Another week of drizzly weather may be taking it’s tole on your vitamin D levels but on the fishing front the weather this week looks excellent. Enough rain to keep things from getting painfully low but not too much rain to blow things out. The temperatures also look excellent for spending time in the great outdoors.
This week we have updates on all the major rivers as well as some fun fish pics. We had reports of good steelhead, cutthroat and bulltrout fishing this week. This bodes well for the weekend.
Jason also has a Saltwater update and the fishing continues to be good. There were lots of boats out last weekend and we heard good things from everyone who made it out.
If you are trying to escape the great wet north and maybe hit a warm water location, we have an interesting review of a new saltwater fly rod. We think it is a big step up from other rods in the mid-tier made in North American category. If you are considering a new rod for a trip or you want the perfect beach or boat coho rod, Sage’s Maverick is the rod for you!
Check out Matt’s review here:
We also released another fly video. It’s an oldy but a goody – the Stinger Prawn. Dimitri tied it back in the day and it is a beautiful technical steelhead prawn pattern. If you want a challenge for the vise this weekend give it a watch here:
As always Matt has the video version of the report where, he goes over all the river levels and other fishing news!
Last but not least we will be closed on Monday February 17 for Family Day! We’ll see you out on the water. Have a great Valentine’s Day Long Weekend!
We’re looking forward to another great year on the water and growing our saltwater guiding team! If you have a passion for sportfishing and providing exceptional customer experiences check out our positions below which include Guide Operations Manager and Full and Part Time Saltwater Guides.
CLASSES AND COURSES
We’ve got a few great classes for the end of the month. While some of them may be sold out don’t hesitate to call the shop (604.872.2204) and add your name to the waitlist. If there is enough interest we may add on extra dates!
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. The dates below show the seminar date first and casting date second.
Dates: Feb 18 Seminar & Casting Feb 22
Seminar Time: 6:30pm – 9:30pm
Casting Time(s): 10am – 1pm or 1:30pm -4:30pm
Introduction to Spey Casting – Sold Out – call the shop to add your name to the waitlist!
This 2-part course is designed to introduce you to the art of Spey fishing and establish the fundamental techniques required for basic Spey casts used on our local rivers.
Dates: Seminar: Feb 25 Casting: Feb 29 (Squamish)
Seminar Time: 6:30pm – 9:30pm | Casting Time: Full Day, Squamish
Winter Steelhead On The Fly – Sold Out – call the shop to add your name to the waitlist!
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 work on casting, reading water and swinging the fly.
Dates: Seminar: Mar 3 Guided: Mar 7 or 8
Seminar Time: 6:30pm – 9:30pm | Guided: Full Day
FRESHWATER FISHING REPORTS
Chilliwack/Vedder River Fishing Report
We are halfway through the month of February and steelheading on the Vedder is coming into full swing as we slowly approach the peak of the season. So far this year definitely hasn’t been without its challenges, with a weak early component, less than ideal water heights, and clay slides creating poor visibility. Despite all of this, fish are being caught and now through to April is when you want to be out on the water looking for these fish.
For this weekend we can expect conditions to hold a bit as we are forecasted to get some rain, then the water levels will most likely continue their descent as we come into sunnier weather during the week. The water above Borden Creek continues to be clear while below has been consistently hovering in 2 feet of visibility. All of the river is definitely fishable at this point, though it is still a touch high. You will want to adjust your presentation to the clarity of the water, so if you are above the slides you will want to downsize to nickel-sized presentations (or just go super big and hope for a reaction strike) while the majority of the river below will be better fished with larger quarter to toonie sized presentations and fluorescent colours. The relative size applies to flies as well in addition to picking your colours. Most importantly, keep covering water and don’t stay in place for too long. If you really like a piece of water or suspect there are fish in a certain spot and aren’t getting bit, opt for going back to it later rather than fence-posting there.
Stave River Fishing Report
Update: From the reports we’ve been getting in from customers this week, the Stave is starting to heat up. The cutty fishing has been excellent on both swung flies, drifted blades, or trout sized spoons in the slack water. We’ve also had some reports of steelhead rolling in to the system, sitting in deep holes in the main flow of the river. With the upcoming rain in the forecast we should see the system colour up a bit. I suggest sizing up your soft plastic presentations, or using small Colorado blades for multi species opportunities.
Overview: The Stave holds a variety of species year-round which can result in some very interesting angling opportunities. It is also an interesting one to look at when water levels are an issue because it is dam fed and can fish well when other rivers are blown out if they don’t open the dam. With this in mind it is one you will want to be careful of because levels can rise quickly when they do open up the dam.
Throughout the winter, whitefish, cutthroat, and bulltrout will feast on salmon egg presentations. A small steelhead population is also present in the system, generally a later run towards the middle to end of February. As the weather begins to warm throughout March and April, the fry hatch kicks things into high gear as fly fishing fry patterns can result in some large and aggressive searun cutthroat.
The often overlooked Stave is a great opportunity for local anglers and we have heard ok reports in the last little bit. Whether you’re looking to drift a float, spincast some spoons or target picky trout on the fly. It’s a solid bet year-round, as the dam ensures consistent water levels all through the calendar.
The Stave is stocked with 20,000 – 30,000 steelhead smolts along with 5,000-10,000 cutthroat smolts annually. The stocking is generally timed a few weeks before the fry hatch in the system (mid to end of April). We’ll get a clearer picture of the official numbers once mid-April arrives.
Squamish River Fishing Report
Looks like we are in for another damp weekend on the Squamish but this time the rain shouldn’t be enough to drastically change the river. Only a few mm of rain is expected so this should just add a touch of colour to the water which is ideal. I have heard of a few good reports over the last week from customers that have been exploring the upper river. The road is in ok shape and is open again.
Earlier in the week the water was fairly clear so fishing was a little challenging but there seems to have been a good push of bulltrout throughout the system. Sculpin fly patterns were the fly of choice for most fly anglers and I expect that trend to continue. I would still fish beads in a very pale coloration; peach, yellow and white are my go to’s this time of year. Sometimes pegging a bead on your leader a few cm’s in front of your fly can be a combination that some fish cannot resist.
Now is the time when we like to start hunting for early steelhead on the Squamish. The biggest key to success on this system is to cover as much water as you can. Don’t spend all of your time in one spot. Bring a variety of flies in colour, size and weights. For the gear guys drifting 4 and 6 inch worms or jigs under a float can be deadly. Don’t forget the 10mm beads either.
If you do manage to get into a Squamish unicorn please fight the fish quickly and efficiently and take the utmost care when landing the fish. Don’t drag steelhead onto the rocks or sand. Always try to land them in knee deep water, when you can, to help prevent hurting the fish on rocks. Get a quick photo and send them back on their way. We have a full selection of jigs, worms, beads and flies in the shop so come on in to get stocked up!
Chehalis/Harrison River Fishing Report
Update: We have heard a couple reports this week of cutthroat and it is the time of year to start thinking about this fishery. We tend to go later in the month and in early March but with warmer weather it might be worth a scout. We also have heard of a couple steelhead reports from the area so don’t rule that out either.
Overview (in case you missed our report a few weeks back): Both systems see steelhead, while the Harrison is more known for its spring cutthroat fishery.
With the Fall salmon season well over, the trout will have also gone up river to spawn over the winter. These same fish will drop back down with the emergence of the Spring fry hatch. When these fry start to hatch, the trout will start to key in on them as an easy high-protein prey species that are easy to pick off.
As explosive as this fishery can be, having the right fry pattern tied on or similar sized spoon/spinner can be key.
Lighter action spinning rods, or 4wt-5wt rods paired with floating lines and long leaders are a great place to start. Pair these up with small spoons/spinners or fry patterns and you’ll be ready to go.
As for steelheading, all your usual gear and flies will come in useful. Having a variety of tactics is the norm, and being able to cover changing water conditions can play a vital role in an angler’s success.
Small, medium, and large presentations in bright, subdued, and natural colours would round you out quite well. This goes for both gear and fly anglers alike.
One thing to keep in mind when exploring more canyon-esque systems is to be aware of current and forecasted water conditions as levels may change suddenly. These sudden rises in water may leave you stranded or in sketchy situations. Waning daylight should also be considered, especially if hiking in to the Chehalis.
SALTWATER FISHING REPORTS
We finally got a break in the weather a few times last week and there were certainly no shortage of boats out there enjoying the conditions. I can’t say I was surprised, after one of the wettest and windiest months in recent history, there was some serious cabin fever going on!
The fishing was what I would call standard, if you put in a good solid effort you got your chances at legal fish. In terms of location, we are about midway through the winter season and the fish are well spread out. The harbour is starting to pick up, right on que, as more herring start to congregate in the area. The past few weeks there have been decent reports from the Freighters, QB, Bell Buoy, and out a little further towards the QA. The fishing in these areas will continue to get better as more fish move into the area to feed on herring. Usually this fishery peaks mid March. If you want to burn more fuel, there are some fish to be had in the usual spots in Howe Sound.
I have covered gear extensively in past reports and not much has changed there. Solid producers this time of year are Herring Aid spoons in G-Force 3.0 or 3.5, Kingfisher 3.0 or 3.5 and Skinny G. If you want a brighter presentation Trailhead, BC, and Irish Cream in the same spoons and same sizes can be very effective.
Prawning continues to be very good and we recommend dropping prawn traps on all our full day winter trips. It’s a great way to end the day.
See you in the shop or on the water,