Things are looking up. The weather looks great for the weekend. Snow is melting in the upper reaches of river systems and with dry weather we might see the Vedder/Chilliwack come into shape. Taylor has details on this system in the river section of the report. It is nowhere close to a sure thing, but conditions should become more favourable this week. We have heard the odd report of steelhead but as many of you know the conditions are a challenge with multiple slides colouring the river.
The Squamish was a challenge last week. Even though river conditions were good, the snow made access an issue and the spots that had access got busy. Again, river conditions are looking good for this weekend, but we haven’t been up in a few days so it’s hard to tell if enough of the snow is gone to alleviate the access issue.
It is also now prime time for the hardwater season. What’s hardwater you ask? We are talking ice fishing. We have received a fresh shipment of ice fishing essentials so come down to the store if you are getting to the interior to get stocked up for your trip. Sterling has a great overview in this week’s report if you are new to hardwater fishing.
Lastly, saltwater fishing continues to be excellent with prawning picking up as well. It is well worth a trip if you are thinking about heading down to the docks.
On to the report!
CLASSES AND COURSES
INTRODUCTION TO SPEY CASTING
This 2-part course is designed to introduce you to the art of Spey fishing and to establish the fundamental techniques required for basic Spey casts used on our local rivers.
Dates: Zoom Seminar – Feb 22, 2022
Guided Casting: Feb 26, 2022
Zoom Seminar Time: 6:30pm – 9:30pm
Guided Casting: Full Day, Squamish
TYING ESSENTIAL BULLTROUT PATTERNS – 2 SPOTS
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 15, 2022
Time: 6:30pm – 9:30pm
TYING INTRUDER PATTERNS
In this one night course you will learn about the specifics techniques and unique materials used to tie Intruder style flies. 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. Students are required to supply their own vise, tools and materials. A 10% discount is available on materials and tools purchased for the course. A detailed list of what materials are needed will be supplied in advance of the course.
Date: Feb 9, 2022
Time: 6:30pm – 9:30pm
FRESHWATER FISHING REPORTS
Vedder/Chilliwack River Fishing Report
Conditions on the Vedder/Chilliwack system have been unfavorable all week, but we’re starting to hear more consistent reports of fish being caught in spite of the conditions. This tells me that the number of fish in the system is increasing… as it should be, considering that it’s mid/late January, so we can expect the run to start picking up a bit. So that’s good news, at least. Fish are being caught throughout the system, but conditions are obviously most favorable above the slides. That’s where a majority of the angling pressure is being directed and this has also posed its challenges.
When looking at the weather forecast, we see another ray of good news- it looks like we’re finally going to see a stretch of dry, dare I say pleasant weather. I’m hoping that this should give the river a chance to drop down to normal levels, and maybe even clear up a bit… as long as the milder temperatures don’t trigger snowmelt. I’m not expecting to see gin-clear water in the lower at any point this season, but it would be nice to get 2+ feet of viz.
As always, adjust your presentations to suit the conditions and cover lots of water to give yourself the best possible chance at finding a willing fish.
Squamish River Fishing Report
River conditions were great last weekend coming off 3 meters but the snow was still deep and soft, so access was a major problem. This is also caused crowding issues because there is less accessible water.
There was a fair amount of snow even on the lower river last week and it made hiking a challenge
This weekend looks good from a river level perspective, and we are hopeful that warmer dry weather will continue to beat down the snow and improve things. It is still a great time to bead for bull trout whether you are on a float rod or fly rod, but spoons and streamers can cover water quickly and are worth having in the kit as well.
With water levels in the mid to low 2m level break out the snowshoes, shovels and winter tires and get out there!
STILLWATER FISHING REPORTS
Ice Fishing Report
The Coquihalla reopening to regular traffic finally opens the door for ice fishing in the Thompson-Nicola and Cariboo region. I know quite a few people have already had success targeting rainbows, brookies, kokanee, burbot, and lake trout. I’d start with trying to hit a brook trout stocked lake if you haven’t ice fished before as they tend to be the easiest to catch followed by rainbows and kokanee. All three species (rainbows, brookies, kokanee) are a ton of fun to target on extremely light gear. The smaller rods and reels make it an incredibly accessible fishery for younger kids and family members who don’t often fish.
Most trout will be anywhere from 5-30 ft, but the 10-20 ft range always seems to be the money zone. I always start with the shallowest depth and then move my way deeper throughout the day if I’m not finding fish. Fallen trees that jut out from the shore are always the best options if you’re fishing brookie lakes.
The gear for Ice fishing is incredibly simple. The major necessities are an auger, ice scooper, ice fishing rod/reel combo, a bucket, flutter spoons, jig heads, and some shrimp/krill. Start with drilling a couple of holes spaced out around 30 feet apart in different depths. A flutter spoon, such as a dogtail dodger or G Force spoon, with a small pink, glow, or chartreuse jig tipped with your choice of bait is a tough setup to beat. Tie the flutter spoon to your main line followed by tying a short 12-18” section of monofilament leader that is tied to your jig of choice. I always make sure that my flutter spoon is either glow or chrome as it’s the light bouncing off the spoons that attracts the fish to come inspect the jig. You can either continually jig the rod or let it sit a foot off the bottom. I know a lot of people tend to overthink the ice fishing as it is new to them. Either the fish are feeling up to it or they’re not meaning the important technical aspect is covering a lot of water. Trout’s metabolism tends to be all over the place in winter so search for the fish that are willing to bite and don’t get so hung up on fish that show no interest.
Good luck and stay safe out there!