As we head into March we’re looking at another week of sun and warmer than average temperatures. With little to no precipitation in the long range forecast we expect things to be low and clear on our local rivers. So be sure to adjust your tackle to match the conditions and check out this week’s freshwater reports for some tips.
Out on the saltwater we have had another week of excellent winter chinook fishing so things are looking great for next week, especially with the warm sunny days that are predicted. We have some gale force warnings today, so be sure to check the marine forecast before you hit the water.
March brings a lot of exiting events and courses to Pacific Angler. We just didn’t have room to list all of our March courses below so be sure use the link in the courses section to see all of our great courses in March (and beyond). Taking a course with us is the best way to get ready for spring fishing! We are also excited to announce the Fly Fishing Film Tour will be here in March. This is a not to be missed event! All of the details are in this week’s events section.
Learn how with Pacific Angler. We have some great courses coming this month including some of our MOST popular courses. Call us today to reserve your spot. 604.872.2204.
Winter Steelhead on the Fly
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 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. On your fully guided day on the water we will put your knowledge into action and work on casting, reading water and swinging the fly.
Seminar Date: Tuesday March 3 – 6:30PM to 9:30PM
Guided: Saturday March 7 or Sunday March 8
Cost: $250 + GST
(Alternate dates: Seminar March 25; Guided March 28 or 29)
Fly Fishing for Searun Cutthroat Trout in Rivers
This spring make sure to get out and take advantage of the world-class cutthroat fishing in the Lower Mainland. This cutthroat course is designed to educate you on the life cycle, location, seasonal feeding habits and successful techniques and flies used to catch these elusive yet aggressive fish. Course includes a 3hr seminar and a fully guided day on the water.
Seminar Date: Tuesday March 10 – 6:30PM to 9:30PM
Guided: Saturday March 14 or Sunday March 15
Cost: $225 + GST
(Alternate dates: Seminar March 18; Guided March 21 or 22)
Tying Epoxy Fly 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 Andre will teach you how to imitate the different salmon fry species, the different methods to shaping bodies, adding eyes, and other important techniques. This course is suitable for intermediate/advanced tiers.
Date: Wednesday March 11 – 6:30PM – 9:30PM
Cost: $40 + GST.
Click below for a full listing of the rest of our March classes and many more coming up in 2015.
FAMILY FISHING FUN
For many of us here at the shop we were hooked on fishing from an early age. Let us help you get ready for a spring and summer of fun and lasting memories. We have a full line up gear for every member of your family!
We can pair the gear up with expert knowledge to get you and your family out fishing. There are lots of local fishing opportunities throughout the Lower Mainland perfect for kids. Drop by the shop and the guys will help you outfit the whole family and let you know of some local family-friendly locations to fish.
March is almost upon us and that means we are that much closer to this years Fly Fishing Film Tour F3T. We’re happy to be a part of this great event happening on Saturday March 28th at Vancouver’s Norman Rothstein Theatre.
The F3T is a one of a kind experience. Each year fishy folk of all ages gather at premieres to soak up films from around the world, spin a few yarns amongst friends and dream about casts still unmade. If you’ve been, you know what we’re talking about. If you haven’t, don’t miss out this year. F3T supports a number of great causes, including the Pacific Salmon Foundation.
Drop by the shop to pick up your ticket! $15 cash.
The Cap is dirt low, with little to no rain in the forecast for the next week. Generally the Cap tends to fish better at a higher water level so the odds are definitely against you in these conditions. That said, some small technical tweaks to your gear can help to swing the odds in your favour. Downsizing your gear is a must. Smaller baits and flies in natural and drab colours. In short, its time to employ some low and clear techniques.
Low and Clear Techniques Overview
These techniques can be applied to any river experiencing low and clear conditions. Fishing drab colours and natural baits as well as black hooks, black swivels, and fluorocarbon leaders are must haves.
Tarnishing your lead in coffee and vinegar are just a couple ways to dull the lead so that it is less obtrusive and wont spook fish. Downsizing your baits to nickel or dime size presentations is also key. Lean towards softer shades of wool, 4” worms, single eggs, and gooey bobs.
When fishing fluorocarbon, make sure to keep in mind that there is little stretch in the material. Many anglers will treat it like Maxima Ultragreen, a mono leader with stretch and high abrasion resistance, and lose a lot of fish at the beach. The fish are lost because the angler is pulling on the fish the same way they would with 10lb or 12lb Maxima. To avoid this, choose a heavier leader line. I like to go with 15lb Seaguar Blue Label as it is already less visible than Maxima. That being said take extra care when tying leaders with fluorocarbon. Wet your knots appropriately as fluorocarbon can burn or bite into itself if the correct amount of lubrication isn’t used causing a burr in your line.
By taking these small steps in prepping your gear before your day on the water you can increase your odds of hooking up dramatically.
We are quickly approaching the latter portion of our winter steelhead season. As spring rolls around and the days get longer and warmer, there is some great fishing to be had. Constant bumps of fresh fish should enter the river right through April and into early May, when the river switches to fly fishing only. In the springtime the river tends to be lower and clearer with warmer water temperatures. This means fish can take on ‘trouty’ habits; biting at certain times of the day when the sun is either on or off of the water. Figuring out these ‘bite’ times, and where the major concentrations of fish are, will help you build a circuit of spots that you can fish throughout the day in hopes of connecting with multiple hookups.
With the clear and warm water conditions, a steelhead’s metabolism is at its peak and its visual spectrum is very wide. They are more than willing to move for different presentations. This translates to eager biters for both conventional and fly fishing tactics. It no longer is key to be within a few feet of the bottom. Short floating or swinging your presentation well off the bottom will not only allow more fish to see your offering, but makes for aggressive takes and float downs. In the clear water it helps to scale everything down in size, both for terminal tackle and your presentation. Fishing a smaller float with split shot or a small piece of pencil lead, small black swivels, lighter leader, small hooks and subtle/natural baits will set your gear apart from everyone else’s. It can make all the difference. There’s a saying that I believe stands to be very true “90% of the fish are caught by 10% of the anglers.” This becomes very apparent when the going gets tough and the fish get picky.
In the world of fly fishing, lighter sink tips, leader line and smaller, sparser, more neutral flies will produce better results than big, gaudy, obnoxious flies which worked well in the off coloured water we experienced earlier this season. Concentrating on deep tail outs and choppy riffles is the best bet for the fly fisherman. The fish seek cover in the clear water and so both depth and surface chop will provide them with the needed comfort. Remember to fish fast, the more water you can cover in a day, the more fish will see your fly. Knowing that you have eager, fresh steelhead in warm water relieves the mind of all doubt if they can see or want your fly. They will definitely let you know.
We have not had many reports from the river this week but we are heading out this weekend to drift the river so will have a first hand report next week. Last weekend the main stem of the river was at a good height but quite clear. The river has dropped since then and as with most systems right now we will have to change our presentations to fit the conditions. This means smaller flies in the upper river and we would recommend sculpin patterns that are 1.5 to 2.5 inches long in browns and olive colors. For steelhead we can still get away with big patterns in the lower river were the fish are fresh and aggressive but in the upper river and all tributaries town down your colors and use slightly longer leaders than normal. For gear fishing focus on making all your equipment as stealthy as possible with small floats, less weight and longer leaders. Small gooey bobs, pale colored 4 inch rubber worms and small single eggs really shine in clear conditions. Good luck and remember that the Squamish is a 100% barbless catch and release fishery. Have fun, respect your fellow anglers and play by the rules.
This weekend onwards the hunt for the cutthroat should start. I will be scouting soon to see how the river is and if there are any fry out yet. Usually, mid March and onwards the cutthroat fishing is on, but due to the warmer weather we have been having, things could heat up earlier. The river level is dropping which makes it ideal to walk and wade, looking for any signs of fish slashing fry on top. The next two months is an exciting time for die hard cutthroat fisherman who love the thrill of the tug on your light tackle.
Although little spinners sometimes work, ideally you want to fly fish for these voracious sea-run cutthroat as they key in on a certain hatch, which you have to figure out while fishing. The ideal set up is 4 or 5 weight rod with a floating line and a 10-12 ft. leader.
Make sure you have a variety of salmon fry patterns and march browns in your box as they are known to get picky sometimes. If you can, refrain from blind casting and look for a rise, anything as a small dimple or if you’re lucky, the ultimate thrill a chasing hungry cutthroat gorging and slashing fry on top of the water.
Well, what can we say, we’ve had another week of terrific winter chinook fishing. As with last week, all of the spots (Vancouver Harbour, Gulf Islands and Howe Sound) have been consistently producing. So with the all the sun and the balmy temperatures, now’s the time to get out there. Remember, the winter chinook follow the bait and move around. Yesterday’s hot spot may be dead today so don’t hesitate to check out some new locations and try something different than your usual spot. What we haven’t changed up this week is what we’re fishing. For flashers we’re using Oki’ Tackle Green Onion Glow, Purple Onion Glow and a double glow flasher when we’re fishing closer to the bottom. The fish are still loving the spoons, especially those with green and glow on them
In the shop we just received our spring booking of flashers, including all the top flashers that have been landing winter chinook. Drop by the shop and the guys will help you pick out the hottest flasher of the season. If you’re fishing bait, check out our HUGE selection of teaser heads. With 56 colours on the wall, we are sure to have your favourite!
With the warm weather and excellent fishing, this is great time to book a charter. If you would like to get out on your own boat and need a point in the right direction and some of the top producing lures, give us a call at Pacific Angler at 604-872-2204 or come by the shop. If you would like to book a charter please give us a call on our charter line at 778-788-8582.