Christmas is just around the corner and although we try to keep the fishing report focused on the fishing, we also know that most of you love to get fishing related Christmas stuff under the tree. With this in mind, we are announcing extended shopping hours to make it easier to get into the shop and we also have another gift idea list. This week the wish list is from Aidan and we hope it might give you some inspiration for gift ideas.
Also, as promised, we do have some fishing updates for you! December is historically a slow time but there are still options to get out for steelhead scout trips and the “egg eater” fisheries. We have updates on the Harrison, Squamish and Vedder with this in mind.
Jason is also back this week with a saltwater report and he has some details on Winter Chinook fishing.
On the video front, Matt will tune in next week with the Video Report but this week Zach shares a stunning looking simple marabou spey fly well worth putting in the box for steelhead anglers as well as being one that is fun to fish for chum, coho and bulltrout. We have the recipe and video link below in our Feature Fly Section.
Last but not least, we have extended our store hours to make it easier to get you into the shop!
On to the report!
INDUSTRY EVENTS AND UPDATES
Steelhead Society of BC’s Online Raffle and 50/50 Draw
The Steelhead Society’s online 50/50 draw is now over $8,300 and rising! Be sure to check out their online fundraiser and the great prizes in the raffle. This is a fantastic way to support steelhead conservation in our province. It also happens to be the 50th anniversary for the Steelhead Society this year so there is no better time than this to give. Get your tickets today and read on for a bit more about the mandate and all of the great work the SSBC is doing!
The Steelhead Society’s mandate is to protect wild steelhead populations and wild rivers throughout British Columbia. The SSBC works alongside other conservation groups in order to protect the future of wild steelhead throughout the province. Support is given to steelhead projects including habitat restoration, spawning tributary protection, flow rate regulation, population assessment, and education. Having started in 1970, this year marks the 50th anniversary of the Steelhead Society of British Columbia and is an important milestone in salmonid conservation. What started as a dedicated group of concerned steelhead anglers has blossomed into a global effort to save one of the world’s most diverse and resilient species.
In the past year, the SSBC has been committed to researching and funding possible selective fishing projects on the Fraser River to reduce impacts on the Interior Fraser steelhead migration. The current chum gillnet fishery is considered to be one of the largest detriments to IF steelhead and poses the greatest threat to Thompson River steelhead. In addition, the SSBC has contributed to ongoing work on the Coquihalla including supporting population assessment swims, and continued monitoring of Coquihalla Canyon fish passage. Most recently, the SSBC has been communicating with managers on the Gold River and hopes to source answers to the 2020 winter steelhead collapse. The SSBC fronted funding of $3,000 to video and photo documentation of the fall snorkel survey conducted by provincial managers. The media gathered were to be used by the Nootka Sound Watershed Society to voice concern and put a face to the plight of this run.
Help protect the future of wild steelhead in British Columbia!
CLASSES AND COURSES
2021 Class List
If you missed our special mailout last week, we announced our 2021 course listing. Check out the full list here of all our 2021 course offerings and call the shop to reserve your spot today. Remember – courses make a great Christmas gift!
CHRISTMAS WISH LIST IDEAS
Every Christmas we ask our loyal staff what they would want for Christmas. Then we give them presents like this:
So, if you don’t want Funny Christmas Socks like this, check out this list for some good
Ideas for when your loved ones ask the question “What do you want for Christmas?”
Simms Dry Creek Gear Pouch
This pack is ideal for most any angler which carries anything from expensive electronics like a cell phone or camera, to the simple day trekker who just wants to keep their granola dry. The waterproof toothless zipper design allows easy access even when this pack is simply strapped onto a pre-existing pack, a definite upgrade from the standard roll top stuff bags.
Dr. Slick Fly Box / Tool Kit Combo
The lake fishers dream box, allowing you to store all your necessary tools along with a selection of flies. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been on the lake, scrambling to look for my forceps or nippers to tie on my…. wait a second where’d I put my fly box? Simple, efficient, and extremely handy for the angler who just wants to focus on the fish.
Shimano Black Moon Backpack
Bar none, the best option for any saltwater or freshwater boat angler. Simply put, it’s a pack purely designed with storage in mind. An easy place to store every single tool, leader, hook file, flasher, spoon, etc. all in the same spot. Long gone are the days of tackle trays migrating around your vessel. Keep everything in one easy spot so you can spend more time fishing, less time digging underneath your seats looking for “that spoon that worked last year”. Oh, and you like to take gear home to tie leaders? No problem –
Fishpond Tailwater Fly Tying Kit
For the tyer on the go. A pack robust enough to carry every material or tool your heart desires. The book design of the pack allows you to quickly flip between dividers to find that pesky spool of thread or pack of feathers that always seems to disappear when you need it most. This pack is the best solution for a tyer wanting to be prepared for anything. There’s nothing worse than not having the right fly for your favourite spot, so bring this handy kit along to tie just the right fly.
FRESHWATER FISHING REPORTS
Chilliwack/Vedder River Report Update
Things are quiet on the Vedder River front. We had a pretty good blow out this week so some runs may have shifted around a bit, which means scouting isn’t a bad idea for the upcoming steelhead season. The odd coho is still in the system too though salmon season is effectively over. Bull Trout, rainbow trout, mountain whitefish, and cutthroat trout will readily take egg patterns so that will be worth a shot if you are set on giving the river a whirl. The high water may have enticed the first couple of steelhead to wander into the river too. I would expect to hear about the first few encounters with steelhead over the next 2 weeks or so.
Squamish River Fishing Report
The Sea-to-Sky corridor has been producing a few decent coho still with a mix of char and trout starting to make up the majority of fishy encounters.
For gear anglers, drifting hard and soft beads has been popular for good reason: they get fish.
Imitating the free-drifting eggs from spawning salmon, these small orbs of goodness are easy to drift and allow anglers to cover water. Spinners and spoons are also a great option when covering slower, tankier water.
For those using fly rods, nymphing small beads under an indicator is a good tactic while angling behind spawning salmon. Trout and char often sit behind them allowing the free buffet of food to drift in to them. Streamers such as sculpins and flash flies are great for covering both tanky and moving water, allowing anglers to cover their bases.
Remember to wade safely, but also smart: please don’t walk through active spawning channels or redds. Redds are easily identified in channels as they are often seen as small clean spots on the river/creek bed where the gravel has been dug and fanned.
Keep the drift natural,
Important note on this fishery: As noted above, we ask everyone to be very respectful of walking through areas where the salmon are spawning. This also means respecting small tributaries. Even if there are no salmon present, avoid walking down the middle of these smaller pieces of water as there may have been salmon spawning there in past days. This goes for all salmon bearing streams this time of year but is hyper critical on the Squamish where spawning habitat is quite unstable. Also, all unlisted tributaries are closed to fishing on the Squamish.
Harrison River / North Side Fishing report
Still not much to report on… we’re stuck in that awkward gap between salmon season and steelhead season, but there are still a few coho hanging around the Harrison-area systems, if you know where to look.
As previously discussed, covering as much water as possible is the best way to find these late fish. They’ll be spread out, so this is not the fishery for you if you don’t like walking.
Now is also a good time to go looking for egg eaters such as cutthroats, whitefish and bull trout, as they’ll be gorging on salmon eggs and flesh. It should come as no surprise that egg imitations such as beads or flesh imitations such as lighter colored bunny leeches are your best bets. A vast majority of these fish will be wild, so please handle with care… keep ‘em wet, minimize handling, and DO NOT squeeze them.
As of writing this report, it looks like the weather might stay dry enough to keep the rivers in fishable shape. That’s a good thing, because that nasty dose of rain we got early in the week did bad things to the rivers… they blew out, but a few dry days in the forecast means that they could be back in shape for the weekend. If you are heading out there, please be mindful of where you wade, as a majority of the smaller backchannels in our local systems are prime spawning habitat for chum and coho. Leave the spawning fish alone… harassing spawning salmon is illegal, and treading on redds will crush eggs, which is definitely counterproductive if you want to catch fish a few years down the road.
Simple Marabou Spey
The Simple Marabou Spey is an unweighted salmon and steelhead fly that deserves a spot in your fly box. It is easy to tie in your favourite colours and swims extremely well. Fish this fly on a sink tip line and swing it through your favourite runs this winter. Tie it in dark colours for the dirty water days or in your favorite bright colours for low and clear days. The profile and movement that this fly has in the water is sure to entice a bit from the species that you are planning on targeting.
Hook: 1/0 – 2 single salmon
Thread: 140d Black
Tag: Lagartun Oval Tinsel Silver Large
Tail: Squirrel Tail
Body: Lagartun Flat Braid
Rib: Lagartun Oval Tinsel Silver Medium
Shoulder: UV Polar Chenille or Senyo’s Aqua Veil, Marabou
Collar: Mallard Flank
Eyes: Pro Sportfisher Gen3 Jungle Cock
Head: Solarez Bone Dry
SALTWATER FISHING REPORTS
It looks like it might be a bit windy and wet this weekend, but we did have some nice days mid-week. As usual, if you can be flexible and pick your days in the winter it helps a lot on the enjoyment factor.
The fishing has been hit and miss this past week. The fish are there one day and gone the next. This is typical of winter fishing; you just have to go when you can and hope the fish are present. Don’t wait for a report, just go when the winds and weather work for your schedule.
Fishing pressure is certainly a lot higher than previous seasons. I would say double or triple the number of boats on the calm and sunny days. This should come as no surprise. The marine industry had record boat sales this summer because people couldn’t travel and decided to recreate locally and take up new hobbies like boating and fishing. I think a lot of newer anglers were surprised that chinook was closed until September 1 so they are using their boats to fish for chinook now as they couldn’t during the summer. I have also talked to a lot of anglers who usually put their boats away in the winter, but this year they aren’t. They couldn’t fish for chinook in the summer and those winter golf trips to Palm Springs aren’t happening, so they are giving winter chinook a try. Be prepared for more boats out there than previous years and I suspect this will be the new norm.
In terms of spots, not much new to report. There are fish in Vancouver Harbour and in Howe Sound. I did cross one day this week and went to Grande, Thrasher and Porlier. Lots of little fish, although I do know of some decent fish coming out of those areas. It usually picks up there in late December or January, so if the winds let me, I will likely head back that direction. Productive gear is a matter of preference for most, but you can’t go wrong with a Salty Dawg or Lemon Lime flasher with a Kingfisher 3.0 or 3.5 Irish Cream spoon or a Skinny G in Trailhead.
One more note on the marine industry. Like I said earlier, record years for many, like the best in 40 years, so the marine trades are equally as busy. Most of them are already booking late January or even February. So, if you wanted to get some work done this winter, you best pick up that phone today and make an appointment.
See you in the shop or on the water,