Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays everyone! As we head into the holiday weekend, we hope you all are able to get where you need to be to enjoy some time with your family and friends. Given the weather many folks haven’t been on the water but we take our hats off those that have! We have some great photos sent in from some of the brave souls who did manage to get out in the cold.
Speaking of photos, don’t forget to enter our Best of 2022 Fishing Photos Contest! Be sure to submit your entries by December 28 th to firstname.lastname@example.org Check out all the details including prizes and submission guidelines here!
The talk of weather continues as we look to the last week of the year. When you see multiple weather warnings in an upcoming 7-day forecast, we need to take a pause. We want everyone who is traveling over the next couple days to be safe. That said, when we look at it through the lens of an angler it could be the perfect storm for Boxing Week steelheading and bulltrout fishing when everything settles down.
According to the forecast, “On the South Coast, starting Thursday night and lasting until Christmas Eve on Saturday, travel conditions are expected to be challenging due to heavy snow, ice pellets, freezing rain, and heavy rain on snow or ice.” Long story short, we are going to see one heck of a storm followed by some large amounts of rain.
The rivers need rain and we obviously would like some warmer weather. If the weatherman is on his game it is coming! The only concern is flooding.
After we get through whatever is coming, we expect it to really kick off the Chilliwack steelhead season and fire up the egg eater fisheries on many of the Sea to Sky and Fraser Valley rivers.
In this week’s report we are going to touch on the Chilliwack with what is going on and what we are looking for over the next ten days and we are also tuning in with a feature on “dressing for ice fishing” because it is DARN COLD. Gavin is heading up ice fishing after the holidays and he has some solid tips and an overview of our favourite Simms pieces that will be good for your next fishing trip but also appropriate for braving the cold weather off the river.
In store news, there are a few things for all of you. First off – If you missed it, we have released our 2023 course schedule so if you are looking for a last-minute gift call it in and we can get you or your loved one signed up!
For those looking to check a few things off your list we are open Christmas Eve from 10AM – 3PM. So, pop by for a visit! We’re closed on Christmas Day to spend some time family and friends and back on Boxing Day for the kick off of our Boxing Week Sale!
This year’s sale is bigger and better than ever so it will be the time to get geared up for the 2023 season. Keep an eye on your inbox and social media feeds for the full Boxing Week list and we will see you Boxing Day at 10AM!!
CLASSES AND COURSES
Our 2023 Course list is out. The full listing of courses can be found here! Call the shop at 604.872.2204 to sign up today and we will see you in the classroom in 2023.
FRESHWATER FISHING REPORTS
Chilliwack/Vedder River Fishing Report
Well, it’s officially winter and man, oh man does it feel like it! It’s pretty chilly out there, and most of us southern west coasters really aren’t used to conditions such as these. Our rivers are not used to it either.
Speaking of conditions, about the C/V system…
The river is currently running very low, nearly as low as it was a few months ago during the “drought”, and water temps are very low, a bone-chilling 0.7°C at the moment. There is also the added issue of some substantial ice buildup along the sides of the river in many areas, which makes accessing the water and effectively fishing quite tough, or even impossible in some cases.
Wading is currently not advisable; your waders and boots will freeze and falling in now could very well be a life-threatening event. There are most likely a few fish in the system, but there haven’t been many people fishing in the past week for the above reasons. Even if you were able to find accessible water with fish in it, water temps are so low that the fish will be very sluggish and getting them to bite will be a challenge.
Thankfully, there is some good news. There is a rapid warming trend in the forecast that is supposed to begin on Sunday, with temperatures potentially reaching the double-digits by Monday. This warming will be accompanied by rain, which should help clear up the snow and ice a bit quicker. We’re hoping that the warmer temperatures trigger enough snowmelt to bump the river by the end of the weekend, which would be just in time for the Boxing Day derby. A bump in river levels would also push some fish into the system, which is never a bad thing, and a bit of an increase in water temps would also be great.
Of course, increasing water levels are only good in moderation, so we’ll have to see how much the snowmelt and rain actually affects the river, there is the potential for a notable decrease in visibility, or even a blowout/flooding. It would be a good idea to have a variety of different presentations on hand if you’re planning on heading out on the weekend or immediately after, just in case conditions do deteriorate. As usual, you’ll want to cover water to find fish, as there won’t be large numbers in the system just yet.
There is the potential for some rather messy travel conditions in the valley over the next couple days due to the incoming winter storm, so drive safe if you’re planning on heading out and always remember to check the water levels beforehand.
Alternatively, instead of heading out for steelhead, you could just come into the store and check out our Boxing Week Sale… at least it’s warm and dry in here!
SPECIAL FEATURE – ICE FISHING
How to Dress for Ice Fishing
Heading out to the hardwater, and having a few beverages while watching some lines soak sounds like a good time, right?
Ice fishing has picked up traction in southwestern BC in the past few years. While some in the interior grew up with this fishery, a lot of folks in the Lower Mainland never had that exposure, myself included.
We see the augers, sleds and ice scoops, it all looks very intimidating. What do I need, why and what am I doing with mom’s pasta scoop? That is for another post!
As a rule of thumb, especially for fishing, you can get from point A to point B with as little or sophisticated gear as you wish. But with ice fishing, one part of your gear is critical; clothing. At the end of the day, catching the lake record brook trout means nothing if you are uncomfortable. Having a quality insulation system is an essential part of ice fishing.
Layering on the inside is just as important as layering on the outside. Naturally, you will be sweating at some point. The fastest way to cool a body down is through evaporation, keep moisture away from your body. Synthetic baselayers or wool baselayers are great at wicking away moisture from your skin. The same quick drying sunshirts that you wore all summer are excellent at actively removing humidity. Avoid cotton as it retains water like a sponge and dries slowly.
Listed below are some of our favorite baselayers from Simms:
Simms Heavyweight Baselayer Bottom
Simms Lightweight Baselayer Bottom
Simms Solarflex Guide Hoody
Simms Lightweight Baselayer Top
Simms Solarvent Hoody
Simms Merino Thermal OTC Socks
The same thing can be said about having a quality outer and mid layer. Why have one giant jacket when you can adjust layers as your activity level changes? Breathability is important with mid and outer layers to complete the process of removing moisture. Mid layers act as the driving force in maintaining warmth in our insulation system. Certain insulation lines such as the Primaloft from Simms, have been treated with water repellency to keep you warm even when damp from rain or snow.
My go-tos when it comes to mid-layers are:
Simms Thermal Pants
Simms Rogue Fleece Hoody
Simms Fall Run Collared Jacket
Simms Fall Run Hoody
Simms Challenger Sweatpants
Gore-Tex in particular, is the golden standard when it comes to durability, breathability and waterproofness. The power duo of outer layers is the bib and hardshell jacket combo. The advantage of a bib instead of snow pants is that you reduce openings and crevasses where heat can escape. When ice fishing, we spend a lot of time on our knees, choosing a bib with high abrasion resistance is recommended. Hardshells and jackets act as the lid to our system, keeping heat in. Wear your jacket on the outside of your bib to not allow snow to get in, causing melt and humidity issues.
My preferred outer layers are:
Simms Pro Dry Bib & Jacket
Simms Challenger Bib & Jacket
Mustang Taku Bib & Jacket
Simms G3 Jacket
Gloves and Headwear
The final step is having a good toque and gloves! The top of your head loses body temperature the quickest, so maintaining a warm noggin is key. Quality gloves can make or break an ice fishing trip, keep your hands dry throughout the day to ensure you can still reel that rainbow trout in after waiting for 2 hours! Some companies are offering Gore-Tex in their gloves now which is amazing. Neoprene gloves with a secondary pair as insulation on the inside work great too.
Our top selling gloves and headwear this season:
Simms Gore-Tex Infinium Foldover Mitt
Simms Kispiox Glove
Simms Gore-Tex Infinium Wind Beanie
Simms Everyday Beanie
If you plan on heading out ice fishing this season, make sure you have all the essentials to keep you comfortable! Swing by the shop and we can get you dressed with the essentials and setup with any other gear that you need.