Well the storm last week came as predicted and it was a doozy. All the major rivers went into the trees. The good news is that things are coming into shape nicely with an optimistic forecast for the weekend.
That said it wouldn’t be a Friday if we didn’t have some weather adversity to be stressing about and there is another dump of rain in the forecast for today. With all things considered it will probably be good for fishing over the next 4 days, but you will still want to keep an eye on it for Friday and Saturday.
In the river reports we have a look at the crazy water levels last week and have intel on how the systems are dropping. We have had good reports from this week even with some less the favorable water clarities.
We also have some more videos this week. Matt has this week’s edition of the video report and Zach has another fly. It’s a very versatile bulltrout streamer called the PoHo that you will want in your box for the spring season. We are also tweaking some of our fly videos to make them a little easier for you guys following along with at home. You can now fast forward and rewind them to specific spots using the navigation bar and we hope it will make things a little easier.
Check out the Fly video here:
Check out the Video Edition of the Friday fishing report:
Next in line on the video front is an in-depth review of the NEW Sage Maverick fly rod. It’s a rod that has a bunch of hype right now and we are very impressed with it. The video will be coming out sometime over the weekend so make sure to subscribe to the channel to catch all upcoming videos.
INDUSTRY EVENTS AND UPDATES
Steelhead Society of BC – Pub Night Fundraiser
In last week’s report we had a reminder about the Steelhead Society’s Annual Pub Night Fundraiser on March 5. We had a quick update this week from the organizing team that they will be hosting it on a new date. Stay tuned for date and venue!
CLASSES AND COURSES
Join us in the shop this month for some great classes. Call the shop at 604.872.2204 and grab your spot!
TYING INTRUDER PATTERNS – sold out, call the shop to be added to the waitlist!
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.
Dates: Feb 11, 2020
Time: 6:30pm – 9:30pm
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: Feb 18 Seminar & Casting Feb 22
Seminar Time: 6:30pm – 9:30pm
Casting Time(s): 10am – 1pm or 1:30pm -4:30pm
Introduction to Spey Casting – two spots left!
This 2-part course is designed to introduce you to the art of Spey fishing and establish the fundamental techniques required for basic Spey casts used on our local rivers.
Dates: Seminar: Feb 25 Casting: Feb 29 (Squamish)
Seminar Time: 6:30pm – 9:30pm | Casting Time: Full Day, Squamish
FRESHWATER FISHING REPORTS
Chilliwack/Vedder River Fishing Report
Now that was a blow out! It’s not every day that the
Vedder hits 3.5 meters on the hydrograph and it would’ve made for some insane
white water rafting, though I don’t think much fishing was going on during
those 3-4 days. As of me writing this report the river is starting to come back
into shape and while it is at a fishable height now the clarity may prove a bit
of a hindrance currently though there is some visibility. Above the clay banks
the water is running relatively clear. We should see some great conditions
going through the weekend and into next week.
Gear fishing with big bright presentations and lots of scent will be key to victory in the murky water right now. Fly anglers may want to wait until the water clears up a bit more but it is still possible to get a grab on large streamers in either fluorescent colours or very dark colours.
Stave River Fishing Report
The Stave holds a variety of species year-round which can result in some very interesting angling opportunities. It is also an interesting one to look at when water levels are an issue because it is dam fed and can fish well when other rivers are blown out if they don’t open the dam. With this in mind it is one you will want to be careful of because levels can rise quickly when they do open up the dam.
Throughout the winter, whitefish, cutthroat, and bulltrout will feast on salmon egg presentations. A small steelhead population is also present in the system, generally a later run towards the middle to end of February. As the weather begins to warm throughout March and April, the fry hatch kicks things into high gear as fly fishing fry patterns can result in some large and aggressive searun cutthroat.
The often overlooked Stave is a great opportunity for local anglers and we have heard ok reports in the last little bit. Whether you’re looking to drift a float, spincast some spoons or target picky trout on the fly. It’s a solid bet year-round, as the dam ensures consistent water levels all through the calendar.
The Stave is stocked with 20,000 – 30,000 steelhead smolts along with 5,000-10,000 cutthroat smolts annually. The stocking is generally timed a few weeks before the fry hatch in the system (mid to end of April). We’ll get a clearer picture of the official numbers once mid-April arrives.
Squamish River Fishing Report
The Squamish this past week has seen its fair share of ups and downs – with it mostly being up.
Earlier this week it was running at almost 5m on the graph and was brown and high, with its tributaries in a similar state. Anglers on other systems this week got caught on small islands after crossing side channels and had to be rescued by jet boats. Keep this in mind whenever there is a potential for rising water.
After the water came down, char and trout fishing has proven to be good with anglers finding fish on small spinners/spoons and beads.
The rain in the forecast today may cause some colored water, but it should be a drop in the bucket compared to last weekend.
There were some issues with the upper road this week as well. The picture below was from Tuesday and as of Wednesday it was blocked just past the Power Stations. If anyone has an update let us know.
Though rare, steelhead are just starting to enter the system, so don’t be surprised if you suddenly hook in to something a little bigger. Drifting beads, bobs, worms, and jigs can all be great choices. On warmer days a spoon might be a good option as well.
Swinging flies is a great way to prospect for steelhead while fishing for bulltrout and rainbows, with many anglers using a mix if single-hand, switch, and Spey rods.
Having a handful of flies in both bright and dark colours, as well as weighted and unweighted options are standard practice and can be the difference. Go to colours: pink, white, black and blue and then olive if you want to lean toward targeting more bull trout. Check out Zach’s fly video for a good simple pattern example that we fish a lot during the months of February, March and April.
Capilano River Report
The Capilano is another system that gets steelhead, but it is not a high number system. We had some reports that the hatchery took a little bit of damage with the high water but nothing to be concerned about. Crazy to see the water levels.
When we talked to the guys up there, one fish had been brought in for brood stock and we expect a few more over the next couple weeks. If you are stuck in town it might be worth a go.
The Capilano is a beautiful system. It is more suited to float fishing with its high canyon walls and limited access, but fly fishing is possible. It is better known for its early coho run that starts in May but it was once a famous steelhead fishery and still has some limited catch and release only steelhead opportunities.
SALTWATER FISHING REPORTS
Vancouver Saltwater Salmon Fishing Report
Well we are glad to put one of the rainiest Januarys on record behind us and lets hope that February has less wind and rain in the forecast. We are about midway through the winter chinook season and I would say so far so good. The main challenge has just been getting out there, but when we have been able to, the fishing has been good and so has the prawning.
So what’s in store for this weekend? Well looks like some sun actually, but with that we often have some NW winds and this weekend is no exception. We have a few trips planned so we are going to keep a close eye on the weather and hopefully we can get past the NW and get to some of our favourite spots for winter chinook in Howe Sound and hide from the wind. Such is the life of a winter chinook angler, but the patience needed often is well worth the rewards.
In terms of gear, the usual productive gear has been well, usually productive. The go to chartreuse flashers with glow tape like the Gibbs Delta “Lemon Lime” and the Oki Tackle “Salty Dawg” have been working well when paired to a Kingfisher 3.0 or 3.5 in Irish Cream or a G-Force 3.0 or 3.5 in Irish Cream or Trailhead. On the sunnier days when the water is clear we have been doing well on darker flashers, such as a black blade with glow tape or a UV purple blade with glow tape. Examples are the Gibbs Delta CB55 or the Madi. Good spoons to match up with this are the Herring Aid in Kingfisher or G-Force in 3.0 or 3.5. As usual, if you find the bait you usually find the fish. This is where premium electronics come into play. After an hour in a spot and exploring the usual productive zones within said spot, if I am not seeing bait balls and chinook arcs, I am off to greener pastures. When the fishing is good I am always seeing bait balls and chinook arcs and you can even call the bite sometimes. So if you aren’t seeing this kind of information on your current system, you are at a distinct disadvantage in this particular fishery.
If you want some help tweaking your system or are in the market for a new system, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
In the meantime good luck out there and if I don’t see you in the shop I will see you on the water.