushing into the river have not yet moved the rainbows out of their common lies. This can be a problem this time of year and you need to look out for it. We do expect this to happen over the next week or two so if you are trout fishing and you encounter lots of salmon we recommend moving to a different section of the river.
On the Skagit, access continues to be limited but reports have been solid for those willing to hike from the Sumallo access. We continue to reach out for updates on the road work on the Silver Skagit road but don’t have any new news for you this week. You can look for updates on the Province’s Transportation & Infrastructure Projects webpage.
As always if anyone has any information, please do let us know.
SPECIAL TRIP REPORTS
Port Alberni Trip Report
For those who are looking for a change of scenery from the local Vancouver/Fraser hub take a look at taking a trip over to the island! At under a 4hr drive from Vancouver, it is not too far and can make for a fun location to setup camp.
The Port Alberni Inlet offers excellent salmon fishing between the spring and fall, chinook salmon will begin to push in from Barkley Sound in August into September. Depending on the year, opportunities for sockeye are also available in the late spring through the summer, the Stamp/Somass Sockeye run is divergent from the Fraser run so while the Fraser mouth may be closed, the Alberni Inlet may still be open. The inlet itself is unique in the way that while it is still on the West coast, it enjoys light winds and calm currents.
This is a terminal fishery so tactics are similar to what we traditionally fish on the Fraser/West Van area. Bites are usually more prominent at dawn and dusk, fishing those times are more critical than tides. Shallow on the riggers, 15-60ft at slower speeds works well for these returning fish. Bait seems to be top producer most days, with that said, on any given day, the right size and colour spoon and hootchy can out fish bait. Typical spoon and hootchy colours you should not go without include pink, chartreuse, greens and blues. Both anchovies and smaller herring work well in UV green, glow and chrome teaser heads.
Some of the many different places to launch also include a campsite with amenities such as salt, ice, fish freezing, fuel and electrical, which makes multi day/week trips easy.
Come in the shop or visit one of the many tackle shops on the island if you have any questions on gear, locations and timings!
Campbell River Trip Report
In the month of August it is sometimes hard to find a location for salmon river fishing around the lower mainland. There are options but with increased access issues these fisheries can be challenging and not overly family friendly. If you are hoping to get out or maybe get someone into salmon river fishing, a very cool adventure is to head to the island and try pink salmon fishing on the Campbell River.
Pinks come every year on the Campbell so on the off years in the lower mainland it is the perfect family trip. It’s novice angler friendly, the entire river is super accessible and for those that are maybe more experienced there are many other species and nearby fisheries to explore if you are looking for a challenge after you have had some successful days catching pinks. There’s even a fly fishing zone for those who want some solitude from the crowds.
Gear wise you don’t need an advanced kit. For a spinning or casting rod a medium-light to medium power rod spooled with 12lb mono or 20lb braid is perfect. You can float fish jigs, beads, and small colorado blades or swing spoons and spinners with this setup.
For the fly angler, a 6-7-8wt single hand works fine, just don’t let the fish hit the fast water. This trip I used a standard floating line with versileaders (Sink 3 and Sink 5) to 8lb-12lb mono or fluorocarbon tippet. Having the stretch in your set up is nice, because the pinks go ballistic when hooked. If you fish two handed switch (6wt-7wt) or light Spey (5wt or 6wt) rods fish straight 10-12lb Maxima and definitely utilize the fly-fishing zone (100yards above the confluence of the Quinsam and Campbell) as there’s lots of space to cast, mend, step, and swing. For fly selection, I always start with pink, then switch to chartreuse or blue after the pink bite dies off. Small micro intruders for swinging work well and small buggers, handlebars, and clousers for the strip and retrieve.
There’s no need to fish super deep because the pinks are stacked top to bottom in the water column. Snagging is a concern when pink fishing and it is something that you need to work at to avoid. There are certain things you can do to reduce the chances of snagging. Take a look at Matt’s video here explaining sink tips and if you repeatedly snag fish in a spot, it is time to move, change the angles or change the presentation.
Also make sure to stop by the local tackle shops, we always appreciate the love and support from you guys here at the shop but spread it around when traveling to other communities. There are tackle shops in the heart of Campbell River, so if you lose a fly or need some last-minute gear, there are plenty of options. And of course, be sure to check the regulations regarding retention prior to heading out on the water.
Take care out there,
SALTWATER FISHING REPORTS
Vancouver Saltwater Salmon Fishing Report
In last week’s report I mentioned this week’s test set numbers were going to be critical. We really needed a big push of fish to change the general outlook which has been trending in the p10 to p25 range. If we had more low number test sets this week, the door to getting an opening would be firmly closed. Luckily, we did see some encouraging test sets in Area 12 this week. This is keeping the door open, albeit slightly.
What we really need to see is consistently high test sets, not just a short bump up in the numbers. Early reports are that test set numbers did back off a bit after some strong ones mid-week. There were some meetings this week but the strong test sets were not enough to trigger an opening or another meeting on Friday or this weekend. In fact, the next meeting of any significance will not be until Tuesday, so don’t expect an opening notice this Friday afternoon.
Test set fishing occurs 7 days a week, so now we need to see some more high number sets over the weekend and early next week. If the numbers are good, there could be discussion of an opening in the Tuesday meeting. If the numbers are bad or tapering off, that will likely be the nail in the coffin for any opportunity. Also keep in mind we are very late in the game here. If the run was tracking at a p50 forecast, which was about 9.5 million fish, we would have been open by now. Previous years with strong returns we have been open as early as August 1st. We are literally running out of time for the fish to show up and to fish for them. If we do get some consistently strong test sets next week, expect the opening announcement to come with little to no advance warning, it will be a game time decision as they say. Fingers crossed!
Chinook & Coho Update:
We continue to have good chinook fishing when the sea has been calm enough for us to cross over to the Gulf Islands. This fishery will continue into early September and then the ratio of mature fish to feeder chinook will start to change, with more feeders in the mix.
It won’t be long now until we go back to 2 chinook a day, no max size limit, on September 1st, so the die-hard chinook anglers are looking forward to that and the Fraser mouth fishery.
Coho fishing off West Van has been solid and we have good success on most trips. We are getting some nice chinook in the mix as well, which is always exciting. Best depths for coho and chinook have been in the 35-65 foot range. If the rains stay away the chinook and coho fishing along West Van should continue to provide good local opportunity.
See you in the shop or on the water,
Beach Fishing Update
Well, it looks like Capilano beach fishing at Ambleside is finally happening with some more regular encounters and catches of returning coho, along with the odd beach-caught chinook.
This next week sees some great morning tides that drop below the required 6′ mark that allows anglers to walk out and fish from the sandbar.
As more and more coho start to stack up, angling pressure will follow; anglers with a variety of tactics and presentations will be better suited to changing conditions.
This even means multiple lures or flies in varying sizes as weight can be determined by depth and speed of retrieve.
Scaling down your presentations can also sometimes be productive, especially for the gear anglers tossing heavy spoons and spinners. Smaller ‘trout’ sized spoons like smaller Crocs and/or Mini-G spoons on light leaders can sometimes be what it takes to tempt these spooky and pressured fish.
If you swing by the shop, we can help you pick out some productive presentations!