For most, December is not a “fishing month” but there can still be some pretty cool opportunities to get out. We obviously ask everyone going fishing to respect public health orders but we feel that fishing is still a great social distancing activity and important for mental and physical health.
This week, we have updates on the Chilliwack where though salmon fishing is pretty much over steelhead season is on the horizon and worth a scouting trip. We also have some intel on North side rivers and sloughs around the Harrison. The North side systems will still have some late season coho options and the egg eaters will also be fun to target.
With the egg eaters in mind, we also have a report on the Squamish and Stave which will be good options over the next 2 months.
Yesterday, we announced our 2021 course line up. We offer a wide range of courses for every angler from beginner just starting to the advanced looking to refine their craft. They also make a great Christmas gift and you can sign up over the phone. See the Classes and Courses section below for more details and a link to the full listing.
On the fishing gift side of things, every year we ask the staff what their fishing gift list looks like. This week Jordan is sharing what is on his Christmas Wish List. You are more than welcome to buy him some items off this list but the goal is to make sure you end up with what you really want under the tree this year. Hopefully, this list will give you have some inspiration for when your loved ones ask “What do you want for Christmas?”
Matt is back at the video version of the report this week where he goes over the weather and all the fisheries plus, he has some cool videos and flies for everyone who wants to hunker down at home.
Finally, just a friendly reminder that for the winter season our saltwater reports will be coming to you on a bi-weekly basis so tune in next week for our saltwater report.
INDUSTRY EVENTS AND UPDATES
Sport Fishing Institute Webinar Series
If you’ve been following along with our reports in the past few weeks you will know that the SFI has been running a webinar series and we have been sharing links to the weekly webinars they have put on as part of their 2020 Policy Conference. If you missed them or wanted to re-watch some or all of the presentations and sessions, links are available on the SFI’s webpage here. Happy watching!
CLASSES AND COURSES
2021 Class List
If you missed our special mailout yesterday we announced our 2021 course listing. Check out the full list here of all our 2021 course offerings and call the shop to reserve your spot today. Remember – courses make a great Christmas gift!
CHRISTMAS WISH LIST IDEAS
Jordan’s Christmas List
With 2020 being such a gong show, I wanted to end things with a little bit of wishful thinking.
This week I take a quick look at a few of my favourite pieces of gear, and why I like them so much. Hopefully this inspires your own wish-list, or helps you shop for those in your life that angle.
Fishpond Thunderhead Submersible Sling
Why: This pack is simple, clean, and effective.
It keeps your gear completely dry in the heaviest of rains and will help you learn to pack less even though it has plenty of room for more!
Made with Cycle-Pond, these bags are tough and will help you wade and fish with confidence.
Simms Pro Wading Staff
Why: Even as the water levels drop and the conditions clear up, wading is always an activity that should be done with caution. Clear water is very deceiving, and what looks shallow and consistent can suddenly be a foot or more deeper than seen. A wading staff helps you feel structure and allows you to feel your way across a run or pool. It also acts as a third leg for support when the flow is heavier than expected.
Why: Anyone and everyone who has ever tied a fly for salmon or steelhead has always looked at, or wished for, Jungle Cock feathers. Hard to source, it’s unique shape and colour is used for classics, intruders, and skaters. It is also used as the eyes on some bigger baitfish patterns as well.
Simms Pro Nippers
Why: Fully anodized for the harshest saltwater environment, these nippers feel right at home in the freshwater angler’s kit as well.
Along with its replaceable cutting jaws, this invaluable tool also features a hook eye cleaner to clear out head cement and stray fuzzies.
But what makes these nippers different though? Here’s what: it has a machined hook-threader built in to it that runs across a small magnet. This groove is perfect for holding small nymphs, chironomids, and dries while threading smaller tippets in the 4X-6X range.
Nomad Nets by Fishpond
Why: These nets are built tough and durable with abuse in mind. I’ve thrown these nets around pretty recklessly into trucks and skiffs, and have never worried about them. Great for keeping fish safe and wet, these nets also float for those using them while still water fishing. With the ability to replace the netting should anything happen, these nets are a great gift for any angler, regardless of target species.
FRESHWATER FISHING REPORTS
Chilliwack/Vedder Fishing Report
The transition season is tough, and that’s exactly what we are in the middle of right now on the Vedder. Salmon fishing is basically over and the steelhead haven’t quite made it in yet. This is an interesting time of year as the river is quiet, both in terms of fish and fishers, but it is a fantastic time to scout out for the upcoming steelhead season and once in a while it can be extremely rewarding to be out there. There are still going to be the very odd fresh coho or chum; not enough to justify a trip to look for them per se, but there could be a welcome tug during an otherwise fishless scouting trip. Resident bull trout, rainbow trout, and mountain whitefish are around too, and if you are really lucky, you might come across an early steelhead.
The transition period is the time of the egg! You want to be breaking out your hard and soft beads, Jensen eggs, gooey bobs, spin n glows… anything that looks like an egg. All of the aforementioned species will take an egg presentation and is thus the best presentation for covering water and covering all your bases. In addition, your resident trout, char, and whitefish will be keyed in on the eggs getting washed out from the salmon reds.
We haven’t heard of any confirmed steelhead sightings yet, but it would not surprise me if a couple have made an appearance already. By the end of the month, we should definitely have some chrome in by then.
Squamish River Fishing Report
We are still hearing late coho reports on the Squamish, but things are shifting to the salmon egg fishery where we use artificial salmon egg presentations with light gear rods or fly rods to target char, resident rainbows and cutthroat, the egg eaters.
One of the keys for this fishery is water levels. High dirty water is obviously bad but low cold and clear water is equally a challenge. The river is low as we write this report but with some rain in the forecast it should keep things fishable. Watch water levels. It looks like this weekend will be good into next week but there is a cold spell in the long-range forecast that might make things challenging next weekend.
If you are a fly angler and want to see some of the mends we use for this fishery check out tis video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v5yZEjYN6dE&t=884s
Stave River Fishing Report
With salmon season effectively coming to a close on the Stave, we can start to look at the other species which populate its waters this time of year. The two main species being cutthroat trout and whitefish. Like clockwork, the first week of December sees increasing numbers of both searun and resident cutthroat trout grazing the system for a specific food source: roe. This is especially true when the numbers of chum and coho were so good throughout the fall salmon season. Single egg patterns or egg clusters are always the top producers this time of year, skewing more towards the opaque water hardened colorations of both. It’s always a good idea to have some attractor patterns or lures at your disposal to take advantage of the more aggressive fish of the bunch.
These fish are spread throughout the entire system, and will occasionally make themselves seen by surfacing, so keep a keen eye out for dimples on the water. Don’t get too attached to your favourite spot, prioritize covering as much water as you can to increase your chances of running into these beautiful trout.
Harrison Area Fishing Report
Salmon season is pretty much done on the South-side rivers, and the North-side systems aren’t exactly on fire, but if you are itching for some late coho there are still some options on the Harrison System + North-side sloughs and rivers.
This very late season fishery isn’t exactly what I would call “productive”, but sometimes you can get lucky and scratch out a few fish. One nice thing is that most of the crowds will be long gone, with the exception of a few specific areas.
Certain areas will also have decent populations of cutthroat trout and whitefish at this time of year. These fish will be feasting on salmon eggs and chunks of rotting flesh, so those are what you should be imitating when targeting these fish.
If you’re like me and you just want to land one or two more coho before you officially call the season over, the North side is your best bet. Get out there and find ‘em, but please be mindful of where you wade, as a majority of the smaller backchannels in our local systems are prime spawning habitat for chum and coho. Leave the spawning fish alone… targeting spawning salmon is illegal, and treading on reds will crush eggs, which is counterproductive if you want to catch fish a few years down the road.