It looks like another wet weekend is coming down the pipes. Heavy rain started last night and will ramp up Sunday. The weather man is forecasting over 50mm for both the valley and sea to sky corridor.
Unfortunately this will most likely blow out most rivers but this week we had good reports across the board from the Squamish, Harrison, Stave and Vedder so when the rivers stabilize this trend should continue.
With the warm weather last week we heard more whisperings of salmon fry being spotted wiggling out of the gravel so with this in mind we are going to start reporting on the Harrison and Cutthroat fishing. Early season we tend to stay quiet on this fishery because many of the larger cutthroat are spawning and we don’t want to harass them. The second the fry hatch these big fish will go on the feed. It may still be a little early but it is worth looking at the calendar and booking some time off work to head up cutthroating in the next few weeks. If you are new to this fishery we offer an excellent course put on by our resident Cutthroat addict Andre Stepanian. The course goes over all you need to know to chase these cool anadromous trout and we then take you out on the water to put the skills into practice. The course is on March 9th and we have on water dates for the 12th and 13th of March. Spots are filling up fast. Check out more details on Andre’s Confessions of a Cutthroat Addict section below and in our course section of the report.
Guys at the shop managed to catch a decent number of steelhead last weekend and into the week so check out the Vedder Chilliwack report for more details. On the saltwater scene things were much more consistent with fish being hit in all the usual spots. See Jason’s Saltwater Report below!
We are still promoting February as Warm Water Month at the shop and a bunch of guys turned out this weekend to get their free copy of “Do It Yourself Bonefishing” but we still have copies left. If you missed it in last week’s report when you spend more than 100$ on warm water gear, be it fly tying materials, rods, reels, lines, etc, we will give you a hard copy edition of this great book for FREE!
Continuing the Warm water theme Lars has shared his secret Hawaii Bonefish Fly “Lars’ bonefish Critter”. Almost all great “Guide Flies” are simple and this fly is no exception but read the small write up Lars wrote on the design. The fly may be simple but each material and feature has a purpose and if it is done wrong it doesn’t work as well.
Lars’ Bonefish Critter
Hook – TMC 811-8
Eyes – Medium gold bead-chain
Tail – Tinsel Flash Flashabou
Thread – UNI thread 3/0 Tan
Wing – polar bear, craft fur or equivalent
Body – pearl tinsel flash
This fly is an evolution resulted from 7 years of guiding for bonefish in Oahu, Hawaii. I found that the materials, size and weight of this fly made it the “perfect” sight casting fly for both mangrove flats as well as sand flats.
The combination of the relatively small hook (size 8) and the slightly over sized bead chain allows for a very smooth presentation, allowing the fly to land softly as it breaks the water but sink fast. I found that it allowed my clients to cast closer to tailing fish than with regular style bonefish flies because of this. An often overlooked and critical element as bonefish tend to change direction every 10 feet or so. While in the water, this hook/eye combination also allowed for smooth movement as you strip it, leaving a smooth mud trail on the bottom as you slowly strip it. As you can see in the picture it will “sit” on the bead chain with the hook and wing riding up, keeping it away from snags.
This fly is best fished when casting 4-5 feet in front of the fish, and immediately leaving it to rest on the bottom once the fish has spotted it. A gently pull on the line as the bonefish tails on it and you are off to the races.
February Fishing Courses
We have some big announcements in the report this week but before we jump into the details we wanted to let everyone know that we still have a few spots in our February fishing courses. Call to sign up today! 604-872-2204
Fly Fishing For Searun Cutthroat Trout In Rivers
Dates 1: Seminar Mar 9th , Guided Mar 12th or 13th Date 2: Seminar Mar 29 Guided April 2nd or 3rd
This spring make sure to get out and take advantage of the world-class cutthroat fishing in the Lower Mainland. This cutthroat course is designed to educate you on the life cycle, location, seasonal feeding habits, and successful techniques and flies used to catch these elusive yet aggressive fish. This course consists of a 3hr evening seminar and a fully guided day on the water. Call to sign up today. 604-872-2204.
Introduction to Spey Casting with Matt Sharp – Wednesday Feb 24th and Sunday Feb 27th
It’s the Perfect time to learn Spey Casting! Join us for our introduction to Spey casting course with Matt Sharp. This is a 2 part course where we go over everything you need to know to tackle casting in the classroom and then head out on the water for a full day of casting practice. Matt Sharp has been Spey fishing for nearly 20 years and has seen the progression of the Spey rods from the eyes of a full time steelhead guide. He is a master at taking a new caster and getting them fishing effectively on their first day with a Spey rod. Let him show you his tricks and get you started off right. Call to sign up today. 604-872-2204.
We have another addition of our steelhead course on Monday Feb 15 with on the water fishing days open for Feb 20, 21, 27 or 28. If you missed out on our last sold out course this is your chance to learn from one of the most dedicated float fisherman in Vancouver and then get out on the water in prime time. Call today to book your spot in this very popular class. 604-872-2204.
As you saw in his the Stinger Prawn Video last week (Click here to see video), Dimitri is a master. His Steelhead flies have been featured in Magazines and many top guides rely on him to fill their boxes. In this 2 day course learn the intricate skills needed to take your steelhead flies to the next level. With a large focus on the ideal silhouette for a steelhead pattern, this course is one you don’t want to miss. If you are getting into tying steelhead patterns or want to take your skills to the next level, sign up today. Call to sign up. 604-872-2204.
Winter Steelhead on the Fly Saturday March 12th and Sunday March 13th (in house Feb 29th)
Fishing for winter steelhead on the fly (single hand or spey) is arguably one of the most challenging and rewarding fisheries in BC. Let our steelhead gurus help you unlock the mysteries of these magical fish with their decades of steelhead guiding knowledge. This course consists of a 3hr evening seminar and 1 full day of guided fishing on the water. In the seminar we will go over rods, reels, lines, sink tips, flies and reading water and swung fly techniques. The fully guided day on the water we will be working on casting, reading water and swinging the fly. Call to sign up. 604-872-2204.
On To The Report!
Vedder River Fishing Report
The Vedder fished well this past week. The nicer weather definitely brought more anglers out so there was quite a bit of pressure on the river. There looks to be a good dump of rain for the weekend. If it arrives expect the river to blow out. The river may not come into shape until late next week. Keep a close eye on the weather and water levels if you are planning on heading out this weekend. Once it starts to drop the fish will be rested as they haven’t seen anything for the past few days. Choose your baits dependant on clarity. Reduced water visibility calls for a Magnum Gooey Bobs and a 6” Pink Worms. Don’t get discouraged if you’ve been cursed with high water on your days off. We still have March and April which are great months for steelhead fishing.
Please make sure to handle all fish with care, release fish in the water and don’t drag them up on the rocks. Also NO GLOVES ON WILD FISH. For many years there was a debate but studies have been done that show that gloves are very bad for handling fish. It will remove the protective slime from them and cause infections. Try to avoid it.
Chehalis River Fishing Report
As always this river is a gamble. The amount of rain expected may blow it out but if the amount changes or doesn’t show up you may have a brief window of fishable conditions this weekend. This river doesn’t have a graph so keep that in mind if you are planning a trip out there.
Searun Cutthroat Fishing Report and Fishery Overview
Cutthroat chasers like myself are a small group. You have to love the hunt for these magnificent fish that swim around like nomads in our local waters. They may not be biggest fish you can catch but they are extremely challenging and rewarding. The hunt for them is part of the thrill. Every day I head out I am excited and even if I don’t catch anything I usually have a smile on my face as I head home. For me it is the experience, the surrounding and the fact that even on fishless days you learn valuable lessons that will one day result in catching fish. Exploring new areas each time is the name of the game when cutthrouting and when you find them they are always chasing and eating something. For you the job is to find them.
Cutthroat fishing is not for everybody but when you hook your first one you will be addicted to the take, the power and the beauty of these fish. I have been an addict for the last 25 years and am still waiting to land my first 5 pound plus true searun cutthroat. Another beautiful part of this fishery is that you commonly find yourself in complete solitude. On other days you might cross paths with a couple other anglers but cutthouters are almost always a friendly bunch and after a brief conversation and a smile you part ways feeling better for the encounter. This cannot be said for many other fisheries.
Although the cutthroat can be anywhere I usually start my hunt on the Harrison river and work my way down to the sloughs of the Stave river, the Alouette river and the Fraser bars. This is why I prefer driving and walk/wading as opposed to a using a boat which limits you from checking different systems quickly.
Another aspect of this fishery is that you can take a break from heavier tackle as you walk the river shores. Although little spinners sometimes work, ideally you want to fly fish for these voracious sea-run cutthroat. They will be very specific when keying in on a certain hatch and a well equipped fly box is a must with a wide variety of patterns. One day they will only hit one style of pattern and the very next day the pattern will change.
The ideal set up is 4 or 5 weight rod with a floating line and a 4-6lb 10-12 ft. leader.
Make sure you have a variety of salmon fry patterns and march browns in your box as they are known to get very picky. If you can, refrain from blind casting and look for a rise, anything as a small dimple or if you’re lucky, the ultimate thrill a chasing hungry cutthroat slashing fry on top of the water.
If you are interested in learning more about this fishery we offer a course on two different dates so please give us a call to sign up. The first course is March 9th and we have on water dates for the 12th and 13th of March.
Squamish River Fishing Report
The river got dirty on the Saturday last week and then came into shape nicely for family day. Fishing was good and a number of anglers had good success on egg patterns. The river went out yesterday and will be a challenge if the weatherman’s forecast holds true.
Eggs still out produce streamer patterns when the river was in shape last week and we expect that to continue when the water levels stabilize after this big rain but soon we will see the fish switch to streamer patterns. If you are heading out this weekend look to the Mamquam and other smaller tributaries for clear water. That said we expect most of the system to be dirty with the rain.
As we approach the end of the month streamers will take over. Make sure to have a good selection of olive, black and white streamers.
Historically we hear of the first steelhead soon but this system is a late steelhead run and we consider mid march the time to start targeting them. If you are getting ready for the season, tie flies in pink, orange and purple.
Good luck on the water
Vancouver Saltwater Fishing Report
Another week of winter chinook fishing and not much has changed. The big highlight of the week was the great weather on Monday. With the holiday many customers were out on the water enjoying the relatively calm seas, blue skies, and that big yellow thing in the sky called the sun!
The same theme from the past 2 weeks continues, you need to be at the right place at the right time. There continues to be some fish taken up Howe Sound, the harbour was slow for the most part, Coal Ports was slow for the most part, and Porlier was over run with sea lions and fishing was tough.
Most of the fish that were taken were of typical size, in the 8-12 pound range, but we did see one fish that was 20 pounds. The usual technique of keeping your gear close to the bottom and using glow flashers and glow spoons has produced the majority of the fish. Take a look at previous blog posts for lots of details. Some anglers have been catching fish on bait as well. We saw a picture of a fish that had around 20 herring in its stomach. So herring will obviously work as bait, but it should be noted the herring in this chinook were very small. An anchovy would be a better choice to match the size of bait these fish are feeding on, or if you can find it, very small herring, called “Red” in terms of the size that they are. These are usually pretty hard to find at the stores, so most anglers choose anchovies.
We prefer to fish spoons with some scent because you can troll fast and cover water. Use a small spoon, like a Pesca 2.5, a Kingfisher 3.0, or a Koho Killer. Any colour with some green and glow in it will produce. Popular colours are Gut Bomb, Irish Cream, Homeland Security, and Yellow Tail. There is plenty of season left, so pick your days when it is calm and sunny and get out and catch some of the best eating salmon of the year.
If you would like to book a charter please give Jason Tonelli a call at 778-788-8582 or call Pacific Angler at 604-872-2204.
See you in the shop or on the water,