We were happy to see temperatures hovering within seasonal averages and the water temperatures on many of our local rivers are holding at reasonably safe levels this past week. The weather this week looks like more of the same. This weekend we will have a mix of cloud, a little rain, and some sun. Temperatures increase early next week but at least for now there are no more major heatwaves forecasted in the next 14 days.
We have seen some wind issues for those on the saltwater this week and it looks like it will be the case for the weekend as of writing of this report. That said, we are still seeing lots of pinks off Bowen and consistent coho off North Van so there is definitely some fish if the winds keep us on this side of the strait. Jason has more details in our saltwater report
On the river front, we have updates on the Squamish, where the water continues to be very dirty but there are good numbers of fish coming through. We also have a Chilliwack update where things continue to be slow, and Matt was up the Skagit last week and has some updates on his trip.
As you might know, the federal election here has called and we have a message from the SFI on the need for asking the right questions of your candidates. Matt goes over it as well as the fishing in the video version of the report which you can watch here!
CLASSES AND COURSES
Introduction to Fly Fishing
This course is specifically designed to give the new fly fisher the basic knowledge, casting skills and fly fishing strategies to effectively fish our local BC waters. The course is comprised of two sessions; a 3hr evening Zoom seminar and a 3hr casting session. The dates below show the seminar date first and casting date second.
Seminar Date: September 21 Casting Date September 26
Seminar Time: Zoom Seminar 6:30pm – 9:30pm
Casting Time(s): 10am – 1pm or 1:30pm – 4:30pm
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. Upgrade your seminar to include a fully guided day on the water, putting into practice your new knowledge with a Pacific Angler guide.
Seminar: Sep 27, 2021 Guided Portion: SOLD OUTSeminar Only Cost: $50.00+GSTSeminar Time: 6:30pm – 9:30pm
FRESHWATER FISHING REPORTS
Squamish River Fishing Report
The Squamish has been interesting this season. Though historically quite coloured this time of year, this season the river has been almost a cement colour due too high temperatures and some clay bank issues on the Mamquam.
The good news this week is there are now a good number of fish in the river. The bad news is the clarity has not improved even with the cooler weather.
Anglers are catching ample amounts of pinks but there have been some snagging concerns brought to our attention. Lighter sink tips short leaders and larger flies are the ticket. If you are in a spot and you inadvertently snag a fish or two, move spots. The sink tip or float depth, the angle of retrieve/swing, and the speed and depth of water play a major role in minimizing snagged fish. It is the angler’s responsibility to identify this and move or change gear if one’s spot repeatably produces snagged fish.
The other fishery to start looking at is the bead/egg fishery. It is sometimes overlooked but you can go to areas that are not open for pink salmon fishing but are open for trout catch and release angling and with a medium/light float rod or fly rod have exceptional fishing for rainbows and bulltrout.
Come down to the shop and the guys can help you get setup for this fishery.
Chilliwack/Vedder River Fishing Report
There is not much to report about on the Vedder/Chilliwack this week. The summer chinook run is basically over, and we’re stuck in that awkward gap between the red springs and the white springs, which should start showing up in early September. The water is also running very low and clear, so any late springs or sockeye that do happen to be around will be very spooky.
As mentioned, the first of the white springs and pinks will start to show up in early September, so now might be a good time to take advantage of the low water and start scouting spots for when they show up. You can also bring an ultralight setup or a 3-5wt fly rod if you would like to target the many small “Trout” in the system but be aware that a majority of these fish are actually juvenile steelhead, so careful handling is advised. There will also be fair numbers of pikeminnow, suckers, chubs, and whitefish around as well.
Now is probably a good time to stock up on gear for the rapidly approaching fall salmon fisheries… You don’t want to be trying to find pink spoons a month from now, especially if we actually get an opening. I’m definitely looking forward to chasing springs, coho and chum in the coming months… “Go-Time” time starts in mid-September, and I’ve already taken some time to check my gear and see what I need to make sure I’m not scrambling for gear mid-season- we all know how hard it can be to find gear with supply chains still reeling from the past year.
Skagit River Fishing Report
The Skagit was very hot last weekend with the temperature hitting 38 at one point during the day last Thursday (Aug 12th). I looked at water temperatures and got readings ranging from 58-61 depending on the flow speed. The danger zone is 65 but with the rain and cooler temperatures over the last 5 days we have seen temps drop back below 60. This is good and has changed things a little from when I was out.
Last week with the heat, fishing in the day was a grind. I picked up a couple fish on dries and a decent number on nymphs throughout the day but there was not a bug in the sky. Even the mosquitos, though always present on the Skagit, were not as noticeable. Small Gertel bugs and small olive streamers were the best producers throughout the day.
The evening turned around and even though there was still no noticeable hatch, the fish were extremely aggressive. I saw one large green/grey drake come off over the entire evening and promptly watched two trout try to eat it at once. A large grey Wullf pattern produced similar results over the last few hours of daylight.
One trick that I like for this river is to fish hard in the day and cover as much water as possible. Around 4 I head back to the “best” run that I fished throughout the day. These are usually deeper, larger pieces of water where I might have picked up a couple hungry fish on my first pass. From 6 to dark I bring my “A Game” on this piece of water and don’t move as fast. These larger deep runs hold tons of fish but throughout the day all these fish are not eating unless a hatch comes off. In the evening if the weather is stable these fish will eat and a run that might have produced 1-4 fish at noon will produce 5 times that number in the evening.
Keep sending in water temp numbers. It will be interesting to see what the numbers are after the spell of relatively cool weather and note that this fishery is great well into September.
SALTWATER FISHING REPORTS
Vancouver Saltwater Fishing Report
There is quite a bit going on, so let’s get right to it! To start off with, we will talk about pink salmon. For a good 3 weeks or more now, the fishing for pink salmon has been good to great in the South Bowen area. Best depths have been 50-80 on the riggers most days, out in 300-600 feet of water. Your favorite brighter flasher like a Salty Dawg or Lemon Lime, paired up with a smaller pink hootchy from Delta or Yamashita has been producing well. Leader length has been from 28 to 40 inches, depending on how fast your boat trolls. If you want more action, use a shorter leader. For less action, if your boat trolls fast, try a longer leader.
I am not entirely sure where all these pinks are going. Reports deeper in Howe Sound have not been that great for those that know where to find these fish on the fly and light spin gear. The in-river reports on the Squamish have been average for the most part. It could be a fair number of these fish are headed for the Fraser. The diversion rate of fish coming on the inside is looking like it is currently around 50% and that is forecasted to increase to around 75%
September 1st. So, this means there should be some more fish on the way.
The current Fraser River forecast for pinks is in the 2-3 million range and we are tracking around the 3.4 million level so far. Keep in mind that isn’t a great run. In 2019 the run was around 9 million and the longer-term average is around 11.5 million. We will see where we end up, as pink and sockeye runs are notoriously hard to predict, but for now enjoy the ocean fishing for pinks while you can. I don’t anticipate any in river access to these fish because of sockeye concerns and the low number of the pink return in the first place. I can’t really agree with the 4 a day limit when the river guys on the Squamish and Fraser don’t get a shot at them. The Fraser forecast is low, and they really have no enumeration data for the Howe Sound stocks, so 2 a day would seem to make more sense, but hey, what do I know?
Switching over to West Van, we are also getting a few pinks and some hatchery coho. As most of you know, there are now some chinook opportunities along the West Van shoreline in areas 28-6 and 28-9. Here are excerpts from the actual fisheries notice FN 0746.
Subarea 28-9: August 13 to 23:59 hours August 31, the daily limit for Chinook salmon is one (1) per day. Marked and unmarked.
Subarea 28-6: August 1 to 23:59 hours August 31: 1 Chinook per day with a maximum size limit of 80 cm on marked and unmarked Chinook.
When you look at the regulations page for Area 28 it shows an 80 cm max size limit for Area 28 as a whole, but it doesn’t read that way in FN0746. Clear as mud, so I will let you make your mind up if you want to retain an 80 cm plus fish in 28-9, but it’s clear you can’t in 28-6.
Zipping over to the Gulf Islands now, we have been doing well for chinook at the top end of Gabriola off Entrance Island, around the reef. Not an easy fishery with the wind, tides, boats and the deep bait. 18 or even 20-pound cannonballs are the norm here, and we are fishing 250-300 on the riggers. As you can imagine, glow gear works the best. Two of our favorite setups are a blue flasher and hootchy. In particular the Gibbs Brain Freeze flasher with a blue splatter back Yamashita hootchy. Another all-time favorite over here is a chartreuse flasher and hootchy. Either the Salty Dawg or Lemon Lime with a chartreuse splatter back Yamashita hootchy. These two setups have put a lot of nice chinook on deck.
We will fish here right until the bitter end of August when the mouth of the Fraser will open back up for 2 chinook a day on September 1. I will report on this next week, but so far test sets are looking decent and DNA anglers have reported some good catches. I am hopeful that the first week of September will see a good mix of red and white chinook and the second week will see some of the biggest chinook of the year, the Harrison and Chilliwack whites.
See you in the shop or on the water,
Beach Fishing Report
We are still hearing of lots of pinks pushing in from South Bowen to Howe Sound and the harbor. We had better beach reports this week and though not “hot” anglers were getting fish up Howe Sound, at the mouth of the Capilano and pushing up Indian Arm.
John was out this week in all three areas and managed to hook fish on small pink clousers. If you want to avoid the colored water on the Squamish this is still a great option and from the reports from the trolling fleet it should continue to be an option.