Well at least it is warming up. After a very cold and snowy winter season there is hope in sight. It is starting to feel like spring and with it we should see fishing pick up. In this transition period we have had to deal with heavy rain and snow melt. Most of our rivers have been high and dirty. With it fishing has been a challenge but when things drop, expect excellent river fishing. Salmon fry will start to hatch in numbers over the next 2-3 weeks and warmer temps mean steelhead and bulltrout are much more eager to bite. Check out all the river reports for predictions on when things will come into shape.
Solid reports are still coming off the water on the saltwater scene and with the warming trend expect more boats out and more reports.
Don’t miss our course section below as there are a number of not to be missed courses coming up including a number fly tying courses. Now is the time to get tying for the season whether you’re fishing locally or heading off to warmer destinations. Next week we have a very cool course with Denis Gamboa. He is teaching a course on warm water flies. He is considered one of the best local custom tiers. His speed, quality and consistency are legendary. We still have spots in his course and if you are going on a warm water trip or thinking about one in the future you will not want to miss it. In conjunction with the course we are featuring his warm water flies as the product of the week. Everything from bonefish flies, beach patterns to tarpon and GTs patterns are on sale at 10% off. Come down and fill up your box or purchase some samples, then take his course so you can tie them yourself. Call in now before the course sells out or come down to the shop to check out the flies!
CLASSES AND COURSES
There are still a couple of spots in classes coming up next week! Join Matt in his Introduction to Fly Fishing Course to learn the basics and you’ll be out on the water before you know it. We are also excited to have guest instructor Dennis Gamboa in the house for a two night warm water tying class. Also, for those of you looking ahead to March we have some great tying classes with Andre. These classes are a great opportunity to get your fly boxes stocked for the upcoming season. There will be a few other fly tying classes added in March so be sure to keep an eye on this section for updates!
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.
Seminar: Feb 20 – 6:30PM – 9:30PM
Casting: Feb 25 10AM – 1PM or 2PM – 5PM
ADVANCED WARM WATER FLY WORKSHOP 201
Join us for this 2-night workshop designed to teach the best commercial techniques and productive patterns for any Warm Water Destination. Dennis Gamboa from The Fly Box will be your Instructor for the Workshop. Dennis has been teaching fly tying classes for over 15 years all over the Lower Mainland. His specialty is Saltwater flies from local waters to exotic destinations he is a Master of the art of commercial tying with over 20 years experience on his Regal Vise. His creativity and design has earned him a spot on The Lagartun Pro Staff Team and has also been selected as a Partridge Pro Member of Redditch to represent the West Coast of BC Canada.
This advanced class will teach you modern and up to date techniques using, epoxy, uv resin, advanced tubing techniques, ep fibres and new modern materials to make that perfect fly. We will be working with premium quality hooks and materials that will cover patterns for Bonefish, Triggerfish, Permit, Giant Trevally and other warm water game. Even though the class is centred around Warm Water destinations the techniques taught can be applied to local waters. Students are required to supply their own vise, tools and materials. A 10% discount is available on materials and tools purchased for the course.
Dates: Feb 21 & Feb 22
Time: 6:30pm – 9:30pm
TYING CHIRONOMID FLY PATTERNS
80% of a trout’s diet consists of chironomids whose patterns vary from lake to lake. This 3-hour evening seminar will teach you how to tie a variety of the most effective chironomid patterns used in BC’s world-renowned lakes. You will finish this course understanding the very specific technical aspects ranging from beads, ribbing, colors, and body shapes. Students are required to supply their own vise, tools and materials. A 10% discount is available on materials and tools purchased for the course.
Date: Mar 6
Time: 6:30pm – 9:30pm
TYING EPOXY FRY PATTERNS
Epoxy fly patterns were developed here on the west coast to capitalize on the large fry emergence every spring. Pacific Angler will help you unlock the secrets to applying epoxy, which can be a very tricky material to work with. During the course your instructor will teach you how to imitate the different salmon fry species, the different methods to shaping bodies, adding eyes, and other important techniques. Course is suitable for intermediate/advanced tiers. Students are required to supply their own vise, tools and materials. A 10% discount is available on materials and tools purchased for the course.
Dates: Mar 7
Time: 6:30pm – 9:30pm
FRIDAY FEATURE PRODUCT
Custom Tied Warm Water Flies
As the last of the snow melts and we are reading Jordan’s second Florida Keys report we are all thinking about warm water trips! Next week’s warm water fly tying workshop hasn’t helped much either, so if you’re getting the warm water itch now is the time to stock up since all of our custom tied Dennis Gamboa warm water flies are 10% off!
As mentioned in the outlook Dennis is considered one of the best local custom tiers. His speed, quality and consistency are legendary and so are his flies. From bonefish flies, beach patterns to tarpon and GTs patterns we’ve got them in stock. Come down and fill up your box or purchase some samples, then take his course so you can tie them yourself.
Call in now before the course sells out or come down to the shop to check out the flies!
All in stock warm water flies custom tied by Dennis are 10% off today through Thursday February 23rd!
FRESHWATER FISHING REPORTS
Vedder River Fishing Report
The Vedder will be unfishable until the river level drops and the water clarity clears. The rain, warm temperatures and snowmelt will keep us sidelined for a few days. Hopefully the rain backs off and we see some cold temperatures at night to stop the melt. Access to many of the upper river spots is quite difficult, most of the pullouts are 4-foot snow banks. If you find a safe spot to pull over getting to the riverbank can be an issue if you don’t watch your step.
While fishing this past week hasn’t been anything to write home about, the odd fish is getting caught. Hopefully we’ll have some good fishing once the river drops. If you’re float fishing Bob’s Custom tied jigs, Luhr Jensen Egg Clusters, rubber worms, Colorado blades, and Spin N Glos are a good choice. Fly fishing larger Intruder patterns followed up with smaller patterns such as an egg sucking leech or popsicle are standards.
Squamish River Fishing Report
The Squamish blew out with the heavy rain this last week. It crested yesterday but the forecast is up in the air for the weekend. It is possible that it will come down for the weekend but hard to tell at this point. Today and tomorrow are looking better with only a little rain the forecast but we will see another dump of rain starting Sunday and going into Monday. Weekends like this are interesting and can sometimes mean excellent fishing but you have to watch the river levels. If the river comes in to shape with the graph dropping around the 2.8-3.2 range the river will be high but fishable and it could be one of the last good weekends for egg fishing.
I will be out this weekend for our Spey casting course so I will be able to get a good gauge of things. If you are looking for an updated report on Saturday give the shop a ring late Saturday, as I will have called into the shop with report on conditions at the end of my day on the water. If you are thinking of heading out fish large streamers in olive, blacks and whites but also have you egging gear ready.
Good luck if you head out and if you are thinking a little farther ahead, based on the weather report as it stands now I’d say weekend of the 25th/26th looks good.
Capilano River Fishing Report
Talk about a blow out! The Capilano was beyond high after the torrential downpour we had this past week. We are expecting a few more days of moderate rainfall in the next few days so watch the water levels closely. Once we get some drier weather and the water recedes back to more normal levels we should see the fishing pick up again. Steelhead will be in the system but keep in mind that this is a small run of fish that can’t handle a lot of pressure, so please treat any fish you come across with care. When the water is at a 2-4 on the Capilano camera this presents some great drift fishing opportunities with your traditional baits, artificials, and swung flies. Once the water drops even further and creates more stagnant pools, think about casting and retrieving spoons, spinners, and streamers such as muddlers and egg sucking leeches.
Stave River Fishing Report
The Stave can be a great fishery for a myriad of species, but only once we get some drier weather! This is a dam-controlled river so water levels are unpredictable at times. In saying that, fish can still be caught if you find yourself at the river and the dam is gushing water by concentrating on the edges, seams and any slack water you can find that would give these fish refuge. Resident trout, whitefish, anadromous trout and steelhead can all be caught in this short system. In higher water try drifting presentations; while a cast and retrieve technique will work in slack water, walking speed water, or the inside of seams.
Chehalis River Fishing Report
With warmer temperatures and rain, this system may be on the high side with a possibility of flooding. Access will be difficult until the snow melts. Once the river drops there may be a brief window of decent river conditions. This river doesn’t get nearly the same number of steelhead as the Vedder so success is limited but it can be a nice one to explore. The Sasquatch Inn Pub was closed for renovations and is now re-opened; this is a great place for a burger and a beer after a day of fishing. It is an iconic stop for the Harrison/Deroche bound angler.
Where’s Jordan – Pt. 3 – Florida Keys – Round Two
After fishing hard under the bridge for a few nights, we decided to take a break and just fish behind the house in the canal. We continued to catch a fair amount of mangrove snapper, as well as the odd jack. Though we did see quite a few random large shadows creep around, we only managed to fool a couple of them. Using live pinfish, we discovered they were indeed larger mangrove snapper that were more than willing to take down live fish. Rigging the pinfish to swim naturally, a light pitch into the lights resulted in my friend Bobby drawing tight to a good one. Once to hand, it was promptly released to fight another day.
During the days, we could often be found cruising around the various townships, checking out local tackle shops or finding good food and drinks. Speaking of drinks, in Key West, there is a great bar located in an old historic house called The Porch. Somewhat tucked away, It would be simple to walk past without knowing it was there. Located on iconic Duval Street, this place has a great selection of taps, bottles, and wines, as well as a resident ghost that supposedly haunts the halls at night.
One of the local tackle shops, Lower Keys Tackle, held weekly seminars and BBQ’s free of charge every Thursday evening. With raffles and free food, as well as prizes for answering questions correctly, this tackle shop is one of the best I’ve ever been to. Great friendly staff that freely share their knowledge paired with a fully stocked shop, I highly recommend one stops here if they’re ever in the Florida Keys. They also have a cooler stocked with free beer when you walk in so you can have a beer while you hang out!
While having drinks at Sugarloaf Lounge/Tiki Bar, I happened to spot a guy who was clearly a fly fisher. Sitting down at a table, he placed a large saltwater fly briefcase down alongside a pair of amber lensed glasses. Dressed in a Simms solar shirt and flats pants, this guy stood out to me. After approaching him, I found out that he was actually a client and was being poled around by a gentleman who was about to join him. Seeing this guy come and sit down while dressed in a Simms Pro-Dry jacket and surf Shorts, I said hello and discovered he was indeed the guide. His name is Capt. Rob Kramarz of Chaos Theory Charters. After a little chitchat, we confirmed a date that worked for the two of us. Meeting him on Tuesday morning at Dolphin Marina, we loaded the skiff and headed out to the first spot. As soon as we pulled up we saw groups of tarpon rolling everywhere. Always just out of reach, we ran to a different spot where we saw group after group. Each group had anywhere from 15-30 tarpon in it, but getting one to eat was proving to be difficult. Perfect presentations were met with refusals and as the tide swung, they moved off. Rob, not being one to give up, ran us up to a different spot. Here we found active tarpon cruising in lines up and down the mangroves. Mixed in with them were a handful of decent Snook as well. Bobby was up first, and he drew tight to a baby tarpon. A few jumps later we unhooked it and released it for another day.
I was up next and had multiple shots at some decent fish, but they all would look, follow, then turn away. On a couple occasions, I had fish follow only for them to be beaten to the fly by a small snapper. While pushing along the mangroves, I spotted a group of snook cruising just in front of the boat heading towards us. A well-placed shot got their attention and I drew tight. With a few good jumps and a brief fight, I got the fish to the boat for some quick photos and then released it.
After we both took turns getting refusals, I ended up hooking up to a really nice tarpon that was swimming towards us. Trying to set the hooks into a tarpons mouth while it was swimming towards us proved difficult and after two nice acrobatic displays, it came loose. That would be it for fish willing to play.
Once back at the marina, our guide, Capt. Rob Kramarz, invited us to join him at The Square Grouper for drinks and dinner. Turns out that his girlfriend is the owner! With Bobby’s girlfriend, Katherine, joining us, the four of us shared a ton of amazing food, great cocktails, beers, and spirits. This placed had the best wings I’ve ever had in a long time.
This place also had a very impressive cocktail list, with the one pictured below being a homage to British Columbia! With notes of jalapenos, cucumber, and basil, this was one of my favourites as it was both spicy and refreshing
While having good and drinks, a detailed look around would show the walls adorned with local sculptures, marine-related wire works, as well as artwork from famed fly fishing artist Derek DeYoung! It was incredibly awesome being able to see Derek DeYoung originals on the walls after a day of fly fishing while relaxing and enjoying fresh libations.
This was one of the best trips I’ve been on, with a whole lot of firsts. Hopefully this isn’t the last time I visit the keys! All in all, it was a great trip and I can’t wait to do it again!
SALTWATER FISHING REPORTS
Vancouver Salmon Fishing Report
Not as much to report this week as we spent most of our time installing new electronics and autopilot into our boats. Sometimes in the winter you have to take advantage of these sunny and dry days to get some work done so you can be out everyday in the spring and summer!
Of course we always manage to sneak out on the water in the busiest of maintenance weeks and fishing is what we would call typical. By that we mean a good number of small fish and a few keepers in the mix. Not much has changed in terms of spots with a mix of fish present in Vancouver Harbour, Howe Sound and Gulf Islands. Glow flashers and glow spoons continue to be top producers in the 3.5 range and some glow splatter back hootchies have also been producing. Crabbing and prawning also remains consistent.
See you out on the water or in the shop,