Welcome to February! We are blessed that the Lower Mainland offers 12 months of fishable weather but February is probably one of the more challenging months to get out and hook fish. That said, there are still good options if you like a challenge.
This week we have details on the major river systems and reports continue to be solid when it comes to winter chinook fishing. A friendly reminder that we are doing our saltwater report every other week so if you’re headed out on saltwater this week, refer to last week’s report and we will tune back in next week to the winter chinook report.
Also, if you are planning to relax off the water this weekend, we have some great fly tutorials worth looking at to get ready for the “Spring Season” coming in March when things warm up and fishing picks up. Check out Zach’s rendition of a Steelhead Prawn in our Feature Fly Section below. To get things started, Andre also has a fun one where he articulates the tail on a fry pattern.
Check it out here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jGPjAJbO2OE&feature=youtu.be
If you’re looking for some instruction and inspiration at the tying vice there are a couple of spots left in Zach and Jordan’s upcoming fly tying classes.
CLASSES AND COURSES
There are just a few spots left in each of these tying classes. Call the shop to sign up today.
Tying Essential Bulltrout Patterns – 1 spot left
Bulltrout / dollies ….. let’s just call them char are an interesting species. These fish have a diverse habitat, a very interesting life cycle and within the species they have very different characteristics in both size, color and feeding habits depending on their environment. The feeding habits are what we look at in this course. This is a fishing course within a tying course.
This seminar is well suited to tiers with intermediate to 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.
Date: Feb 9
Time: 6:30pm – 9:30pm
Tying Intruder Patterns – 2 spots left.
Steelhead fly fishing has been radically transformed in the past decade or so for two main reasons, Skagit style Spey casting and the Intruder style fly. This combination has proven to be absolutely deadly effective for catching steelhead. In this one night course you will learn about the specifics techniques and unique materials used to tie Intruder style flies. The way this type of fly is tied has evolved from the classic palmering style to a new composite loop style, and both techniques will be taught in detail in this course. In addition we will talk about why this style of fly is so productive and different ways to rig the fly from stinger hooks to the original Intruder rigging. At the end of this course you will have the skills needed to tie a variety of Intruder style flies from multi stage, monster flies for high water, average sized flies for everyday conditions, down to small, mini intruders for low water. Note that this course is suitable for intermediate to advanced tiers. Course materials are not supplied but can be purchased at the course night or in advance at 10% off. A detailed list of what materials are needed will be supplied in advance of the course.
Date: Feb 10
Time: 6:30pm – 9:30pm
FRESHWATER FISHING REPORTS
Vedder/Chilliwack River Report
The Vedder/Chilliwack system has been continuing to produce good numbers of fish whenever water conditions have been favorable. Having said that, the unstable clay banks continue to wreak havoc on water visibility whenever it rains.
Water conditions last weekend were a bit on the low and clear side, which made things difficult. Of course, the rains early in the week changed that, and the river blew out. It’s been steadily dropping and clearing up over the past few days, and as of writing this report, it’s in decent shape. Environment Canada is currently forecasting a fair amount of rain over the next few days, so whether or not the river will be fishable for the weekend is hard to say.
The instability of the clay slide means that the gear you fish will be dictated by water conditions, so it’s not a bad idea to have a variety of gear for different conditions. Be sure to cover as much water as possible while respecting basic river etiquette, using your common sense, and don’t be afraid to fish close to shore if visibility is low.
Squamish River Fishing Report
This week saw rivers along the Sea to Sky corridor hit extremely low levels. Rain moved the levels around a bit but with numbers below a 2 on the main river expect clear and low conditions. This is going to make things a challenge on the system. This is normal for February and this is not a bad time of year to check gear, tie leaders and make sure fly boxes are ready for when fish turn onto streamer presentations as things warm up and salmon fry hatch at the end of Feb/March.
We will see some rain this weekend but, coupled with cold temps and possible snow on Sunday, we don’t expect much shift in water levels or clarity.
We did hear some reports of anglers catching a fish or two using small streamers or drifting egg imitations but it is probably one of the most challenging times of year for the Squamish systems.
If you are loading a steelhead box check out the two prawn pattern videos; my Prawn Hub Steelhead Pattern and Zach’s Steelhead Prawn Star Pattern which we featured over the last two weeks. If you need some work on your bull trout streamer box, when things warm up at the end of February and early March, check out this video of a great scuplin/baitfish imitation for the Squamish river.
Stave River Fishing Report
We’ve now started to have some reports of winter steel getting caught in the Stave, although few and far between. The Stave is a fantastic option when inclement weather hits us a little later in the year as the dam often holds levels to easily fishable levels when every other system closely resembles a chocolate protein shake. Even when the anadromous rainbows aren’t around, this system has a healthy population of cutthroat trout and whitefish which congregate in the slower seams and back channels.
The most common and effective way to approach this system hangs under a float. Often anglers will carry bait to increase chances, both roe bags and prawns are my go-tos. If you prefer to keep things artificial, pink worms and single egg or gooey-bob presentations can be just as effective as the stinky stuff, if fished properly.
If you’re planning on fishing this system on a rainy day, keep in mind that water levels can change rapidly with the opening / closing of the dam. Never put yourself in a dangerous scenario too far from shore. This weekend, we will see some rain, possibly snow and also cold nights. A betting man would expect low clear water but with a dam you should always be careful.
On a final note, read up on the regulations as there is a “no fishing” spawning channel on the eastern shore, below the dam. If you see any anglers fishing in that location, please make them aware of the closure.
Tight lines and drained floats,
FLY PATTERN FEATURE
The Prawn star is a single stage, intruder style, fly that can be adapted to either tubes or shank bases. It is a prawn imitation that has loads of movement in the water that should entice a bite from any lingering steelhead. I have found myself drawn more to the simpler single stage flies these days as they are quicker to tie and just as effective. Make sure to have some of these tied up in your favorite steelhead colors.
Tube: ProSportfisher 40/40 Tube with ProSportfisher Flexi Weight Medium
Body: Lagartun Flatbraid, Krystal Chenille Large, Mono Eyes
Collar: UV Polar Chenille or Senyo’s Aqua Veil Chenille
Shoulder: SHOR Finn Raccoon
Wing: Polarflash, Grizzly Hackle
Collar 2: Grizzly Hackle
Wing 2: Mallard or Teal Flank
Head: ProSportfisher Sonic Disc Medium
Check out the full video here: