Happy almost New Year everyone! 2021, what a year…. It has had its ups and its fair share of challenges. We wanted to thank everyone who has supported us, supported the fisheries and made it a priority in their lives to get out end enjoy the beautiful outdoors while fishing in this amazing province and beyond!
For those of you who supported our Flood Relief Auction we have an update on the funds raised and where we have directed those funds. For more details on that please see our update in the Industry Events and Updates section below. Again, a huge thanks to all who participated in our auction and the many other great auctions and fundraisers held by members of the sport fishing community!
We are not going to dwell on the negatives of the past year. We are going to look to the good things, what we are thankful for and more importantly the epic fish you guys and girls caught. Hundreds of Photos came in for our Best of 2021 Fishing Photo Contest and it is time to announce the winners and drool over the photos! Winners are posted below and Matt shares a bunch of the runners up in the Video version of the report – Click here to sit back and enjoy the fun.
On the report side of things, we have an update on the Chilliwack, where things did not go well for the Boxing Day Derby, though we have heard better steelhead reports after some strange water clarity issues around Christmas. Taylor has an update below in the Freshwater Fishing Reports Section.
We also have an update on the Squamish and winter chinook in this episode. Though it is cold guys and girls are getting fish up the Sea to Sky and winter chinook fishing continues to be surprisingly good. If you are thinking about your boat and haven’t checked on it during this cold snap, get down to the docks, make sure everything is safe, then go out for a troll. It is highly recommended right now. Jason has details at the end of the report.
Last, but not least, we had a great Boxing Week Sale, but there are still some amazing deals that will continue on sale, until stock runs out. If you thought you missed out, Sterling has a number of the best deals that are still listed. If you can’t make it in call in and we can still get you the deals!
If you’re headed down to the shop, be sure to check out our New Year’s Hours!
Friday December 31 – 10AM – 3PM
Saturday January 1 – Closed – Happy New Year!
Sunday January 2 – Regular Hours – 11AM – 5PM
On To The Report!
CLASSES AND COURSES
We’re looking forward to getting back in the classroom in the New Year – whether virtually or in person! Remember, classes will still make an excellent post Christmas gift and we can get that processed over the phone and send you a Gift Card! See our full course listing here!
INDUSTRY EVENTS AND UPDATES
Flood Relief Auction Update
First off, a big thank you to all who participated in our Flood Relief Auctions, held at the end of November! There was so much desire to participate in our guided trip auction we ended up donating 4 winter chinook trips to the cause. Those trips combined with our Islander MR3 and Pacific Angler Mooching Rod combo led to donations for flood relief of just over $15,000! Amazing! The funds have been donated to the following organizations who are directly helping out on the flood relief front:
- Fraser Valley Angling Guides Association – FVAGA members have been hard at work since day one of the floods with rescue/recovery efforts, delivering essential goods and clean up kits and performing sturgeon recovery and assessments as flood waters recede.
- Pacific Salmon Foundation – PSF is supporting time sensitive habitat repair work and recovery efforts and will work with entities involved in flood recovery to ensure that infrastructure rebuilding efforts improve migration and habitat areas for our wild salmon. In addition, it will use opportunities to support and advance salmon conservation recovery efforts.
- United Way of BC Flood Response Fund – The United for BC Flood Response Fund will support those who are displaced or have lost housing, belongings and/or employment, suffered physical or mental health trauma, as well as urgent needs. The Fund will ensure local people have access to urgent aid, and as emergency needs are reduced, support for recovering and rebuilding their lives.
Best of 2021 Fishing Photo Contest Winners!
We wanted to thank everyone who sent in photos for our Best of 2021 Fishing Photo Contest. With well over a hundred entries, it was very hard to choose the winners as there were so many amazing shots. Matt has included a bunch of the runners up in the video version of the report so be sure to have a watch of that. There were so many amazing shots but let’s cut to the chase with the winners.
The categories were Best Fish Picture, Best Fishing Picture, Best Fishing Scenery Shot and the Best of Kids Fishing from an angler Under 16. Each winner will receive a $50 gift card to the store. If you see your photo below, and you are one of the lucky winners, come down to the store. There will be a Gift Card put aside for you under your name. If you can’t make it down email: email@example.com and we can email you a copy.
Let’s start off with the Under 16 Category. It was amazing to see the next generation of anglers out on the water!
For the Best Fishing Scenery Shot this one stood out!
For Best Fishing Picture this one was the winner.
Last, but certainly not least, here is the winner for Best Fish Picture!
Congratulations to all of the winners! We will email you and coordinate getting your Pacific Angler Gift Card to you.
FRESHWATER FISHING REPORTS
Chilliwack/Vedder River Fishing Report
It’s been a strange start to steelhead season on the Chilliwack/Vedder system- water levels are still higher than what would be expected from the current weather conditions, although they are dropping… slowly. It hasn’t been under 2 meters since November 25th! This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as higher water levels means that fish are much more willing to move around, instead of bunking down in certain areas and becoming “stale”.
Having said that, it also means that conditions have been variable below the clay slides, mostly because there was another major slide at Ranger Run on the 25th- so major that it actually blocked the river for a period of time.
This slide was worse than the one last year, so expect the river below the slide to be very touchy for a while… just like it was last year, only worse. Conditions have been good above the slides, and I’ve seen photos of a few fish getting hooked in the upper, so they’re certainly there. I’d recommend bringing a wide selection of presentations to cover you for different conditions.
I’m sure I don’t need to remind anybody about how chilly it’s been lately. The below-average temps will have two primary effects on the fishery. The more noticeable effect will be the discomfort- your hands will get cold, rod eyelets and level wind guides will freeze, and centerpin anglers will want to take every single step to avoid getting their reels wet… centerpins will freeze up solid if water gets between the spool and the frame. Your best bet will be to wear good gloves, bring Vaseline for your eyelets, bundle up well, and avoid getting your hands wet… unless you like frostbite. The second issue is that exceptionally cold water will slow down the fish’s metabolism and thus make them more sluggish and reluctant to move a long way to grab your gear. Brighter, more attention-grabbing presentations can coax these fresh, aggressive early-run fish into taking, but be aware that they still won’t move very far to grab something, so you’ll need to get your gear in front of them. Also know that very cold conditions are rarely super productive.
As usual, you’ll want to move around a lot and cover water to find fish, especially considering that this is still quite early in the season so there aren’t a ton of fish in the system just yet. The river will have changed dramatically following the floods, so it’s not a bad idea to take some time to re-learn your favourite areas, or to find new favourite areas. More and more fish will be showing up as the season progresses, so make sure you’re stocked up on the essentials and be ready to go- we’ve got everything you’ll need to hunt Steel in BC.
Squamish River Fishing Report
This past while has been pretty quiet up in Squamish as heavy snowfall has limited the amount of anglers heading up that way. For those that have, I’ve been hearing some decent reports from the mid- to-upper section from those targeting trout and char.
Standard low/clear water tactics have been the way to go with paler, washed-dead egg imitations being looked at. Small streamers are also a good bet for those who like to feel a tight-line grab.
Spinners and small spoons are also a great option for those on light to medium spinning gear. Beads are also a great option as well, with smaller floats and lighter weight being a welcomed reprieve from the heavier salmon gear.
If you want to practice your two-handed casting, this is a great time of year to do it as it will prepare you for classic winter steelhead weather, as well as get you dialed in for when it counts later in the spring.
Remember to wade with caution: gin-clear water can be very deceiving and appear shallower than it actually is. A wading staff or stick can be a great tool to use while crossing braids and streams as it allows you to feel ahead of yourself before you step, as well as acting as a third leg for support in heavier flows.
Keep it fresh,
Boxing Week Sale
Our boxing week sale is coming to a close today but we still have some great items in stock and will hold select sales over until the new year for those who may not have been able to venture in to town on the snowy roads. Check out these great deals and more in store today and into the New Year!
Simms West Fork Jackets (Raven) – 20% off
The Simms West Fork is the perfect low-bulk puffer jacket for the fall and winter. Its stitchless insulation holds up to the unpredictable windy conditions that we typically deal with in the Lower Mainland and up the Squamish Valley. The low bulk profile makes it comfortable to wear on those long walk and wade days while still having enough thermal properties to keep you warm on the cold mornings typical of salmon and steelhead fishing. An underrated feature of the jacket is its adjustable storm hood so you can have a sealed fit when the wind is really blowing.
Simms G3 Guide Waders – 2020/2021 Models Cinder + Shadow Green – 20% off
The high-end G3 Guide Waders are tough to beat for durability and performance as they’re entirely hand-stitched in Bozeman, Montana. A unique feature of the G3 is that the 4-layer GoreTex shell extends all the way to the upper back. This is especially useful in case you ever take a nasty fall while walking down hills as you have the extra layer of puncture protection. The G3 also has a heavy-duty tippet tender pocket and full abrasion resistant gravel guards.
Fenwick Eagle 7’ ML Spin Rod – 15% off
The Fenwick Eagle 7’ ML is perfect for people trying to bridge the gap between trout and lighter salmon fishing at an affordable price. The moderate-fast action allows you to throw all the 1/8 oz to 5/8 oz basic spinner and jig setups that you would typically use. It also comes with a 5-year limited warranty, which is a great deal for a novice level rod.
Renzetti Master Vice Special Edition Purple – 15% off
The special edition Renzetti Master is tough to beat when it comes to all things fly-tying. The true-rotary vise can handle everything from size #28 to 10/0 hooks meaning you can use the same vise to tie tiny Colorado nymphs and trophy striper flies. I love the extra wide pedestal base as you’re able to really crank down on the material to lock it in place. The Master has a built-in material clip preventing annoying tied in feathers and ribbing from getting in the way. The limited purple anodization also plainly looks awesome
SALTWATER FISHING REPORTS
Vancouver Saltwater Salmon Fishing Report
We haven’t been out lately because of the extremely cold temperatures, snow, winds and time with family over Christmas. Just prior to Christmas we did get a few days on the water and fishing was very good. Some of our friends and customers were also out around Christmas and had some good fishing, as has been the case for the last 3 months.
It hasn’t been easy to get out with very limited weather windows, but it looks like things are going to warm up slightly this coming week. The rains on the weekend should wash away some of the snow as well.
Speaking about that, it’s always a good idea to go down to the docks and get the snow off your boat. I have seen situations where there is a foot of snow on the boat and then it rains 30 plus mm in one day, coming close to sinking boats. The snow becomes super saturated with water and can really weigh the boat down. I saw one extreme example where this happened, and all the snow slid to the stern of the boat and overwhelmed the self-draining deck. The boat sank down enough that water started coming in the back tuna door and at that point the boat was basically sinking, with only the dock lines holding it up. Once that wet snow gets overtop of the drain holes it is effectively seals up your self bailing deck, at the very least the water can’t drain out quickly. All that heavy snow is sitting there, and all that rainwater continues to build up. Not a good situation to say the least.
Lee was down at the docks Thursday morning, clearing the snow off the boats in advance of the 30-40 mm of rain forecast for Sunday.
If you are looking to get out, give us a call at 778-788-8582. We have been getting into some very nice size chinook for this time of year. It’s a great way to get out of the house, get some fresh air, and enjoy some fishing!
See you in the shop or on the water,