There is a solid weekend of fishing weather incoming but, a cold snap is on the horizon. With temperatures in the high single digits today through Sunday it looks like a good weekend to get out but, it is going to get cold Sunday and into next week so expect fishing to change.
In this week’s report we have details on the Sea to Sky corridor and the Valley rivers. Fishing has been solid with good numbers of steelhead being caught on the Chilliwack and bulltrout fishing on the Squamish still well worth the trip. We expect this to continue over the weekend but the cold spell coming is going to drop water levels fast and next week we expect challenging conditions.
With river fishing in mind, we have a piece this week on what to carry in your steelhead gear pack. It’s always interesting to see what anglers put in their packs. It’s quite a personal preference. This week is Taylor’s turn to share what’s in his pack and we hope you might be able to take something away from the items as well as the mindset.
On the saltwater front, the fishing continues to be good but keep an eye on wind conditions if you are heading out as there are some outflow warnings in the forecast. Check out Jason’s update at the end of the report for more details there.
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 7, 2023
Time: 6:30pm – 9:30pm
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.
Dates: Seminar – Feb 21, 2023 Casting: Feb 26, 2023
Seminar Time: 6:30pm – 9:30pm
Casting: Full Day, Squamish
FRESHWATER FISHING REPORTS
Chilliwack/Vedder Fishing Report
The good times are here and have been continuing on the C/V this week! It seems like there has been no shortage of mystic silver ghosts, and stellar river conditions to boot!
The river has been on a steady drop throughout the week with the lack of heavy rain. At the time of writing, the river is sitting at a very fishable 2.25m, with a minor cold snap expected for the weekend; expect river levels to drop even more going into Saturday. The weatherman also tells us that we should expect some consistent, but not heavy rain throughout the week. For those who have the ability to head out during the week, I would take advantage of that opportunity. The precipitation should slow down the dropping of levels, at 2.1m-2.4m the river holds enough water for fish to steadily move and rest, but not enough for them to shoot all the way to the upper in a night. In these conditions, there is truly consistent fishing from the lower all the way up top.
Float fishing dime to quarter size presentations has been working in the current visibility. Worms, shrimp, jigs, blades, beads and roe have all been productive for the sacred steel.
Fly anglers have been having success swinging patterns in the 2-4″ size in colours such as pink, peach, white, blue and purple. Remember to not only have a good selection of sizes and colours of flies, but also a selection of differently weighted flies as well.
All of this is irrelevant if you are not covering water efficiently and effectively. Put the boots to ground and eventually you will be pleasantly rewarded.
Squamish River Fishing report
This week, we saw the river drop from what I would consider low but fishable levels to low and border line unfishable levels. The good news is the fishing wasn’t as challenging as we expected, and we still had anglers reporting successful outings.
With temperatures rising to as high as 8 degrees today we expect this trend to continue Friday and into Saturday but the nighttime temperatures are going to drop hard Saturday night. With nighttime temps as low as –9, things will get interesting on Sunday and into next week. The river level is going to drop and anytime this happens, bulltrout will shut down.
If you are getting out this weekend or into next week break out the fluorocarbon leaders, small pale egg imitations, and warm clothes. Note that a 1-3 fish day in negative degree weather is a good day so set expectations appropriately. The one good thing is that crossing the river will be easier as long as you do it safely, so a long hike might be able to get you on to unfished water.
In the 14 day trend we see things warming up with some snow next week. The temperature increase is good but make sure to bring the shovel if you are heading out after a snowstorm next weekend.
What’s In My Steelhead Bag
I’ve spent a lot of time rambling about covering water to find fish in my reports… probably to the point where some people might accuse me of sounding like a broken record. One of the keys to covering water is to pack a minimal amount of gear in the most efficient way possible; that way you’re not trying to walk around with a ton of unnecessary weight bogging you down.
So, on that note… what do I pack, and how do I pack it?
I usually fish with either a Simms Freestone sling or hip pack. I like both of these packs because they can hold more than enough gear for a day of fishing and are well laid-out and ergonomic, which maximizes the efficiency of the space they provide. Their most salient feature is that they are compact and lightweight. As it currently stands, most of my steelhead gear is in my sling bag, since I used it on my last outing… so I’ve decided to grab the aforementioned sling and do a bit of a writeup on what’s usually in it while I’m chasing steelhead.
On the outside of the pack, you’ll find:
- A good pair of pliers, easily accessible- for crimping barbs, squishing split-shot, removing hooks from fish, and other miscellaneous tasks.
- An AriZona tea (essential item).
- A morale patch (optional).
Some of the stuff inside the main, easy-access compartment includes:
- A few leader boards, with my essential presentations pre-tied and ready to go.
- A small box of terminal tackle (swivels, snaps, rigging beads, troutbeads, a few hooks, bobber stoppers, etc.).
- My leader spools- in this case, one spool of 15lb fluorocarbon and one spool of 15lb mono.
- A bottle of scent for systems that allow the use of bait
- A pack of various colours of 4” worms.
- A few packs of gooey bobs.
- A small container of spoons and Colorado blades- note that this is absent because I appear to have misplaced it…
- A sandwich (this is absent because I ate it for breakfast).
The smaller middle compartment is where most of my spare terminal gear goes, such as:
- Bulk packs of the hooks I’m running in essential sizes- 2, 1, 1/0 and 2/0.
- Baggies of weights- I run split shot, so that’s what I have in my bag.
- A pack of troutbead pegs.
- Some 17lb mono- I use it as a “breakaway’ section that I crimp my split shot to, between my 20lb mainline and lighter leader.
- Some spare packs of swivels/snaps.
- Spare bobber stoppers.
The front compartment contains a foam “fly dock” as well as a small internal pouch. In there, you’ll currently find:
- Spare floats (a singular float in this case, I had to use my other backup on my last trip).
- A hook file (an absolutely essential item that everybody should have, in my opinion).
- A cheap pair of scissors.
- A few random 3” worms on jig heads (on the fly dock).
There’s also a small compartment on the “top” of the pack, where I’ll put:
- A pen.
- My wallet and fishing license.
As mentioned before, I like to travel light while steelheading- that way I’m not carrying 20lbs of junk on my shoulder that I know I won’t use. Both of the bags I use do have room for a lot more stuff, which I will often use when I’m less concerned about having a light bag- i.e. during salmon season. There’s room for other stuff, such as fish bags, extra leader boards, small tackle trays, sandwiches… anything you could reasonably expect to use on a day of chasing steelhead.
Extra room is always nice to have, but do remember that the whole idea here is to just carry the necessities- the stuff you need, and not much more. Less weight makes you more mobile and also reduces fatigue and discomfort, which will lead to more enjoyable days on the water.
SALTWATER FISHING REPORTS
Not a lot of new information to report on the saltwater front except that fishing continues to be good. We have been out each week on guided trips and personal trips and there is no shortage of legal-size winter chinook around.
This time of year, there are chinook in the harbour around the Cap Mouth, QB Marker, the Freighters and the Bell Buoy. There have also been a good number of chinook in Howe Sound. We haven’t made it over to the Gulf Islands, no need to with the local fishing being consistent, but I would say it’s safe to assume the fishing is good there as well.
Prawning seems to be good. In fact, it is better than I thought it would be for the spots that we are setting in. Our usual spots are in the closed area this year, so good to see some new spots producing some decent results. This bodes well for April 1 when 28-1 and 28-2 will open back up for prawning. It should be quite good and we will have some time to get some more prawns before the commercial fleet shows up in May.
For productive gear, keep an eye on our Instagram (@pacificanglersportfishing) and Facebook (Pacific Angler Sport Fishing) accounts. A variety of gear has been productive as usual. No surprise the new Skinny G Herring Aid with a glow back being among one of the top producers. Classic combos like the Gibbs Lemon Lime flasher in green or chartreuse with a Skinny G Outfitter or Trailhead have also been productive.
If you are heading out this weekend, it looks like it will be sunny, but keep an eye out on those outflow winds. It’s going to be a bit colder as well, so be ready for that, especially Sunday.
The boat show is next weekend, so I might see some of you there if I go for a walkabout. If you are looking for some deals on saltwater gear, prawning gear, and marine electronics, make sure you are signed up to our Friday Fishing Report and follow us on social media as we will have some in store specials!
See you at the shop or on the water,