It looks like another great forecast for winter river fishing. With rain yesterday and a little more today it should hold river levels and keep things from getting too low and clear. We have heard more reports of steelhead on the Chilliwack and egg fishing continues to be good on the Squamish and Stave. Check out the freshwater section of the report for more details.
The forecast is also looking pretty good for those of you who are looking to heads out on the salt this weekend. Combined with favorable tides it will be a great weekend to hit the water. Jason has more details in his report this week so be sure to give that a read.
The video report this week is packed with info. From updates on the major rivers, a cool new product for saltwater anglers, a fun fly from Andre, some conservation/ politics updates and even some cool fishing footage of an epic rainbow from the Squamish system so make sure to check out the video version of the Vancouver Friday fishing report here:
The biggest news from the shop this week is we released the 2020 course schedule so if you want to sign up for a course this year, or you are struggling for gift ideas you can call in or have a loved one call in. Spots can fill up fast so make sure if there is a course you have in mind you call soon. Details and a link to the full course listing is below in our course section.
Last but certainly not least if you’ve got some holiday shopping to check off your list our extended Holiday Shopping Hours start this weekend:
Saturday December 14 | 10AM – 7PM
Sunday December 15 | 10AM – 6PM
Monday December 16 – Saturday December 21 | 10AM – 7PM
Sunday December 22 | 10AM – 6PM
Monday December 23 | 10AM – 7PM
Tuesday December 24 | 10AM – 4PM
Wednesday December 25 | Closed – Merry Christmas!
Thursday December 26 – Boxing Week Sale Starts! 9AM
On to the report!
INDUSTRY EVENTS AND UPDATES
Donate to the Pacific Salmon Foundation and Win
By donating to PSF by December 31st, 2019, you can support PSF salmon initiatives in your community that help tackle the many challenges facing salmon today. Furthermore, thanks to a generous matching contribution by the Sitka Foundation, your donation will be matched dollar for dollar (up to $50,000) AND for every $100 you donate you will receive one entry to win a signed print by local artist, Alana Hansen. Donate online today here!
CLASSES AND COURSES
2020 Course listing is out. In case you missed the special mailout earlier this week check out our the full course listing here! From beginner to well-seasoned anglers looking to brush up on some skills or try something new we’ve got the course for you. Courses also make a perfect gift to slip under the tree. Call the shop at 604.872.2204 to sign up today!
FRESHWATER FISHING REPORTS
Chilliwack/Vedder River Fishing Report
We are in for a somewhat wet weekend for the Fraser Valley so make sure you bring your rain jackets out! Water conditions should remain favourable and the rain, coupled with some warmer temperatures, should keep the water at a nice height and not drop it into that dreaded gin clear water. This is a good time to get out there and scout and in mid-December there is always the possibility of getting into an early fish. There are a few in the system now and while you might need a four leaf clover to get one it is incredibly rewarding.
At this point covering water is imperative. Focus on presentations that allow you to move quickly and will get a reaction out of an aggressive early fish instead of grinding certain spots that are known “producers”.
Another fun fishery on the Vedder that not many people take advantage of at the end of year is the bulltrout fishery. While this system isn’t as prolific as other system like the Squamish, it can kick out some impressive specimens. This is the time of year that some big boys drop down from the lake and feed aggressively on eggs. They can be caught on egg imitations so fishing beads, gooey bobs, or Jensen eggs can generate some big non-steelhead bites. These presentations can also trigger steelhead to bite so it’s a bit of a win/win.
Stave River Fishing Report
With the salmon fisheries being over for the most part, one local fishery that can help tide us over until steelhead season is egging and nymphing on the Stave. With eggs and flesh being the main food source, drifting and floating small beads on lighter fly rods can be a lot of fun.
Though they aren’t the biggest fish, white fish are eager and voracious, while also being very graceful when sipping dries. These fish can also be very finicky and light-biters, so they are a great primer for practising your nymphing game. Alongside these fun fish, cutthroat and char are also a very likely possibility and are a great surprise.
If you’re already big in to nymphing, you may already have a lighter rod dedicated to this tactic. Some examples of these rods are the new European style rods which are light and long. If not, a standard 3-4wt rod is all that’s needed. Most of the gear you drift beads for trout on will be the same, with the biggest difference being the bead size.
Smaller 6mm beads are easier for the white fish to eat, especially with their smaller, down-turned mouths. You will still get bites on your standard 8mm beads, but you may notice that you might not connect as much as you’d hope. This is where having a few 6mm beads in your kit can help. Another thing some people will do when tight-lining, is to have a very long straight fluorocarbon leader. This helps get the rig down without the surface current pulling and bowing the float line, allowing you to work through exact seams and troughs.
This technique is also very popular for drifting small, heavy nymphs when you don’t see any insect activity.
your nymphing game during the winter on light biting fish, you’ll not only have
fun with success, but you’ll also be setting yourself up for future success
when a more insect-rich river becomes fishable.
Squamish River Fishing Report
We hit the Squamish last weekend and as predicted the rain leading into the weekend made for close to perfect fishing conditions. The water was at 2.5-2.6 when we were out. There was roughly 4 feet of visibility, but side channels were still at a height were crossing was possible.
Though we didn’t knock out one of those 20+ fish days we found fish in most of the water we covered. We used medium coloured eggs, meaning glow roe style peach colors. From what I saw I would guess that it would have been better fishing if it had been a touch higher. Maybe 2.7-2.8 would be perfect. A good number to have in the back of your brain when planning trips.
Looking at this weekend it might not get as high and will probably be a little more challenging but still at good fishing heights with some colour to keep fish active. You may want to lean to paler coloured eggs, but I expect more good bulltrout, rainbow and cutthroat reports.
Check out the video report for some cool footage of one of the largest Rainbows I have seen on the Squamish system. Note that the footage comes with a cautionary tale. The fish was caught on a bead but the fish already had a barbed jig in its mouth. Check that video out here and remember that all barbs must be pinched when fishing the Squamish and her tributaries.
Good luck out on the water!
SALTWATER FISHING REPORTS
Vancouver Saltwater Salmon Fishing Report
Usually it’s nice all week long and then when the weekend hits out comes the rain and the wind. Well finally the opposite is going to happen this weekend. It looks like the rain is going to finish up on Friday and the winds are backing off as well. So, it is shaping up to be a pretty good-looking weekend if you want to head out and enjoy some winter chinook fishing. Also, in your favor are the tides. We are just coming off a full moon and there are some pretty huge tides but luckily the major swings are at night and the mellow tides are during the day. So, all combined, the conditions are looking great, so get off the couch and enjoy.
As usual, the bait is close to the bottom and so are the fish. Below is a photo from a trip a few weeks ago that shows some serious amount of bait and a nice chinook arc. This is the nice thing about good electronics in the winter. You really do see the fish and bait, and if it’s not there you move around until you find them. Hard to make those decisive decisions without good electronics.
If you aren’t used to seeing these kinds of images, give me a call at the shop and we can go over your system. Sometimes is just takes a few setting tweaks to maximize performance. If you are in the market for a new system, I can give you my expert opinion on your best options at a variety or price points for Raymarine, Simrad, and Lowrance.
In terms of productive gear once you find the bait and the fish, not much has changed. Make sure you have some brighter chartreuse and glow flashers and spoons and some darker setups as well. Some top producers would be a Gibbs Lemon Lime Flasher in green or chartreuse blade with an Irish Cream coloured spoon in a Skinny G, Kingfisher 3.0 or G-Force 3.0. On the other end of the spectrum a Gibbs CB55 or Madi flasher with a Herring Aid coloured spoon in Skinny G, Kingfisher 3.0, or G-Force 3.0 is going to get the job done. If you have these setups in your boat and some good scent to put on your spoons like Pro Cure Anchovy gel or Herring gel, you are going to get some fish.
If you have some vacation time coming up, give us call, book a trip and enjoy the winter chinook and prawning.
See you in the shop or on the water,