We can’t believe we are sitting down to write the last Friday Fishing Report of 2023! Where did the year go? We wish you all a happy and healthy start to the new year and look forward to seeing you in the shop or on the water in 2024.
For those of you who haven’t had a chance to come down to the shop to get in on some great Boxing Week Sale deals, the sale runs until close on Sunday December 31, 2023. There are still some great deals to be had so swing on by this weekend. Friendly reminder, we are closing
early on New Years Eve – the team will be here until 3PM on the 31st.
If you can’t come down for the sale or just want to spend some time outdoors over the holidays now is the time to get out fishing. We have a warm one this weekend and it should be perfect for river fishing. There is some wind in the forecast for the saltwater anglers but, if you can find a window where the wind is not too heavy, the warm weather should make for fun fishing.
In this week’s report we have a detailed egg nymphing article in the Squamish report and we also go over the conditions for both the Sea to Sky and Chilliwack systems.
Matt has a course coming up on the egg nymphing technique, so if the below article piques your interest, check out the course details below to take you river nymphing game to the next level. More details on the timing of that and our other upcoming courses below!
On to the report!
We are looking forward to getting back in the classroom and on the water with you in 2024!
Steelhead Float Fishing Seminar:
January 16, 2024, 6:30PM-9:30PM
Fly Fishing Egg Patterns Seminar and Guided Day on The Water:
Seminar January 17, 2024 – 6:30PM-9:30PM
Guided January 20 or 21, 2024 – Full Day
Seminar Only Cost – $75+GST
Seminar + Guided Day on the water – $325+GST
Tying Intruder Patterns
In this one night course you will learn about the specifics techniques and unique materials used to tie Intruder style flies. At the end of this course you will have the skills needed to tie a variety of Intruder style flies from multi stage, monster flies for high water, average sized flies for everyday conditions, down to small, mini intruders for low water. Note that this course is suitable for intermediate to advanced tiers. Students are required to supply their own vise, tools and materials. A 10% discount is available on materials and tools purchased for the course. A detailed list of what materials are needed will be supplied in advance of the course.
Date: Feb 7, 2024“
Time: 6:30pm – 9:30pm
Tying Essential Steelhead Patterns
This course is designed for the fly tyer looking to get the best start on tying steelhead patterns. In the 3-hour evening seminar your instructor will cover everything from tying techniques, material and colour choices, size and weight. They will walk you through 3 essential patterns that will build a well-rounded steelhead fly box. If you’re looking to get yourself into tying your own flies for steelhead, this is the course for you. This course is suitable for fly tiers with a basic knowledge. Students are required to supply their own vise, tools and materials. A 10% discount is available on materials and tools purchased for the course.
Date: Feb 13, 2024
Time: 6:30pm – 9:30pm
Check out the full course listing here and give us a call at the shop (604.872.2204) to sign up today!
FRESHWATER FISHING REPORTS
Chilliwack/Vedder River Fishing Report
It’s almost January, and the steelhead fishery on the C/V system is starting to show some signs of picking up, as expected. Of course, the fishing is by no means “red hot” or “on fire”, but there have been a few reports of fish being caught over the past two weeks, including two that were entered into the Boxing Day derby.
As of writing this report, the river is currently looking pretty good, but the weather over the next few days will determine if it remains fishable or not- nothing unusual there. The current forecast is mixed, with “showers” and “periods of rain” forecasted for the next few days. Assuming it doesn’t rain too hard, the river should be fine for the weekend. The weather looks warm for the new year weekend but early in January we will see a cold snap, and this will probably slow down fishing, so we recommend getting out if you can now.
Be sure to check the forecast and water levels before you head out there to make sure the river is in good shape before you make the trek to Chilliwack.
When you are out on the water be sure to cover water and adjust your presentation based on conditions. The fish are quite scattered in the system, with reports coming from the lower, mid and upper, so it’s not like all the fish are in one specific area; you can fish whatever area you prefer and be confident that your odds are as good there as they are anywhere else in the system.
Squamish River Fishing Report + Tips on Indicator Egg Fishing
The snow conditions for skiing continue to be poor. While this is bad news for all you ski addicts, for the winter anglers it continues to make for great fishing conditions. It looks as though this will change in the first week of January with sub-zero, daytime temperatures and possible snow but until about the 4th of January we will see warm wet weather with temperatures in the double digits this Friday and Saturday.
This should mean good fishing on the Squamish well into next week. Right now, we are seeing high but very fishable levels. With light rain this weekend we are hoping the levels will hold in that “high” but fishable range. Two weeks ago, we shared a graph with water levels to consider. Check that report out and then look to the up-to-date info here.
The fishing reports this week matched the conditions with some dirty water in areas on the system but lots of fishable days and good reports of bull trout, rainbows and even a couple fresh coho still in the system.
We talked about swinging patterns on the Squamish systems last week but for most anglers imitating salmon eggs will be the focus for the winter months. This week we will go over some basics for this presentation.
Indicator Egg Fishing Basics
For the fly anglers 4-7wt rods are perfect. Your 9-foot rods will fish well but if you have a longer 9.5 – 10ft rod you will find that they control line and mend a little more effectively. Many of you might already have a longer lake rod setup and this will be perfect for stream nymphing.
We primary use floating lines or euro setups for this fishery. Unlike fishing streamers, you need to have a perfectly drag free drift when presenting egg imitations so sink tip or sinking lines are not ideal.
Again, if you have a line you use for lake chironomid fishing that is a little punchier to turn over indicators, this line will mend and throw a river indicator perfectly. In recent years we have also seen many anglers use euro nymphing or tight line setups. Though this method will not be able to cover as much water as an indicator rig it does give anglers one the most natural drag free drifts and is very effective.
We won’t go into detail on the Euro egging rig in this report but stay tuned. Matt and Eric have been playing around with the technique a lot and will have more details in future reports.
As for the classic indicator rig, we like a 3X – 4x fluorocarbon leader. You can build your own with a stiff butt section and then a fast taper down to 4x or use prebuilt tapered leaders.
For presentation and weight, we like BB – #4 sized split shot. Having a couple sizes can be beneficial. You will have time when fishing slow gentle water where a light presentation will drift more naturally vs fast chunky water that requires more weight. We place the weight just above where we have secured 16 inches of 4X fluorocarbon tipped. You can do this with a blood knot, surgeons’ knot or tippet ring and we use this knot/ring to keep the split shot from slipping down to your egg presentation.
For your egg presentation beads are very effective. Though fly/wool tied eggs still work, when it comes to the cost, color selection and bouncy of beads they are hard to beat. We peg the beads 1- 2.5 inches above a light (not flashy) hook. Size 8-12 are common.
Finally, is your indicator. Your slip lake indicator is not ideal. The air filled ultra-light foam indicators drift better and get pulled down by current less. We have airlocks and the new Oros indicators in stock. If you haven’t tried the Oros yet they are super cool. They drift great, are easy to adjust and because the line goes straight through the middle of the foam, they tangle way less than other options.
All the rigging above is hard to manage winter fishing with cold hands. We recommend building a few leaders and tippet section and putting them on a leader board the night before, so you are not fumbling when you get on the water.
The above rig has many variations and dedicated nymphing anglers are constantly debating length and specific rigging but the above is a good place to start. Covering the right water with a good drag free drift is more important than many of the details on rigging.
Matt has a course coming up on January 17th where he will be sharing his specific rigs and some of his secrets for effectively covering water. It is also an opportunity to get out on the water with him the following weekend to put the technique into practice.