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Home / FIshing Reports / Pacific Angler Friday Fishing Report: February 23, 2024

Pacific Angler Friday Fishing Report: February 23, 2024



We are almost at the end of February and the first day of Spring is now under one month away! River anglers should be looking at journals, old reports, weather forecasts and getting their gear ready. In the next 3 weeks we should see the first noticeable “hatch” of salmon fry and peak steelhead migration timing for many of the valley rivers.  

When looking at the weather for this weekend, and over the next 14 days, we are in for a little cold snap early next week but nothing too far off seasonal averages. We will also see some precipitation. This is good as many of the rivers are low and we could sure use some more snow in the mountains. With the amount of rain forecast, we do not expect blow outs and it could be perfect to bump levels a little and add some color to the water. As long as you don’t mind getting a little wet it should be a great weekend to get out.  

This week we have a Squamish report and a Chilliwack report. Both saw low water conditions but pretty consistent fishing for the anglers who knew where to look. We expect better conditions this weekend.  

On the saltwater front, we had some challenging days on the water this week up Howe Sound. We still found fish, but it was not as consistent as it was last week. When fishing for winters, things can change fast so don’t hesitate to get out there.  Prawning continues to be good, and crabbing is picking up so make sure your traps are ready.  We do not have a saltwater report this week, but Jason will tune in next week with more details.   

Lastly, we are going to hold off on our fry watch reports for one more week to give the rivers time to warm up a bit. If you look back at your records when we see a few warm days at the end of February, the salmon fry come out in force. We have already heard of a few on the Squamish and Chilliwack but for the cutthroat anglers we don’t think it is time … yet. Jordan has a little cutthroat primer, and we will have all our salmon fry patterns in next week.  


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: (Mar 6 & 10), (Apr 29 & May 5), (Jun 4 & 8), (July 11 & 15), (Sept 18 & 22) 
Cost: $180.00+GST
Seminar Time:  6:30pm – 9:30pm
Casting Time(s): 10am – 1pm or 1:30pm -4:30pm


Winter Steelhead on the Fly
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.
Seminar:  Mar 20, 2024      Guided:  Mar 23 or 24, 2024 1 SPOT LEFT
Seminar Only Cost: $75.00+GST
Seminar and Guided Walk’n Wade Cost: $325.00+GST
Seminar Time: 6:30pm – 9:30pm
Guided:  Full Day

Check out the full course listing here and give us a call at the shop (604.872.2204) to sign up today!


Chilliwack / Vedder River Fishing Report  
The Chilliwack/Vedder this week continues to be flowing at low but fair levels. At the time of writing, it is sitting at 2.20m which is still very fishable. We are expecting some rain in the forecast for the weekend which is promising for arrivals of fresh steelhead into the system. While clear and low currently, remember that even a minor amount of rain in the valley can introduce runoff and colouration to the river. 


At this time of year, there are many fish in the river, and fish are spread out from top to bottom. Committing to covering lots of water will increase your odds of encountering a square tailed friend. All the usual presentations like beads, bait, blades and worms have been producing fish for anglers. 

This is the time of year when I like to employ spoons and spinners to cover the water. As we progress into spring, we see warmer weather patterns and educated fish. Thumping a Gibbs Koho 55 or Blue Fox Vibrax through a run and tailouts can produce amazing results. Tap into the aggressive instinct of steelhead and get them to chase! Alot of fish have not seen hardware yet, this technique is especially deadly for those big bucks that get territorial as temperatures start to rise. With that said, fishing with what you are most confident is way more important than the specific presentation. The less time you spend changing leaders, the more time your gear is in the water. It is simple math. The most effective steelhead bait/presentation is persistence and confidence.  

Head out, put some holes in your boots and most importantly have fun! 

Gavin Lau 

Squamish River Fishing Report 
The winter fishing has been consistent for those willing to brave the elements. We have a mix of weather this week so keep an eye on the water and freezing levels! 

The Squamish systems have been very low. The weekend holds some rain and moderate temperatures. I don’t anticipate the rain to blow out anything, but it should give some much needed colour to the system. We have a system of cold wet weather brewing for next week so pick your days wisely.  


We are hearing whispers of fry making an appearance in the Sea to Sky. It might be early, but I would start throwing some fry patterns and muddler minnows in my fly boxes. Fry patterns can be swung on various sink tips or stripped on long leaders with a floating line. Try adding a clear heavy versileader or short sink section MOW tip to your arsenal to swing shallow or just sub surface. I also mentioned a few reports ago, tumbling fry and alevin patterns under an indicator can be a great natural presentation before the fry materialized in numbers, or right after a blow out or cold snap. Gear anglers are still finding fish swinging spoons to cover water or blades under a float. Beads will still fool some fish but make sure you have more than just beads in the box. 

The big weather makers should also entice some elusive ocean-going trout back to their natal rivers. When heading out for steelhead go prepared with the right gear. Every year we hear a story of a monster steelhead on a 3 wt fly rod. Sometimes it ends heroically but usually it’s a long breakup story. Both fly and gear anglers will benefit from heavier leaders and more powerful rods to handle fresh aggressive steelhead. The ability to play a fish in a timely manner is important for fish survivability. Treat every fish with respect. 

Stay warm, cover water, and stay safe out there! 

Eric Peake 


This past winter has been fairly warm, with temperatures in the Fraser Valley being more on the mild side for this time of year. With these warmer temperatures anglers may start to encounter fry. Though this often leads most of us to get excited about the upcoming cutthroat trout fishery, the fry must survive any cold snaps and cooler temperatures before they become an active or consistent food source. 


Water levels on the Harrison River and its tributaries have remained fairly stable without any major blow outs, but as it gets warmer, anglers should expect levels to slowly rise as glaciers melt during freshet. This doesn’t usually happen until the first real warm or hot snap later in the Spring, but don’t be surprised if it happens sooner than later with how things have been. 

With how good the coho fishing was this past Summer and Fall, along with the pink salmon that also showed up, cutthroat trout fishing on the Harrison River is looking to be good as there should be lots of fry available. Most anglers fishing the Fraser Valley systems, including the Harrison River, have found success using flies that imitate the various species of fry, but also by tossing small spoons and spinners such as Gibbs Crocs or Rooster Tail spinners. 


For fly fishing, most trout rods in the 4wt-6wt size will work, with more anglers leaning towards faster 4wt and 5wt outfits. Full floating lines, tapered leaders to match the species, and light tippet are all that is needed. Most anglers who fly fish for trout already have this gear but if you’re in short supply, come on by the shop to top up. 

For the gear anglers, lightweight spinning gear that you’d usually trout fish the local lakes with is more than fine. Light trout rods and reels loaded with 4-6 lb test line is a great place to start. Try casting small spinners and spoons such as Crocs, Mepps or Panther Martin, as well as inline spinners in natural colors to mimic local baitfish such as Rooster Tails.  

As always, anglers are reminded to familiarize themselves with current fishing regulations. Be sure to check for any seasonal closures or special regulations specific to the various bodies of water you may choose to try your luck on. 

For the most part, the Fraser Valley systems offer excellent opportunities for anglers seeking to target cutthroat trout during this time of year. With the right techniques and gear, anglers can expect to have a fun day wandering around local flows amidst the beautiful scenery of British Columbia’s wilderness.  

Jordan Simpson