Happy almost New Year everyone! We hope you have all had a great Christmas and enjoyed some time with family and friends. It’s been great to see you all at our Boxing Week Sale this week and if you haven’t been down, you’ve got 2 more days to save! There are still some incredible deals in store in every department so head on down! Before you do, be sure to check out our New Year’s Hours below:
New Year’s Hours
Saturday December 31 – 10AM -3PM
Sunday January 1 – Closed – Happy New Year
Monday January 2 Onwards – Regular Hours
This week, in the report, we have a Chilliwack River update where the Boxing Day Derby has been moved to the 14th of January due to the major rain and snow melt that we saw over Christmas day and Boxing Day. Though it is not great that it had to be postponed, the silver lining is there is now a second chance to get out and the 14-day trend looks promising.
We also have an update on the Squamish system. It also saw very adverse blown out conditions after Christmas but has come down and we had good reports from the last 2 days. Check out the details in the river section below.
With winter months ahead we also have a little How to Ice Fish 101 article that is well worth looking at if you plan to get out.
Lastly, we have sifted through the hundreds of entries in our Best of 2022 Fishing Photo competition and we have chosen winners! Below, we will share the winning photos with everyone and if you want to see more of the best photos check out the video version of the report where Matt goes over all the amazing photos that were sent in. Check out the Video Report Here:
On to the report!
CLASSES AND COURSES
January is almost here and that means it’s back to school for the kids after the holiday season. Why not join them and sign up for one of our January classes? We have a ton of great tying classes and an on the water classes as well. These classes sell out every January so don’t delay – call the shop (604.872.2204) to sign up today!
Fly Fishing Egg Patterns
This course is designed to teach you the secrets to one of the most productive presentations in the BC fly fishermen’s arsenal; nymphing egg patterns. This deadly method can be used for different species of trout, char, and salmon. During a 3-hour evening seminar we will teach you key concepts, strategies, and gear that will give you a well-rounded foundation during the seminar portion of the class. Then you will put those skills into practice during a fully guided day on the water.
Seminar Only Cost: $60+GST
Seminar & Guided Walk’n Wade Cost: $300.00+GST per angler, minimum of 2 anglers per guided day on the water.
Dates: Seminar: Jan 11 Guided: Jan 14 or 15
Seminar Time: 6:30pm – 9:30pm | Guided: Full Day
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. He 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.
This course is suitable for fly tyers with a basic knowledge.
Dates: Jan 18
Time: 6:30pm – 9:30pm
Steelhead Float Fishing
In this fishery, 10% of the anglers catch 90% of the fish. This is your chance to learn from the 10%! Our 3hr evening seminar will educate you on the gear, water types, conditions and other key variables that put veteran steelhead anglers in that 10%. Mastering this fishery will make you the envy of your friends.
Seminar: Jan 23, 2023
Time: 6:30pm – 9:30pm
Warmwater Warm Up
If you’ve ever waded in knee-deep water or have been poled along shallow mangroves while chasing flats species such as bonefish, tarpon, snook, and permit, then this course is for you! During the course, your instructor will go over design concepts, fundamentals, and techniques for a handful of essential warmwater flies. Included patterns that will be covered will be shrimp, crabs, and baitfish, with different techniques and designs being demonstrated and shared throughout the evening. Students are required to supply their own vise, tools and materials. A detailed list of what materials are needed will be supplied in advance of the course. A 10% discount is available on materials and tools purchased for the course.
This course is suitable for intermediate to advanced tyers.
Dates: Jan 24
Time: 6:30pm – 9:30pm
Introduction To Fly Tying
There is no greater satisfaction than catching a fish with a fly you tied yourself. This course was specifically designed to give you the fundamental skills needed to tie proven fly patterns used here in BC for trout, salmon, and steelhead. This course consists of 3 sessions; each session is 3hrs. Students are required to supply their own vise, tools and materials. A 10% discount is available on materials and tools purchased for the course.
Dates: Jan 25, Feb1 & 8
Time: 6:30pm – 9:30pm
FRESHWATER FISHING REPORTS
Chilliwack/Vedder River Fishing Report
The Chilliwack/Vedder is dropping steadily and currently sitting at a 2.6m at the time of writing. We have seen some severely high-water conditions the past few days due to heavy rain with the river peaking at 3.1m on Boxing Day. There is some rain expected again this weekend, which will most likely bump the river up again to around 2.9m. The last rainstorm we received melted a significant amount of the snow pack up the valley, so I do not expect the next rainstorm to raise the river as drastically. The forecast calls for no real rain after Saturday and I predict the river might be fishable Sunday or Monday and we should see good conditions next week.
Early fish move up the river quick during high water. With the high water we are currently experiencing, you can expect fish to be on the move. They will move upstream with vigor until the river drops back to the standard Dec/Jan lows and they will hold as they are stuck. Once these fresh steelhead begin to hold, that is the time when they are most susceptible to anglers. “Hot” is what I would describe these fish as; highly aggressive ironheads that bite the first thing that passes by their face; they are not spooky during this time as the river is still slightly coloured from the high rains. This is not the time to worry about what you are fishing but to worry about what water you are fishing and how much water you are covering. With some fish caught already in the season from the Vedder as well as some whispers of fish entering other systems, those who put the time in and pick their days will be rewarded.
The historic Boxing Day Derby has been postponed to Saturday January 14th due to the highwater on Boxing Day. This is an annual event that has been running for over 80 years with every penny raised from the derby tickets going directly to the Fraser Valley Watershed Coalition Habitat Conservation Fund that will leverage this money into 3 to 5X its initial value. Even for those that cannot attend, registering and buying Wrap Up draw tickets will help our Steelhead and the river itself for years to come.
Squamish River Fishing Report
The river rose a ton with the snow melt and rain over Christmas Day and Boxing Day but it dropped surprisingly fast and was into safe, though high levels Wednesday. The reports we had were good Wednesday and Thursday with the egg eaters turning on as eggs washed down stream in the high water.
If you are planning to get out, larger bright egg presentations should be in the kit. We are going to see more water today and it may blow things out again but remember that the best fishing when it comes to targeting fish eating salmon eggs if right after a river rises and then settles.
Watch the levels and note that though it was high Thursday and Wednesday it was worth going.
STILLWATER FISHING REPORTS
Ice Fishing 101
The early cold snap across BC put a fair amount of ice on some of the interior lakes, and I’ve been hearing reports of safe ice on most of the popular lakes, with some lakes having been safe for almost a month at this point. Most of the Merritt-Kamloops area lakes are well iced by this point, and I’ve been hearing good reports from those who were brave enough to venture out during last week’s storms. Anglers targeting Brook Trout, Rainbows, Kokanee, Burbot and even Lake Trout have all been finding success, with the Brookies and Rainbows being the easiest of the bunch to catch.
The gear needed for ice fishing is fairly simple and straightforward, with the bare essentials being warm clothes, an ice fishing rod/reel setup, a 5-gallon bucket, an ice scooper, small jig heads and some bait. An ice tent, sled and tip-up are all very nice to have, but are not strictly necessary. My favourite setup has always been to use a small trolling spoon, think Gibbs G-Force or Luhr-Jensen Coyote, with the hook chopped off as a flasher, with a small jig head tipped with bait on a 12”-18” leader below it. This setup, or a variation of it, will work for pretty much every species of fish you could care to ice fish for. Worms, wax worms, meal worms, maggots, shrimp or krill are all effective bait options for tipping your jig head. The idea here is that the flasher spoon reflects light and attracts fish, then the jig head and bait seal the deal. You can jig the setup, or leave it hanging stationary about 1’ off the bottom, either will work fine. Small jigging spoons can also work well at times, but I find them to be somewhat hit-or-miss, depending on what kind of mood the fish are in.
As mentioned before, Brookies and Rainbows will be the easiest fish to catch through the ice, with Brookies usually being easier than ‘Bows. Brookies tend to be more active in colder water, which means their metabolisms are more active and they will be eating more. Brookies will typically be found in shallower water than Rainbows, with 2’-12’ being my preferred depths. Woody structure is an absolute magnet for Brookies, so keep an eye out for fallen trees or beaver lodges.
When targeting Rainbows, I’ll look for depths between 6’-20’, depending on the lake. Fishfinders that are built exclusively for ice fishing are available and are massively helpful, but you can definitely get by with some good old-fashioned dead reckoning. I used to make a few small marks on my mainline with a permanent marker at every 2’ from 2’-12’ so I could have a good idea of how deep I was; these days I just use a fishfinder.
I like to be fairly mobile when ice fishing, so If I’m not seeing any active fish in one area, I’ll grab my auger and start drilling more holes until I do find active fish. Colder temperatures mean that the fish’s metabolism will be slower, so there will be some fish that simply show no interest in biting. There’s no point in wasting time trying to get a bite from an inactive fish when you could go find some active fish somewhere else, so try not to get tied down in one area for too long if you’re not catching fish.
I enjoy ice fishing quite a bit, especially when in good company. It’s fun, relaxing, and easy.
2022 Fishing Photo Contest Winners
We wanted to start by thanking everyone who sent in photos. The memories those photos captured were all truly special.
If you want to see some of the runners up, make sure to tune into the video version of the report but below are the winners!
If you see you photo below congratulations. There will be gift cards waiting for you at the store Monday Jan 2nd
- Best Fishing Photo – anything with a fish in it, or related to the act of fishing. Prize: $50 Pacific Angler Gift Card
- Best Fishing Scenery Shot – amazing shots of the wonderful world we get to fish in. Prize: $50 Pacific Angler Gift Card
- Best of Kids Fishing (under 16) – we want to see how the next generation is enjoying their time on the water. Prize: $50 Pacific Angler Gift Card
- Best Overall Photo chosen from all submissions across all categories. $150 Pacific Angler Gift Card –