Christmas is almost here! We all hope you are having an awesome holiday season and making the most of Christmas parties, family and good friends. We also hope you have had the chance to sneak out for some fishing. If you are getting out, there are some great options right now. We have river level and saltwater reports below but this time of year we like to focus on Christmas gifts and Boxing Day. If you have loved ones struggling to find you a gift or more likely you are struggling when you get asked the inevitable “what do you want for Christmas” question – send them our way to get you that perfect gift. Or get a gift card and then come down after Christmas for our famous Boxing Week Sale. The full sales list will be announced early via our mailing list so if you are reading this on our website make sure you get signed up for our email list. As always this is our biggest sale of the year and the best time to get great deals!
If you’ve still got shopping to do or just want to pop in to say hi we’ve got extended shopping hour this week
Friday December 21 – 10AM – 7PM
Saturday December 22 – 10AM – 7PM
Sunday December 23 – 10AM – 6PM
Monday December 24 – 10AM – 4PM
Tuesday December 25 – Closed – Merry Christmas
Wednesday December 26 – Boxing Week Sale Begins – 9AM – 7PM!
Ok, shameless sales plugs over. On the fishing side of things our local rivers have been rising over the last week and are currently high. There have been windows of excellent fishing when the levels have dipped or stabilized. We expect this trend to continue with a little more rain this weekend and then drier days early next week. If you can time a trip on any of our rivers as they drop, fishing should be excellent. We have details on the Squamish, Vedder and Stave in this week’s freshwater report section.
Weather has been a bit of a challenge for saltwater fishing but for the boats getting out it has been good. If the weather is keeping you from longer runs there has been solid fishing in the harbour.
On the product front you may have noticed that we have been expanding out fly tying selection with cool new products from Fair Flies and a number of other hard to find brands. We have also expanded our vise selection. If you are tying flies or jigs check out the review that Zach has put together on the vises we carry. If will give you the knowledge need to make an educated choice if you are buying your first vise or just upgrading from an old vise.
Merry Christmas to you all!
CLASSES + COURSES
If you missed it last week we released our 2019 line-up of courses. Check out all of the courses in our blog post here and remember courses make an excellent Christmas gift!
Fly Tying Vise Review
It’s no secret that we love tying flies here at the shop. If you haven’t tied a fly before, we offer a variety of tying courses taught by Andre, Jordan, Matt and myself (Zach). We cover everything from beginners to beach flies, bull trout and steelhead flies and we just released our 2019 course dates so check them out and call the shop to sign up.
It is extremely rewarding catching fish on a fly that you have tied yourself. You spend time carefully selecting materials based on what you want the fly to look like in the water with the colours that you want it to be. Getting started can seem a little daunting but we strive to make that beginning an easy one for you. The most important piece of equipment is arguably the tying vise. If you aren’t familiar with tying tools, the vise is the main piece that holds your hooks or shanks to which you apply any number of materials to via thread or UV resins.
We carry a wide range of vises in the shop that range in price from $30 up to whatever you would like to spend. They sky is the limit when it comes to vises. There are 2 major components to consider when purchasing a vise, would you like a stationary vise or a rotary vise or a pedestal or c-clamp mount? A stationary vise does not move whereas a rotary vise allows you to rotate the jaws 360 degrees so that you can view your fly from any angle. This is a key feature if you are very detail oriented and OCD like myself when it comes to tying flies.
I am going to highlight a few of our favourite vises that we have in the shop, starting with one of our best bang for your buck, do it all starter vises, The Orvis Encounter Tying Kit. This vise is a stationary vise so it does not rotate, it holds a hook and for most people and most flies it is going to get the job done. The best part of this kit is that it comes with a decent selection of tools to get you going. Are there better tools out there, yes, but for the beginner tyer this will get you in the game. Everything comes in a nice box and for $100 you can’t go wrong, especially if you’re unsure if you will like tying or not.
Next up is one of our favourite and best selling vises, the Renzetti Traveller. Renzetti was a pioneer in the world of tying vises and came out with the first ever rotary vise in 1973. The Traveller came out in 1988 and has quickly become one of the most popular vises in the world. This vise comes in two configurations with either a pedestal base, which you can put on any flat surface or a c-clamp, which you need to clamp down on the edge of a table. This jaw can hold hooks from a #28 – 4/0. It also features a bobbin holder that holds your thread off to the side while you use the rotary feature to rib flies. We also carry the Renzetti Apprentise vise which is a “rotary” vise, the head does rotate but it isn’t a true in-line rotary like the Traveller. The Apprentise holds hooks from size #28 – 2 and sells for $130.
Next up is the Regal Medallion Vises. These are the easiest vises to get tying on in the market. Insert your hook into the jaw and you’re off to the races, as they say, no fiddling around with fine tuning the jaw to get that perfect hold of your hook. The Medallion is Regal’s flagship vise and comes in pedestal or c-clamp configurations and while not a true rotary vise it can rotate 360 degrees and articulate an additional 220 degrees to get that perfect tying angle. While we carry the black and bronze base based versions in store, these vises come in a variety of jaw, base and colour configurations to suit your needs so let us know if there is a particular one that you’d like us to bring in. The medallion vises start at $325
Regal Medallion Pedestal Vise
The last vise that I would like to feature is the Cadillac Escalade of vises, the Regal Revolution. The Revolution combines the legendary hook holding ability of the Regal Medallion vises but with the addition of true in-line rotary. The head rotates 360 degrees and still has the 220 articulation. This is one smooth vise. As with the medallion vise you can choose your base, jaw and colour (black, blue or red.) We have one demo vise in the shop so if you would like to check it out come on in. These are special order only. The Revolution starts at $540
If you have any questions about tools, materials or anything fly tying related please don’t hesitate to give us a call. We all tie here in the shop whether it be flies, tubes or jigs so we can get you dialled in no matter what your needs are.
FRESHWATER FISHING REPORTS
Chilliwack/Vedder River Fishing Report
Conditions have been challenging, as water levels were on the high side and a little chalky. A couple of fish were reportedly hooked over the last week but it has still been quiet. The forecast is for less rain and colder temperatures coming into this weekend so the water will be on the drop, which should be a good thing. If you can pick your days, typically two to three days after we start to see the water drop and clear to that ideal “steelhead green” is when you want to aim for. However if you are like me and have to work or don’t have that luxury, don’t fret as they can still be caught before or after these ideal conditions with a little adjustment to your presentation and technique. Come down to the shop and we will look at the forecast and match your presentation to the coming conditions. Also, if you missed it our steelhead float fishing course is coming up in January. It is a great “in-house” seminar and if you want to upgrade, we have spots for on water trips where we walk you through the techniques and skills on the water.
We should see some more fish caught in the next week. Get out now to scout and maybe get into some early chrome!
Tight lines and Merry Christmas!
Squamish River Fishing Report
The Squamish and its tributaries bumped up this past week with the rain but there were some drops in water levels. These drops have provided some decent fishing for char and trout. Most anglers are drifting beads. Whether you use fly rods or float rods, drifting beads can be very effective. Loose eggs are the primary food source right now.
It can pay off to have a variety of sizes and colour to match conditions. Sometimes we can sound a little like a broken record on this front. If you have been reading our reports, you know large and bright for dirty water and small and pale for clear water, but I will through a curve ball this week for anyone paying attention. Sometimes if fish are getting picky, a completely off the wall colour will work especially if the area is frequently fished. Bright pinks, Yellows and reds are in my box for a change up.
Adding different coloured “hot spots” can also help in varying water conditions. Buy different coloured pegs. The “Pigits” stand out and with one shade of bead you can have two or three different options by swapping pegs.
If you have fished over an area that you feel “should” have produced a fish change it up and try something random. It has surprised me how often this works.
Stave River Fishing Report
The Stave River has been picking up for egging, but with some high water events and continuous rain, the fishing conditions will be tough. Trout fishing will be best after the high water as more eggs will get exposed and more trout will focus on eating.
You can use 8mm-10mm fresh dead coloured beads to target these trout. If ever in doubt which colour bead to use, try to pick up some eggs that are floating down the river and check the colours.
You can also use spoons and spinners or float fish with bait to target the trout in the system. Usually this time of year spoons will not be as effective as egg imitations but if the fish are feeding aggressively you can cover more water with a spoon so don’t rule it out as an option.
Steelhead will soon start to trickle in the system. If you are interested in finding some steelhead in the Stave, you will need to explore and find the fish. It is a key thing to understand how where the steelhead likes to sit in the constantly flowing river. It can be challenging if you are new steelhead fishermen but always have been doing well with salmon fishing, as they are quite different.
If you have any questions about steelhead fishing, don’t hesitate to call the shop. Taking a steelhead course is also a great way to learn about the key variables about steelheading.
Until next time,
SALTWATER FISHING REPORTS
Vancouver Saltwater Salmon Fishing Report
Well that was a windy one on Thursday, with winds howling even in False Creek at our docks and reaching a speed of 120 km/h at Sandheads. Looks like there will be some strong SE winds this weekend, so take caution on where you choose to fish, but you should be plenty protected in Vancouver Harbour (especially on a SE).
Speaking of Vancouver Harbour, there have been multiple reports of decent fishing. Much like Howe Sound, if you put in your time you will get the results. Perhaps the scenery isn’t as nice, but it is great option for those of us who are confined to fishing on the weekend and have to deal with the wind if we like it or not. Try from the Pink Apartment to the Cap Mouth on the flood, in 80-140 feet of water, keep your gear close to the bottom. On the ebb you can try the “flats” or the “freighters” which is in and around the freighters up towards the Bell Buoy, in the mud flats. The depth will be 80-150 depending on how close you get to the QB or if you troll out past the Bell where it starts to drop off. Again, keep your gear close to the bottom and keep an eye on your sounder for bait. Find the bait and you find the fish.
In terms of gear, not much has changed. Productive flashers and spoons have been on the bright side with UV green and UV chartreuse blades working the best with glow tape on one side. Phantom series in these finishes have been working well along with Lemon Lime, STS, BC, Salty Dawg, and the Pacific Angler Custom Series in Green and Chartreuse blades. 3.0 and 3.5 spoons in G-Force and Kingfisher models have been working well, so have Skinny G and Coho Killers. Like the flashers, the brighter spoons have been good. If it has some green, chartreuse, and glow on it, you are on the right track.
Crabbing has been pretty slow, so I would take a pass on dropping the crab traps, but prawning has been decent and we have been dropping prawn traps on our 8-hour trips when winds allow.
Don’t forget about our Boxing Week Sale coming up, it’s a great time to stock up on your winter and summer chinook favourites or maybe treat yourself to a new setup. If you’re reading this report on the website be sure to sign up for our Friday Fishing Report and get the sale list delivered directly to your inbox on Christmas Eve.
See you in the shop or on the water,