January is finally picking up. Warm weather and a mix of sun and light rain are in the forecast. Winter anglers know this usually means good fishing. We had some excellent reports from last weekend and we are excited to see what the next week will bring. It is time to escape the indoors and hit the water.
Steelhead reports are coming in consistently from the valley. Check out the river reports below from Max, Sam and Alex for the latest and some suggestions on gear and presentations. Matt was up the Squamish this last weekend for his egg fishing course and though they had to work hard stomping through deep snow to find fish when they found them, fishing was pretty awesome. We expect good fishing this weekend on the Squamish so don’t miss this weeks report.
Bull trout fishing is picking up on all systems with the warm weather and though egg fishing is still the preferred method this will shift over mid next month. Andre has a batch of his simple yet famous Bull Busters flies in the shop and he has a write up on his experiences and theories behind these great minnow imitations. Check out more info in the “Story Time with Dre” feature and come down to the shop to get a few to round out your box. They are a go to fly for our guides when we start swinging flies next month.
Saltwater fishing has not missed a beat and continues to be very good. It is a great time to make sure your boat has made it through the worst of the winter and get out for some prawning, crabbing and winter spring fishing. We have a new top spoon on the wall this week and it is our Friday Feature Product so you can get it at 10% off! Pesca has tweaked their already awesome spoon and we have been test fishing it for a few months. The results have been awesome. Jason has a big review of them below as well as an up to date saltwater report. Matt and Jason are heading out this weekend and will have more reports next week.
Finally we have a great line up of courses coming up in February. From our always-popular Introduction to Spey Casting to a new Warm Water Fly Workshop with guest instructor Dennis Gamboa we have the class for you this February.
CLASSES AND COURSES
February is almost here so its time to start thinking about signing up for on (or all) of our great February courses.
INTRODUCTION TO SPEY CASTING
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.
Seminar: Feb 15, 6:30pm – 9:30pm
Casting: Feb 18 (Squamish)
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.
Seminar: Feb 20 – 6:30PM – 9:30PM
Casting: Feb 25 10AM – 1PM or 2PM – 5PM
ADVANCED WARM WATER FLY WORKSHOP 201
Join us for this 2-night workshop designed to teach the best commercial techniques and productive patterns for any Warm Water Destination. Dennis Gamboa from The Fly Box will be your Instructor for the Workshop. Dennis has been teaching fly tying classes for over 15 years all over the Lower Mainland. His specialty is Saltwater flies from local waters to exotic destinations he is a Master of the art of commercial tying with over 20 years experience on his Regal Vise. His creativity and design has earned him a spot on The Lagartun Pro Staff Team and has also been selected as a Partridge Pro Member of Redditch to represent the West Coast of BC Canada.
This advanced class will teach you modern and up to date techniques using, epoxy, uv resin , advanced tubing techniques, ep fibres and new modern materials to make that perfect fly. We will be working with premium quality hooks and materials that will cover patterns for Bonefish, Triggerfish, Permit, Giant Trevally and other warm water game. Even though the class is centred around Warm Water destinations the techniques taught can be applied to local waters. Students are required to supply their own vise, tools and materials. A 10% discount is available on materials and tools purchased for the course.
Dates: Feb 21 & Feb 22
Time: 6:30pm – 9:30pm
FRIDAY FEATURE PRODUCT
PESCA FORAGE 3.5
Well it is finally here, the Pesca Forage 3.5! We have been test fishing this spoon for months now and it has been on fire for winter chinook!
This new spoon features a skinny profile and the curve of the blade produces and erratic action that the chinook really seem to go crazy for. If you are familiar with Pesca spoons, you know that they glow like crazy. That combined with the skinny profile and erratic action makes this spoon the perfect choice when fish are feeding on small herring or anchovies.
These spoons are hand made locally and it takes time to produce them so quantities are always somewhat limited. We have the first order on the shelves as of today, so grab them while you can. As this week’s feature product, they are also 10% OFF.
These new spoons seem to fish best on what I would call a medium troll speed and a 5 to 6 foot leader behind the flasher. When the tide is running super hard or you are trolling very fast, I would recommend using the Pesca RSG 3.5. The RSG spoon is a little heavier and seems to perform well at higher speeds. The Forage 3.5 is a little lighter and seems to perform well at a medium speed. We have been switching back and forth between the two depending on the conditions and have had great results.
The Pesca Forage 3.5 is 10% off Friday January 27, 2017 – Thursday February 2, 2017.
FRESHWATER FISHING REPORTS
Vedder River Fishing Report
The Vedder has been on the drop for a few days now and with cooler temperatures in the valley we have seen the river clear up. Anglers have still been having success on the river grinding out 1 or 2 fish for the day, the odd pod may push through and an angler may encounter multiple fish.
There is some rain in the forecast for this weekend but it may only colour the river slightly or do nothing. We are going to see some warmer temps this weekend but it will still be chilly so dress warm. With the clearer water you definitely want to have some smaller presentations in your vest. Jensen egg with white wool, trout beads, and wool combinations are standards. If you’re looking at getting into steelhead fishing we have a couple different options. For the beginner we would recommend a levelwind setup with an Abu Garcia 6500 C3 spooled with 17LB Stren monofilament. Paired with a 10 or 10 and a half foot drift rod, I would look at the brands Fenwick, Trophy, and Shimano for a beginner.
Stefan took our Float Fishing for Steelhead Course on Monday night. Sam set him up with some gear after the course and Stefan headed to the river the next morning with the right gear and some knowledge. Wouldn’t you know it, he got his first steelhead! Congrats Stefan!
Squamish River Fishing Report
We hit the water last weekend for the first time in a while. The rains had been coming down hard for a few days and we were expecting dirty water on Saturday. We were pleasantly surprised to find the river holding 4 feet of visibility and a nice green hue. Check out the water levels from last Saturday. I would consider those levels close to perfect.
The road was still very snow covered and if anyone is considering the upper river don’t go alone, make sure you are in a vehicle with clearance, good snow tires and carry a shovel. Chains would be a welcome backup but not a necessity. If you have some experience driving in the snow it was manageable to get up quite a way and it was worth it. We had to hike hard in the snow and cover water but when we found fish there were very good numbers.
Pale eggs worked best with the standard beading rig. If you are heading out come down the shop and the guys will walk you through the right colors and setup.
Capilano River Fishing Report
The Capilano River experienced a big high water event during last week’s warm rain. The river has since dropped and is now quite low. When the Capilano gets low, fishing tends to be very slow. There is more rain in the forecast next week, which should allow for increased flows out of Cleveland Dam. Between now and the end of March, the odd winter steelhead can be encountered in the Capilano. The run of winter steelhead is quite small in this system, but it can be worth a look if you have a couple hours to kill or want to stay local. You may use bait on this system from November 1st to July 31st. Float fishing is the most effective method to target steelhead in canyon water. Natural baits such as roe and prawns are good choices. Natural baits in combination with artificial baits such as gooey bobs, jig, and spin n’ glos add more presence in the water. Colorado blades and spoons are also effective.
You must RELEASE ALL STEELHEAD in the Capilano, which means hatchery fish must be released as well as unclipped fish.
This is a very small and sensitive run of steelhead, so please take this into consideration and handle fish with the utmost care and attention.
Stave River Fishing Report
The Stave River currently offers a fun light tackle fishery for trout, whitefish, and even steelhead. With pretty slow to moderate current throughout most of its short range, one can afford to downsize their setups without too much worry of a large fish busting them off. A wide variety of presentations can be used to entice these fish whether it be casting and retrieving spinners and spoons, drifting bait, or swinging sculpins and leeches on the fly.
We currently have two really nice light action Fenwick rods in the shop that would fit the bill nicely for this fishery. The first is a 10’6” Fenwick HMX spinning rod that would be part of a great drifting setup. It is long and noodle-y, making it perfect for getting drag-free drifts in the slow current and for cushioning light leaders on big fish. In saying that, the backbone on this HMX makes it a great pairing for this slower moving river and gives the user a fighting chance on any surprise steelhead they may come across!
The second rod that is definitely worth a look for this fishery, and one of my favourite light action rods at the shop in general, is the Fenwick Elite Tech River Runner. This small spinning rod is only 6’9” which makes it fantastic for casting tiny spoons and spinners in tight spaces. While extremely light, the graphite is strong and durable with a fast action for maximum sensitivity on those trout and whitefish strikes.
Chehalis River Fishing Report
The Chehalis River receives a run of winter steelhead as well as a summer run. While the canyon makes for tough access, the lower river can easily be walked downstream of the bridge. We have not heard anything from this system so far, but I suspect it is once again quite low since the dry weather following last week’s rain storm. With rain in the forecast for next week, we should see this river rise rapidly and then drop again. Float fishing is the most effective method on this river, however, there are a few nice fly fishing runs in the lower river.
Stamp River Overview
One system you may want to look at is the Stamp/Somass River in Port Alberni. This system receives both summer and winter steelhead in good numbers. January to March is the best time to fish the Stamp for winter steelhead. The Stamp is one of the most challenging rivers to fish from shore due to the lack of gravel bars and exposed rock which meet towering cedar trees that line the banks. Getting a guide for a day or two is by far the best way to fish this river, as their jet boat or drift boat will give you the best access to the river. Fishing this river is a great way to spend a weekend and see this unique part of the province. Talk to us in the shop and we will put you in touch with the best guides on the Stamp.
Story Time with Dre – The Bull Buster
In 2005 I really concentrated on catching big bull trout in the time period after the salmon eggs where done and before the fry hatch. I began developing patterns and testing them on the Squamish river that represented smaller trout, sculpin and any other kind of small fish that could fall prey to these glutens. My first concern was the size, movement and then the colour. I knew for a fact that bull trout are lazy fish and they would rather sit there and wait for food to come to them. I tied patterns with marabou and rabbit strips in various colour combos but finally the most productive colour was olive and white or all white with just marabou.
I used to add weight to my flies, fishing a type 2 sink tip but quickly learned that sculpin and other bait fish hang out close to the shore in shallow water so I stopped weighing my flies in order to get a full swing close to shore without snagging on the bottom, however I have fished my patterns weighted as well but on a floating line with a 10-12 FT leaders. Though Matt will be the first to admit he did not invent it, adding his trademark “choking egg” a ball of orange chenille under the marabou wing, builds a great teardrop profile and when the marabou moves it looks the like the flash of a gill.
To this day I continue to fish these patterns with success where ever bull trout exist but I am still waiting for the one that is between 12 to 15 pounds. One day!!
SALTWATER FISHING REPORTS
Vancouver Saltwater Salmon Fishing Report
Not much has changed since last week, and that is a good thing because fishing was good last week and it was this week once again! From the Gulf Islands, to Vancouver Harbour, to Howe Sound, the fishing has been good. The fish have been mostly in the 6 to 12 pound range, but there have been few bruisers in the high teens and low twenties as well.
We have been fishing two rods, one per downrigger, and for the most part have been right on the bottom with glow flashers and glow spoons. Our top flashers this week have been the Salty Dawg, Green Onion Glow, Chartreuse Glow, and Lemon Lime. Productive spoons have been the Pesca 3.5 RSG in any colour that has some glow and green or blue on it, like the Janitor, Bogart, Blue Balz, and Sucker Punch. We have been doing very well on the new Pesca 3.5 Forage as well. You have heard us talking about this spoon for the last month and now it is available at the shop. This spoon is a little skinnier and seems to be hot right now, likely because the fish are feeding a lot on anchovies where we have been fishing. The Forage is a great spoon to mimic this skinny baitfish due to its slender profile. Hot colours have been the Gut Bomb, Tricky Tee and Pacific Angler.
One thing to note is we are starting to see some suspended bait and when this happens you have to adapt and bring at least one of your riggers up to that level. We did hit a fish at 60 on the rigger this week in about 110 feet of water. Although the vast majority of our fish have been on the bottom, if you do see suspended bait balls, don’t hesitate to bring some of your gear up to that level.
If you want to head out fishing and crabbing or prawning, the fishing is on right now, so give us a call to book a trip!