We think the river gods might have been listening to Matt’s little rant about blow outs and big storms affecting spawning habitat. At least when we look at the 14 day forecast we are seeing very stable conditions. While it looks like we have a small storm on the books for this weekend that might run into Monday this could be ideal for the river fisherman. If the weather man is on his game, we will see some rain and slightly warm temperatures. This could be the “perfect” storm – enough water and warmth to color up the rivers but not too much to blow them out, destroy spawning habitat and put the fish down. The Vedder, Squamish and Stave should all be worth looking at over the next ten days for targeting bulltrout and we expect more steelhead reports off the Vedder, even if it is still very early.
The winter chinook season is still going strong and though rain is not pleasant, warmer temps are nice and if guys get out we expect good things. Check out Jason’s Report for more info.
The feature product this week is a classic and a great Christmas present. We are looking at Islander Reels. Whether you are a steelhead or saltwater angler they are legendary and have set the bar for made in Canada quality and performance. Come down to the shop or send the loved ones down if one of these reels is on your list!
Christmas is almost here! We’ve extended our regular hours so there is lots of time to visit us here in the shop and pick up something for the favourite fisherman on your list or a little something for yourself!
CLASSES + COURSES
Learn How with Pacific Angler
It’s here! Our January – June 2018 Course schedule! As usual we have a ton of great courses. Be sure to call the shop today to sign up as these courses are sure to sell out.
If you’re looking for courses from July onwards, don’t despair – those course dates will be announced in the Spring.
This holiday season, what better way to show the angler in your life how much you care by buying local for a product that is made locally as well. In todays world of consumable items I think it is the legacy gift, a gift that lasts a lifetime, which is truly appreciated. That is where Islander Reels come in. These reels have become famous world wide for their Canadian craftsmanship, good looks, and powerful fish stopping drags. They are specifically designed for our local waters and are made right here in Victoria, British Columbia. They have mooching reels for chasing salmon in the Pacific Ocean, trout reels for local lakes, Kamloops lakes, and resident stream trout, and of course centerpins for float fishing for BC steelhead.
The names of these reels are famous, like the MR3 moocher, TR3 moocher, LX fly reel, IR fly reel, and the Steelheader and Sea-Run centerpins. At Pacific Angler we carry all of these reels in a variety of colours, from the iconic “Islander Gold” as well as other colours like silver, blue, black, slate, and more.
Come by the shop from Friday, December 15th to Friday, December 22nd to receive 10% off on all Islander reels. Our expert staff will help you pick out the perfect Islander that will keep the lucky recipient smiling for many years to come!
FRESHWATER FISHING REPORTS
Chilliwack River Fishing Report
That cold snap in the morning air is a tell-tale sign that it’s steelhead season and it can’t get any more accurate than that. We are just at the very beginning but nice water conditions and a couple of confirmed fish means that it is officially go time! The weather forecast for this week calls for light to moderate rain and slightly warmer weather on Monday; typically this would be ideal but the clay slides may pose an issue for water clarity this year. Only time will tell but it will be obvious with this upcoming rain whether or not the fish-able water will be primarily above the slides or not. If the clay holds it could be perfect. Even if the water does colour up, it should only take a day or so to come back into shape so if you are lucky enough to pick what days you can get out then fish a day or two after the rain has finished. If you don’t have a ton of flexibility when picking your day fish according to the water conditions; go with big and gaudy presentations when the water gets milky and go more finesse once it achieves that nice “steelhead green” again.
We did a large write-up about how to approach these early season steelhead in last week’s report. To reiterate our overview, a lot of different presentations will produce at this time of year. Instead of worrying too much about what to use, focus more on finding the fish by covering water and having a good selection of options to cover the conditions.
We just received an epic shipment of rubber worms. You will not find a better selction anywhere in town. This is a great early season presentation so come down the shop and check them out and the guys can go over last weeks write up with you and get your leaderboards set up right.
It is still early so don’t burn yourself out but this looks like a good week to get out for some scouting. This is the perfect time to find new haunts as the river shifts with every blow out.
Get out there!
Capilano River Report + Season Overview
Salmon Season is over on the Capilano and we are waiting for the first steelhead reports. We have not heard of anything yet. It might be worth a look if they open the dam with this small storm this weekend but it is still very early. See our overview of the season below to learn more about the seasons on the Capilano.
The first steelhead start trickling in around the end of December. We do not see many steelhead on the Capilano but it is a fishery worth looking at it you do not have time to travel farther. They can be targeted with spoons, spinners, flies, or drifting colorado blades, jigs, shrimp, roe and plastic worms but the most popular method for the high banked deep pools on the Capilano is with a gear rod and a float. Come talk to us and we will show you the right setups. Steelhead are expected to be in the system until mid-March.
After the steelhead fishery, around may we will see early Capilano coho come in. It’s a smaller run and the fish aren’t that big. However, they are known as one of the best-tasting coho. These fish usually shoot straight up as the water from the dam is released quite often. The best way to catch them is swinging cap buggers at the cable pool. You can also target the moving fish with spoons, spinners, or drifting with roe.
After the early coho season, the fall salmon season is upon us. Only a small amount of fish trickle in when the water is low. Most of the fish will stack at the mouth of the river and wait for the river to rise up. Once the water goes up, the river is filled with salmon. You can catch these salmon by casting lures, swinging flies, twitching jigs or drifting. Remember the bait ban comes into effect from August 1st until October 31st.
There is the overview of the 2018 season. Hopefully, everyone had an amazing year. Even if you didn’t let’s start thinking about what can be done better next year for a successful season.
Come in the shop and our knowledgeable staff will help you gear up for all the upcoming fishery.
See you on the river when the steelheads are in
Squamish River Fishing Report
We had some very solid reports off the Squamish this last week. No crazy number days but quite a few very big fish were caught and it was consistent.
I like what I see on the weather front this week, both for the health of the river and for fishing. The small storm coming Sunday – Monday should be perfect to colour up the river but not blow it out too hard that spawning habitat gets messed up. I hope I am not jinxing it because we all know forecasts can change and still be hyper vigilant of where you are stomping your feet because we want to minimize the impact we have on spawning areas.
If you get out before the rain, very pale egg patterns and beads were king this week but because of the large fish kicking around stepping up to 8lb Fluro might be an idea. If the water colors up go a little brighter on your eggs. If you don’t have 8lb, 7lb should still work but do not go down to 6 or 5lb. We have seen some real “toads” in the river this week and 5lb is just too light. Save the 5lb for later in the season and in very clear cold water conditions.
Winter months on the Harrison and Fraser Rivers:
We have heard no new reports off the Harrison but here is an overview of the winter season and what you can expect.
There are more fisheries available than just steelhead fishing in the winter months or if you just want to take a break and mix things up. If you can brave the cold on the Harrison River or the Fraser you can fish for resident cutthroat, white fish and the occasional dolly varden. After the salmon have spawned these fish will gorge on salmon eggs for awhile in the early part of December. If we experience a colder winter, river levels will drop to a extreme low levels and this could be quite good for walking the back channels and hunting for cutthroat. In the month of January when the eggs are already embedded on the bottom it is best to fish attractor patterns such as small woolly buggers in different colors and for those who fish gear very small spoons and spinners work best. The resident cutthroat that you might encounter are the pre -spawning fish meaning that they have not reached their cycle to migrate to the ocean before returning back to their native river to spawn. They are usually smaller than the ones called “sea-runs” that make they way up the creeks to get ready for spawning during the winter months. March and April is a magical time on the Harrison as the cutthroat migrate down from the spawning areas into the Harrison and the Fraser rivers to bulk up on salmon fry before heading down to the ocean for the summer months. Please handle these fish with care and release them gently as we are always trying to increase the population, as they are already hard to come by. If you are interested in this fishery we provide a course “Fly fishing for cutthroat” where you can get a more in depth understanding of this exciting fishery.
I will be back with more Harrison Reports mid to late February when things warm up so stay tuned and good luck if you get out on the water.
Stave River Fishing Report and 2018 Outlook
The weather looks good for egging on the stave this week. We have not yet heard any steelhead reports but it could be any day. It is absolutely worth getting out if you want to target cutthroat whitefish and bulltrout with egg patterns. If you get out let us know how it went. Take a look at the overview below to learn the cycle of this fishery and we will be updating this report when we start to hear more.
We saw a solid salmon season on the Stave in 2018. We heard some great coho reports and consistent chum reports. There are still some very old salmon in the system, however, they are now quite stale and it is best to leave them alone on their spawning beads.
During the winter months on the Stave beading/egging for trout and whitefish is a great fishery. There are good numbers of trout and whitefish in the system as they are gorging on eggs. If you drift with Jensen eggs, beads or egg-shaped wool in riffles behind spawning salmon, you can get these fish.
Steelhead are also trickling into the system in late December. Over the next few months, we will be able to catch them by drifting with steelhead rigs such as plastic worm, gooey bob, corkies, colorado blades or spin-n-glos. You can also use roe or shrimp. Fly fishing is also a viable option; try steelhead patterns in different colours.
The egg fishing trout fishery will last until mid February and steelhead will be in the system from now until May.
At the end of the steelhead season, we will see another trout fishery in the stave river. Fly fishing with fry pattern or tossing little spoons or spinners will attract the trout that are in the system to feed on the salmon fry. This fishery goes from March to May. The river usually gets high in May and though there are still resident fish in the system all summer it is not a go to destination until fall.
Early September marks the start of the salmon fishery. Once the chum salmon start coming in you can expect to hook them left and right because there are so many. Drift with jigs and if they don’t bite, play with your depth a little bit. Coho salmon will show up as well and they can be targeted with flies, spoons, or spinners. Look for frog water or structures when looking for coho as they like slow moving water.
That sums up the 2018 overview of the Stave river. If you wish to try any of the fisheries mentioned above, come to the shop and we will be glad to help.
Stay warm on the water,
SALTWATER FISHING REPORTS
Vancouver Saltwater Salmon Fishing Report
Finally the fog has lifted! Fishing was decent this past week when we could sneak out past the fog. Eddie headed up Howe Sound and was into some nice fish this week.
Captain Eddie’s guests holding up some nice keepers from a trip earlier in the week.
I fished the Bell for a half day on the weekend and got into some fish as well. The fish I hooked at the Bell were all undersize, but there was lots of bait and some nice arcs on the sounder. Perhaps if I had a bit more time I would have found a legal fish.
Some nice bait balls and arcs at the Bell this past weekend.
As usual, flashers and spoons fished near the bottom have been producing well. In last weeks report I went into specifics on some very productive flasher and spoons to use. Check out last weeks report here!
The winds don’t look to bad this weekend but it does look like it will be a bit rainy with the SE wind coming in. Get the hot coffee out and the heater and head out there, the fish are around, all you have to do is put in the effort.
See you in the shop or on the water.