Almost every year we see a noticeable cold snap in February across the Lower Mainland. It is usually caused by Arctic outflows and things get darn “cold”. All of you easterners can tune in now with your insults about westerners being soft. This is usually the coldest of our year and it usually represents the low point in the year for fishing. Rivers drop, water clarity goes gin clear and fish metabolism slows right down.
It looks like we are going to see this cold snap over the next week with snow and cold Arctic outflows forecast for the next 5-10 days. What does this mean for Fishing? There are still options but this is a weekend you might consider taking off. Tie flies, rig gear, and get boats ready for lake season.
If you are hard core, there is still hope when targeting steelhead. Steelhead tend to be aggressive even in these conditions if you can find them. We have reports on the Vedder and Stave this week where you might try your luck. Winter chinook fishing is also one to consider as long as the winds don’t pick up. If you have heaters in the boat and are thinking about getting out, Jason has an update this week on the saltwater scene at the end of the report.
Though there is not much specific fishing info this week there is some interesting fishing news out there. The Public Fishery Alliance (PFA) have featured some topics over the last couple weeks that we wanted to share. Matt will take a look at those in the video version of the report and he also gives a cool overview of when salmon fry hatch. This is a critical question to ask because the fry hatch triggers the spring season to kick. All our river species wake up and key in on the fry and anglers that follow this timing can have excellent fishing. It usually happens end of February/early March so check out the video where Matt shares some interesting facts about an upcoming fishery and something to look forward to.
Click here for the video version of the report:
Last but not least a friendly reminder that we are closed on Monday February 15, 2021 for Family Day.
On to the report!
CLASSES AND COURSES
Introduction To Fly Fishing
This course was specifically designed to give the new fly fisher the basic knowledge, casting skills and fly fishing strategies to effectively fish our local BC waters. This course is comprised of two sessions; 3hr evening seminar and a 3hr casting session
Dates: Seminar March 10 & Casting March 14
Seminar Time: 6:30pm – 9:30pm
Casting Time(s): 10am – 1pm or 1:30pm -4:30pm
Cost: $150.00 + GST
FRESHWATER FISHING REPORT
Vedder River Fishing Report
Conditions have been extremely favourable this past week on the Vedder. Levels have been steadily dropping though there was a bit of a bump late last Thursday and Friday that added some needed colour into the water. The fishing has been pretty good, with a fair number of anglers touching fish or at least seeing some action out on the river. Now with this arctic outflow we expect the river flow to decrease and clear up pretty quickly leading into the weekend, but that probably won’t last long as we are expected to get a dump of snow and then warm up to regular season temperatures by Monday. This means we could be in for some higher and coloured conditions going into next week so don’t put away your big pink worms and flashy streamers just yet; they will still come in useful! Fish will be throughout the system so, as always, fish according to the conditions and cover water.
Squamish River Fishing Report
Moving into the second week of February we are seeing classic winter conditions of low and clear water. With no rain in the forecast for the weekend, and only a bit of snow, it will continue to drop and clear. It spiked a day or so ago, and is back dropping down to a 1.75 quite rapidly. When this happens, anglers will need to cover a lot of water as the fish are usually holed up together rather than spread about.
Try to find the deepest slots or troughs; these small areas will provide the most cover and opportunity for fish to rest and feed. Sculpin and baitfish imitations fished low and slow can often times draw fish to react. Sometimes scaling down the size of your offering can be the ticket so don’t be scared to go small.
As we move closer to March the main food source for trout and char will change and transition to fry and alevin. Small alevin patterns drifted under an indicator or tumbled along the bottom is a great primer for summertime nymphing.
When the fry start to migrate in the surface film, small epoxy minnows, muddlers, and other sparse fry patterns fished on dry lines and long leaders can sometimes be the key to success. Matt talks a little about the timing of when we expect the fry to start hatching in this week’s video version of the report so be sure have a watch of that if you haven’t already.
If you swing the big sticks or float the long rods, now is a great time to start the search for some larger migrating trout. Practicing your two-handed casting down in the lower reaches or drifting something bright can sometimes result in some early chrome.
Keep it tight,
Stave River Fishing Report
With weather conditions being incredibly inconsistent this year, there’s only one river that will pretty much always be in shape… even when the others are blown out. That river is the Stave. Being a very short dam-controlled river, water levels can fluctuate greatly, but visibility will pretty much always be fishable, no matter how apocalyptic the rains may seem.
The Stave has always been a somewhat difficult river to target steelhead for a few reasons, mainly due to how short and wide it is. Fish can move around a lot, and some of the best spots require a boat for access. Having said that, there are a number of good spots that can be accessed from either the east or west banks. It doesn’t take very long to effectively fish the best areas when you cover water properly.
The Stave has always had a slightly later run that rivers like the Vedder, with the bulk of the fish showing up between now and the end of March. It’s not a very big run of fish, but it can be rewarding if you time it right. All the gear that has been discussed in previous Vedder and Stave reports will be relevant, with some of the best options being beads, shrimp, roe, pink worms, gooey bobs or Colorado blades under a float. Also keep in mind that the spawning channel on the eastern bank is closed to ALL fishing between the inlet and the boat launch… so stay away from there! Remember, the Stave is a dam-controlled river, so use caution and common sense when fishing it, as water levels can jump rapidly and unexpectedly. Always pay attention to your surroundings.
SALTWATER FISHING REPORT
Vancouver Saltwater Fishing Report
Not a whole of new information to report this week. With sub-zero temperatures and strong outflow winds in Howe Sound we have been staying warm in the shop. It looks like a bit of a SE is moving in and with it some moisture in the form of snow. That combined with some lingering outflow winds in Howe Sound will make for a chilly one if you are going to attempt to head out this weekend.
Prior to the cold and windy weather, we did make it out a few times and fishing is typical for this time of year. Put in the effort and you will get shots at few legal fish. Seals continue to be a problem at a variety of spots. If you have a seal following you around, best thing to do is pick up and move, because when you do hook a good size fish it is as good as gone.
There seems to be quite a bit of bait in the harbour around the freighters and out towards the Bell Buoy. This bodes well for that March fishery that we sometimes see where winter chinook move in to take advantage of all those pre-spawn herring. Each year is a bit different, but the fact we are seeing a good amount of bait is a good start. Find the bait, find the fish.
I took a look at the long-range forecast and it looks like we will be back up to much more pleasant temperatures after this weekend, although it looks pretty wet. I will take a bit of rain over frozen boats any day.
In the meantime, it’s a good time to head down to the dock, check those battery levels and bilge pumps, have a hot coffee and tie some leaders.
See you in the shop or on the water,