Happy Ugly Sweater Day Everyone! We hope that you are all having a safe December and we figured some ugly Christmas sweaters are always worth a smile.
With Christmas edging closer, we have some more great gift ideas. This week Zach was thinking about the fly tiers out there and we have some really cool items that you might not buy for yourself…… So send down a loved one to buy it for you! Check that list out at the end of the report.
Some great stocking stuffers have also arrived in the shop. You can’t go wrong with these awesome bottle openers from our friends at Islander.
We’ve also got a fresh batch of our PA logo stickers. These waterproof stickers from @Stickermule are the perfect match for our love of the outdoors. They stand up to the elements and won’t fade from the sun or a wet day on the river! Pro-tip – ask for the small fish stickers at the front till when you’re in next. They’re free while supplies last!
We also want to note that we will be holding our Boxing Week Sale and if you are reading this blog on our website, make sure to sign up for the email version of our newsletter because all the deals are released first to our loyal subscribers to and then later published to website. The list will come out Christmas Eve and we expect it to be a good one this season.
Now with all the fishing product stuff out of the way, let’s talk fishing. December is not known as a prime-time fishing month but there are still folks getting out there. It is worth looking for egg eaters out the valley as well as up the Sea to Sky and we have heard whispers of steelhead up the valley and it is worth a scout. We have details on both the Vedder and Squamish below.
It is also hardwater season. For all those who don’t know what hardwater fishing is, it’s what the cool kids call ice fishing. We have already had some great reports from the interior. This year we have expanded our ice fishing section at the store and we have you covered. Sterling has an overview and will be bringing us more updates throughout the season.
Last but not least Matt is back at it with the bi weekly report update with some great videos from SFI as well as one on Thompson Steelhead conservation.
INDUSTRY EVENTS AND UPDATES
There are some great options to support some great causes as well when you’re doing your holiday shopping this season. Check out two great raffles just launched this month!
Sport Fishing Institute of BC – Spring Raffle
2021 SFI Big Spring Raffle launched this week! These tickets make a great gift. Get your tickets today – there are only 7500 tickets sold for this amazing raffle. Check out all of the of the raffle items here and read on below for a bit more about the excellent work the SFI does in our Province.
The SFI represents the voice of the angling community particularly in coastal BC, constantly reminding DFO that sustainable and predictable angling opportunity is important to individuals, businesses, families and communities across the province. Your support through the 2021 lottery will help secure a better future for our fishery and the resources it depends upon.
Supporting the activities of the SFI will greatly assist British Columbians in accessing fisheries. BC’s public fishery is enjoyed by over 400,000 anglers every year. This healthy, family oriented outdoor activity develops awareness and environmental stewardship of our marine and freshwater resources and ecosystems. By supporting the SFI, you are also supporting the protection and promotion of the traditions, lifestyle, and even employment of many British Columbians.
Steelhead Society of BC Online Raffle and 50/50 draw
We announced this in our report last week but if you haven’t bought your ticket now is the time! The 50/50 draw is growing by the day and is now over $11,000 and the next early bird raffle draw is Monday December 21, 2020.
Get your tickets here and support steelhead conservation in our province.
Help protect the future of wild steelhead in British Columbia!
CLASSES AND COURSES
While we don’t have any classes running in December our full 2021 lineup is out and you can sign yourself up or give a class for a Christmas Gift.
Our full lineup of courses can be found here!
We’ll see you in the classroom or on zoom in 2021.
FRESHWATER FISHING REPORTS
Vedder River Fishing Report Update
There have been whispers of some chrome showing up. Nothing concrete as of yet but it is probably safe to assume that a couple are in the system now. It isn’t going to be easy; this point in the season is honestly a timing game as you need to put in the time and get extremely lucky. It is good to get out and scout the river though and figure out what beats you want to do as part of your routine later in the season.
Water conditions have been decent this week. We are expecting a fair bit of rain so we might see some higher conditions; if that is the case don’t be afraid to upside your presentations and beef up your gear. You definitely want to capitalize on any pre-Christmas Steelhead that end up on your line.
Squamish River Fishing Report
The Squamish River saw some okay conditions this past week with many anglers encountering more char than salmon. This is to be expected at this time of year as the coho start to thin out and turn colour.
That said, we did get some reports of a few fresh late coho so don’t be surprised if your bulltrout setup pulls up a few late salmon.
Most anglers are drifting beads, either on a 4-8wt fly rod for char, trout, and salmon; while others use float rods paired with level-wind or centerpin reels. Spoons, spinners, blades, flash-flies, and sculpins shouldn’t be forgotten about either. This can also be a good time to drift worm jigs as well.
As river levels fluctuate due to temperatures or rain, having a variety of presentations in various sizes and colours can sometimes be key. Your favourite 8mm bead colour might be wanted by the fish in a 10mm size instead.
Please keep in mind to always wade safely and carefully, avoiding redds and actively spawning fish.
STILLWATER FISHING REPORTS
Ice Fishing – Hardwater Report
We have expanded our ice fishing selection at the shop and it is time to GO!
All of us who are avid hardwater fisherman will tell you that ice fishing can be one of the most enjoyable times of the year. It’s simple, tends to pay off, and is a good excuse to simply get out and find some stocked trout when nothing else is available. December ice fishing is my favourite time to get out as fish tend to be still active and will bite nearly anything if they’re around. I know quite a few people in the Interior who have been rewarded with nonstop action with nothing more than a flutter spoon and a prawn-tipped jig. The rainbow in the picture was caught on a logoed spoon made by Driftwood Brewing Company that was being jigged a few feet from the bottom. It goes to show that it’s all about finding the curious fish. People tend to overcomplicate ice fishing because they think their technique is all wrong when they really just need to bore more holes and keep searching for the pods of active fish. Continue to move in 50 feet intervals every 15-30 minutes if you’re not hooking anything. Eventually you should find some fish and then the bite will be on. Anyone who knows me knows how impatient I tend to be when it comes to fishing but that steelhead state of mind is essential if you want to be a successful ice fishing angler.
I’d argue that brook trout are the easiest to entice as they tend to hang out in shallower water (6-12 ft), which means you can sight fish for these trout in the right lake. You’ll also find that smaller rainbows typically hang out in shallower water. Big rainbows can be a little trickier as they tend to sit a bit deeper and can be quite finicky. Once again, continue to move and don’t be afraid to fish 20-35 feet of water if you’re fishing a lake with a deeper section. The same applies for kokanee as they can be anywhere in the water column. Investing in a quality depth sounder is an absolute must if you’re fishing for kokanee through the ice. You really can’t beat a large flashy spoon when it comes to catching these fish. You can either attach a hook directly to the flashy spoon or attach a baited jig hook (shrimp, krill, mealworms, etc.) tied to a 12-24 inch leader. Make sure to always use either an ice specific leader on these setups or you’ll be cursing at your knots as they break over and over again. The less time your hands spend out of your gloves in -20 conditions the better.
Two other species that are oddly neglected during winter are lake trout and burbot. Both tend to hang out near the bottom meaning that using jig tubes (white/pink), other soft plastic options, buzzbombs and larger spoons are great options. You want to continually drop the jig or spoon into the mud and bring it back up. Start with working the whole shelf of drop offs if you’re approaching a new lake. Be sure to come through the store or give a ring if you want some pointers on how to even approach lakers and burbot.
CHRISTMAS WISH LIST IDEAS
Christmas Ideas for the Fly Tyer in Your Life
It’s no secret that I spend a lot of my free non-fishing time tying flies, even more so this year. I tie everything from giant 6/0 GT flies all the way down to size 20 chironomids. My Christmas list covers a few things that the average fly tyer should have in their tying kit that will make their life a lot better when tying. Also feel free to sign your fly tyer up for one of our many tying courses that we are offering in 2021!
Hareline Low Profile Trash Holder
Anyone that has a fly tyer in their life knows how messy it can be. The Hareline Low Profile Trash Holder has been a game changer for my tying desk. It has a magnetic clamp that fits onto any tying vise and the bin pops on and off smoothly to empty it out. With this in a fly tyers kit there’s no more excuses for leaving a mess while tying.
Rite Bobbin – Ceramic Standard
One thing that fly tyers don’t spend money on for themselves is nice thread bobbins and I have no idea why that is. Having a top end bobbin allows for easier adjustment of thread tension while tying and helps with having less thread breakage which slows down production big time. I made the switch to Rite Bobbins a few years ago and have not looked back. The design easily fits comfortably into the palm of your hand. I love the easy tension adjustment wheel on the side and the ceramic thread tube keeps thread from fraying or breaking.
Rite Choice Scissors
Much like top end bobbins, scissors are one tool that I spare no expense on but the average tyer has a tough time spending a bit more money on a tool as key as this. A good scissor makes all the difference when tying small detailed flies where precision is key. These scissors are made with Japanese steel and real gold and have a fine point for accurate detailed work. They hold an edge a long time which is critical. I tie a lot and have been using the same pair of scissors for almost a year now. Before I switched to these scissors, I would go through 3-4 pairs a year. Once these start to dull you are able to take them apart and sharpen them.
Renzetti Presentation 4000 Tying Vise
If you are looking to treat yourself or a loved one with a tying tool for Christmas this would be the ultimate one. The Renzetti Presentation 4000 is the most solid vise that I have ever used. I have tied on this vise for about 10 months now and it has no problem holding any hook that I throw at it. The rotary feature has 2 adjustments which makes it smoother than Grandma’s Christmas gravy. The oversized base means this vise wont tip over while tying even the biggest of warm water flies. On top of all that, the vise is beautiful to look at so you won’t mind when it is left out in the open.