It looks like we are going to see some more solid weather this weekend. Temperatures will be well within seasonal averages and there will only be a little bit of precipitation. There might be some wind concerns for the saltwater guys but overall a good weekend to get out.
Water bumped up last week in many of our systems but things are dropping. Squamish will be low and clear again but the Vedder should be in good fishing shape. Check out Alex’s update on the Chilliwack, Jordan’s update on the Squamish and Taylor’s report on the Stave.
On the saltwater front, Jason has the latest report for you all this week. On the video front, we are taking an extra break but Matt will be back next week.
As you all know, we have all gone down the rabbit hole on lake fishing at the shop. Be it lake boats, sounders or flies we have spent a ton of time over the last year “geeking” out. We had a debate going on at the shop about fly finishes. Specifically, Chironomid Finishes. This week, we are going to try answer the question of what is the best fly finish for chironomids. Even if you are not a chironomid tier, check this video out because Zach has some great tips for coating any fly with glue. He goes over super glues, zap a gaps, polish style finishes and UV resins. If you ever wanted to see all the finishes side by side check it out here:
On to the report!
CLASSES AND COURSES
Fly Fishing For Sea Run Cutthroat Trout In Rivers
This course is designed to educate one on the life cycle, location, seasonal feeding habits, and successful techniques and flies used to catch these elusive yet aggressive fish. The course is comprised of a 3 hr, evening seminar and a fully guided day on the water.
Dates: Seminar March 24
Seminar Time: 6:30-9:30 pm
Walk ‘n Wade Dates: March 27, 28, April 3, 4
Cost: $275 + GST
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 April 7 & Casting April 10Seminar Time: 6:30pm – 9:30pm Casting Time(s): 10am – 1pm or 1:30pm -4:30pm Cost: $150.00 + GST
FRESHWATER FISHING REPORTS
Vedder/Chillwack River Fishing Report
Fishing has been fairly solid on the Chilliwack this week, even with the bump in levels over the weekend. Hookups have been spread throughout the river so there is plenty of water to pick from. There have also been a few hogs caught too, so the run looks strong in terms of both quantity and quality. We should see more stable weather coming up bringing with it some great water conditions for the next little while.
With the lower and clearer water, make sure you have some more finesse presentations with you and focus on water with some sort of surface distortion or depth. If you can’t see the bottom and it’s walking pace, it’s probably worth a cast or two. Gear chuckers will also want to start thinking about casting hardware, especially when the water starts to warm up. A spoon, spinner, or twitching jig worked through the run gives these fish something new to react to.
This is also a great time to fly fish this river as, contrary to popular belief, Vedder Steelhead can definitely be taken on the fly.
Squamish River Fishing Report
This past week we saw the river bump slightly on Monday/Tuesday and then drop again to 1.7. This bump was welcomed as it shuffled fish around and hopefully brought in a few fresh ones. With above freezing temperatures forecasted, this may help colour the water to that classic glacial green. Anglers are still finding the odd fish here and there, but if these warm temperatures continue, we should see some trout and char being found.
Small sculpin and fry patterns should start to fill fly boxes again for those looking for cutthroat and char. Even in early March, there can be fry encountered on warmer days, providing a food source for those hungry fish. Small spinners and spoons would be great lure options for those tossing conventional gear, especially while targeting char.
For those anglers looking for larger anadromous fish, now is a great time to start exploring water and making sure your float rods are tuned up for drifting. The same goes for fly anglers- making sure your shooting heads and sink tips are all in working order.
Pink and orange are your standard colours when it comes to flies, but don’t forget your darker colour combos such as black and blue, black and chartreuse, and black and red. Though not the law, these are all some great starting points. If drift and float fishing, having a selection of beads, both hard and soft, in varying sizes and colours, is always a great option. Pairing them up with some worms, jigs, bobs, and blades will round out your offerings and hopefully help you find a fish or two.
Keep your swings low and your floats drifting,
Stave River Fishing Report
Not much to report on the Stave this time around. The steelhead fishery has been slow, but should start ramping up pretty soon, and will usually remain viable well into April, water levels permitting. Low water makes things challenging, as fish will often drop back down into the Fraser when things start getting too low and clear for their liking.
There are only a handful of decent spots on either the East or West banks, so your best bet is to cover water and fish them all… no need to spend all day fishing the Stave, unless it’s really good, or you have nothing better to do. Beads, bait, pink worms, gooey bobs, wool, spoons and spinners will all work, as will all the usual patterns and colors of flies, but a small, silvery spoon can be especially deadly when the fry start hatching.
Be aware of water levels if you’re wading between islands, as they can change rapidly, and without warning. Also, keep in mind that the spawning channel on the east bank has a very clearly marked no fishing area, so don’t even think about it. In addition, keep in mind that there are always lots of whitefish around if you get bored, and you might even find a few cutties, If you’re lucky.
SALTWATER FISHING REPORTS
Vancouver Saltwater Salmon Fishing Report
Fishing has been pretty decent since the last report. Wind has been a challenge, which is normal for this time of year. Those with flexible schedules who have been able to get out on the calm days have generally had some pretty good fishing by winter standards. Keep in mind winter chinook fishing is similar to steelhead fishing. Some days it seems pretty easy, other days you work all day for one shot at a good fish, and then there are those days where no matter how hard you try, you aren’t going to get a thing. That’s what keeps it interesting.
There have been some fish caught in the harbour amongst the freighters, as the herring numbers continue to build. There have also been a few fish caught off South Bowen from Cowan up to Gower Point on the days where it has been calm enough to fish these more open water spots. As usual, the Howe Sound spots are producing fish, with each day bringing its own unique results with a mix of small fish, some legal-size fish, and seal issues.
It does seem the problem seals are moving around or growing in numbers as some anglers are getting their fish taken by seals in areas that have, up until now, been safe havens. Hopefully some transient orcas come in and push them out or better yet just eat them, but I wouldn’t hold my breath. Seals are a touchy subject no doubt. Some groups will tell you their population has stabilized; others think it is still on the increase. One thing we do know, is that they eat around 42% of all out-migrating chinook in the Salish Sea, 47% of the out migrating coho, and steelhead smolts get hit hard as well. In my opinion, the population is still increasing, and I don’t think we will ever see a meaningful recovery of interior Fraser coho, chinook, and steelhead stocks without some sort of population control.
Back to fishing…. It is nice to see some bigger fish around. I have seen a few fish in the high 70cm range and a few passing the 80cm mark. Most of the fish are still those 8 pound hatchery red springs, which are fantastic eating, but it is nice to see some bigger fish in the mix.
As far as productive gear goes, the chartreuse flashers like Salty Dawg and Lemon Lime are must haves, paired with classics like an Irish Cream spoon in 3.0 or 3.5 or a chartreuse splatter back hootchy. There have been a few days where the darker flashers like a black or blue blade paired up with a darker spoon like a Herring Aide G-Force in 3.0 or in a Skinny G, has been the hot ticket. Everything depends on the day, how deep you are fishing, water clarity and how sunny it is. Experiment with brighter and darker gear, both fished close to the bottom, and see what happens, take notes on the conditions and make your own conclusions. To me this is a big part of the game and what make fishing fun, trying to crack the code each day.
Prawning has been average it seems, but crabbing is starting to slowly pick up and March usually sees quite a few more legals in the pot. Remember to know where your Sponge Reef Closures are. Update that map card so you can see where these areas are and make sure you avoid them. You can also download the Navionics app on your phone and it will show them. If you want us to go over it with you, no problem, come by the shop and we can show you on one our Simrad, Lowrance, or Raymarine display models.
See you in the shop or on the water,