We have no plans to sugar coat this one. For mere mortals this has not been the best fishing weather this week. We do have hope next week with warmer rainy weather coming. In this week’s report we will look at the Vedder and the Squamish and what to expect, more importantly what will happen if the snow terns to rain and when to get out.
With many of you hunkering down at home, we have a healthy dose of YouTube videos for everyone to kick back and enjoy. Andre has a video on a great bulltrout / minnow patterns for the Squamish or any system with resident fish who like to eat other fish and Matt has a video on his classic Choking Black a Blue Steelhead Fly. This pattern is now a commercial pattern, but this is the original and well worth a spot in anyone’s steelhead box. Check them both out below if you want to do some tying.
As always Matt has the Video version of the Friday Fishing report where he follows the same theme and has a couple hilarious videos from other creators, perfect for sitting back on the couch, waiting out the storm, and laughing at funny fishing stuff. Oh Yah – He also talks about the fishing because he is trying to get out this weekend and he will walk you through what he is looking at to make the call of weather to go or stay home.
On to the report!
INDUSTRY UPDATES AND EVENTS
Steelhead Society of BC (SSBC) ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING
The Steelhead Society will be holding its annual AGM at 8555-198 A Street (BCEGU office) in Langley at 10:00 a.m. on January 25, 2020. It will be though-provoking and a chance to mingle with like-minded anglers and conservation experts. Lunch is provided.
The speaker roster includes Dave Moore, General Manager of the Harrison Fisheries Authority, and BC Fisheries Branch Biologist Rob Bison.
You may recall Dave giving a remarkable presentation at last year’s AGM, including a deep dive into the history of and biology of Interior Fraser steelhead (Thompson and Chilcotin rivers). SSBC continues to work with Harrison Fisheries Authority to promote to research and development of more sustainable fishing methods for salmon in the Lower Fraser River. The title of Dave’s talk this year is “A Changing Vision for the Fraser River Salmon Fishery and The Role of Salmon Traps.”
Rob Bison is a Fisheries Stock Assessment Biologist based in Kamloops. The title of his talk is “Recovering Persistence of Interior Fraser Steelhead.”
CLASSES AND COURSES
We’ve wrapped up our on the water classes for this month but we’ve got a few spots at the vice for some of our upcoming fly tying classes later this month and in early February. To sign up call the shop at 604.872.2204.
Tying Essential Steelhead Patterns
This course is designed for the fly tyer looking to get the best start on tying steelhead patterns. In the 3-hour evening seminar your instructor will cover everything from tying techniques, material and colour choices, size and weight. They will walk you through 3 essential patterns that will build a well-rounded steelhead fly box. If you’re looking to get yourself into tying your own flies for steelhead, this is the course for you. This course is suitable for fly tiers with a basic knowledge. 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: Jan 21, 2020
Time: 6:30pm – 9:30pm
Introduction To Fly Tying – SOLD OUT, Call the shop to add your name to the waitlist
There is no greater satisfaction than catching a fish with a fly you tied yourself. This Introduction to Fly Tying course was specifically designed to give you the fundamental skills needed to tie proven fly patterns used here in BC for trout, salmon, and steelhead.
This course consists of 3 sessions; each session is 3hrs.
Students are required to supply their own vise, tools and materials. A 10% discount is available on fly tying materials and tools purchased for the course.
Dates: Jan 22, 29 & Feb 5, 2020
Time: 6:30pm – 9:30pm
Tying Essential Bulltrout Patterns
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 who have taken our beginner course and have basic tying skills. Advanced tiers will find the first two patterns fairly easy but they can challenge themselves with variations of the last pattern. If you are an experienced tier you probably already know that sometimes the skill, effectiveness and beauty of many great guide flies comes from their simplicity. 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 4, 2020
Time: 6:30pm – 9:30pm
Tying Intruder Patterns
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
FEATURE FLY VIDEOS
As promised in the outlook we’ve got some great fly videos for you this week in case you’ve opted to not brave the weather and stay home filling up your fly boxes for more temperate days!
First off we have Andre tying up a White Wigolo which is a great bulltrout/minnow pattern for the Squamish or any system with resident fish who like to eat other fish.
This next video is Matt tying his classic Choking Black a Blue Steelhead Fly.
FRESHWATER FISHING REPORTS
Chilliwack/Vedder River Fishing Report
It was a tough slog out in the Valley this week with treacherous road conditions and consistent sub-zero temperatures. Fishing has picked up and a few of the brave anglers that got out to the river were rewarded. The water has been steadily dropping and clearing up but the next 5 days are bringing warmer temperatures and a fair bit of rain so expect the river to rise and colour up. It most likely will stay fishable but you will want to break out the bigger presentations and cover water fast to get in front of a fresh aggressive fish. Pink worms, larger gooey bobs, jigs, and Colorado blades are all good options if the water colours up, in additional to larger pieces of bait such as shrimp or roe. Larger streamers in pink, black, blue, and chartreuse will work for fly guys as well. Get out there early if you can as you can bet there are lots of other anglers eager to get out there too after this cold snap.
Squamish River Fishing Report
The Squamish has dropped quite a bit with temperatures drastically dropping as well. There are still a few fish being found throughout the system. Small beads, bobs, and unscented soft plastics have found some attention from the fish as well, but effort and covering water have been the key.
Anglers looking to get out will want to prepare for the cold. Proper layering will play a key role in making your day comfortable. If you’re having traction issues, one idea is to use studs in your boots, which are available for both felt or Vibram soles.
Talking about traction we recommend putting a shovel in the truck if you are going up as parking with snow on the shoulders of the roads will be a big problem and the upper river will probably be a no go reserved for the more hardcore off roaders.
We have hope with the warmer weather this weekend so keep your eyes on the river levels and check out the video report where Matt goes through his thoughts on river levels as he prepares to head out this weekend.
SALTWATER FISHING REPORTS
Well looks like the winter wonderland is finally coming to an end with some much warmer temperatures and rain in the forecast. I will take 7 C and rain over -7 C and snow any day. Unfortunately, the winds aren’t co-operating quite as much as we hoped, but there might be a few windows where we can get out over the coming days, we will have to play it by ear.
We had quite a few trips booked this past week, but with the crazy winds and snow, we weren’t going anywhere except to the store for more ice melt. So as a result, there is not much new to report. We have 2 boats heading out today, so we should have some fresh intel soon, and we have some trips booked for the weekend if the winds back off. This time of year, I don’t wait for reports, and neither should you. Its go time, if the weather and winds are good, get out there. The fishing has been pretty consistent this winter season and I don’t see why that would change.
I am heading over to the Island this weekend to fish in a derby, so make sure you are following on Instagram and FB and I will post some pics. We have a separate account for Pacific Angler Sport Fishing (@pacificanglersportfishing) and you can follow me as well (@jasonrtonelli).
In the meantime, get down to your boat and get rid of all that snow. This is when boats sink. You have a few feet of snow, then it rains 40 mm and gets super saturated. Think wet cement. It plugs up your drains and the boat can’t get rid of all that water and it starts to fill up and gets heavier and heavier and can overwhelm the flotation, water can come in the back, bilge pumps burn out your cold battery, the list goes on. I have seen this exact scenario sink a few boats over the years, and those are just ones at my relatively small marina, so I know there are others. Scared? Good my job here is done. Get down to your dock, get the snow off, charge those batteries and check those bilge pumps and float switches. You will sleep better at night.
See you in the shop or on the water,